New To Pools..Too Much Info. Out There

Micheal

New member
Sep 3, 2010
4
Hi

My name is Mike and I just moved into a house with a pool. I'm not too sure what to expect. It's really nice now and I want to keep it that way.

There's alot of info. on the internet on how to do everything, and I wanted to get everyone's take on this. I talked to a local pool guy who takes care of pools on the side. He's been doing it for about 12 years now, and has taken me to a couple of local pools he's cleared up from being really green.

He says that alot of the information I would get from forums like this are from guys who may have one pool, but that's it. He also said that the other guys who give opinions have only worked in pool stores talking about chemicals and answering questions. They haven't really done the real work of clearing up a pool. He said not all of them, but most.

All I want to do is keep my pool clean so my kids can swim in it. This forum has alot of great info. and I think you know what you're talking about, but does the pool guy I talked to know what he's doing?. Anything can help. This seems to be a really good place to go for pool stuff.

Thanks again

Mike
 

imwarren

Well-known member
Jul 9, 2010
88
To me the best way to see if someone knows how to best care for a pool would be ask them the following Questions.
What is the relationship between CYA and Chlorine?
And what is the best levels of each for my pool?

If they cant fully expain the relationship as taught here at TFP and say that Chlorine between 2 and 5 no matter what the CYA then they dont know what a TFP is!!
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
Micheal, welcome to TFP!
You've come to the right place. Using the technique taught here (see Pool School button in upper right), you can absolutely have zero problems with your water chemistry. I found this place after firing a pool service for doing an unacceptable job. You will save money as well!
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,969
SouthWest Alabama
Welcome to TFP Mike.

We have thousands of success stories about how well this system works. We have people here who have never shocked their pool.

There's no way for us to tell whether the pool guy knows what he's doing. If he knows the CYA relationship and that you should only shock when there's a need for it he's at least got a clue.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
10,968
Houston, Texas
Ask him what he uses to test and how often he tests. ( "test strips" is not an acceptable answer)

Ask him what he uses to chlorinate the pool. (if he says "only tablets", "only trichlor/dichlor" or "only cal-hyp" that is not acceptable)

Ask him how often he shocks the pool. ("every week" is not acceptable- that means the FC drops too low during the week)

Ask him how often he cleans the filter. ("its not part of the service" is a negotiable answer. "X" type filter never needs cleaning is not an acceptable answer)

Ask him how he cleared the green pools. ("algaecide, x number of packages/pounds of shock, drain and refill" are not acceptable answers)

Ask him what to do if the CYA/conditioner/stabilizer get too high ("it can't get too high" is not an acceptable answer)

If he answers drain and refill to the CYA question, give him the bonus question- When is the CYA too high? (any number over 100 is not an acceptable answer, extra points if he says any number over 50!)

These questions will assess his general pool knowledge. He may be able to keep his clients pools looking good, but are they sanitary and is he spending a fortune on chemicals and drain/refill cycles?
 

dorpo75

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 8, 2009
256
NE Ohio
I would trust my pool care to just about anyone on this forum. My pool has never looked better and sparkled so much! Everyone who swims in it comments on clean it is an how pretty the water looks and feels. I was "poolstored" for two years, then came here and haven't looked back. Trust this site. It is based on scientific information and the mods and other special contributors as well as the general forum population know of what they speak. Zea3 has some great suggestions. It would be nice to hear his answers after you ask him these questions. Good luck. Trust your gut. Mine trusts this website.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,082
San Rafael, CA USA
Micheal said:
He says that alot of the information I would get from forums like this are from guys who may have one pool, but that's it. He also said that the other guys who give opinions have only worked in pool stores talking about chemicals and answering questions. They haven't really done the real work of clearing up a pool. He said not all of them, but most.
Welcome to TFP! :wave:

There are quite a few service techs on this forum each of whom service dozens to hundreds or more pools. Also, there are over 16,000 members here and were (at one time) over 20,000 at The PoolForum that uses the same principles. That's a lot more pools than any single service tech or even service company handles.

Also, the techniques taught here aren't just based on a few experiences, but on sound science validated by the experience of thousands upon thousands of pools.

He is right that there are some forums where people just talk about their own individual experiences and there are no guiding principles or consensus, let alone real science. I suggest you start by reading the Pool School. The questions the previous posters suggest you ask your pool guy are excellent and it will be interesting to see if he correctly answers them.
 

Micheal

New member
Sep 3, 2010
4
Thanks for the quick feedback. I'm going to print out the questions above and give them the pool tech. His name is also Mike..go figure..
 

