New salt water pool owner here need some guidance

6spdg37s

Active member
Jun 7, 2022
34
NJ
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hi,

I purchased a house with a saltwater pool :
-approx 20k gallons and dimensions are about 35x15.
-salt cell
-sand filter

After a few days of living there I got no flow light and high filter, so I did back wash.

flow was good but water quality was cloudy and not testing well. brought a water sample to local pool store they helped me out with some shock and phosphate stuff. now levels are testing much better, low alkalinity and stabilizer but I am waiting for my delivery of stuff (tomorrow or thurs)

however pool store told me if I didnt add DE back in I would have issues, they told me to add 5 lbs of DE which I did but now every day or 2 the flow looks low even tho light is green. I told them it was a sand filter was I not supposed to add DE ? or that much ? Not sure what to do. pretty lost. I am genereally a handy person and am a mechanic by profession so I should be able to get the hang of this but it is hard to find proper guidance.

hope all the pool experts here can help! thanks !

J-
 

chazas

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
229
Manassas, VA
Pool Size
12200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
There is a great resource for you on this site, look at the pool school pages, everything explained from A to Z. It seems like a lot but once you absorb it it’s really not that complicated.

DE in a sand filter? I’ve heard of people trying it but not ever that it’s required, that’s weird. Phosphate stuff? Not needed. We don’t recommend people listen to pool stores, including for water testing, for a reason.

First thing you need is a good drop based test kit, TF100 (affiliated with this site) or Taylor K2006. If you have cloudy water you’ll need to do a SLAM (also in the pool school section), but you need to be able to test your water first and figure out your CYA, FC/TC and pH levels at least.
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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J,

Welcome to TFP! Great to have you here and I have some not so good news. Pool stores scam people all the time with phosphates. They are very conflicted since they sell all kinds of chemicals that are $$$ that you don't need. Also their test results are very unreliable. We sell nothing here all we have is volunteer experts that will help you learn our methodology that is simple and cheap since we use mostly generic chemicals available at big box stores. Please read this ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry as soon as you can. Ask any questions you may have.

Chris
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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J,

If you elect to use TFP you will need a test kit. Here's some info on that Test Kits Compared. You can buy them anywhere you want. Used to be able to find the TF 100 on Amazon but they show out right now; just search for the one you want. We don't offer advice from free pool tests since we find them so inaccurate. It's natural to think the pool store test must be better than your results from a test kit but we chose these kits because they are known to produce reliable results even from newbies.

It's great that you have a salt pool since our methodology works great for salt pool or one that's treated with liquid chlorine. Salt pools are just way easier to care for. Your original problem was probably just algae. The pool store had you treat phosphates instead. The way this chemical works is to react with the phosphates and make a molecule that's not soluble in water. This then gets filtered out which is why you are now plugging your filter. You'll need to watch the filter 'till you get it all filtered out. And oh guess what? The algae is not removed at all. So you still most likely need a SLAM.SLAM Process. You'll need one of our recommended test kits to do this since you need to measure high levels of FC. SLAM is not SHOCK. I've posted a few quick videos about this and other TFP methods. SLAM is completely different to SHOCK and it works every time. SHOCK rarely works.

I came here in 2015 when I decided to take the pool over myself. It didn't take me long to realize this site is a bonanza for pool owners. Many (maybe most?) arrive here because they have problems made worse by pool stores and a LOT of $$$ "down the drain". So they search and become TFPers very soon after. We now have over 300,000 members! I hope you'll join like I did and get your kit asap. Doesn't matter which one you get but you will need it to get started. If you decide not to use our methods right now we'll always be here for you later on. Just like everybody else on this site I'm not paid. Just volunteer some time to help others like people did for me back in 2015.

I hope this is helpful.

Chris



 
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gingrbredman

Gold Supporter
Jun 10, 2020
494
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
brought a water sample to local pool store
oof!
they helped me out
Well, they at least helped you realize you needed a better resource and came here, that's a good thing!
Many (maybe most?) arrive here because they have problems made worse by pool stores and a LOT of $$$ "down the drain".
Well written @setsailsoon! I actually came here before we even began construction, which is another great resource of the forum, find the best practices before you make the mistakes, and learn about the chemistry before you even have water and need a pool store! To your point, If you elect to use TFP, great advice for someone who stumbled into a pool store and probably realized something was off. As many people have said, you can either follow these methods, or keep going to to the pool store for advice, you can't do both. You will be much better off, have a clear pool, and be much happier to follow the basic steps mentioned above. TFP right around the corner!

One other thing I'd mention, is to fill out as much as you can in your signature about your pool and equipment. Salt cell (what kind), Filter (what kind), test kit, volume, etc. Helps the pros really get specific about getting you on the right path very quickly.
 
