Planning for new pool start up

Skiddy

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
73
Seminole Florida
I am preparing for a brand new pool completion by March. I have the screen and the pebble tec to be installed this week. Its about time we as first time pool owners prepare for the care and maintenance of our new pool.
I plan on taking care of the pool myself. I dont know much about pool equipment and operation. I have a little knowledge of water chemistry from my above ground past ventures. I am however handy with everything home related and am sure it will be a matter of time, so the 1 month of pool school included with my new pool by the builder will be my only official education.
The pool comes with an automatic pool cleaner, not sure which, but what are some of the things I will also need to have on hand to take care of the pool properly? Chemicals, Test kits, and even accessories ideas like towel racks brushes/brooms ect.
Thanks for any advice
 

JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
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For starters, I would make sure you get a good test kit (TF-100 is recommended, see my signature for the link). You will also have to brush the new pebble frequently. I would assume you would get a brush from the builder, but I would confirm with them and that they are handling the chemicals at startup.

While you are at it, I would also ask your builder about your "automatic cleaner". I assume you would know if it was a polaris type cleaner, since those need their own plumbing and likely a booster pump. That leaves your cleaner at being a robot type (these are the best), or a suction type cleaner (these are the worst).
 
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Dirk

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JJ mentions a good test kit. In order to translate the test results into how much goop to pour into your pool, you need to know the water volume of your pool. Your pool builder (PB), or his plans, no doubt mention a number. That number can be, likely will be, off by some amount. Sometimes by a lot. Filling a new pool offers the rare, and maybe only, opportunity to determine your exact water volume. It's easy, but you have to let the PB know about your plan, or he may fill the pool before you have the chance to pull off this trick.

Right before they start to fill your pool, run out to the street and find your water meter. Lift the lid(s) and take a snapshot of the meter reading. Then start filling your pool.

Minimize water use while the fill is happening: limit showers, flushes, washing. Turn off your garden's irrigation system. Postpone washing clothes for a few days, etc. The less water you use, the better result you'll get.

You might be tasked to turn off the hoses (since the PB will likely not be around). When the water level gets to midway up the skimmer opening, then turn off the hose(s). Go back out to the street and take another snapshot of the water meter. The difference between the two numbers you captured will be your volume of water in your pool. Which you'll then use to calculate all your chemical dosing from then on. You can fine tune the number a bit by subtracting a gallon or two for flushes, maybe 20 for a shower, etc, but the number will be more than close enough if you don't. If your meter tracks something other than gallons (which is possible), then check back in here and I'll help you with the conversion.

If the PB starts the fill before you can read the meter, then you'll have lost this opportunity, and the pool may never again be empty of water.

Congrats on the new pool! And kudos for getting a jump on what you'll need to know and do and have come day 1...
 
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Skiddy

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
73
Seminole Florida
JJ mentions a good test kit. In order to translate the test results into how much goop to pour into your pool, you need to know the water volume of your pool. Your pool builder (PB), or his plans, no doubt mention a number. That number can be, likely will be, off by some amount. Sometimes by a lot. Filling a new pool offers the rare, and maybe only, opportunity to determine your exact water volume. It's easy, but you have to let the PB know about your plan, or he may fill the pool before you have the chance to pull off this trick.

Right before they start to fill your pool, run out to the street and find your water meter. Lift the lid(s) and take a snapshot of the meter reading. Then start filling your pool.

Minimize water use while the fill is happening: limit showers, flushes, washing. Turn off your garden's irrigation system. Postpone washing clothes for a few days, etc. The less water you use, the better result you'll get.

You might be tasked to turn off the hoses (since the PB will likely not be around). When the water level gets to midway up the skimmer opening, then turn off the hose(s). Go back out to the street and take another snapshot of the water meter. The difference between the two numbers you captured will be your volume of water in your pool. Which you'll then use to calculate all your chemical dosing from then on. You can fine tune the number a bit by subtracting a gallon or two for flushes, maybe 20 for a shower, etc, but the number will be more than close enough if you don't. If your meter tracks something other than gallons (which is possible), then check back in here and I'll help you with the conversion.

If the PB starts the fill before you can read the meter, then you'll have lost this opportunity, and the pool may never again be empty of water.

