Vacuum before SLAM?

May 25, 2016
8
Audubon, PA
#1
Hi all,

Pulled the cover off the pool yesterday, and I've got a rather green pool and a good bit of debris (time for a new winter cover!). I've tried my best to scoop out as much of the accumulated leaves, dirt, and general muck with my leaf rake, but it seems as though there's quite a bit of dirt just sitting on the bottom of the pool. From what I can tell (can't see the bottom very well, at least not in the deep end), most, if not all of the leaves are out, and what's left is stuff that seems to not be picked up by the leaf rake, or is just kicking up and mixing with the water when I rake along the bottom of the pool. Thus, I'm pretty sure I need to vacuum.

So, I know I need to SLAM to clear up the pool, and I'm hoping to get that started ASAP, but I'm wondering if I should wait to SLAM until after I get the pump turned on and can vacuum some of the dirt, or if I should go ahead and start the SLAM (still need to test my chemicals, which is the first thing I'm doing when I get home) and vacuum as that progresses?

I'm also trying to weigh the cost/benefits of vacuuming to waste and potentially losing a lot of water, or vacuuming through the filter and having to backwash/clean the filter frequently until I get most of the detritus out of the water, so if anyone has suggestions there, that'd be welcome.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
578
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
#2
Can you post some test results from your TF-100 kit? This way we can tell if vacuuming to waste is needed. If your CYA levels are ok then you will have to let the filter do its job. You will need to buy some DE to replenish after backwashing.

Felipe
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,392
Sebring, Florida
#3
but I'm wondering if I should wait to SLAM until after I get the pump turned on and can vacuum some of the dirt
You MUST HAVE the pump running before you test and before you SLAM. Testing before you circulate the water is a waste of your time and you cannot possible complete the SLAM until your pump is running.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,330
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#4
Definitely vacuum the stuff out. The less organic material in the pool, the less bleach you'll need and the faster it will go.

Like Flying Tivo wrote, waste or filter depends on chemistry. Of course, with a DE filter you also have to figure out how much DE it takes to recharge, because it'll load up in less than an hour judging by your description. You'll lose a ton of water backwashing it all the time so it may end up even.
 
OP
OP
M
May 25, 2016
8
Audubon, PA
#5
I'll test the chemistry as soon as I get home from work. Everything is set up to turn the pump on (have DE standing at the ready), I just ran out of day light yesterday after removing the cover to continue opening.

Generally speaking though, vacuum first then SLAM to save chlorine, and vacuum to waste or through the filter will be a matter of my CYA level.

My plan of action is to turn the pump on as soon as I get home to circulate the water (I'll probably bypass the filter, if possible (never done that before)) for about 30 mins so that I can get an accurate test of my chemicals (should have plenty of day light, and it's a nice sunny day here to get a good read on the CYA). I'll post here once I know more, but if CYA is high, vacuum to waste, then refill pool and start SLAM. If CYA is good, vacuum (probably through filter, unless my DE supply is lower than I think it is), and then SLAM. If CYA is low, vacuum, add CYA to about 30 ppm, then SLAM.

Does that sound about right? (Also I'll adjust pH if need be prior to SLAM.)
 
OP
OP
M
May 25, 2016
8
Audubon, PA
#7
An update:

Got the pump turned on Monday afternoon. After circulating the water for a bit, our CYA was less than 20 (effectively zero). So I spent a good bit of time trying to get as much of the muck out of the pool as possible, using a combination of leaf rake and vacuum (backwashed the filter a good three times before I felt like I'd made some decent progress). Then, I added CYA to the pool, and kept the filter running. By the time the CYA was completely dissolved, it was too dark to test the water, so I put a bottle of 10.25% bleach into the pool and called it a night.

Yesterday morning my wife tested the CYA, and unfortunately it looks like I either had a problem with testing the CYA the day prior, miscalculated using Pool Math, or didn't properly weight my stabilizer. My wife got a reading of about 60 for my CYA. Since I know this isn't ridiculously high (though it is above ideal) AND that we'd be backwashing quite a few times before the water went clear, I figured I'd just ride it out and bite the bullet with having to use more chlorine to SLAM, and I'll retest the CYA after to see if backwashing and refilling to maintain the water level brings it down enough, or if that time we need to dump some water and bring it back up to lower our CYA to more ideal levels for the rest of the summer.

That said, here's the numbers as of this morning:
CYA = 60
FC = 24
CC = 1
TC = 25
TA = 120
CH = 250
PH = 7.2

The pool has already shown some major improvements, and my wife is home to maintain the FC levels as best as possible while we wait for this thing to go completely clear. I'm sure we'll have more runs with the vacuum, and probably a few more backwashes of the filter. But, it seems like we're right on track, aside from the mishap with the CYA.

As an aside, I'm attributing opening to a swamp to a failed cover (and admittedly some sub-par upkeep where I let more water and leaves on the cover than I rightfully should have). Any recommendations for a good winter cover on a budget (we have a new baby at home, and it seems all our finances will be dedicated to her for the next 22 years or so)? If this isn't the right place to ask that question, I'll gladly take it to another thread in another area of the forum.

Thanks all!

PS. First picture is pool after removing cover, before any raking or vacuuming, or even turning on the pump. Second picture is after turning on the pump, raking and vacuuming, and starting the SLAM for a few hours until the chlorine started to hold.

pool 1.jpg pool 2.jpg
 

Eilum

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2016
102
Jackson NJ
#9
Wow! That is progress.

My pool opened kind of like that but took over a week and a half to get it that clear. Is this because you have a DE filter and I have sand? Could the difference be that stark?
 
OP
OP
M
May 25, 2016
8
Audubon, PA
#10
Not experienced enough to know whether the different filter types could make that much of a difference, though it does seem like that is possible. What I will say is that I think the water color in the first picture is a little bit deceptive, because we had a layer of dirt covering almost the entire bottom of the pool that made the water look more brown than it truly was. Once I had raked and vacuumed thoroughly, it already looked noticeably better than it did in the first picture. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture before starting SLAM.