Pool water still cloudy after 8 days of SLAMing

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
I'm at my wit's end here, folks, and desperately hoping for some help before I rage-sell my house and move somewhere with no pool. Here's the scoop:

I have a ~35,000-gallon plaster pool. When we opened this year, our pump was completely shot, so we replaced it with a Jandy VS Flopro. It took *forever* for the pump to come in, so our pool was "open," but not running, and exposed to the elements for about 7 weeks before the pump was installed and I started the SLAM process.

I had a pool company install the new pump because I wasn't *quite* comfortable enough to do it myself, and I wanted someone to fall back on in case there were installation problems. I'll come back to that.

Current levels are:

pH: 7.4
CYA: 20
TA: 80
CH: 125
FC: maintaining at 10 per the CYA/FC chart
CC: Always reading at 0.5 or 1.0

I have now been SLAMing for 8 days and the pool is a beautiful blue color, but still impenetrably cloudy (I can see the third step in the shallow end clearly, the last step faintly, and maybe about a foot below the surface of the deep end). I'm using exclusively 12.5% liquid chlorine for the SLAM process. Pictures of the pool, currently, with a cameo appearance from my dogs:

20200628_092343.jpg
20200628_092353.jpg
20200628_092418.jpg

Now -- ever since the new pump was installed, it has not been getting completely full of water the way my old one used to. There's probably between half an inch and an inch of free space at the top of the pump, so there's quite a bit of air in there. There's a video of my pump here:


Thinking maybe there was a bad connection with the installation of the new pump, I called the pool guys back in. Their expert assessment -- ever trying to sell me something -- was: "the pump is fine running like that, and your water is cloudy because you need new media in your filter." I smiled and nodded, all the while mentally planning my sand filter deep clean.

I did deep clean the filter, that same night (2 nights ago). It was the first time I had done it (been in the house 5 years). There was really not much of anything at all in terms of chunks of filth that came out of the filter; just very brackish water, which ran clear after about 40 minutes of deep cleaning. It sure seems to me like there should've been more gunk coming out.

I have been diligently testing the water multiple times every day (I have the Taylor kit recommended here). I've been sweeping and or vacuuming at least once per day -- and sometimes even 2-3 times -- but pool season is rapidly fading away and I still don't seem to be any closer to actually getting to enjoy this giant money pit in my back yard (which every year turns me into more and more of a winter person).

My questions:

What should I do here? Should I bite the bullet and replace the media in my filter? Should I just drain out all of the water and restart from square 1 with new water? Is my pump in fact okay to run as it is in the video above, or is it indicative that the filtration system is not working correctly, and thus causing my issues? Do I just need to keep being patient, and this will clear up if I stay the course and keep on SLAMing? What other information or pictures do you need from me to help with a diagnosis?

Please help, TFP! I'm losing my mind over here!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,066
Laughlin, NV
You have a suction side air leak. Quite a bit. Do you get alot of air out of the returns?

Check all sources of air on the suction side.

You should have at least 30 ppm of CYA in the water as per the SLAM Process.

Have you tried adding DE to your sand filter?
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
You have a suction side air leak. Quite a bit. Do you get alot of air out of the returns?

Check all sources of air on the suction side.

You should have at least 30 ppm of CYA in the water as per the SLAM Process.

Have you tried adding DE to your sand filter?
I do not get a lot of air out of the returns.

Can you spell out "checking all sources of air on the suction side" in more detail for me? Explain it to me like I'm a third-grader, since when it comes to my pool I essentially am.

I'm in the process of getting CYA up to 30+. If you look closely you'll see two bricks in my pictures. Those each have socks filled with stabilizer attached to them, dissolving in front of the returns.

I have not tried adding any DE to my sand filter, and am not really familiar with that process. I'm sure there's a well-detailed thread on here somewhere. Can you point me in the right direction, or give me a brief overview of that process?

Thanks!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,066
Laughlin, NV
Interesting. With that level of air in your pump, I would think you would be getting a lot of air out of the returns.

Sources of air on the suction side are low water level, stuck weir door, orings on valves, pump basket oring, drain plug orings on pump.

 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,066
Laughlin, NV
What is your clean filter pressure and are you backwashing your filter when the pressure rises by 25% over clean pressure?

That effect in your pump basket could be from a plugged filter.
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
What is your clean filter pressure and are you backwashing your filter when the pressure rises by 25% over clean pressure?

