Small AG pool in Phoenix

Apr 24, 2017
5
Chandler, AZ
#1
We got an AG 10 ft round metal-frame Intex pool recently. We're going to set it up this week. We have a 3 year old and 2 year old, so we're only going to fill it to about 2ft for now. So, not much water (about 1200 gal). I'm going to go out and get some bleach and baking soda and I've ordered the TF-100 test kit (estimate is May 2nd, but I hope it doesn't really take a week to get to me in AZ). First time dealing with a pool bigger than a little hard plastic kiddie pool.

In the meantime, I have a couple of questions:


  1. I'm wondering about the calcium. Our water here in the Phoenix area is super hard. Will the calcium be an issue?
  2. Although we do get intense heat and sun here in AZ in the summer, we're going to have the pool covered since there is a deciduous tree (drops year round) outside of our fence right next to where the pool will be. I think we were looking at a solar cover, but I'm not sure. What effect will being covered have on the balance of the pool, even in the intense AZ summer heat?

Appreciate any other feedback pertinent to this small pool coupled together with the Arizona sun.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,216
Evans, Georgia
#2
Hi Sorinev, welcome. Good choice on test kits for sure!

Calcium isn't an issue with vinyl pools generally. So mark that off your worry list.

A cover will maintain the FC level longer. It may also make the pool warmer than you desire. You can add a fountain and run it at night to help cool the pool down if necessary.

My worry is that pools aren't really meant to be only filled halfway. The water itself provides structure to the pool. I think you need to re-think that bit ok?

Holler back with any further questions you have :) We're happy to help.

Yip :flower:
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,485
Tucson, AZ
#3
I'm down in Tucson.

To expand on Yippee's answer, yes, over time your calcium will build up. Fill here in Tucson starts at about 200ppm of CH - after a year of operation, my newly filled pool is now running about 475ppm. If you're using TFP's guidelines and watching your CSI (it can be calculated in PoolMath once you have your TF-100 and a full set of test results), you can mostly avoid any scaling or buildup as long as your keeping your other levels (TA, pH) in line.

Covering a pool full time during the summer here will result in temperatures of 100 degrees or so. I have easily gotten over 92-94 degrees during the heat of the summer leaving the cover on overnight and during the day. My current hypothesis (which has been holding up admirably so far this season) is that due to heat loss from evaporation, and given our very dry air during most of the summer, the cover will prevent more heat loss from evaporation, even during the day, than it does by stopping the sun's rays from directly warming the water. A quick example - my friend in Phoenix doesn't have a solar cover, and he has a darker pool finish than I do. Right now his pool fluctuates from 70 (morning) to 74 (end of day). With nearly the exact same weather here in Tucson, and having had my cover on 24/7 for a few weeks, my pool hit 88 yesterday afternoon. So the effect you can expect by attempting to cover it 24/7 is a very, very hot pool. Once we start having lows in the 70s at night, generally those of us here in AZ start leaving the cover off 24/7 to ensure the pool can cool down.

With regards to your 2 and 3 year old, I'd like to recommend this:

Coleman Stearns Puddle Jumper

We got one for my daughter to use in our pool last year (she was about 18mos old). Even though her weight was below the limit on the box, she had no problems staying upright and happily floated around in this device - there's a back strap with a clasp to keep it on and in position. We're using it again this year and once again, she's having a great time in it. You still need to watch your kids every second, of course, but she hasn't gone under once while wearing it. Go ahead and fully fill your pool and just grab a couple of those little guys for your little ones. They're pretty inexpensive - we got ours at the big red box store.
 
OP
OP
S
Apr 24, 2017
5
Chandler, AZ
#4
So we finally filled the pool 3 days ago. It's about 1300 gallons (10ft by 30in, although when properly filled it's more like 27ish). A few observations:


