What have I done wrong?

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#1
Have an ABG pool. 24' diameter, 14,000 gallons vinyl liner. I use a aquatrol swg on it and a 26" sand filter. 1 1/2" piping all around.

About a month ago I switched out my pump. It was an 2 1/2 hp unknown 2 speed brand that was beginning to make horrible noises. I boutht an Aquaflo 3/4 hp 2 speed. I run the new pump around 18 hours a day now vs. maybe 6 hours for the old pump. It keeps the surface cleaner, plus saves electric $'s in the process.


The problem is, now my water quality has deteriorated vastly. When I run the vac, the water turns cloudy. If I don't vacuum for a while, the water eventually becomes clear, but then what was in the water settles out on the bottom. Once I run the vacuum again, it gets stirred up and everything is cloudy again.


What am I doing wrong? Why isn't my filter picking up this fine sediment? The only thing I changed out was my pump and I also replaced about 4 feet of flexible hose with PVC. (all still 1 1/2")
 

Poseidon

Well-known member
May 24, 2007
148
Houston, Texas, USA
#2
Pleakpool said:
Have an ABG pool. 24' diameter, 14,000 gallons vinyl liner. I use a aquatrol swg on it and a 26" sand filter. 1 1/2" piping all around.

About a month ago I switched out my pump. It was an 2 1/2 hp unknown 2 speed brand that was beginning to make horrible noises. I boutht an Aquaflo 3/4 hp 2 speed. I run the new pump around 18 hours a day now vs. maybe 6 hours for the old pump. It keeps the surface cleaner, plus saves electric $'s in the process.


The problem is, now my water quality has deteriorated vastly. When I run the vac, the water turns cloudy. If I don't vacuum for a while, the water eventually becomes clear, but then what was in the water settles out on the bottom. Once I run the vacuum again, it gets stirred up and everything is cloudy again.


What am I doing wrong? Why isn't my filter picking up this fine sediment? The only thing I changed out was my pump and I also replaced about 4 feet of flexible hose with PVC. (all still 1 1/2")
What does the settlement look like? Is is grayish, white, green, etc? We would really need some numbers to find out what's going. Include pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, free and combined chlorine. Also what type of filter is it?
 

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#3
Finally getting back with numbers - sorry for the delay. Between work and kids and a wife recovering from surgery - the pool has taken a back seat.

I've only had the small cheapo test kit from the pool store - but free chorine and combined chlorine are both above 3.0 (highest on test kit). These #'s are from Sunday - I had just run the salt-water generator on super-cholrinate overnight.

Ph was above 8.2 but I added muriatic and it is now down to 7.6. Always have to monitor pH on this pool.

Alkalinity is 110. Temp. is running 95 degrees. :roll: Salt was a little low last week but now is 3200 - which is right at the top end of the range for my SWG.

That's all my old test kit would test. But I did order the test kit from here and I got it last night - so I should be able to get more and better numbers if I get home from work in time today.

Pool is filtered by sand filter.

Anyway - pool is still cloudy. Kinda of a whitish cloudy. Takes a very long time to settle out. I backwashed on Saturday. When whatever it is did settle out - the water became clear and the settlement was a very pale greenish-yellow. I then vacuumed it up and the water turns cloudy.


Any ideas/suggestions? :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
#4
It sounds like you have algae, probably mostly but not quite all dead at this point. This is based on your CC reading. You might want to double check that one, does the test perhaps actually test TC? Having CC above 0.5 means you need to shock the pool.

When shocking with a SWG it is best to bring the chlorine level up quickly with bleach and then supliment that with the SWG. You also need to brush the entire pool to make sure the chlorine gets to any algae in biofilms on the walls/ladders/etc.
 

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#5
Thanks for the reply.


Dumb question - how much algae is there (like on the walls) if you don't see it. I know there is a biofilm on everything - but is there always a certain amount that is there waiting for parameters to get off so it can multiply?


Thinking out loud - here - in June and July we had tremendous amounts of rain - which made keeping the pool parameters correct a bit of a challenge. Then I changed pool pumps to a lower HP - maybe turnover wasn't enough for a while - I have increased the running time of the new pump so more. Now it makes sense that I could have an algae problem.

