Pool, chemistry and timing questions for new above ground pool

chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Hello! I love the idea of this site and fellow pool owners helping each other out.

I just purchased and installed a Bestway Steel Pro Max 15' round AG pool (48" high). By my calculations it's roughly 5,500 gallons full, and it's not filled all the way to the top so I estimate 4,500 - 5,000 gallons. It is in a mostly shady spot in my backyard which is heated by Southeast Texas ambient temperatures.

I have read many of the Pool School guides here and installed the PoolMath app. I've been following the guide in the "Seasonal and Temporary Pools", which describes pools of less than 3,000 gallons ... but seems closer to what I have than the other guides geared more for IG pools.

I tested the water after filling it, and I measured a pH of 7.8 and a TA of 200. As I have totally new pool water, as per the guide I didn't bother to test the CYA. So as per step #3 I added CYA to the pool. I put 24 oz of dry stabilizer into a white t-shirt (as per this video -- decided to use instead of sock so I can see better), that I then put into the Intex deluxe skimmer I installed.

Now step #4 will be testing pH again and then adding muriatic acid to get the level down to 7.6 or so. I purchased the liquid form. But it's not clear how much time I should wait before testing pH and adjusting levels with the muriatic acid. It's been about 2 hrs now since I put the CYA dry stabilizer in. As I understand it can take days to dissolve all the acid. Naturally the family is chomping at the bit to get in, but I want to do things correctly before that happens.

The other question I had is about what "small scale" vacuum I should be looking at. The bottom of the pool already has a nice collection of leaves and so forth. I don't want to get a vacuum that is the price of the pool. I see what are called manual vacuums and I can't wrap my head around how they work. Any nice overview to look at?

Thanks!
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,562
Houston, Texas
Hi, welcome to TFP! You can go ahead and add MA and test pH about 15 minutes later. Get the chlorine level to 3ppm and let the swimming begin! When all the CYA is dissolved your FC target will be 4-6ppm. If the t-shirt is tied closed you can squeeze it to help the CYA dissolve faster. Just keep the kids away from it until it is dissolved.

As for vacuums, the little water hose based "vacuums" that come with these pools are useless. Look into getting a battery operated pool vacuum, such as an Aquabroom or the Intex pool vacuum. They may be a little hard to find right now, seems like everything pool related is selling like crazy!
 
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chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Thanks!

Ok, I put in 6oz of MA (and diluted it first) into the pool. I waited like 30 minutes and checked the pH. Success! Now pH is 7.6 or 7.5. Next I'll add chlorine (via bleach).

But I'm confused a little on chlorine levels -- the SLAM method says to go for 18 ppm on chlorine at first (with 45 CYA if got that right in the earlier step), right? Why did you say only 3? By the way, the "temporary/seasonal" pool guide says go for 4 ppm.

Splitting the difference, I put in two 64 oz jugs of 6% bleach into the pool (which corresponds to 12 ppm) -- which is all that I had on hand in any case. Now it's night time and I'll check everything in the morning.

(BTW isn't checking up on the SLAM method a little problematic because my HDX test kit only checks as high as 3?)

Nothing came with the AG kit for a vacuum. As predicted, the Aquabroom and the Intex are both out of stock. Are there others to look for? Or maybe a category of vacuum?

ps Hello from a fellow Houstonian. Your AG Harvey catastrophe pics are something else... I guess we're not yet at full hurricane season yet but it'll be coming soon...
 
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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,562
Houston, Texas
My understanding was that this was a newly filled pool, and not a pool with algae. Do you currently have algae? If not then you don’t need to slam.

We recommend starting with a CYA of 30. My recommendation of 3ppm was based on a CYA of less than 30 ppm since you are in the process of adding it. At 30 ppm of CYA target level for FC is 4-6 ppm.

I am hoping all the storms pass us by this year. I’m still a little shell shocked from Harvey.
 

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
WaterTech makes a battery operated vacuum head that you put on a telescoping pole. It's called Pool Blaster and I have one. It's GREAT! Runs on 8 AA batteries, and says it runs for 3 hours on those. I don't know, I've had mine for almost a month, and it's still going strong! So far it's picked up everything I've thrown at it, even 4 inch sticks!

I got mine off eBay, but now they're charging ridiculous rates for them. Intheswim has them for $89.99, which is closer to what I paid.

 
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chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Yes, it's a newly filled pool. No, there's no algae. I didn't understand that SLAMing was only for reopening pools, not new pools. Yikes! I tested this morning and I was at > 5ppm Chlorine (I put in enough for 12ppm like 10 hours ago last night). I shot for CYA of 40.

So should I wait before trying the pool out? And for how long if yes?

Agreed on the storms. Harvey was awful.

My understanding was that this was a newly filled pool, and not a pool with algae. Do you currently have algae? If not then you don’t need to slam.

We recommend starting with a CYA of 30. My recommendation of 3ppm was based on a CYA of less than 30 ppm since you are in the process of adding it. At 30 ppm of CYA target level for FC is 4-6 ppm.

I am hoping all the storms pass us by this year. I’m still a little shell shocked from Harvey.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,141
Laughlin, NV
Just follow the Seasonal pool article you said you were going to manage the pool by. Keep adding chlorine each day, most likely around 3 ppm FC worth. Test with your basic kit.

