What to do until test kit arrives?

Kalico

Bronze Supporter
May 29, 2021
49
San Martin, CA, USA
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I have been reading Pool School all day! I have a few questions on how to get by for the next week until the test kit arrives.

Bought this house in Aug '20 and we were pretty sure we'd have to have the pool resurfaced. It has an aggregate or pebble surface -- at least parts of it -- but it's hard to tell the real condition of it. Some parts seem bleached out, other parts splotchy, other parts dark black. It was stable over the winter but turned green a few weeks ago. We blamed the mallard ducks who adopted us for their nesting season.

Found TFP and really dug in today, and now I suspect there's more to it than the ducks (although I'm sure they didn't help). Now I know we have both green AND black algae, the black algae was here before we moved in, and I'm guessing the CYA levels are way out of whack from using tablets (per the former owner). But I feel hopeful!

Recent history: We've been keeping the chlorine level high with dry shock, sweeping daily, and running the pump 24/7 (and cleaned out the cart filter 2x) but we're literally dumping money down the drain and not seeing much change. It's better than it was 3 weeks ago, but not fixed. Our basic test kit only indicates that the chlorine level is more than 3.0, but after all that I've read today, I understand that there is SO much more to it than that!

We were on the verge of draining the pool so we could really get in there and scrub the black algae (without donning a diving suit). But I got a little scared of that approach after reading some horror stories, so now I'm thinking we'll try a SLAM first along with all the black algae recommendations. I have a steel brush on the way and a Taylor K-2006 test kit due next Saturday.

So now to my questions....

We can't officially start the SLAM until the test kit arrives, so in the meantime, should we...keep the filter running 24/7? keep adding dry shock or start using liquid chlorine? keep brushing daily? do anything about the pH? (it's on the high side, around 8.0) start scrubbing on the black algae? (steel brush due to arrive Monday)? Anything else I should or should not do this week?

Thanks in advance! I look forward to learning a lot more. :)
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
31,777
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Welcome to TFP! :wave: There are a few things you can do right now:
- Adjust your signature to better show the actual pool and equipment info (gallons, filter, etc). See mine as an example. Also include which test you are receiving.
- No sense starting the SLAM Process yet since it's very possible you may be exchanging some water.
- Is your area known for having an elevated water table which could result in a pool lift or pop-out? If you're not sure, call around some pool stores or builders and ask. You can also call your county. The water table and current situation of the soil will dictate how dangerous a full or partial water drain might be.
- Start shopping for chlorine. You will need to know in advance you have a good source since many places seem to be running low. I would avoid using anymore dry or bagged products at this time.

Any chemical you add now will probably go down the drain (or lawn). If you have a way to adjust the pH, bringing it down to the 7s won't break the bank and it reasonable to do, but it won't do anything for the algae. Once you get the test kit, post back with full results and we'll go from there.

 

Kalico

Bronze Supporter
May 29, 2021
49
San Martin, CA, USA
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thanks for the reply, @Texas Splash ! I appreciate the suggestions.

  • It was late last night and too dark to measure the pool and figure out how many gallons (you'd think that should be required info to pass along to new homeowners....) but I will do it today and add to my signature.
  • The test kit was noted above, and it's Taylor K-2006.
  • I am pretty sure we don't have a water table issue, because the pool is on the high side of a creek that is dry most of the year -- only got full once last winter from runoff during our one big storm. The pool is no deeper than the creek. But that said...I will do some investigating. Thanks for the tips!
  • Our local Home Depot seems to have a supply of liquid chlorine: HDX is the brand, and it comes in 1 or 3 gallons. From the picture, it looks like a box, so I am guessing there are jugs inside....I will go take a look today.
One question about liquid chlorine: how much should I have on hand for this project? Never mind, you need to know my pool size first. I'll be back..... :paddle:
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,150
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Never mind, you need to know my pool size first. I'll be back.....
One gallon of 10% liquid chlorine adds 10 ppm FC to 10000 gallons of water. If the pool is a swamp, start with 20 gallons LC per 10000 gallons. If just light algae and dirty, start with 15 gallons LC per 10000 gallons.

You will need the liquid chlorine for the rest of the summer. Just keep in a cool place, out of the sun.
 

Kalico

Bronze Supporter
May 29, 2021
49
San Martin, CA, USA
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thanks @mknauss much appreciated. I've generally figured my (curvy) pool to be 22000 gallons as a starting estimate (and it is now in my sig).

Fortunately, we have not reached swamp status yet (we brought it back from the brink). It's currently hovering at a light layer of green on the bottom and sides which, when brushed, turns cloudy until it settles back to the bottom. And then there's the black algae, confirmed yesterday with the smudge test.

What you're describing here is very helpful for calculating, thank you! I am guessing right now that my CYA levels are probably quite high, so might have to do a partial drain. So should I hold off on this quantity of LC until I get my test kit, and just try to maintain it for this week? Or are you suggesting I should do this now, even before testing the other factors? TIA
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,150
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If waiting for a test kit, it is best to add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine each evening with the pump running. In your pool, that is 1 gallon of 10% liquid chlorine.
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,229
San Jose, CA
That will just keep you in a holding pattern until your test kit arrives. Hopefully your CYA and or CH aren't thru the roof, but if it was maintained with tablets or granular chlorine, a partial or full drain will be in your future.
 

Kalico

Bronze Supporter
May 29, 2021
49
San Martin, CA, USA
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thanks @DeanP66 - Yup, got it! And my test kit arrived early, so I have already done my baseline tests and getting ready for the Big Day. I have a new thread about the SLAM here: About to embark on a SLAM....

Totally appreciate all the folks willing to jump in and help. Awesome forum.
 
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