Please HELP!! Oil In my Pool!!

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eSTeC
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Joined: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 12:23

Please HELP!! Oil In my Pool!!

Postby eSTeC » Wed 31 Jan, 2007 13:38

Whenever I vacuum my pool, I get oil in it. I don't know where this oil is coming from. Let me start from the beginning...

The pool is 13' x 21'. I have a Sta-Rite pump and a heat pump. All equipment and pool is only about 3 years old.

First, the water was bypassing the heat pump. When I told this to the pool store guy, he told me to to keep water flowing thru the heat pump even if it's not being used. Ok...then I asked him if it was ok to vacuum with the water going thru the heat pump and he said since the water is being filtered first, it was ok.

So I go home and vacuum the pool. No sooner had the vacuum started sucking and oil started to fill on the surface of the pool and the water became cloudy more and more as I vacuumed. The hose goes directly into the skimmer and air is circulated thru the system but pressure builds up again and I vacuum.

So I go back to the pool store and buy some Pool First Aid to get rid of the oil. 3 days later oil is gone. 5 days later, I shock the pool. I'm a newbie to taking care of a pool so I think I over-shocked. 2 days later, I go to vacuum the pool again, this time by-passing the heat pump and again I get oil in the water.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I like taking care of my new home and pool and am an avid do-it-yourselfer but I'm inexperienced with pool maintenance (my first pool). I know if I can get the water clear again, I can maintain it well.

Any help/advice is much much appreciated.


dynamictiger
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Location: Perth, Western Australia

Postby dynamictiger » Wed 31 Jan, 2007 13:59

The first question that immediately springs to mind is does the heat pump work? This is the only source of oil I can see in your description. The oil is housed in the compressor and would somehow need to leak into the refrigerant gas and then you would also need a hole in the heat exchanger letting the oil into the water. No or low oil in the compressor and the compressor will seize. So does the heat pump work?

Sorry I am not familiar with Pool First Aid can you tell me what that is particularly what teh chemical compound is as listed on the packet?

I will need to look up Oil and look up what can break it down to get this for you, by the time you answer I should have researched this to give you a solution.
Guest

Postby Guest » Wed 31 Jan, 2007 16:29

Thank you for the reply.

I'm not sure about the chemical makeup of Pool First Aid but it's a brownish transparent liquid which slightly foams on the water surface when added. It seemed to work pretty well.

As for the heat pump...to my knowledge, it works properly. I turned it on for the first time three days ago and there were no abnormal sounds coming from the compressor or fan. Also, the weather has been abnormally cold for the past few days so it's hard to say if the heat pump had any effect in warming the water. Actually, now that I think about it, when I first turned it on, 1 day later the temperature did increase by a degree or so. Then it got too cold and leaving it on would have just been a waste so after about 2 1/2 days of it running, i turned it off.

The oil seems to come out only when I vacuum. I try not to let too much air circulate into the system prior to vacuuming by holding the hose in front of a jet and filling it with water before sticking it in the skimmer.

I bought a new filter about two weeks ago and after taking out yesterday to clean it, there is a brown stain around it some of which washed out but mostly noticeable. Now there is oil in the system. I don't see any signs of wear or anything abnormal with the pump although I haven't taken the pump apart. Should I take the pump apart and see if there may be something wrong? I've never done that before but I am pretty experienced with tools and mechanics and could easily follow recommended instructions.
dynamictiger
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Location: Perth, Western Australia

Postby dynamictiger » Wed 31 Jan, 2007 16:59

The pump is not likely to contain oil anywhere, so I think that is a waste of time.

A degree rise is about right for a heat pump in a cold situation, so this is probably not your source of oil.

You could try adding a cup full of meths to the pool and see if it kills the oil. It may not be enough but it is all I can think of at the moment.

As you have a cartridge filter our options are limited. I would like to try vacuuming to waste and vacuuming on bypass and see how that goes hmmmmmmmm.
eSTeC
Pool Newbie
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Posts: 6
Joined: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 12:23

Postby eSTeC » Wed 31 Jan, 2007 18:06

Well...I went to the pool store and brought a sample of water to have them do a series of tests. Everything was as it should be except for the Ph. I just put the recommended dosage of acid in to stabalize it. We'll see tomorrow.

Now I have another situation. I seem to have some sort of build-up in the pool. I pressure washed the deck on Sunday so i figured it might just be dust from the job. I got a brush and most of the debris brushed off but some of it still remained. It is a white fiberglass pool. Some parts of the debris won't even scrape off with the finger. It's almost like it's stained.

Any ideas??
eSTeC
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Joined: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 12:23

Postby eSTeC » Wed 31 Jan, 2007 18:29

By the way...what is "vacuum to waste"?
Pool Owner
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Location: Orange County, CA, USA

Postby Pool Owner » Thu 01 Feb, 2007 13:34

Since this is new to you, I would recommend taking it slow to see if you can identify the source of the oil. I agree that it is unlikely coming from the pump. You said that you are handy so I recommend you get a good reference pool book. Check your local library for books on the subject of pool maintenance/construction to see if there is one you like. I have a short review of a few books on my blog (noted below). Given your stated qualifications, I think you will find “The Ultimate Pool Maintenance Manual” a good choice. Since it is almost 700 pages, you need to use it like these pool bulletin boards, search for the information you need and only read the part that covers your problem.

While I know it sounds silly, could there be an oily substance in or on the vacuum hose and/or vacuum head? You said you were hooking it up through your skimmer, so unless you are changing valves just during the cleaning process I would expect the problem to be somewhere in the cleaning equipment.

FYI: From my “Lessons Learned” use a leaf canister between your hose and skimmer inlet to prevent clogging your pipes if you ever have to vacuum up lots of debris (less than $50 invested now will easily pay for itself when you have lots of leaves to get out of your pool).
Pool Owner
Orange County, CA, USA
poolforum(dot)blogspot(dot)com
eSTeC
Pool Newbie
Pool Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 12:23

Postby eSTeC » Fri 02 Feb, 2007 11:52

Thank you for the advice.

It's difficult to determine the cause of the oil. I've now gotten the pool clear and all chemicals are in balance. I did add some muriatic acid two days ago which seemed to clear up the pool and get rid of some of the residue I mentioned.

I was also reading about backwashing. I have never done this before (I've only been in the house for 1 month but I don't know if the previous owner ever did it). Should I backwash? Also, what about vacuum to waste? What's that about and how do I do that? Is it recommended?

Thanks again for your responses. This is such a great forum.
Pool Owner
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Joined: Wed 06 Dec, 2006 19:34
Location: Orange County, CA, USA

Postby Pool Owner » Wed 07 Feb, 2007 20:22

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Vacuum to waste is an option on some of the multiport valves (the valve at the filter – I think it is more common with sand filters) where the water that comes out of the pump is sent directly to “waste” (in my case that would be to a P-trap sewer connection) instead of to the filter and back to the pool. Using the vacuum to waste option drops the level of water in the pool since the water is not returning. My system with a diatomaceous earth (DE) filter only has a back wash option so I cannot vacuum to waste.

Backwashing is definitely needed for sand filters, may be use full with DE filters, and typically not needed/desired for cartridge filters. So first you need to determine which type of filter you have. If you backwash (or manually clean) a DE filter you need to have fresh DE available to put back into the system so the elements are coated.

As I mentioned before, you will probably want to get a good reference book or at least check out some of the manufacturer’s websites for descriptions of the pool circulating system components. If you can determine the make and model of your equipment, many of the newer models have owner’s manuals available on-line.
Pool Owner

Orange County, CA, USA

poolforum(dot)blogspot(dot)com

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