  1. Is it normal for a pool this size to have chlorine completely depleted in one day? I put chlorine in according to the pool math calculator on the first day. The second day, it seemed to test 0. That didn't seem right. So I added some again and tested an hour later and FC was 6. I tested today (day 3) and it seems gone again. Is this normal? CYA is 0, so is it normal for that much FC to vanish in 24 hours, even on a cool, overcast day?
  2. Speaking of CYA, I can see the black dot even when filling the tube. I assume that's normal for water straight from the hose. There seem to be cheap, common, household solutions to expensive pool chemicals, such as bleach, baking soda, and 20MT Borax. There doesn't seem to be something similar for CYA. Is that right?
  3. I haven't tested calcium, and you guys mentioned that on it's own it's apparently not a big deal for vinyl. Do I need to test it due to having a relation to something else though?
  4. pH seemed to be right on the money at 7.5 and it seems to have held.
  5. TA was 190 the first day? Does that seem right? And it seemed to be 170 yesterday. I haven't tested today. I know I only need to check FC and pH everyday, but I'm testing other things too to get the hang of it. But dang, does this seem right?
  6. There doesn't seem to be a borate test in the kit. Is this important and something that needs monitoring?
  7. For the FC, is that microscopic blue spoon seriously the one to use? I didn't see any others but it just seemed comically small.
  8. The pool came with a 300 GPH pump. Do I really need to run it for 4 hours to fully exchange the 1300 gallons? Or will less be ok?
 
Last edited:

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,485
Tucson, AZ
#6
Sorry about that, I missed the response! :)

So we finally filled the pool 3 days ago. It's about 1300 gallons (10ft by 30in, although when properly filled it's more like 27ish). A few observations:
Is it normal for a pool this size to have chlorine completely depleted in one day? I put chlorine in according to the pool math calculator on the first day. The second day, it seemed to test 0. That didn't seem right. So I added some again and tested an hour later and FC was 6. I tested today (day 3) and it seems gone again. Is this normal? CYA is 0, so is it normal for that much FC to vanish in 24 hours, even on a cool, overcast day?
It depends on your CYA level, amount of sun, water temperature, and what might be eating the chlorine. Most pools use about 2-4ppm per day of chlorine, some may use a little more, some less. My next response will address why this might be happening.

Speaking of CYA, I can see the black dot even when filling the tube. I assume that's normal for water straight from the hose. There seem to be cheap, common, household solutions to expensive pool chemicals, such as bleach, baking soda, and 20MT Borax. There doesn't seem to be something similar for CYA. Is that right?
Fill water has 0 CYA. There's no reason to buffer or UV protect chlorine that is in the water pipes. :) You'll want to go to your local big box store, or even a pool store, and get solid stabilizer. The liquid stuff will cost you more. You need enough to get your CYA to 50ppm - which is what we need here in AZ to avoid burning off a TON of chlorine per day due to our persistent, hot sun. You add solid stabilizer (or conditioner) to your pool by putting it into a sock, and either hanging that sock in front of a water return (don't let it touch the side of the pool), or by placing the sock (with the end tied shut) in the skimmer and keeping the pump running until it's dissolved. From time to time, massage the sock vigorously with your hands (grind the granules together - you'll see an opaque cloud come out of the sock) to help it dissolve.

I haven't tested calcium, and you guys mentioned that on it's own it's apparently not a big deal for vinyl. Do I need to test it due to having a relation to something else though?
It's only important with regards to your CSI (calcium scaling index). This can be calculated in Poolmath but it is not a big concern for vinyl pools.

pH seemed to be right on the money at 7.5 and it seems to have held.
[*]TA was 190 the first day? Does that seem right? And it seemed to be 170 yesterday. I haven't tested today. I know I only need to check FC and pH everyday, but I'm testing other things too to get the hang of it. But dang, does this seem right?
That's a bit high. It's a "magic" number though, in that there is no exact recommended value. Most of us tend to keep it around 50-100 based on our pool's natural pH rise. Don't go below 50, but this number will adjust itself as you keep your pH in the recommended range (7.2-8.0 - in reality, maintain around 7.6-8.0 to save acid and your sanity). As you add acid to lower your pH, the TA will naturally come down.

There doesn't seem to be a borate test in the kit. Is this important and something that needs monitoring?
If you haven't added borates, and right now there's no reason to do so, you don't need to test for borates. They are something you intentionally add to your pool and are not required at all to follow the TFP method.

