Timelines on clearing a pool upon opening...

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
This will be my first season to open the pool at our new house. I was able to get everything up and running just fine. I have been maintaining shock levels now for 4-5 days, off and on. The pool is much more clear now, but still green, almost like gulf coast sea water on a nice calm day. Pretty much all major debris is up off the bottom of the pool, though there is still some sediment, as I haven't manually vacuumed yet. It's a 20,000 gallon, chlorine pool, with a sand filter.

Most recent readings:

FC - 13
CC - .5
CYA - <20
Ph - 7.7
TA - 80
Calcium - Very low at this point

Again, pool doesn't look terribly bad right now, but it does seem to have slowed in terms of clearing. I am planning to backwash tonight, and maybe go ahead and manually vacuum sediment off the bottom. I feel like I have put in a TON of chlorine at this point, but this being my first opening, I might just be impatient. That said, I don't want to be ignoring a bigger potential problem while I'm waiting.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Philip
 

Mr Bruce

TFP Guide
Mar 24, 2014
2,095
Greenville, SC
If your CYA is less than 20 then a FC of 13 is way too high. I'd let that drop to a FC of 10 at the same time adding a little bit of CYA targeting 30 (Pool Math!). Then your SLAM level would be 12.

Backwash when your pump pressure is 25% over the post backwash pressure. You should notice an improvement each day, taking pictures helps.

Give us an update tomorrow!
 

kcindc

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TFP Guide
Sep 2, 2011
1,282
Fairfax, VA
Vacuum up all of the sediment so your FC isn't being wasted on sanitizing the sediment. Make sure that you brush every day... its a pain, but it is important.

As Mr. Bruce said, bring your CYA up to about 30 so that your FC isn't being burned up from the sun.

Sand filters work best when a little dirty, so don't backwash until your pressure rises 25%.

The PH test doesn't work when you FC is above 10, so you don't need to check it until your SLAM is complete. In fact, I suggest that you only test FC until the water gets clear.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Thanks for the replies!

I backwashed the filter, which moved my pressure from about 26 to 20, so I guess that's my 25% range? I also vacuumed the sediment, then brushed off what was left on the walls/bottom. I threw a sock of CYA in the skimmer basket and added a bit of liquid chlorine, as the level had dropped to 7 by the time I got home from work. I'll check again in the morning, and post more results.

Thanks again!
 

duraleigh

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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,531
Sebring, Florida
You are not SLAMing the Pool. Please read the SLAM article in Pool School and plan on doing that process. Let us know before you start and we will help.

When were those test results taken? Can you post current ones?
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Outside of the fact that my CYA is way below recommended, and the fact I haven't vacuumed daily, I've essentially followed the SLAM protocol. I have brushed the pool daily, and I've been keeping the chlorine around 10-15ppm. I can't check every two hours, or even every 6, sometimes, so it fluctuates more than optimal. At any rate, I re-read the SLAM protocol, and I have added some CYA this evening. I will check FC and CC in the morning and take a picture, then report back.

Thanks again for everyone's help!
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Okay, so FC is at 10.5, with no loss overnight, and CC is less than 1. I didn't have time this morning to check CYA, but I assume its still pretty low, though I did leave a sock full of it in the skimmer overnight.

I'll attach a couple images from this morning below. I feel like the water has basically looked like this for the past 2-3 days, and with the chlorine levels essentially stabilized overnight, it has me thinking I'm missing something. I don't want to let the chlorine level drift down if I still need to be in SLAM mode, but if there's something else I need to be paying attention to, I want to get to that as well.

View attachment 58815View attachment 58816

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

kcindc

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TFP Guide
Sep 2, 2011
1,282
Fairfax, VA
Give the sock a squeeze a few times a day and it will help speed up dissolving the CYA. It can take a day or so to show up on the CYA test after it is dissolved. As soon as it is dissolved you can assume it is at the level you were shooting for and adjust your FC level to the new CYA.

The CYA test is very light sensitive, so make sure you test it in the bright sunlight, back to the sun and vial at waist level.

It can take a little longer for a sand filter to filter out the smaller particles, so patience is needed. Make sure to brush daily and vacuum any sediment out to help speed up the filtration process.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Sounds good. I'm about to head home for lunch and squeeze my sock and brush the pool again. It occurred to me that circulation might play into this as well, so I wanted to make sure I have everything set up right in that regard. I've attached a basic drawing of the pool setup below. There are five returns, two on the steps and three against one wall, with the skimmer on the wall opposite the returns. Right now I have all valves open, including the main and the skimmer, in order to maximize circulation. The middle return is where my polaris 360 hooks up, and when I have it in, I typically close off the other returns to crank up the water pressure for the polaris.

Is all that sounding like the right way to handle my setup?