Dumb question #2 - is it OK to swim in a algae-clouded pool? The bottom is visible - it's just not sparkling like it used to be.

Tonight, I will shock again - and dump some bleach in first to give it a boost. Is there anything else I can do to help clear it up or do I just have to wait for time to pass and the filter to do it's thing?
 

matt4x4

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2007
312
#6
it isfine to swim, unless you just shocked the heck out of it. People swim in Algae infested ponds so why not a pool...
What's happening is that most of the dead algae (likely from all the rain) is clouding up your pool, the sand filter is unable to trap the fine particles, they do settle, but the vac stirs them up again, then they cloud up the pool again.
Best practice I've found is to kill the algae through shocking, if you feel like it, add some DE to your filter (1 cup only) very slowly) vacuum with the manual head - really slow, the DE will help catch the fine debris and stop it from entering the pool again, do NOT backwash since a dirty filter filters better.
If you do not want to add DE, then add some floculant to your pool as per recommendations on the bottle, follow instructions, once ready to vac, use the manual head and go very slowly, the floculant helps "gel together" the particles, once again, do NOT backwash unless absolutely necessary. You may have to repeat 3 times before all the dust is gone since you will always stir some of this fine stuff up whilst vacuuming.
I find that most automatic cleaners move way too fast to pick up all the fine stuff and tend to just mix it all back in again.
 

matt4x4

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2007
312
#7
Forgot to mention, why not just use bleach AS your shock? Many people keep spending all this money on pool store items such as granular chlorine or pucks that are WAY overpriced when using liquid chlorine of 6% or more is exactly the same thing - either buy a carboy and get it filled with 12.5 at the poolstore or buy 6% at the cheapest price you can find and use twice as much (by volume not price).

Just NEVER pour liquid chlorine of any kind into a system with a chlorinator that uses pucks/granular (dichlor and trichlor) unless you want to become a part of a pretty cool science experiment - the two "bleaches" - although the same, are different in composition and can react severely under those concentrations.
 

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#8
matt4x4 said:
Forgot to mention, why not just use bleach AS your shock? Many people keep spending all this money on pool store items such as granular chlorine or pucks that are WAY overpriced when using liquid chlorine of 6% or more is exactly the same thing - either buy a carboy and get it filled with 12.5 at the poolstore or buy 6% at the cheapest price you can find and use twice as much (by volume not price).

Just NEVER pour liquid chlorine of any kind into a system with a chlorinator that uses pucks/granular (dichlor and trichlor) unless you want to become a part of a pretty cool science experiment - the two "bleaches" - although the same, are different in composition and can react severely under those concentrations.

I use a salt-water generator - super chlorinate setting is my "shock" setting. I was just going to add some bleach because JasonLIon suggested it would get my chlorine levels up quickly - gives the SWG time to generate.

About the only thing I buy at the pool store is the cyanuric acid.
 

JasonLion

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Silver Spring, MD
#9
It is safe the swim if you are maintaining a FC level. The problem with algae is that it tends to drive the FC to zero and then more dangerous things can grow in the water.

Shocking and brushing are both to increase the odds of totally beating the algae and not geting it back next week. With a SWG you tend to get into a kind of seasaw battle with the algae coming and going but never really eliminated. By shocking and brushing you kill off the refuges that the algae is hiding in when the FC level is reasonable. Enough of a biofilm to preserve algae can be there and not be seen, though usually you can see it if you look in the right place.

If the FC level goes down just once the algae can get enough of a start that normal levels of chlorine are not enough to completely kill it off. The SWG will often prodouce enough chlorine to keep it in check so you don't really see it expect perhaps on particuarly hot days. One extra hot day when the chlorine dips a little too much and the algae will start spreading and overwhem the SWG. Then you put the SWG on boost and beat the algae back, but you haven't really gotten all of it. So it just comes back the next time there is a little too little chlorine.

Assuming the algae is all dead you can clean it up quickly using a floc treatment. It costs a little and is a fair bit of work (a through and slow/careful vacuuming), but it works overnight. The filter will probably take several days to a week to clear the cloudiness on it's own.
 

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#10
JasonLion said:
It is safe the swim if you are maintaining a FC level. The problem with algae is that it tends to drive the FC to zero and then more dangerous things can grow in the water.