That effect in your pump basket could be from a plugged filter.
Clean filter pressure is around 18 psi. I am typically backwashing at around 24 psi. At the beginning of this process when the water was still a very dark green color, I was having to backwash every day. The last couple of days the pressure has really not been climbing at all.

Thank you for linking those other threads. I will take a look through them and see what I find.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,066
Laughlin, NV
That is a very high pressure for a sand filter with a VS pump. Slow your VS pump speed to 1200-1500 rpm. See what you have then.
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
I slowed the pump to 1,500 RPM. The pressure on the sand filter is now about 7 psi. There is still air at the top of the pump, and I can definitely see air bubbles coming out of one of my returns, but not the other. Here's another video of the pump, this time running at 1,500 RPM:

 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,066
Laughlin, NV
Have you lubricated the oring on the pump basket lid? It does not appear much air is entering the pump basket at your lower rpm.

See how the filtering goes at the lower flow rate.
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
Have you lubricated the oring on the pump basket lid? It does not appear much air is entering the pump basket at your lower rpm.

See how the filtering goes at the lower flow rate.
I will pick up a silicone-based lube for the O-ring today and give that a shot. For what it's worth: I tried the pour-water-over-the-lid trick to see if that temporarily resolved the air-in-the-pump problem, and it did not.
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
Couple of other questions:

1) Is there a particular brand of DE that works well? I typically just order things off Amazon. I see in the overview page you linked that I should just avoid garden DE. Is there something at a standard big-box store (e.g. Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards) that would work well?

2) Something else that has never happened before this year: when I am testing FC levels, the water will turn clear but then very gradually turn pink again. Is there a reason this would be happening, when it never has before? Is there a way to stabilize the sample before I start adding R-0871 so that once it turns clear it stays clear? I'm just trying to simplify the testing process and make it more reliably accurate.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
31,066
Laughlin, NV
1) Most big box stores carry pool DE.
2) That is a standard occurrence of the FAS-DPD test. Once the test turns clear, the test is over. Go to the CC test straight away, if desired.

In your case, there is no need to do a CC test until you are ready to do a OCLT.
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
1) Most big box stores carry pool DE.
2) That is a standard occurrence of the FAS-DPD test. Once the test turns clear, the test is over. Go to the CC test straight away, if desired.

In your case, there is no need to do a CC test until you are ready to do a OCLT.
I passed the OCLT last night/this morning:

11PM: FC - 10.0
7:30AM: FC - 9.5; CC - 0.5

...however, the stubborn cloudiness persists. Should I maintain SLAM levels, or dial back down to regular FC levels?
 

Randrx2

Bronze Supporter
Dec 13, 2018
365
Orlando, FL
If you did not have the air issue before, then 99% of the time, it is something wrong with the new install. Try running a hose over all the suction sources above ground (piping, fittings, valves, etc.). Let the water run for a while to find the source. You can also put shaving creme on these areas. Check the fittings where the pump connects to the piping. Also, check the drain plugs on the pump.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
290
Katy, Texas
Can you post a full description of your system? All the equipment and devices included. There may be more clues. For example, I get a comments here about my "black magic" equipment: an ozone generator and UV-C appliance. The O3 thing bleeds ozone (and regular air I'm pretty sure) into the drain/suction port on the pump. At my regular speed--around 1600 rpm--some air accumulates under the lid. At higher speeds or prime 3450 rpm, the air is forced through. My point is that in my case I have an actual source of air into the pump. Do you?
 

ICSVortex912

Member
Jun 2, 2016
18
Omaha, NE
Can you post a full description of your system? All the equipment and devices included. There may be more clues. For example, I get a comments here about my "black magic" equipment: an ozone generator and UV-C appliance. The O3 thing bleeds ozone (and regular air I'm pretty sure) into the drain/suction port on the pump. At my regular speed--around 1600 rpm--some air accumulates under the lid. At higher speeds or prime 3450 rpm, the air is forced through. My point is that in my case I have an actual source of air into the pump. Do you?
It's a very, very old pool with no fancy bells/whistles:

Jandy VS Flopro pump; Triton TR-100 sand filter...and that is entirely it. No heater, no black magic, etc.

There are two skimmer baskets in the pool that are plumbed together, and a main drain at the bottom of the deep end. It's a 20x40 gunite pool with ~33,000 gallons.