Micheal

New member
Sep 3, 2010
4
OK. So I talked to my pool guy Mike, asked him the questions abo, (he seemed pretty confident in his abilities) and here's what he said:

What is the relationship between CYA and Chlorine? - CYA is the stabilizer for the chlorine and comes in either Trichlor or Dichlor. Tri are the tabs and Dichlor is the powder. you can use it to shock the pool but it does have CYA in it so be careful as the CYA can increase quickly.
And what is the best levels of each for my pool?
 

Micheal

New member
Sep 3, 2010
4
Sorry I messed up

Level for the pool should be between 1.5 - 3.5 for residential pools.

Ask him what he uses to test and how often he tests. ( "test strips" is not an acceptable answer)
He said he uses a Taylor k2006 kit.

Ask him what he uses to chlorinate the pool. (if he says "only tablets", "only trichlor/dichlor" or "only cal-hyp" that is not acceptable)
He said he likes the liquid, but in places with soft water you can use the granules. He said the powder has calcium in it so places with harder water should use liquid. He said bleach does fine as well, it's just a watered down version of real chlorine. The tabs are to keep a constant level of chlorine in the pool during the week, but weekly dosing of chlorine is needed in the summer and places where pools are not closed for the winter.

Ask him how often he shocks the pool. ("every week" is not acceptable- that means the FC drops too low during the week)
Mike said to shock the pool only when the chloramine (I hope I spelled that right) gets a little higher, about 0.4 - 0.6. The k2006 kit tests for that. He said you don't need to shock the pool every week, only when it needs it. That's what the chloramine test is for. He also said that indoor pools shock more often than outdoor pools because of fresh air, I think.

Ask him how often he cleans the filter. ("its not part of the service" is a negotiable answer. "X" type filter never needs cleaning is not an acceptable answer)
First he said when they get dirty, then laughed. But then he said when the sand or de filter gets between 8 - 10psi over normal pressure. I think he said a just backwashed pressure, but I'm not too sure.

Ask him how he cleared the green pools. ("algaecide, x number of packages/pounds of shock, drain and refill" are not acceptable answers)
Too much to type, but I'll get to that one later.

Ask him what to do if the CYA/conditioner/stabilizer get too high ("it can't get too high" is not an acceptable answer)
He said the best way to get the CYA down is to drain 1/3 - 1/2 half of the water, then fill it back up.

If he answers drain and refill to the CYA question, give him the bonus question- When is the CYA too high? (any number over 100 is not an acceptable answer, extra points if he says any number over 50!)
He said to keep the CYA between 20 - 40. He told me the 2006 kit has a test for that. He also told me a calculation that I can't remember right now, but it's something about the CYA needs to be 7% of the chlorine level, or something like that. I wrote it down, but maybe I didn't get it.

Anyway, I hope that gets it all. Like I said Mike seemed confident in his answers, but I'd like your feedback as well.

I don't want to get in the middle of anything, I just want a great pool.

Thanks again

Mike
 

crabboy

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
528
Suwanee, GA
I'd say he knows his business. You can nitpick some of his answers, but knowing that the replies are second hand, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. He understands when to shock and the CYA/FC relationship and that is about 95% of the problems I see on TFP, I say he knows his pools.

Knowing that is he competent and smart, I'd still do the maintenance myself. It's just too Dang easy...
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,082
San Rafael, CA USA
Micheal said:
Level for the pool should be between 1.5 - 3.5 for residential pools.
:
He said to keep the CYA between 20 - 40. He told me the 2006 kit has a test for that. He also told me a calculation that I can't remember right now, but it's something about the CYA needs to be 7% of the chlorine level, or something like that. I wrote it down, but maybe I didn't get it.
As crabboy wrote, this guy seems to know his stuff and should be congratulated. He probably said that the chlorine level (or FC) needs to be 7% of the CYA level. That's amazing. Can you ask him where he heard that? He could only get that from The PoolForum (where Ben Powell first introduced the Best Guess CYA chart) or this website or some others or from those who have read them and not from the pool industry, CPO courses, etc.

A CYA of 20-40 is on the low side (especially 20) for residential pools that have direct sunlight, especially in more southern latitudes. It will likely result in a greater daily chlorine demand due to more breakdown from the UV in sunlight.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
10,968
Houston, Texas
My comments are in green. Overall I say he passed the test! :goodjob:
Micheal said:
Sorry I messed up

Level for the pool should be between 1.5 - 3.5 for residential pools.Dependent on your CYA level. You can use the Chlorine/CYA chart or the [url=http://www.poolcalculator.com/] The Pool Calculator to see what your target chlorine level should be.

Ask him what he uses to test and how often he tests. ( "test strips" is not an acceptable answer)
He said he uses a Taylor k2006 kit.The Taylor K2006 is an excellent test kit and one of the kits we recommend on this site.

