Opening pool with "dead" water

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#1
This is my first time owning a pool and I'm getting ready to open my pool and mentally preparing what needs to be done. The pool is around ~40k gallons (I don't know the exact depths on either end...bought the house in November). Hoping to get some advice throughout the opening process. All I have to go on is a handwritten note by the prior owner.

I bought a test kit as recommended and tried checking out the water before opening to see if anything came from the levels, to practice using the kit, and also to see what my CYA was at. I wasn't able to get anything from the test and took a sample to the pool store. They said my water was "dead" and had no readings on it, but that's it's normal until you start opening the pool (something about chemicals sitting on the bottom).

My pool is definitely going to need slammed but I know the SLAM level depends on the current CYA. Should I operate on the assumption that CYA is 0 and add chlorine to bring it up to Shock FC of 10 and check the CYA after a few days? Should I go through and fire up the pump/filter and begin scrubbing/vacuuming the pool out (a lot...seriously a ton of water needs to be wasted out...it's completely full due to a TON of rain over the winter and recently) and test after that to see where it sits before adding chlorine? I'm sure that this isn't rocket science, but I'd also like to make sure I'm doing it properly to open my pool as quickly as possible. The kids are getting restless...

Here's a current pic for reference. You can see that the mild winter has not been nice to the pool...but I know it can get crystal clear because we saw it when we first saw the house and it looked gorgeous. Would like to get it back there ASAP!

 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#2
The pool store is probably right this time.

You can't test the pool unless the water has been circulating a while. That holds true no matter what shape the pool is in.

Get your pump running and maybe even vacuum and brush some, and then test everything and post results. We can walk you through the SLAM process once we have some numbers.

Check some of the threads here and look at the pictures. Your pool is nowhere near as bad as some of those. Recovering my old inspirational links

And welcome :wave:
 
#3
Opening pool with "dead" water

Hello and welcome to TFP!

Unfortunately you can't assume the CYA is zero, it could be the opposite. There is a flag showing no CYA and no FC, but we can check again after you test.
Use the high water as an advantage and vacuum to waste any crud on the bottom and sides until the water level drops to mid skimmer level. Then run the pump for 30 mins and do a full set of tests. Report back and we can advise a path forward.
Have you found a preferred source of bleach yet? Your ~40k gallons is going to chew through a lot of it. Go fill a shopping cart full to be prepared.
You can pull that puck floater out, you won't need it anymore....
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#4
Thanks for the replies! I have a sick kid today so I've been going out when I get chances to begin the process. I started vacuuming this afternoon and I'll finish it tonight once my wife comes home. It's already looking waaaay better than I was anticipating.

The only issue I've had is the vacuum suction was super strong for a good 15 minutes, and then it ended up dying somewhere in the deep end and I wasn't able to get it back again. The hose and vacuum both look like they're in great condition and I checked the hose connections both on the vacuum and in the skimmer I had it attached to, but didn't see anything amiss and wasn't able to get it working. Figured it was a good time to break and check on the kid and regroup for later. The water is still high and I need to waste out more of it before running the pump through the filter and I'd love to get the rest of this crud out of there from the start. Any thoughts to try?

Another stupid question, whenever I go to run the pump like normal, I should go around and remove every cap from the skimmers/return jets correct? That's the only thing I haven't done yet because the note from the old owner said the suction is much better if you keep one skimmer plugged while vacuuming.

 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#5
Were you vacuuming on waste or filter?

If on waste, you might have clogged up the plumbing with composting leaves. Check the pump strainer basket first. If you were on filter, same thing, but you might also have clogged the filter. In that case, a backwash and recharge is needed.
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#6
Were you vacuuming on waste or filter?

If on waste, you might have clogged up the plumbing with composting leaves. Check the pump strainer basket first. If you were on filter, same thing, but you might also have clogged the filter. In that case, a backwash and recharge is needed.
I had it on waste. I'll go check the pump strainer basket next time I head out there.
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#7
It was totally the pump basket. Ended up cleaning it out, vacuuming the rest of the pool and cleaning it again. Yuck...

Now I'm going to start it up and let the pump run (not on waste) for 30~ minutes so I can take some tests with my kit and see where I stand.

Another silly question (I'm probably going to have a lot of these...), should I be running the pump on recirculate or filter now that the water level is decent and I've vacuumed a ton of crud out of the bottom?
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#8
If you're going to be around to watch the pressure, filter. Whatever's left is all going to have to be filtered out eventually, so it might as well be sooner than later. Your DE filter will load up pretty fast in the beginning, possibly within a couple hours.
 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
#9
Do you have a supply of DE ready? You need that available since you are going to be backwashing as the filter pressure rises. If not, you would be better off running in recirculate, until you get some.

Sorry to seem contradictory but I didn't see where you had DE ready for replenishing the filter after backwashing.
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#10
Do you have a supply of DE ready? You need that available since you are going to be backwashing as the filter pressure rises. If not, you would be better off running in recirculate, until you get some.

Sorry to seem contradictory but I didn't see where you had DE ready for replenishing the filter after backwashing.
Good call. I have a big bag of DE powder left by the prior owner so that shouldn't be an issue.
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#12
Ok, turned on the filter and ours all the plugs out. Water is bubbling up out of most of the return jets but there are a few where nothing is happening (like the ones right under the skimmers). Should I be expecting these to be pushing water out as well? Or are these something else entirely?
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#14
Ok, turned on the filter and ours all the plugs out. Water is bubbling up out of most of the return jets but there are a few where nothing is happening (like the ones right under the skimmers). Should I be expecting these to be pushing water out as well? Or are these something else entirely?
If they're directly below the skimmers, those aren't returns. They're called equalizing ports and they should lead straight up to a second hole in the bottom of the skimmer well. There should be a flying saucer looking thing beneath the skimmer baskets. If your baskets get clogged with leaves or the water level gets too low, the valve will close and you'll draw water in through them to avoid running the pump dry. Here's how they work. Except Main drain is your opening below.

