New pool

#1
Hi everyone,

I recently bought a house with a pool. Summer's finally here in Minnesota, so it's time to open it up.

The pool originally had a Aqua Smarte mineral system, and after extensively reading about them on here, it promptly got replaced with a tablet chlorinator (I also ordered a Taylor K-2006 test kit at the same time). Right after the ice melted, the water looked surprisingly clear-almost weirdly clear (there is no winter cover). I washed off the solar cover and put it on, while waiting for the test kit to arrive. A couple days later, the pool color got quite cloudy, to the point of not being able to see to the bottom. I'm thinking that this is from the solar cover and some dirt seeping into the pool.

I just got the pump and filter running this morning, but the test kit isn't supposed to arrive until Monday now. Is it OK to keep the pump running to try and filter some of the water, even thought the chemicals are most likely completely out of whack?

Once I'm able to test the water, I'll post the readings.
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,214
East Texas
#2
Welcome. You can circulate and backwash the filter as necessary when 25% over clean pressure rise. Scoop any debris you can see off the bottom.
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,485
Tucson, AZ
#3
We generally do not recommend using tablets either, as each one adds CYA to your water which means you need more and more chlorine as the season goes on to keep your pool clean and clear.

For now, use only bleach or liquid chlorine to chlorinate the pool (for bleach, use concentrated, plain, unscented, and don't splashless or "EZPour") until your kit comes and in and we can see the test results. :)
 
#4
We generally do not recommend using tablets either, as each one adds CYA to your water which means you need more and more chlorine as the season goes on to keep your pool clean and clear.

For now, use only bleach or liquid chlorine to chlorinate the pool (for bleach, use concentrated, plain, unscented, and don't splashless or "EZPour") until your kit comes and in and we can see the test results. :)
That was the plan, at least until the chemicals are stabilized. I thought I read somewhere (which may have been on TFP or may not have, I don't remember) that tricolor (with also adding stabilizer) is the cheapest way to chlorinate a pool, albeit not necessarily the easiest. Either way, replacing the mineral system with a tablet chlorinator should allow for either.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#5
That was the plan, at least until the chemicals are stabilized. I thought I read somewhere (which may have been on TFP or may not have, I don't remember) that tricolor (with also adding stabilizer) is the cheapest way to chlorinate a pool, albeit not necessarily the easiest. Either way, replacing the mineral system with a tablet chlorinator should allow for either.
I'be never crunched the numbers, but there's more to it than just CYA and FC. Trichlor is very acidic, so you may end up adding all kinds of stuff to raise pH and TA, so figure that cost in. And while the FC gets destroyed by the sun and by oxidizing organics, the CYA stays and builds and builds and renders what FC you do have ineffective. Pool stores call that "Chlorine Lock." We call it overstabilized. Then you get algae, which means you need to buy more stuff to kill that. Or worse, someone gets pinkeye or an ear infection from low active unbound FC levels. What's the co-pay on a late-night trip to the Urgent Care?
 
Mar 24, 2014
2,091
Greenville, SC
#6
...(with also adding stabilizer) is the cheapest way to chlorinate a pool, albeit not necessarily the easiest. Either way, replacing the mineral system with a tablet chlorinator should allow for either.
triptyx is right, bleach/liquid chlorine is all you need and using pucks raises your CYA (stabilizer) too much.

If cost is your biggest concern, I am going to borrow this from a thread from a while back (so numbers might be a little off, but still)

Trichlor Tabs/Pucks ......... $2.20 / 0.915 = $2.40 but $3.83 when accounting for Washing Soda to adjust pH
Dichlor .......................... $2.60 / 0.554 = $4.70 but $5.73 when accounting for Washing Soda to adjust pH
73% Cal-Hypo ................ $2.40 / 0.724 = $3.31
Lithium Hypochlorite ....... $6.00 / 0.352 = $17.05
12.5% Chlorinating Liquid . $0.336 / 0.108 = $3.11
6% Bleach ..................... $0.15 / 0.057 = $2.63
Cost Comparison of Chlorine Sources
 
#7
By some stroke of luck, the test kit arrived, numbers are below. Oddly, there seems to be no CYA.