View attachment 58822
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,495
Tucson, AZ
With regards to returns, you'll want to get a bunch of pingpong balls and on a day with almost no wind, dump them into the pool at various locations to see where they go. Adjust returns as needed to get as many of them as possible into the skimmer from various areas of the pool.

Myself, I put my toddler in with her floatie-belt and watch how she moves around the pool. She doesn't kick much so it gives me a decent idea of where the water is going. ;)
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Great idea triptyx. Problem is finding a mostly windless day at my house
:-?

Entendu - thanks for the link. I read through it, and I definitely feel like patience is key. I lack it, and to add insult to injury I have a 7-year-old who asks me daily when the process will be finished ... probably a teachable moment for both of us :cyclops:

Anyhow, went home at lunch and had minimal FC loss, dropped from 10.5 to 9.5, and less than 1 CC. The shallow end is actually less green than just cloudy now, so I'm starting to feel like my problem is more related to an accumulation of sediment over the winter. I did backwash the filter again today, as my pressure has increased by over 50% after vacuuming yesterday. Now it's back down to 17.5 psi or so.

I have a few questions at this point:

When brushing dust/sediment, is it a good strategy to push it down to the main drain in the deep end? If so, should I close down the valve to the skimmer somewhat to encourage more sediment to come out through the main? If not, should I just be interested in stirring everything up daily in order to help it get to the filter?

I am leaving the polaris 360 out of the equation at this point. Should I throw it in this weekend, even if the water isn't clear?

Does vacuuming help when most of the sediment is stirred up and clouding the pool, as opposed to resting at the bottom?

Finally, should I continue with the SLAM process, that is, should I keep the FC at shock level even while I don't appear to be losing much to anything other than sunlight?

Here's a photo from lunch:

View attachment 58833
 

kcindc

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Sep 2, 2011
1,282
Fairfax, VA
I found that allowing the sediment to settle, then manual vacuuming helps the fastest. After you manual vacuum, you can open up the main drain 100% and brush towards the main drain.

Repeat daily. Sand filters take much longer to filter out the fine sediment. You just need a little POP (pool owner patience).

It is safe to swim when the following 3 criteria are met:
1) you can see the main drain (safety especially with kids as you want to see them underwater in case something happens)
2) FC is at or below SLAM level for your CYA
3) PH is between 7.2 and 7.8
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Ha, definitely need some POP! If I open the main drain 100% to pull sediment off the bottom, should I close off the skimmer part-way or all the way temporarily?
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Just a quick update: Vacuumed out the pool on waste setting this morning, just to try to get some of the tiny sediment out that might be bypassing the filter. Pool is looking significantly better, just need to keep up the POP. I also stuck the Polaris 360 in today, and I'm trying to troubleshoot that currently. If I can't get it going properly by tomorrow, I'll just start another thread regarding that issue.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Day 10 Update:

Water is blue, and mostly clear at the shallow end. I don't seem to be losing chlorine very fast, if at all, but still cloudy, especially in the deep end. Some fine sediment will collect in corners, and along the edges running down to the deep end. I have raised the CYA to about 35. I have been reading elsewhere that sand filters can take longer, and that chlorine is your best bet against cloudy water. Should I continue with the following strategy:

Keep chlorine level at appropriate SLAM level for my CYA (14 or so)
Brush daily
Run pump 24/7
Employ patience

I've backwashed the filter twice and vacuumed manually about 3-4 times. Just trying to make sure I'm doing everything I need to do to keep the process moving forward as quickly as possible.
 

kcindc

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TFP Guide
Sep 2, 2011
1,282
Fairfax, VA
CYA should always be rounded up, so a CYA around the 35 mark is always rounded to 40 which means your FC target should be 16.

Only backwash when your pressure rises 25% above the clean pressure.

Sometimes folks add a little DE to their sand filter to help speed up the clearing process. Adding DE will quickly rise your pressure, so you need to keep a close eye on it. Here are the details:
Pool School - Add DE to a Sand Filter
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Quick update: Last night we were able to see the main drain at the bottom of the deep end from the kitchen window for the first time! It seems patience was exactly what I needed. Some rain came in after that, and more is expected today. I'm planning to assess the situation after that, but I expect to let the chlorine levels drop and work on balancing everything else at that time. I know Calcium is low, and I have thoughts of adding salt and borates to improve the "feel."
 

kcindc

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TFP Guide
Sep 2, 2011
1,282
Fairfax, VA

Chrissykr

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2014
454
Rogers, AR
I opened two weeks ago and I am just now seeing some serious polish to my water. I have been running some Fiber Clear in my filter for the last week and have had to backwash five times. I had an awful lot of sand and dirt this year when I opened.

For me just keeping the filter on and brushing. My arms feel like they are going to fall off I have brushed so much. I brush to the main drain. Just keep it filtering and brush, brush, brush.
 
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