Shocking and brushing are both to increase the odds of totally beating the algae and not geting it back next week. With a SWG you tend to get into a kind of seasaw battle with the algae coming and going but never really eliminated. By shocking and brushing you kill off the refuges that the algae is hiding in when the FC level is reasonable. Enough of a biofilm to preserve algae can be there and not be seen, though usually you can see it if you look in the right place.

If the FC level goes down just once the algae can get enough of a start that normal levels of chlorine are not enough to completely kill it off. The SWG will often prodouce enough chlorine to keep it in check so you don't really see it expect perhaps on particuarly hot days. One extra hot day when the chlorine dips a little too much and the algae will start spreading and overwhem the SWG. Then you put the SWG on boost and beat the algae back, but you haven't really gotten all of it. So it just comes back the next time there is a little too little chlorine.

Assuming the algae is all dead you can clean it up quickly using a floc treatment. It costs a little and is a fair bit of work (a through and slow/careful vacuuming), but it works overnight. The filter will probably take several days to a week to clear the cloudiness on it's own.
Thanks - the more you post - the more you are describing my pool.

In addition to the absurd amounts of rain in June and July that initially threw my water chemistry off, we have been absolutely baking for the last 10 days or so - now the ground is so dry and cracked that pets and small children are in danger of disappearing. So we have had more than one extra hot day where the chlorine has probably dipped too much.

If the filter will eventually be able to catch up in clearing the cloudiness once I kill all the algae, I think I will take a pass on the floc treatment. I dislike putting any additional chemicals into my pond than I have to. It always seems to start a cycle of then having to add something else to fix the first addition, and so on.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
#11
Hey, Eddie,

Just to clarify a little, you'll save some wear and tear on your cell and get much better results if you shock with chlorine. I would suggest leaving the SWG at it's maintenance setting and bring the FC up to shock level strictly with bleach....hold your FC ther (again with bleach) 'till your pools clears completely, and then let the FC drift back down to it's normal range. This may possibly mean even reducing the output of your SWG during this period.

Your pool will clear much faster and your SWG cell will incur no stress.
 

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#12
OK a bit of an update here - a month or so later...


free chlorine 6 - high - shocked recently. I also dialed down SWG after this.
totll chlorine 6
pH 7.2 - low side but OK
T/A 80 - low side but OK
CH 130 low
CYA 60 low but close to OK
temp 91 - to hot
salt 3200 high end of OK for my generator.


had been running my pump on low speed constantly. Water clears up, some whitish settlement in pool. So I vacuum.
in low speed - vacuum works poorly but eventually gets the job done.

Turned on high speed, and a whitish cloud come out of my return.

So I backwashed filter. And decided to run the filter in high speed mode. Set the timer for a little over 8 hours a day. Water is now nicely cloudy, but there is no settlement at bottom of pool.

What am I doing wrong? It looks to me like I might have two separate problems here.

1) the 3/4 hp two speed filter I got appears to not be powerful enough in low speed to properly circulate and catch suspended crud before it settles out.
2) Do I have something wrong with my sand filter? It catches stuff on low speed, but blows it back out on high?
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
#13
First, your TA and CH are fine. TA around 70-90 is great with a SWG and vinyl liner pools don't need any calcium (though it doesn't hurt).

It sounds like you have a problem with your filter, perhaps a cracked latteral or something that is letting stuff through. Are you using Zeolite instead of sand? Zeolite can sometimes do what you describe.
 

Pleakpool

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 21, 2007
32
Pleak, Texas
#14
No - I am using pool sand. Bought it at Martel's in Houston before they closed.

Is there any way to find out about cracked lateral without dumping my sand filter?

This all seemed to start when I replaced my old 2 1/2 hp pump with new 3/4 hp. It seem like a 3/4 hp would be better on the internals of a sand filter than a 2 1/2 hp. That's why I didn't think about cracking a lateral.
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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#15
It would be easy to have bumped the filter while working on the pump. Such a bump should cause any problems, but if one of the latterals was marginal a bump could have cracked it, they do tend to be fairly brittle. One way to check if it really is a problem inside the filter is to put a skimmer sock or some panty hose over the return and see if it catches any sand. If you are getting sand out of the return then it is something like a cracked latteral. If you only get fine dust then it is probably something else.