Congrats on the new pool! And kudos for getting a jump on what you'll need to know and do and have come day 1...
For starters, I would make sure you get a good test kit (TF-100 is recommended, see my signature for the link). You will also have to brush the new pebble frequently. I would assume you would get a brush from the builder, but I would confirm with them and that they are handling the chemicals at startup.

While you are at it, I would also ask your builder about your "automatic cleaner". I assume you would know if it was a polaris type cleaner, since those need their own plumbing and likely a booster pump. That leaves your cleaner at being a robot type (these are the best), or a suction type cleaner (these are the worst).
The Pebble Tec/Pebble Sheen was installed today. I spent a good amount of time talking with the foreman about the next step which is tomorrow they will acid wash the surface and then begin to fill the pool. He warned me about a few things such as bypassing my water softener before the fill. Also about making sure I fill the pool all the way up to the tile as not to leave a ring around the pebble. Way more maint on the surface than I though, lots to learn.
 

Skiddy

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
73
Seminole Florida
JJ mentions a good test kit. In order to translate the test results into how much goop to pour into your pool, you need to know the water volume of your pool. Your pool builder (PB), or his plans, no doubt mention a number. That number can be, likely will be, off by some amount. Sometimes by a lot. Filling a new pool offers the rare, and maybe only, opportunity to determine your exact water volume. It's easy, but you have to let the PB know about your plan, or he may fill the pool before you have the chance to pull off this trick.

Right before they start to fill your pool, run out to the street and find your water meter. Lift the lid(s) and take a snapshot of the meter reading. Then start filling your pool.

Minimize water use while the fill is happening: limit showers, flushes, washing. Turn off your garden's irrigation system. Postpone washing clothes for a few days, etc. The less water you use, the better result you'll get.

You might be tasked to turn off the hoses (since the PB will likely not be around). When the water level gets to midway up the skimmer opening, then turn off the hose(s). Go back out to the street and take another snapshot of the water meter. The difference between the two numbers you captured will be your volume of water in your pool. Which you'll then use to calculate all your chemical dosing from then on. You can fine tune the number a bit by subtracting a gallon or two for flushes, maybe 20 for a shower, etc, but the number will be more than close enough if you don't. If your meter tracks something other than gallons (which is possible), then check back in here and I'll help you with the conversion.

If the PB starts the fill before you can read the meter, then you'll have lost this opportunity, and the pool may never again be empty of water.

Congrats on the new pool! And kudos for getting a jump on what you'll need to know and do and have come day 1...
Thank You and I will take the picture in the morning if I can find it that is. They have covered it with sand/dirt over the last few months so Its hard to locate. The utility company couldn't find it last month so I got an estimated water bill. Speaking of water bills, I was told to call the county about getting a one time discount on the cost to fill the pool? Not sure if its a big enough cost to bother or if its even true?
 

Dirk

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If your sewer bill is tied to your water use during the winter months, then you can sometimes get the water company to consider the filling of the pool in calculating the sewer bill. As to discounts for filling a pool? I haven't heard of that, but either way it's worth a call to them to see what is offered.
 

HermanTX

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He warned me about a few things such as bypassing my water softener before the fill. Also about making sure I fill the pool all the way up to the tile as not to leave a ring around the pebble.
To be clear - it is OK to use softened water as your fill to your pool but the issue with a new fill is that a water softener regenerates approximately every 6000 gals (this varies by water softener) so you will outrun your water softener during your initial fill. This means that water will "not" be softened because it has not had time for the regeneration through your system. This also means no water in your home is softened as well. There are 2 options. First, there is a bypass built into your softener. It is closed now to direct water through the softener system. Open it and the water softener is bypassed. This means that all water going into your home is not being softened, but your outside water tap is now providing straight city water to your pool. That being said there is option 2, usually there is a tap on the inlet side of the water softener that you can use to hook your hose to. This becomes a direct feed to your pool and you can still use house water that has gone through the softener system. For this option, do not use an outside tap to fill your pool but the tap from the inlet pipe to your water softener.

Also, on the hose end that will go into the pool. Wrap a sock or towel around it (tape it), so it does not sit on the plaster. Put it in the deep end (on top of the drain if you have one).
 
