New to the forum...8 year pool store visitor :)

cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Admittedly, my pool has been fairly easy to maintain...at least in my eyes...maybe not yours :). The pool store I purchased it from sold me on EZ Pool and the Nature 2 system. I've used both since I've owned the pool. I traditionally open the pool in Mid-May and close it down in early September (harder to keep warm plus the kids are in school at that point). Traditionally, it takes a scoop of EZ pool, a chlorine puck, and a vacuum / backwash each week. The water is crystal clear. I've used a cheap testing kit purchased on Amazon that checks Chlorine and PH only. I'm not sure it's even worth the $10 I spent on it :). At pool opening after filling, I've brought a water sample to the pool store and end up buying a couple hundred bucks in chemicals based on their directions (phosphates, ph stuff, shock, calcium, etc). EZ pool normally runs me about $100 and lasts the pool season. Two years ago I purchased a bunch of chlorine pucks from Costco, and they lasted two years. I think the cost was around $50?.

So...to the experts on this forum, I pose some questions....
  1. What are your opinions on EZ Pool and Nature 2? They seem to have made maintenance easier...but this is the only way I know. Are the methods described on this site easier or more effective? I've read through many of the articles in "Pool School", and admittedly, it seems I'd have to monitor my pool's chemicals way more than I do now. It seems like a lot of work. Am I wrong?
  2. Cost wise, given the size of my pool and the length it's traditionally open, would I still save a good deal of money on chemical costs?
  3. Regarding opening the pool, after filling, vaccuming, and backwashing, it sounds like the first step is to take a water sample....to ensure the stablizer and ph are in good shape...before proceeding to shocking (SLAM). Is this correct? Shocking seems to be an ordeal. It sounds like I need to be around the pool for a good couple of days to ensure it's done right. This is much different than what I've done in the past...basically dissolving a bag of shock in water and dumping it in and letting the pump run all night. Can I post my results on this site or should I just use the "Pool Math" calculator?
  4. It's probably difficult to estimate, but any ideas what up front 'chemical' costs I'd be looking at? Between chlorine, ph up/down, alkalnity, stablizer....it seems like it would be no different than going to the pool store. I know I'd have to get a new test kit to do all this, so there's a new up front cost.
Looking forward to your responses.

Thanks
Rob
 

justinc

Gold Supporter
Apr 3, 2019
191
Texas
If you look at the ingredients in the EZ Pool product or the Nature 2 you will see that they have copper in them. This is how they keep algae from growing. While copper is a great algaecide, it is a metal and therefore will never leave your water. Eventually you will accumulate high enough levels that it can stain your pool and your hair. It also costs a lot more than chlorine that will kill algae and won't deposit copper into your water. A pool involves work and testing of the water. So far, I would say you have been lucky in throwing chemicals in and hoping for the best. Trouble Free Pool Care involves testing the water and only adding to your pool what it truly needs rather than what someone at the pool store (who has an interest in selling you things) tells you to throw in. You really only need to test pH and Chlorine levels daily or every other day once you get your pool balanced. You can test the other values monthly once you know what they are. It's no more difficult than driving down to the pool store and hoping for the best. And you will not have to spend much on chemicals. 1 bag of baking soda, a few boxes of borax, a few gallons of muriatic acid, and some regular plain bleach at the grocery store will run you maybe $30? As far as your previous opening procedure of just throwing a bag of shock in, unfortunately how do you know you completely cleared the algae? You have to test the water to ensure there is no additional chlorine demand in the water. So typically with opening a pool that has been closed for the winter does involve a SLAM. The length of time of the SLAM depends on how bad the pool is. But the only way to know that you have completely cleared the water is to test it according to the SLAM procedure. You can absolutely post your results and many people will likely chime in to help you get your chemistry sorted out. This site is full of very helpful and knowledgeable people. The test kit is an additional expense, but 1 kit will last you all season and you'll know your water is well taken care of and safe your your family.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
12,127
Bedford, TX
Rob,

I agree with Marty 100%... I would not personally recommend a mineral system, but if you have been using it for 8 years without getting algae or hair turning green, then I would just continue doing what you have been doing..

Most of our members have not been so lucky and that is why they are here.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Thanks for all the replies. I have a few questions regarding the SLAM. Assuming the water is in relatively decent shape...no visible algai, maybe a little cloudy...and I get the PH and CYA levels correct before starting. Given the size of my pool, is it reasonable to think I could get his done in 2-3 days...like over a long weekend? I work during the day, so constantly monitoring the pool is not feasible M-F. I could check levels in the morning and then a few more times after work, but that's about it.

Thanks!
Rob
 

justinc

Gold Supporter
Apr 3, 2019
191
Texas
Given the size of my pool, is it reasonable to think I could get his done in 2-3 days...like over a long weekend? I work during the day, so constantly monitoring the pool is not feasible M-F. I could check levels in the morning and then a few more times after work, but that's about it.

Thanks!
Rob
I think based on what you describe that either approach should work fine. I would start on a Friday evening and carry into Monday or Tuesday. If you need to go a few more days no big deal. You won't have to test as often later in the SLAM because your chlorine will hold because it's not being devoured by algae or bacteria (as most of it becomes destroyed) and your main culprit for chlorine loss becomes simply UV light from the sun.
 

cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Ok...I think I'm going to take the plunge!

