New to Opening a Pool and Maintaining

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
I bought a house last June with an approximately 32,000 (38'x18'x4-9') gal vinyl pool. I worked with the guy who had been paid to maintain it, and decided to clean myself last spring/summer/fall while he kept doing the chemicals. He closed it up for me in October. I found it way too expensive paying someone else to maintain chemical balance in the pool and decided to open it myself this past weekend with the hope of balancing the water and then converting to saltwater with a saltwater chlorine generator (have it in hand and salt ready to go once I've got the water balanced). Doing some research and reading around on these forums, I've already realized I've made some mistakes and intend to rectify them. Firstly, I have ordered a TF-100 kit but not sure how long it will take to be delivered.

Where we are at right now, using the "guess" strips: TC 3-5? Hardness 0-50 FC 1 AK 80 pH 6.8-7.2 CYA 100?
Water looks blue-ish, but cloudy (I can actually see to the bottom of the deep end now which wasn't possible when we first opened) and I think I've got a little black/brown-ish algae on the bottom. I've vacuumed and vacuumed and brushed every day multiple times a day.

My question is what's the best course of action for the moment until I get my test kit? Couple gallons of bleach every day until I get the test kit? Do I need to drain some water given the CYA level? I'm thinking that is high because I used granules to attempt a shock, or perhaps it was already high because the previous pool guy was using tablets/granular shock. Maybe a combination.

Thanks for the help in advance!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Welcome to the forum!
While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
Did you order the Taylor 1766 Salt kit along with the TF100?

I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
Yes, I did order the "salt test strips - Taylor" as an additional option when I ordered this afternoon. Seemed the smart thing to do :)

Already ordered some liquid chlorine for pick-up tomorrow so I can add tomorrow evening and over the next couple of days so that *hopefully* we can convert to the SWG on Sunday if everything looks clear and balanced with the test kit. This is going to be a dumb question, but if I'm understanding using the pool math app - then to add 5 ppm FC worth would = 205 oz of 10% HDX chlorinating liquid for my 32,000 gallon pool?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
then to add 5 ppm FC worth would = 205 oz of 10% HDX chlorinating liquid for my 32,000 gallon pool?
Correct.
"salt test strips - Taylor"
See how those work. Issue is once you open them, they start to get contaminated. The K1766 is a better choice. You might be able to email [email protected] and change your order to the drop based K1766,.
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
I emailed and yes, they were able to swap the salt test strips out for the K1766!

I picked up the HDX chlorinating liquid this morning, so will put in the 5ppm tonight and every evening until I get my test kit and can get a real answer as to where things stand.

One last question, from what I was reading in my SWG instructions, they say to install after water is balanced. My brother-in-law was planning to come Sunday to help me install the SWG. He won't be able to come over for at least another couple of weeks after that. If I don't have the test kit by this weekend, can we still install and then adjust water afterwards, SLAM etc? Or is it better/preferable to just maintain FC with liquid chlorine until we get it completely balanced and then install? In a little bit of a hard spot because I'm going to be out of town for about a week in 12 days and I can't install the SWG on my own and don't have anyone to maintain the daily chlorine while I am away.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
You can install the SWCG anytime. It is best to not start using it until your have your salt level correct and stable.

Once you get your kit, see if you have any issues, get salt in the water, and raise your CYA level, then the SWCG can be powered on.
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
Awesome, that's what I was hoping that we could at least install, even if we didn't turn it on. I will plan to drop the 5ppm liquid chlorine in every day until the kit arrives and then I should be able to adjust as needed. I'm pretty certain I will need to SLAM once I test the water with the TF-100 kit. Which, gives me pause because I'm trying to figure out/calculate how much liquid chlorine I will need so I can stock up so I have it on hand to complete the whole process. The CYA level will have a big impact on that from what I read. But the kicker seems to be that a pool without a SWG needs a much lower CYA than one with a SWG. So I'm trying to think through that process as far as what the chlorine needs might be for the SLAM process.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
As we do not know what your CYA is now, hard to tell. But if you have been using trichlor and/or dichlor for very long, it can be assumed you will be doing some amount of water exchanging.

It will be very tight to drain, SLAM, and then balance in 12 days. Possible, but tight.
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
Agreed, very difficult to tell especially since I wasn't the one maintaining the chemical balance last season and just opened it up last weekend. On the plus side, I would say maybe I won't have to drain that much given that I need a higher CYA for the SWG? I'm on septic, so I'm assuming that means I can drain water via the backflush that goes out and down towards my ditch on the property?
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Your biggest plus is you get rain. So hopefully the pool has overflowed over winter and reduced the CYA that way.

You want your CYA no higher than about 40 ppm if you need to follow the SLAM Process. Once that is complete, you can add back some CYA for the SWCG.

You can try using backflushing if you need to drain. With a vinyl pool, you can only drop down to leaving 1 foot of water in the shallow end, at the most. So if your CYA is high, to use that method, may take several (to many) cycles of drain, refill, drain, refill. Or, you buy a sump pump and do a water exchange where the level of the water in the pool does not change.

 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
One excellent thing I didn't realize, test kit is coming from only about 1.5 hrs away from me :) Hoping to be able to test the water for real tomorrow night and see where I need to go from there.
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
Oh heavens help me. Got my test kit today, chlorine is between 8-10, pH 6.8, and CYA is so high it is obscuring the dot before it even gets to 100. I have no idea why it is that high, all I've added is the hth pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) and straight chlorine.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Can you post a full set, including TA and CH?
Do the CYA test again diluting the pool sample 1:1 with tap water. Use that mixture for the pool sample in the test. See what the result is, multiply it by 2, and that is your CYA.
With a vinyl pool, you must be very careful in draining/exchanging water. Draining - Further Reading
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
So the CYA is well above 200 ppm. Lots of trichlor and dichlor use by the pool maintenance company last year.

Did you read the Draining article I linked to?
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
I sent a message to the pool maintenance guy and he's like, oh you must've gone to Leslie's....I said no, I tested myself with tf-100 kit...all he said was "ok". Sigh.

I'll have to read it. I'm really quite upset that they did that, though I guess I'm the idiot that let them do it since I didn't know any better.

I'll take a look at the article.
 
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Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
I don't think the tap water is that much colder than the pool water right now, ha. Pool is around 65 degrees. Not sure that the exchange will work? I do have a little submersible pump.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,108
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If water temperatures are equal, then the tap water will be slightly less dense than the pool water as the tap water will be lower in calcium, salt, and have no CYA in it.

If you exchange, place the sump pump in the deep end. Establish your effluent rate and then use your hose to add. I assume your tap water is not from a well? Concerns about iron?

Your pool is large. So this will take a long time. And will not have the best efficiency.

Your other option is to drain to leaving 1 foot of water in the shallow end. Refill. Run the pump and mix. Repeat. Probably take 3 or 4 times doing that. Will also be a lot of water.
 

Bvallang

Member
Apr 14, 2021
18
North Carolina
Response from the pool maintenance guy:
"Listen I have done this for 35 years. If you feel what you have read on the internet is good for you then good luck to you."

I didn't even ask for anything, just told him as an fyi?!

Water is from city, so no concerns there, minus the absolutely massive amount it will be.... Could I not backflush water out and add from a hose at the shallow end?
 

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