Also, I'm assuming that the suggested ranges in the pool math app are defaults. Are these accurate, or should they be changed?
 
Mar 24, 2014
2,091
Greenville, SC
#8
I am not familiar with that app so I'll only comment on those test results.

FC is not an absolute number, it is based on the CYA level. Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart With a CYA of 0, 1-3 is a good spot to aim for. The next step would to get the CYA up to 30, it is sold at Wal-Mart, Lowes/Home Depot, and as a last resort pool stores (just don't take a water sample or let them sell you anything else!) More here. Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals Once the CYA is up see the corresponding min/max for FC in the chart.

Your TA might be a little high, but that is fine tuning that can wait for later.
 
#9
Ok, for an update:

Put in 4lb stabilizer and 52oz of 12.5% bleach yesterday (should have been enough to raise the CYA by a bit less than 30 and FC by around 3). The stabilizer finally dissolved fully this afternoon. Checked the FC/CC, pH, TA this evening:
FC - 0
CC - 2
pH - 7.4
TA - 150 (used the coarse method, 25ppm/drop, so the increase of 20 may not be 100% accurate)
Filter pressure has remained steady at 18psi

I ended up adding another 52oz of bleach after testing today to raise the FC again

Now the questions:
  1. Since most of the chlorine added yesterday is either combined or gone (i.e. no presence of FC), this is an indication of algae/etc. in the pool, correct?
  2. The pool should go through a SLAM process, correct?
  3. How long after the stabilizer is added should the SLAM be done?
I think I read somewhere that it can take several days for the CYA to stabilize, but I don't know if that is due to the dissolving time​
 
Mar 24, 2014
2,091
Greenville, SC
#10
1. Not necessarily. More likely burned off before the CYA was dissolved.
2. Not necessarily. I if the water is clear, bring the FC up to 5-6 and see what happens.
3. If it is fully dissolved, you can just assume what you added is in there. It should register on the test soon after it is dissolved. See #2. If the water is crystal clear (you could tell heads/tails on a quarter in the deep end) just run with a higher FC for a couple of days and see how much you lose per day.

edit: Just re-read from the beginning. If the pool is cloudy, then yes, it is SLAM time. Disregard #2 and go for it.
Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
 
#12
Long update

TL;DR: I'm an idiot

Have been slamming the pool for a few days (keeping FC at 10, assuming CYA of 30). Pool isn't getting clear at all, and oddly, the filter pressure is not changing at all - staying constant at 18psi. It's been constantly raining for the past week or so, and on the first nice day, I figured I'd take a look in the filter to make sure everything working correctly. Took the multiport valve off to expose the sand in the filter and realized that I never pivoted the laterals down (horizontal) :(.

When I moved in, the laterals were in the open filter in a upward position, with no sand in the filter. There's a pile of sand next to a shed, so I'm assuming the previous homeowner dumped all of the sand out at the end of last season. When I installed the filter, I put the laterals in, as they were before, and dumped 250 pounds of sand in as well.

I drained the water and removed most of the sand to (correctly) reinstall the laterals. Most of the sand was put back in, but a little bit was spilled all over the place (regardless, there's probably 245 pounds of sand in the filter). Everything was connected again, and the filter now reads around 16psi when filtering. I'm not sure if this should count as the 'clean' pressure, but I think I will backwash at around 20psi and go from there.

I'm a big believer that troubleshooting is the best way of learning about something, so I'll chalk this up to lessons learned, or something like that ;)

I also took a full test kit reading:
FC - 6.0
CC - 1.0
pH - 7.6 (it has been raining quite a bit)
TA - 150
CH - 150
CYA - 50

I had been slamming assuming a CYA of 30 (stabilizer added around a week ago and not tested since), bringing the FC to 10. Using the new CYA of 50, the FC was brought up to 20 using the Chlorine / CYA chart and will be held there until it clears. The others seem ok for now, and some fine-tuning will be done later (looking at you, TA).