Bought House, Gained a Pool

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Noggin
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Joined: Mon 30 Nov, 2009 07:03

Bought House, Gained a Pool

Postby Noggin » Mon 30 Nov, 2009 08:03

My wife and I bought a house here in Austin, TX about a month ago and the owner at the time leased the home back from us for the month of November while he was searching for a new home for himself. After the purchase, we did a walk through where he told us about the house and how to use the sprinkler system, maintain the pool, etc. He basically said all he does is backwash the system once a week, empty the skimmer filter every 2 days or so, empty the pump filter once a month, run the sweeper a few hours a day, and keep a 3" chlorine tablet in the skimmer filter.

The pool has a Polaris 360 sweeper scooting around the bottom trying to keep things clean. I specifically asked if it had a filter and was told that the only filters were the above ground sand filter and the one for the skimmer (is that the right term?) on the side of the pool. He moved out early last week and we were finally able to have full access to the house. The bottom of the pool was slap full of leaves and debris and there was a fair amount of stuff on top of the pool as well. I don't know if he quit maintaining the pool or if it only takes a couple of days to get that far gone.

So I turned on the sweeper and let it run for a few hours and came back out to check on it. It didn't put a dent in it, so I pulled it up out of the water and easily saw that there was a sock on it that was stuffed full of leaves. I emptied it and dropped it back into the water and it started doing its thing finally. I emptied it again and again every hour or two for the next 6 hours or so. Finally, it looks like skimmer is working as there is more and more visible pool bottom.

Now that it is about four days later, it looks like there are two spots that the skimmer just doesn't go to. Additionally, it appears that it just loves one of the corners of the pool as every time i looked out the window it was stuck in that dang corner. I tried using the scooper on the long handle to get the leaves, but that was just a waste of time... but I noticed that under the leaves, the pool bottom is brown. I read elsewhere on the forum that a layer of calcium has built up over dirt, and to clean it I'll have to raise the chlorine levels quite a bit and scrub it for a long time to get it cleaned off. Is that accurate?

Anyway, I dipped a test strip into the water and did the color comparison. pH was at the top end of the charte, and chlorine ppm was at 0. *Sigh* The other two colors I think were OK (don't remember now but I can go back to the house this evening as we are still preparing for the move). As he said to do, I dropped a 3" chlorine tablet in the skimmer filter.

So I guess I have a few general questions...
1. I think the climate in Austin is warm enough that I don't need to ever close the pool. Is that right?
2. Is it reasonable to think that just dropping a chlorine tablet in the skimmer filter is 90% of the chemical maintenance that will be required?
3. How long does it take for leaves on top of the pool to sink to the bottom of the pool?
4. Is there a such thing as a manual vacuum cleaner for a pool so I can just walk around and suck up the leaves from the bottom without having to hope the skimmer will one day decide to go into the two areas it just refuses to go to?


pool care

Re: Bought House, Gained a Pool

Postby pool care » Mon 30 Nov, 2009 10:16

I think the climate in Austin is warm enough that I don't need to ever close the pool. Is that right?

Yes, keeping the pool open is also easier and looks better.
Is it reasonable to think that just dropping a chlorine tablet in the skimmer filter is 90% of the chemical maintenance that will be required?

Unfortunately not. Firstly you have to add pH reducer to get the pH to normal levels of 7.2-7.4. At high pH the chlorine doesn't work and the pool can suffer scaling.
You will need to supplement the tablets with a non-stabilized chlorine (either liquid or cal hypo granules).
An algaecide will help in the warmer months but is usually not needed in the winter.
If you have a lot of 'dust' in the water you may need to add a flocculant too.
Focus on the pH and Free Chlorine for now. You will definitely need a fair amount of chlorine initially.
How long does it take for leaves on top of the pool to sink to the bottom of the pool?

Anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. It's best to scoop them out before they sink using a leaf net. Leaves left in the water 'eat up' all the chlorine so they should be dealt with daily if possible.
Is there a such thing as a manual vacuum cleaner for a pool

Yes, you can get a pool pole, vacuum head and hose from any pool supply outlet.
Noggin
Pool Enthusiast
Pool Enthusiast
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon 30 Nov, 2009 07:03

Bought House, Gained a Pool

Postby Noggin » Tue 01 Dec, 2009 07:09

Thanks for the response. I stopped by a pool supply shop and bought one of those vacuum head things that work with a garden hose. It was supremely simple in theory and worked awesome. As I was putting it away, I found one that the previous owner left behind. Oh well, my new one is, well, new.

I forgot to add pH reducer (I didn't get there until really late last night) but I did throw in a couple bags of shock that the pool store guys said should help with the pH level and get the free chlorine back up.
pool care

Bought House, Gained a Pool

Postby pool care » Tue 01 Dec, 2009 16:53

:thumbup:

One comment: shock chlorine will increase the pH rather than reduce it. After shocking, the pool may need a little more pH reducer than usual.
Noggin
Pool Enthusiast
Pool Enthusiast
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon 30 Nov, 2009 07:03

Bought House, Gained a Pool

Postby Noggin » Tue 01 Dec, 2009 21:20

Well I went back tonight and checked it and added some pH reducer. Now, free chlorine was too high but I think that's normal for a day or two after shocking. I also figured out how to backwash and fixed my pressure gauge too. Shouldn't be long 'till I'm a pro at this (I hope). It'll be nice after we move in though so I don't have to drive over there after work, clean the pool, then get back in the truck and brave traffic again.

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