 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
#15
The ones directly under the skimmer are probably equalizer ports that will help if the skimmers get blocked with leaves and such.

Richard320 - Even includes pictures and gets in ahead of me!
 

samt

Well-known member
May 18, 2013
420
Long Island NY
#16
( That's the only thing I haven't done yet because the note from the old owner said the suction is much better if you keep one skimmer plugged while vacuuming.)


You can do this for better suction. I have to do this also. Works good.
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#17
Re: Opening pool with "dead" water

I'm using the K-2006 test kit. Ran the pump on filter for around an hour before testing. This is after vacuuming and brushing the side before that.

FC: 0? (Nothing registered on the test at all)
CC: 0
PH: <6 (neon yellow in color)
TA: 0? (test said the solution should turn green and then you add drops until it becomes red, but mine went straight to a red/pink...)
CH: 80
CYA: 100+ (the dot disappeared very quickly, right below the 100 mark. Watched a youtube video and did this one multiple times to be sure I was doing it right).

Now I'm worried that my water is so completely jacked up that's it's not registering on most of the tests. :-|
Judging by the high CYA I assume I need to start draining and refilling this pool tomorrow by some amount? 1/3? Half?

For reference, here's links to the CYA test.
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

I was planning on adding bleach tonight and running the filter overnight but everything is so out of whack I'm holding off until tomorrow morning to get a better game plan for tomorrow.

- - - Updated - - -

If they're directly below the skimmers, those aren't returns. They're called equalizing ports and they should lead straight up to a second hole in the bottom of the skimmer well. There should be a flying saucer looking thing beneath the skimmer baskets. If your baskets get clogged with leaves or the water level gets too low, the valve will close and you'll draw water in through them to avoid running the pump dry. Here's how they work. Except Main drain is your opening below.

Hmm...I think I need to find these saucer things in the pool shed. I found the baskets but didn't know about the saucer.
 
#18
Re: Opening pool with &quot;dead&quot; water

I'm using the K-2006 test kit. Ran the pump on filter for around an hour before testing. This is after vacuuming and brushing the side before that.

FC: 0? (Nothing registered on the test at all)
CC: 0
PH: <6 (neon yellow in color)
TA: 0? (test said the solution should turn green and then you add drops until it becomes red, but mine went straight to a red/pink...)
CH: 80
CYA: 100+ (the dot disappeared very quickly, right below the 100 mark. Watched a youtube video and did this one multiple times to be sure I was doing it right).

Now I'm worried that my water is so completely jacked up that's it's not registering on most of the tests. :-|
Judging by the high CYA I assume I need to start draining and refilling this pool tomorrow by some amount? 1/3? Half?

For reference, here's links to the CYA test.
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

I was planning on adding bleach tonight and running the filter overnight but everything is so out of whack I'm holding off until tomorrow morning to get a better game plan for tomorrow.
Well, this should be interesting... As you put it, your water is all jacked up! You can add the bleach if it makes you feel better, but I wouldn't bother yet. You need to work on CYA first.

Your CYA is very high. A way to estimate it is to take and dilute the solution 1:1 with tap water and redo the CYA test. Take your result and double it. So if after the dilution test, you read 80, then 80x2=160. Rerun the CYA test this way to get a better estimate how much water you need to replace. Report back the result.

With 40k gallons, you are going to want get your CYA fairly low (30-40ppm) to keep from using absurd amounts of bleach. Depending on how much you want to drain / replace at once, This may require a couple of refill cycles. The exact amount to drain will depend on your starting CYA.

After the refill, you will need to get that pH in line. That pH well below 7 is not good. But, it will be self correcting when you replace that large volume of water. When you finish replacing, test the pH again and adjust to get to 7.2

Once you do these, then you are ready to start your SLAM.

Test your tap water while you're at it. what is the pH, TA, and CH? Don't worry about FC or CYA for the tap water.

.
 

Yarrbossa

Active member
Mar 30, 2017
35
St. Louis, MO
#19
Re: Opening pool with &quot;dead&quot; water

Well, this should be interesting... As you put it, your water is all jacked up! You can add the bleach if it makes you feel better, but I wouldn't bother yet. You need to work on CYA first.

Your CYA is very high. A way to estimate it is to take and dilute the solution 1:1 with tap water and redo the CYA test. Take your result and double it. So if after the dilution test, you read 80, then 80x2=160. Rerun the CYA test this way to get a better estimate how much water you need to replace. Report back the result.

With 40k gallons, you are going to want get your CYA fairly low (30-40ppm) to keep from using absurd amounts of bleach. Depending on how much you want to drain / replace at once, This may require a couple of refill cycles. The exact amount to drain will depend on your starting CYA.

After the refill, you will need to get that pH in line. That pH well below 7 is not good. But, it will be self correcting when you replace that large volume of water. When you finish replacing, test the pH again and adjust to get to 7.2

Once you do these, then you are ready to start your SLAM.

Test your tap water while you're at it. what is the pH, TA, and CH? Don't worry about FC or CYA for the tap water.

.
Tap water:
pH: 7.5
TA: 240
CH: 120

Retesting the CYA using the above method:120