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Dirk

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Good advice regarding the ring. That can and does happen if you pause the fill. Once they start the fill, don't stop it for any reason. Don't let the water drain down the side. Get the hose end under water asap and don't let the hose end rise above the surface, so that it doesn't pour down the new finish, otherwise known as "filling from the bottom up." Protecting the hose end with a sock, or some such cushion is something to consider. That will keep the metal end of the hose from banging on the tender finish. You can prep that ahead of time so it's ready to go.
 

Dirk

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You might want to mark the end point of the fill (half way up the skimmer opening) with a piece of tape. You might be out there in the middle of the night tomorrow night to shut off the hose, and water reflection and refraction can make it difficult to determine exactly where halfway is. A piece of tape is much easier to see.

Excited for you!! 😁
 
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Dirk

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Regarding Herman's advice and that of your PB's about soft water, the chances of your outside hose bibs being soft water should be zero. Houses are not plumbed that way, unless someone did it wrong at some point. If you have a softener, the indoor sources will be soft, the outdoor sources (your hose bibs), will not.

Herman sites one reason to not try to fill with soft water, namely the softener won't be able to keep up. That's true. But I respectfully disagree that it is OK to fill your pool with soft water. It isn't. Your new finish will need calcium in the water right away, on day one, and you get at least some of that calcium goodness from the street. Filling a new pebble pool with calcium-free soft water would be pretty bad for the finish. The CH-free water would then suck calcium right out of the brand new finish, and compromise it big time. That's why the PB cautioned you about soft water. So you fill with street water, then later adjust the CH to what the finish requires (hopefully the PB will be doing that at the proper time), and then AFTER that you replace evaporated water with soft water, to keep CH from accumulating over time.

If you have a doubt about which spigots in your home are soft or not, you can test them with a CH test to make sure what's what. Do you have a proper test kit yet? You should have one ready to go for day one. And testing your fill water, inside and out, for CH, TA and pH is a great way to get a little experience with your kit ahead of time.
 
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HermanTX

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Regarding Herman's advice and that of your PB's about soft water, the chances of your outside hose bibs being soft water should be zero. Houses are not plumbed that way, unless someone did it wrong at some point. If you have a softener, the indoor sources will be soft, the outdoor sources (your hose bibs), will not.
Every installation may be different but all 3 of my external hose bibs are tied to my softener. Only my sprinkler system is bypassed.
The best way is to test. You may not need a test kit either. Your inlet to your water softener should have a shut off valve. This is different from the bypass valve I mentioned earlier. This would cut off all water to the house. Turn on your hose bibs and your inside sink faucet. Then close the valve on the inlet. Whatever stops flowing is tied to your water softener system.
 
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Dirk

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Every installation may be different but all 3 of my external hose bibs are tied to my softener.
Herman, It is possible that your house was not originally plumbed for soft water. So it only has one circuit, for both inside and outside. When a softener was added at a later point in time, the installer failed to account for that. Soft water is not particularly good for plants, which is why they typically don't plumb hose bibs to the softener circuit. Houses that are plumbed for soft water can have two independent circuits (mine does), one for soft, one for street water (hose bibs and irrigation).

Skiddy, anything is possible. So who knows which house has what. Best to test. As Herman points out, and if you're not sure and can't test, you can bypass the softener while the pool fills. Worst case (if you do nothing), your softener will "run out" of soft water and most of your pool fill will be hard water no matter what you do ahead of time...

My setup has neither a shutoff valve for the softener, nor a tap in front of it. So that just proves Herman's point, installations can vary.
 

Dirk

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If I was building from scratch, I'd have both soft- and hard-water hose bibs. And I'd plumb a hard-water valve under the kitchen sink (in addition to soft-water valves).

That way I could connect a drinking water filter and faucet at my kitchen sink to my hard water valve, so I could minimize using soft water for consumption. And I could use hard water for watering outside, but soft water for washing things outside. Best of both where I need it.

When I re-plumbed my pool's auto-fill system to my soft water circuit, I included a soft-water hose bib at my pool pad so I could use that to wash my car or my solar panels or my windows. Some day I will wash my car, or my solar panels, or my windows, and then be proud of myself! Some day... 🤪

I do have a mystery third valve under my kitchen sink. That might be on the hard-water circuit, I never got around to testing it. I'm going to get to that some day. Right after I wash my car!!
 