Regarding the TF-100 kit which I'm looking to purchase.
  1. Since I'm guessing I'll need to SLAM upon opening, does it make sense to get the XL 'add on'? It sounds like having to check the FC so often could cause me to run out of some of the reagents?
  2. Do the various reagents have a shelf life? If I bought XL, my hope would be it would last more than one season if I had left overs.

Also, regarding CYA, any particular brand recommended?

Thanks
Rob
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
12,127
Bedford, TX
Rob,

The reagents last about two seasons, unless you have a long SLAM, the XL option makes sense..

The most important thing is the Speed-Stir.. It makes testing almost fun and much more accurate..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

justinc

Gold Supporter
Apr 3, 2019
191
Texas
Any brand of cyanuric acid is fine. The active ingredient should be 100% CYA. I personally have used the Clorox brand from Walmart.
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,131
Stuart/FL
It's probably difficult to estimate, but any ideas what up front 'chemical' costs I'd be looking at? Between chlorine, ph up/down, alkalnity, stablizer....it seems like it would be no different than going to the pool store. I know I'd have to get a new test kit to do all this, so there's a new up front cost
Rob,

It's hard to estimate how much it will cost but it's almost certainly less. TFP uses generic chemicals. So we use liquid bleach obtained from Walmart or refillable jugs. PH down what most people need and we us muriatic acid that costs $12 for 2 gal at HD. We don't treat for phosphates since it's not really necessary. I could go on but I think you get the point. We use generic chemicals, your test results and we have experts here to help you get the hang of it... oh and the don't sell anything so you won't need hundred $ bills for the pool store anymore.

Glad you decided to give this a try and good luck to you!

Chris
 

cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Ok, the TF-100 has been ordered. Now I need some advice on next steps. My pool cover is still on. Weather here in Central Illinois is still pretty chilly for Spring. I think we hit a high of 50 today. However, next weekend they are forecasting high 70's / low 80's. I haven't yet taken a peek at the water or taken the temp so I'm not yet sure what I'm dealing with. It's possible my cover may have some tiny holes, so some scummy water may be in there, but hopefully not much. The top of the cover is nasty.

I'd like to open next weekend and start the SLAM, but not sure I should do anything until I have the test kit in hand. Or, should I just fill it this week and roll the dice until I have the test kit? I suppose I could still fill and keep the cover on to keep the sunlight out. If I don't have the kit by the weekend, should I throw in some Chlorine to be safe?

Thanks in advance for the advice :)
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
667
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
You can start by cleaning your cover and removing so you can store it. I would not do anything to the water until you get your Test Kit. Make sure all your equipment is ready to run. Remove the Nature 2 cartridge. We'll be waiting for your first test result to help you get started.
 

heikejohn

Well-known member
Oct 18, 2007
266
Cedar Hill, TN
What I have done in the past....
Hook up filter and pump, fill up with water and start the pump.
Check Ph, CYA, etc
Add chemical needed with the cover still on.
On a nice day, clean cover and remove.
Throw in the pool cleaner and recheck all levels.
But with the TFP method my water is clear when I open, only some slight dust sediment on the bottom. (Dead algea?) Don't even have to SLAM when I start the new season.
 

cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Any harm if I leave the Nature 2 cartridge connected? They are supposed to be good for up to 6 months and I used it last summer. Otherwise I'm going to have to do some plumbing, which is not a big deal, but would rather not if I don't have to. I'm assuming there are some residual mineral ions left that will probably get used up within a few months. I'm thinking "no harm, no foul" in keeping it connected as I've used the system for 8 years without issue.

Thoughts?
 

cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Received my TF-100 kit in the mail yesterday. I'm hoping to finish up the final connections this evening and fill the pool back up tonight and tomorrow. I peeked under the cover last night and I could see the bottom fairly easily. There was a little debris on the bottom (I'm assuming left over when I closed in the fall), but not too bad. The water looked fairly good so I'm not sure if a SLAM will be necessary (crossing fingers).

Saturday and Sunday, heavy rain is predicted. I was hoping to take the cover off, vacuum/backwash, and then take the initial readings and go from there? But I'm afraid the rain will wreak havoc on the pool chemistry. An alternative would be to keep the cover on and take the initial readings and treat the pool with the cover on. I obviously couldn't vacuum out the pool in this scenario...is this not a good idea prior to taking the initial readings?

Any advice on how best to proceed would be greatly appreciated!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
May 3, 2014
15,895
Laughlin, NV
Let the rain fill up the pool ----

Rain does not do much to pool water chemistry unless it overflows the pool by a significant amount.
 

cubby_fan71

Member
Feb 15, 2013
23
Peoria, Illinois
Filled the pool today...about 1/4 of the pool (water level was just below return line).

Here are my numbers.
CYA: >100 (Ran this two separate times. very cloudy)
TA: 30
PH: 6.8? (very yellow)
FC: .5
CC: 0
CH: 375

Thanks in advance for any help!
Rob
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,475
Tucson, AZ
This was a fresh fill with all new fresh water? If so, then CYA must be 0.

Should this post have been made in another thread you own? Because I have no background here :D
 

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