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6spdg37s

Active member
Jun 7, 2022
34
NJ
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I was reading thru all the stuff on here couple days before signing up. the PO recommended this site. He helped me alot via phone but he moverd far away so he cant just pop by and help me.

I did use the clorox test strips and the test app. (I am color blind so app helps , but i make my wife read the pieces anyway.)

as of last night hardness is a 110, total clorine is a 5 , free clorine is a 3, ph is 7.2 alkalanity is 40, stabilizer is 0 . I ordered stabilizer and alkality stuff its getting delivered thurs, the oriignal FC was almost a 0- i got it up to a 3.

Ok so my main concern RN is did i mess up my sand filter by adding DE, or too much DE. What do I do to rectify this situation?

I am at work but I can post more specifics later when I get home
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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6,

I think you may be plugging up your sand filter with the gunk that phosphate reducers cause. It's very common and one of several reasons we don't even do phosphate tests. If you stay within TFP readings you will never need to even test for phosphates. I use cartridge filters so DE isn't my strong suit. I'll see if Allen can comment and provide you better advice there @ajw22. If you want to do TFP please do get one of the kits on order asap. We really don't know what to do until you get the results. Very often your CYA numbers (stabilizer) from pool stores are way off. In the meantime I would turn off the salt cell and add 5 ppm liquid chlorine per day.

I hope this helps.

Chris
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
35,369
Northern NJ
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Let's back up a bit and understand the status of your sand filter.

You do NOT add 5 POUNDS of DE to your sand filter. Confirm if that is what you actually did?

When DE is added to a sand filter it is maybe 1 CUP of DE.

If you added 5 lbs of DE to your sand filter then I think it is time for you to open up the filter and examine the sand.


 
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6spdg37s

Active member
Jun 7, 2022
34
NJ
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Let's back up a bit and understand the status of your sand filter.

You do NOT add 5 POUNDS of DE to your sand filter. Confirm if that is what you actually did?

When DE is added to a sand filter it is maybe 1 CUP of DE.

If you added 5 lbs of DE to your sand filter then I think it is time for you to open up the filter and examine the sand.


Yeah so that’s the answer I have been looking for. I need to take a look at the sand . Idk why the pool store would tell me to do that even tho I specifically told them it was a sand filter
 

IceShadow

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Jun 8, 2019
3,805
Milwaukee, WI
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Yeah so that’s the answer I have been looking for. I need to take a look at the sand . Idk why the pool store would tell me to do that even tho I specifically told them it was a sand filter
Could be as innocuous as a misunderstanding, could be as inept as someone not knowing any better or being trained correctly, or could be as malicious as someone wanting to sell you the DE.

DE can be used in a sand filter but it's a very careful thing and only used to catch really fine particulate after the rest of it is filtered and gone.

See this thread with videos:


Should probably open her up and see what you have, and see if you can get any gunk out of the sand filter.

The test strips aren't going to give you the level of accuracy you're going to want in order to follow our methods here, and a drop-based test is really the way to go. $100 or so is miniscule compared to what the pool store will get from you using their methods.
 

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6spdg37s

Active member
Jun 7, 2022
34
NJ
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Will do looks like we might have a storm soon too… I will also post more specs on my system once I’m home
 

6spdg37s

Active member
Jun 7, 2022
34
NJ
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
ok so my pressure and flow was ok when I got home from work. so I am not sure if I screwed anything up or not.

can't find a model/name on the filter but the pump appears to be century UST1102 and Hayward multi port valve
 

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6spdg37s

Active member
Jun 7, 2022
34
NJ
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
...and nothing like a nice day of rain to mess up everything

what kind of drops in what levels can you generally expect with a day of steady rain?
 

IceShadow

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TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
3,805
Milwaukee, WI
Pool Size
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Surface
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Liquid Chlorine
That said, over a whole season, if you are pulling water out of the pool after rainfall you can lose some CYA, TA, and CH. Some who want to lose those things can take advantage of it.
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Palm City/FL
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6,

I would run a set of test after the rain stops. Do this a couple of times and you'll figure out how much it changes. Every pool is a little different. In mine if I got 4 Hard Rain's typical for Florida this time of year it would drop my salt a couple of hundred parts per million. So I ran up around 3800 and would add salt when I got down to about 3300. I would also check the cyanuric acid. About every other time I would need top off with cyanuric acid also. If all you got one day of light rain I agree with ice that you won't see much change. Until you get used to your system I would run at the high end of Target or even a couple of PPM higher. This should keep you from ever running too low and having problems with algae. Eventually you'll get very comfortable and you can let it drop to the high end of normal. I ended up staying there and just never had any problems that way.

Chris
 

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