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HermanTX

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I do have a mystery third valve under my kitchen sink. That might be on the hard-water circuit, I never got around to testing it. I'm going to get to that some day. Right after I wash my car!!
It may be a valve to your refrigerator water line for ice maker/water spout. I have a filter system under my sink that goes to a separate faucet on the sink top used only for drinking water or making coffee/tea. It also tees to go the this 3rd valve. That valve is connected to my fridge waterline. So my fridge water and ice fill line is basically double filtered - first from under my sink "3 filter RO" system and then to the mini filter that comes with fridge.

Sorry to hijack this thread to provide a possible answer to Dirk's mystery valve.

BTW, I only use KCL in my water softener in place of NaCL.
 
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Skiddy

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May 17, 2017
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Seminole Florida
Great advice guys. I know I have a bypass valve plumbed into my softeners intake but I do not have a seperate hose bib coming off the softener. I also have a shallow well that is plumbed all around the house in 3 seperate locations with their own bibs. I pretty much use these to water plants and yes even wash the car. The well runs the in ground sprinkler system also. The Pebble Tec guy said to check with the crew who does the acid wash tomorrow because some well waters are ok to use if they are clean. I will try the shut off valve first to see how my system is plumbed. Thanks again guys big help!
 
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Dirk

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Hey, I got some news for you. You have a pool! 🤪 Congrats!!

Nice job on the fill, and for updating your signature so quickly! Just curious, did the PB or the plans, ever mention the water volume? How far off was their number?
 
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Dirk

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There's some debate about how soon you can run a wheeled cheaner over brand new pebble. But I played it safe with my new pebble and waited a while. So the less crud you allow to get to the bottom the better, I say. Try to net those leaves off the surface before they sink to the bottom, as much as you can. The less you poke and prod the bottom to get rid of the leaves during this initial curing stage the better. Plus, lots of circulation is good for new pebble, too, so the less leaves in the skimmer basket the better your circulation will be.
 

B.lu

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Oct 16, 2020
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New England
JJ mentions a good test kit. In order to translate the test results into how much goop to pour into your pool, you need to know the water volume of your pool. Your pool builder (PB), or his plans, no doubt mention a number. That number can be, likely will be, off by some amount. Sometimes by a lot. Filling a new pool offers the rare, and maybe only, opportunity to determine your exact water volume. It's easy, but you have to let the PB know about your plan, or he may fill the pool before you have the chance to pull off this trick.

Right before they start to fill your pool, run out to the street and find your water meter. Lift the lid(s) and take a snapshot of the meter reading. Then start filling your pool.

Minimize water use while the fill is happening: limit showers, flushes, washing. Turn off your garden's irrigation system. Postpone washing clothes for a few days, etc. The less water you use, the better result you'll get.

You might be tasked to turn off the hoses (since the PB will likely not be around). When the water level gets to midway up the skimmer opening, then turn off the hose(s). Go back out to the street and take another snapshot of the water meter. The difference between the two numbers you captured will be your volume of water in your pool. Which you'll then use to calculate all your chemical dosing from then on. You can fine tune the number a bit by subtracting a gallon or two for flushes, maybe 20 for a shower, etc, but the number will be more than close enough if you don't. If your meter tracks something other than gallons (which is possible), then check back in here and I'll help you with the conversion.

If the PB starts the fill before you can read the meter, then you'll have lost this opportunity, and the pool may never again be empty of water.

Congrats on the new pool! And kudos for getting a jump on what you'll need to know and do and have come day 1...
Hi Dirk, I'm jumping onto this thread because your response brought a question to mind. If my new pool is going to be filled from a water truck, will the truck operator be able to tell exactly the volume of water needed to fill my pool? I'm guessing this is something I should try to remember to ask when the time comes.
 

Skiddy

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
73
Seminole Florida
Hey, I got some news for you. You have a pool! 🤪 Congrats!!

Nice job on the fill, and for updating your signature so quickly! Just curious, did the PB or the plans, ever mention the water volume? How far off was their number?
Thanks. The guy from the pool company comes Monday to give me the run down on care and equipment. As far as the PB invoice, it never did say how many gallons.