If the pool turns cloudy or has any sign of algae, you do not follow the SLAM process. You drain the pool and start over.
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
FC/CYA Chart
If you targeted CYA/40, your safe-swim FC levels are between 5-16

I would suggest to purchase 2 additional tests that are needed for TFP-clear water: FAS-DPD (gives accurate chlorine levels) and CYA test. You can find and order those separately or the whole TF-100 kit, that is up to you :) Most owners will also encourage you to spring for a SpeedStir! That little device makes the any test that requires "swirling" so much easier! :D
 
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splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
I have read many of the Pool School guides here and installed the PoolMath app. I've been following the guide in the "Seasonal and Temporary Pools", which describes pools of less than 3,000 gallons ... but seems closer to what I have than the other guides geared more for IG pools.
We also have a BestWay AGP and use the "permanent" pool care style, we prefer that to having to dump and restart over and over again. Simply personal experience.
 
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chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Got it. I thought that having a 5,000, not 3,000 gallon pool made me some sort of hybrid.

If the chlorine level is in the right 3-4 ppm range, then I don't need to add new chlorine, right?

And should I always be using bleach or can I switch to the tablets?

The pool is clear, though with some leaves and other debris here and there.

Just follow the Seasonal pool article you said you were going to manage the pool by. Keep adding chlorine each day, most likely around 3 ppm FC worth. Test with your basic kit.

If the pool turns cloudy or has any sign of algae, you do not follow the SLAM process. You drain the pool and start over.
 

chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
That was my thinking as well, because in Texas we have a very long hot season and winter is pretty mild.

I just didn't know which guide to follow. I think I understand I can do either.

So you do the SLAMing etc.?

We also have a BestWay AGP and use the "permanent" pool care style, we prefer that to having to dump and restart over and over again. Simply personal experience.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,141
Laughlin, NV
For daily maintenance, you add bleach. If you will be away from the pool for several days and no one can add bleach, then you would use a floating dispenser and use a tablet or two. If you do that too often, you will be draining the pool and starting over.
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
That was my thinking as well, because in Texas we have a very long hot season and winter is pretty mild.

I just didn't know which guide to follow. I think I understand I can do either.
The biggest difference between the two-methods, is testing and tracking levels :D

So you do the SLAMing etc.?
Yes, but we've kept our pool following TFP guidelines for 3yrs+ and have never had to do a SLAM. We just raise the FC w/liquid chlorine if something seems iffy :D
 

chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Thanks for the tip. This is the one you mean? Yeah no stock on Amazon and ebay charging way more. Do I need to get a replacement bag right away?

WaterTech makes a battery operated vacuum head that you put on a telescoping pole. It's called Pool Blaster and I have one. It's GREAT! Runs on 8 AA batteries, and says it runs for 3 hours on those. I don't know, I've had mine for almost a month, and it's still going strong! So far it's picked up everything I've thrown at it, even 4 inch sticks!

I got mine off eBay, but now they're charging ridiculous rates for them. Intheswim has them for $89.99, which is closer to what I paid.

 

chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Will do once my Home Depot kit runs out!

FC/CYA Chart
If you targeted CYA/40, your safe-swim FC levels are between 5-16

I would suggest to purchase 2 additional tests that are needed for TFP-clear water: FAS-DPD (gives accurate chlorine levels) and CYA test. You can find and order those separately or the whole TF-100 kit, that is up to you :) Most owners will also encourage you to spring for a SpeedStir! That little device makes the any test that requires "swirling" so much easier! :D
 
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chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Can you tell me a little more? You have to test more with the "permanent" method?

BTW I noticed in your signature that you're using the Intex 0.5 hp pump. I assume that's the 2500 gph one? How difficult was it to install? And has it made much of a difference?

The biggest difference between the two-methods, is testing and tracking levels :D


Yes, but we've kept our pool following TFP guidelines for 3yrs+ and have never had to do a SLAM. We just raise the FC w/liquid chlorine if something seems iffy :D
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
Will do once my Home Depot kit runs out!
The 2 specific tests I suggested are not in the 5-Way Test Kit, you do need those before the other run out :) (I had to purchase them separately as well, when i first found TFP. That will give you the "TF-100" kit eqiuvalent testing for now)
I did link to the lowest prices I could find, (a bonus is instructions are included). You could "get away" with a FAS-DPD refill kit, but the instructions aren't included... (and it only saves like $2)
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
Can you tell me a little more? You have to test more with the "permanent" method?
Yes, since we don't desire to drain/dump out the water, the levels are monitored to achieve balance. We've never drained our pool after starting TFP (we do lower it below skimmer to winterize), but never a full drain! It's awesome!

BTW I noticed in your signature that you're using the Intex 0.5 hp pump. I assume that's the 2500 gph one? How difficult was it to install? And has it made much of a difference?
It was ALL the difference, I had started researching once we upgraded from the inflatable ring 4yrs ago and I KNEW I wanted the better filtering capacity with kiddos getting in and out of the pool. It also made the "grown-up" pool care 1000x easier (since it actually filters and not just moving water around).
Fill the pool and then use the Intex return & through-wall-skimmer to trace the opening to cut out :D Easy peasy! We did have to use a little silicone on the skimmer gasket, it was a different brand then our previous pool skimmer and the gaskets weren't as true (cost of saving a buck, rofl)
 

chicagonyc

Member
Jun 14, 2020
23
Houston, TX
Thanks for the detailed help :)

I see that the CYA test is not in the 5-way Home Depot test kit, but the kit does do FC, doesn't it? It says that the first color comparison within a few seconds is FC, then a few minutes later it is a test of total chlorine. Maybe I'm not understanding something.

I got away with CYA because it was a new fill. Then I also bought some 6-way test strips so I can ballpark the CYA levels.

The 2 specific tests I suggested are not in the 5-Way Test Kit, you do need those before the other run out :) (I had to purchase them separately as well, when i first found TFP. That will give you the "TF-100" kit eqiuvalent testing for now)
I did link to the lowest prices I could find, (a bonus is instructions are included). You could "get away" with a FAS-DPD refill kit, but the instructions aren't included... (and it only saves like $2)