Startup of 18' vinyl pool, 1' deep dirty water. Should I drain it completely?

Concorde

Member
Jul 1, 2017
16
Houston
I'm cleaning up a 18' round above ground 48" to 54" deep vinyl pool, hayward sand filter and 1.5hp pump, and a saltwater chlorinator, that was left since summer 2017, in Houston, TX.

I've drained out all but 1'. I put in a 3 gallons of 10% bleach and skimmed off most of the leaves that were left. The bleach took it from greenish brown, to turning white, then back to brown as I stirred it up skimming and raking most of the leaves. It's a lot of work to drain it lower than this from my experience. The pool vinyl doesn't feel slimy or scaly, and there isn't much of a muck at all; the water is just kinda dirty especially after stirring it up with the skimmer. I imagine it will settle overnight.

I've got the recommended test kit, although I might have to refresh some chemicals. I'm wondering if I Slam the 1' of dirty water that is left in there if it leaves anything behind that makes it more likely that the pool will have issues than if I drain it completely. Or does the chlorine and sand filter actually get everything down to pure H20, salt, and chlorine? I was going to put in 3 more gallons tonight, and see what happens. I have 9 gallons on hand. Would that clean up the mess and give me a good start for the year? Other years I've had to completely drain because I needed to make a repair, or I wanted to powerwash the inside. This year I don't seem to need either (which I was kinda hoping I would because I actually have brand new liner to use, but why fix what's not broken.)

It really is a PITA to drain it completely. I guess I could take a hose an siphon it down more. But I'm wondering what others would consider, would do. Will the Slam process make it good as new?
This is a great community of some really smart pool nuts. Been a lurker for years and I've been able to keep my DIY thing going because of what I've learned here. Thanks Everyone!
 
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jseyfert3

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2017
253
Janesville, WI
Not really what you asked, but you can get a $50 utility pump from your local hardware/home improvement store that can pump down to ~1/4", and would probably pump out a foot of water in a few hours. I have one (a "1000 gph" model) I use to drain my 290 gallon inflatable spa, which it does in around 45-60 minutes. At a foot, you're probably looking at about 7 hours for a similar pump to drain the rest of your pool.

I don't have personal experience in cleaning up nasty pools, but from reading here my guess is that 9 gallons won't be enough to SLAM that foot of water. I also don't know if draining a vinyl liner pool damages the liner at all. If it doesn't, the easiest thing to do is probably get one of those utility pumps, drain it completely, and refill.
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
You can't do a true SLAM with only 1 ft of water. Actually, I'd be very careful about going any lower to avoid having the walls or liner begin to move. You could fill it back up and get water circulating again then start the SLAM Process process. You might also have to deep clean that sand, but we can come back to that later.
 
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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,714
Houston, Texas
I'm assuming this is an intex style pool, right? You have to remove the fine debris. At this point, fill up the pool, run the pump, and vacuum the pool to remove the debris. You may need to vacuum several times, as well as filtering the dirty water.
 
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Concorde

Member
Jul 1, 2017
16
Houston
I'm assuming this is an intex style pool, right? You have to remove the fine debris. At this point, fill up the pool, run the pump, and vacuum the pool to remove the debris. You may need to vacuum several times, as well as filtering the dirty water.
Yes, an above ground Intex pool with significant mods. It's in a "terraformed" sand pit, so the bottom is below the surface of the yard between 2 and 8 inches, and the sides are reinforced at the bottom as the struts are bolted to a multilevel treated wood base. I sort of have a deep end, heh. I plan to put a drain in the deep end with the new liner. I also have a substantial set of steps, regulation rise and width, about 4 feet wide with stainless hand rails on both inside and outside and a nice platform at the top. Not sure what it's made of but it is Indestructible. I have intakes for both a pool vac (wanda the whale works great!) and a skimmer bucket piped with 1 1/2" PVC and valved, and outtakes (into the pool) for both circulation and a seriously large PVC fountain for cooling, which is adjustable by valves (which I plan to put on a remote). The fountain will go clear across the pool as a serious waterfall, and even clear over the other side if I'm not careful. It's a 1.5HP pump.

The back 60' of my plot is a pipeline easement, which I can do whatever I want on top, but I cant dig. The 16' I have to work with behind the house I might build an extension in. Tthey are going to tear it up the easement to put another 8' water pipeline through it (otherwise I'd have a deck and bar too!) I thought they were going to do it last summer, and then this summer, but again it's been delayed until 2020, which I just learned last week. So now I'm cleaning it up again.

With a couple of 9' umbrellas overhanging we love our humble pool. I probably have the best value pool in Houston, from what I hear others pay for upkeep! With TFP help I even enjoy the cleanup challenge, instead of fear it, lol.
 
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Concorde

Member
Jul 1, 2017
16
Houston
I put a hose in and connected it to another hose connected to a spigot. Turning on the water gets the hose filled, then disconnecting the two hoses outside the pool far away where it is lower than than the pool bottom allows it to siphon out. But it's Very slow, not even sure it'll keep going. Other years somehow I used the pool pump to get more out, but I forgot to start that when the water level was above the vacuum intake to do that. I'll probably have 3" of water in the pool. Other years I've just shop vac'ed the rest out. *shrug* I'm just wondering if I'm making too much work, if could just "vaporize" everything with bleach.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,714
Houston, Texas
Once the algae is dead you have to get the carcasses out of the pool. They will only break down so much, and new stuff will blow into the pool. I would fill the pool, then let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours. That should allow everything to settle on the bottom, then you can slowly vacuum to waste with a manual vacuum. You don't want to use Wanda for this, she kicks up the water too much!

I'd love to see some pictures of your pool, it sounds like a pretty cool set up.
 
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Concorde

Member
Jul 1, 2017
16
Houston
I added 6 gallons of 10% bleach (yes, 6) to the 1' and started filling it. I am pretty sure I got 4 boxes (3 per) of dud bleach :( . I'm going to take the last box back to Home Depot and complain bitterly and loudly while drinking from a bottle until they give me my money back.

OK seriously, maybe bad bleach. But there is some in it and I decided, based on the fact that the pool stopped draining by siphon, to fill it up and SLAM. I figured I'd let the bleach work at a concentrated level for a bit while it filled. It may be full by morning, but ever since Harvey the water pressure has been up and down at times, not steady, and the last month or so it's seemed very low, so probably not. I'll know more in the morning.