Ask him what he uses to chlorinate the pool. (if he says "only tablets", "only trichlor/dichlor" or "only cal-hyp" that is not acceptable)
He said he likes the liquid, but in places with soft water you can use the granules. He said the powder has calcium in it so places with harder water should use liquid. He said bleach does fine as well, it's just a watered down version of real chlorine. The tabs are to keep a constant level of chlorine in the pool during the week, but weekly dosing of chlorine is needed in the summer and places where pools are not closed for the winter.FYI you can get dichlor/trichlor in powder or granules as well as tabs, and cal-hypo also comes in tabs. You want to make sure you never mix dichlor/trichlor and cal-hypo products together or ugly things can happen. So don't put cal-hypo tabs in a floater that has contained dichlor/trichlor tabs in the past and visa-versa. Same with powders/granules. Don't mix a container of trichlor with a container of cal-hypo. It is best to keep your chems in their original containers.

Ask him how often he shocks the pool. ("every week" is not acceptable- that means the FC drops too low during the week)
Mike said to shock the pool only when the chloramine (I hope I spelled that right) gets a little higher, about 0.4 - 0.6. The k2006 kit tests for that. He said you don't need to shock the pool every week, only when it needs it. That's what the chloramine test is for. He also said that indoor pools shock more often than outdoor pools because of fresh air, I think.Excellent answer, you shock only when CC rises above .5 or if you see algae growth in your pool. It is possible to have algae growth without CC formation if you let your FC drop to 0 for an extended period of time.

Ask him how often he cleans the filter. ("its not part of the service" is a negotiable answer. "X" type filter never needs cleaning is not an acceptable answer)
First he said when they get dirty, then laughed. But then he said when the sand or de filter gets between 8 - 10psi over normal pressure. I think he said a just backwashed pressure, but I'm not too sure.8-10 point pressure rise is when you clean the filter. How you clean the filter depends on what type of filter you have.

Ask him how he cleared the green pools. ("algaecide, x number of packages/pounds of shock, drain and refill" are not acceptable answers)
Too much to type, but I'll get to that one later.

Ask him what to do if the CYA/conditioner/stabilizer get too high ("it can't get too high" is not an acceptable answer)
He said the best way to get the CYA down is to drain 1/3 - 1/2 half of the water, then fill it back up.

If he answers drain and refill to the CYA question, give him the bonus question- When is the CYA too high? (any number over 100 is not an acceptable answer, extra points if he says any number over 50!)
He said to keep the CYA between 20 - 40. He told me the 2006 kit has a test for that. He also told me a calculation that I can't remember right now, but it's something about the CYA needs to be 7% of the chlorine level, or something like that. I wrote it down, but maybe I didn't get it.30-50 is what we recommend on this site. 20 may be a little low, but it depends on your location. My pool in Houston runs best with about 40ppm CYA. Some members in Arizona run 60 ppm CYA.

Anyway, I hope that gets it all. Like I said Mike seemed confident in his answers, but I'd like your feedback as well.

I don't want to get in the middle of anything, I just want a great pool.

Thanks again

Mike
Overall, I think he knows what he is doing. If you can talk to some of his customers and find out how satisfied they are with his service, and any quirks you may need to know then you will have enough information to make an informed decision. Enjoy your new pool!
 

Sportsman

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2010
233
Central Valley, CA
Related question - I don't think it's a hi-jack:

He gave the right answers, relatively speaking but how can a pool service ever keep the pool correctly without a. automatic chlorine dispenser b. SWCG or c. client doing supplemental testing and chlorine additions on daily basis?

Otherwise, you're right back to tabs? Am I missing something?
 

kechefs

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 17, 2010
53
I to am a first time pool owner. We opened the pool in May(after moving in to the house in November) to find a disgusting swampy mess. After spending a couple hundred dollars on a pool guy to open it for us I found TFP. With everyones help and alot of hard work I was swimming 12 days later.

By simply following the advice on this site and spending 5 minutes a day testing and adding bleach I have had a TFP all summer long! I have only shocked my pool once this summer when I thought I saw some algae starting.The advice you will receive from the great people on this forum will help you quickly learn to maintain your own TFP!
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
I think that I'd hire that guy to take care of my pool when I was away on vacation. I'd ask him for help with equipment issues that were beyond my skill level too.

But, unless the house is vacant for several days at a time regularly, you don't need a pool service to keep a nice pool. If you live there and can spare 15 minutes a day you can do it all.

And, depending on your filter, add a few hours every few months to clean a cartridge filter, more for other filter types.
 
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