For the FC, is that microscopic blue spoon seriously the one to use? I didn't see any others but it just seemed comically small.
Yup! That's exactly the spoon to use. :D

The pool came with a 300 GPH pump. Do I really need to run it for 4 hours to fully exchange the 1300 gallons? Or will less be ok?
"Full turnover" is a disproved method. Run it for three to four hours anyways to make sure the pool water is well mixed, but you don't need to target a specific number of turnovers. I like to run mine for about 5 hours a day in the summer in the afternoon to make sure the chlorinated water is being mixed up to avoid areas of my pool becoming dechlorinated as the sun burns off the chlorine, and also to get a good amount of filtration to keep the water clear of debris. During monsoon season, if a storm is coming, I flip my filter on to get ahead of all of the blown in debris, leaves, etc.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
12,749
Laughlin, NV
#7
1. Yes. The Chlorine is burned off very quickly without stabilizer (CYA) in the water. Get 30 PPM of stabilizer in it. You will likely wish to increase that to 50 ppm very soon with our summer coming soon.
2.Tap water has no CYA. You can purchase Cynauric Acid (CYA; aka stabilizer or conditioner) at Walmart, Home Depot, etc. Be sure it is 100% cynauric acid.
3. You will need to test once a month. It will effect CSI, which is what you wish to keep at 0 or slightly below to prevent scaling on any metal or other hard surfaces.
4, Good. It will increase over time. Add Muriatic acid as necessary. Effects CSI
5. Yes. your tap water is high in TA. Keep adding Muriatic acid to lower your pH to 7.2 and it will consume some TA to better stabilize the pH.
6. No need to monitor borate unless you add them. For that small a pool I would not bother.
7.Thats the one! Just need to add a bit of the powder.
8, No. You run it enough to clean the water and mix the chemical you add. Which will be bleach EVERY day. No real need to consider 'turnover'.

Have fun!
 
OP
OP
S
Apr 24, 2017
5
Chandler, AZ
#8
Thanks for all the detailed feedback guys, I really appreciate the time and effort.

So I added some CYA the other day. I found some 100% CYA in a 5lb jug for $20 at Home Depot. I added what PoolMath said to add by putting it in a sock, hanging it in front of the return, and giving it a good kneading to start off. 24 hours later and it was gone. That stuff is magic! My FC doesn't disappear everyday! Did a full test now that I finally have the final chemical component added and here's where it's at:

Code:
FC  6
CC  0
pH  7.5
CYA 50
CH  400
TA  150-160
Tested calcium just for FYI, since I had no idea what it'd be at. Everything seems to be on the money except TA. In this situation is it ok, or do I need to do something about it?
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,485
Tucson, AZ
#9
TA is fine for now. We'll watch how the pool's pH behaves and based on how often you need to add acid to keep it below 8 we can make further adjustments to your TA if it needs it.

At this point, you'll want to target 8 FC for your adds each day. This will give it some room to sanitize things and keep you above the absolute minimum value for your 50 CYA.

Great job!
 
OP
OP
S
Apr 24, 2017
5
Chandler, AZ
#10
TA is fine for now. We'll watch how the pool's pH behaves and based on how often you need to add acid to keep it below 8 we can make further adjustments to your TA if it needs it.

At this point, you'll want to target 8 FC for your adds each day. This will give it some room to sanitize things and keep you above the absolute minimum value for your 50 CYA.

Great job!
I'll get it up to 8 today. FC level seems pretty stable now that the...stabilizer :)p)...is in there.

I really like that the testing and balancing methods are exactly the same for a full size pool that we may have someday as they are for this dinky little thing we have now. It makes practicing it all much easier on a smaller scale.

My only issue is things on the bottom of the pool; the circulation from the pump doesn't kick it up, so for the moment we have to rely on actual activity inside the pool to kick it up so it can eventually get moving to the filter. But there isn't much and it's not a big deal anyway.
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,485
Tucson, AZ
#11
Most folks here vacuum their pools periodically, either by hand, with a suction cleaner, or a robot. My Kreepy handles that for me, and it has been a lifesaver for saving time and keeping my pool extremely clear.

Once you get into a larger pool, it's an option to consider.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,216
Evans, Georgia
#12
I'll get it up to 8 today. FC level seems pretty stable now that the...stabilizer :)p)...is in there.

I really like that the testing and balancing methods are exactly the same for a full size pool that we may have someday as they are for this dinky little thing we have now. It makes practicing it all much easier on a smaller scale.

My only issue is things on the bottom of the pool; the circulation from the pump doesn't kick it up, so for the moment we have to rely on actual activity inside the pool to kick it up so it can eventually get moving to the filter. But there isn't much and it's not a big deal anyway.
Look at the PoolBlaster Max for a great little hand/pole vac. We loved ours as it was just what we needed for the small jobs.

Maddie :flower: