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Swimming pool help please


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This could very well turn out to be a case of 'buy in haste, repent at leisure'........

Last week, we decided that it was a good idea to get a pool for the back garden, and ended up going for a 12' Bestway Fast Set pool that came with a filter pump. I had persuaded myself that this filter pump was just about all that was needed to keep the pool usable throughout the summer.

Anyway, speaking to a colleague, he asked what groundsheet I had - err, none??? And then he asked if I had all the chemicals for it - errr, what bloody chemicals?

It also turns out that the pool doesn't come with any kind of cover (I didn't read the specs properly), so I am going to need one of those too!

So, I have a pool sitting in a box - a six year old with armbands and floaty things sitting in packets, nagging my face off to get the pool up, and yet it appears that I have no chance of getting it up and running this weekend?

I am intending putting the pool on our patio, so its surface is flat and solid - would I need a groundsheet?

Do I need all the chemicals just to get started, or can I get them next week? Do I need them at all, and if so what exactly do I need?

Would the pool be OK coverless for a few days until I can get a cover? And would a solar cover really make all that much difference to the water temperature?

Thanks in advance

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Welcome to the forum.


Welcome to the joy of pool ownership...


Where in the country is the pool located?


Yes, garden hose water needs chemicals right off the bat, then chemicals on an ongoing basis.


There are things like: muriatic acid (very dangerous, wear eye, skin and lung protection); stabilizer; oxidizer; pH up; pH down and iron remover, plus many more. The iron remover is required during filling to eliminate the possibility of permanent rust staining from the tap water iron.


Take a deep water sample, arm length in the deep end, bring it to the local pool store. They will do a free analysis and sell you the correct chemicals. Know the water volume.


Also get some test strips to make ongoing analysis easy.


On one pool I have a salt system. It makes care (and chemical cost) MUCH easier. On my other pool I float tablets, higher chemical cost and more effort.


Both of my in-ground pools are uncovered, southern Florida. One is heated, maintained at 80°F. The pool heater runs about 6-8 hours to restore / maintain the temperature in a ~70°F ambient temperature. I run during daylight hours to use the most solar energy possible.


Both require periodic effort to remove vegetation that falls into the water. I have an automatic Zodiac pool vacuum chug chugging along in one, I use a manual wand vacuum in the other.


Both require weekly filter and leaf catcher bucket cleaning.


Yes, a cover will help with attaining / maintaining good water temperature. A pool heater will ensure that the desired water temperature is provided. My Build Right BR115XW pool heater is quiet and efficient, w/ a 5 year warranty and a no-rust plastic cabinet. It provides 117K BTU at 80°F ambient air temperature and 70K BTU at 50°F ambient. I put a locking cover on this heater so the AirBnB tenants don't mess w/ the settings. Also, matching padlocks on the main electrical controls...

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Uhh no no no!

First off I have lots of pool experience. Head over to the Trouble Free Pool forum as far as chemicals. The worst thing you can do is trust the idiots at the pool store when it comes to chemicals. Don’t believe me? Try this. Take a bucket of water. In fact take two to two different pool stores preferably from someone else’s pool. Do each one on a different day or at least morning band afternoon. Have them run both samples. If you are lucky one store might give you the same results but usually not.

Ok and the chemicals? Totally overpriced. I have paid $20 for what amounts to a box of $0.99 Arm and Hammer grocery store baking soda. Or muriatic acid for roughly 1000% markup over the auto store price. Bleach is cheaper even if you buy the liquid bottles at Walmart! Expect to pay hundreds of dollars per season in the pool store. And if you are truly feeling like donating to pool store profits here’s an easy method. They have a product that goes by several names but the key chemical is biguanide. It works sort of, for a little while, at massive profits even by pool store standards. That’s until the water molds start and you can’t kill them after spending hundreds on chemicals. I’m not making this up. There are issues to be sure like making sure the salt (if you run a salt system) does not contain iron remover but other than that I buy a few things from Amazon and the rest locally, just not from the pool store. You can easily buy chlorine at the discount store if that’s your thing or go salt water. Bromine is just an overpriced chlorine alternative that is basically chlorine and biguanide is the biggest scam going.

First get educated. Head over to a web site called troublefreepools.com and most important their awesome forum. Second get a Taylor test kit off Amazon. There are lots of moving parts here. TFP tells you what testing stuff you need and which tests work best. Third if you can stand the price get a saltwater system. Why? Super stable, super cheap chemicals, crystal clear water sand the least amount of work. But a titanium chlorine generator cell is not cheap.

Ok so quick scenario of a worst case. So I just put in a 14,000 gallon in ground fiberglass pool. Poured down rain for weeks so no concrete yet. I just got the salt in and was circulating water just to get construction stuff out. No testing because no test kit. That stayed with the old house. Wife and daughters decide to have a pool party and spring this on me!! So I go to Lowe’s and buy a tarp to lay over the rebar and a test kit. pH is close but salt is low, not enough stabilizer (cyanuric acid) which just makes the chlorinator work harder, needs more buffering. Worst problem is I’m down around 0.5 ppm chlorine. Pool party in one hour. Even at max output no way I can fix the chlorine. So off to Walmart. 4 jugs of bleach and a box of baking soda. Dropped it all in slowly in the skimmer with some stabilizer and salt the pool contractor had on site. Pool guests arrive, stave them off with food to give it time to circulate (pump cranked up to cleaning speed) and things are looking good 20 minutes later and no issues at all.

This is an extreme example. As I’ve said I’ve done my I own work opening, maintaining, and closing pools for years. I know what works and what doesn’t. The pool store doesn’t even know about liquid bleach and would tell you what I did was impossible or dangerous. I’m not saying this is a good way to run a pool just that an average person can easily do it.

Only thing I’d say about TFP is they like to run salt water systems at 0.5-1 ppm chlorine. I found it’s just not easy to control down there. 3-5’ppm is much easier to control and I had no algae and crystal clear water. Don’t believe the 10-30 ppm the pool store tells you. It’s wrong but they just use some software program that is designed to sell chemicals at inflated prices.

Or if you just want to spend money have the pool store put it in and send someone over once a week to maintain it for you. You trust your money and your health to a 16 year old high school kid on their first time part time job with a boss that’s a hippie straight out of the 60s right? I thought so.

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@paulengr is correct.


The local pool store sells products at retail prices.


While it is possible the clerk is clueless, in my southern Florida area, more than 50% of the homes have in-ground pools and my experience is that all the local pool stores have provided me invaluable information, with all clerks having great hands-on experience.


I am not a chemist (I don't even play one on TV). When I started, pool ownership / maintenance / repair was totally new to me.


While reading on-line is a great way to glean information, direct solicitation from experienced technicians cannot be beat. I would have ZERO hesitation asking paulengr about ANY of my pool problems or questions.


My new pool ownership included years of pool store visits for part of the support, including purchasing their expensive chemicals.


The local pool stores sell jugs and refills of liquid chlorine, that can be a useful part of pool maintenance. 

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  • 1 year later...

If you want to heat your pool as quickly as possible, a gas pool heater is your best bet. An above-ground pool can be a great addition to any, and with the addition of a solar heater, you will be able to enjoy it more. In my search to find a solar pool heater for installing anywhere, I stumbled upon this sunheatersolar pool heater. This heating blanket increases a 16000-gallon pool temperature to about 6 to 10 °F more. It also has a reel system, so when we need to store this solar heater because it’s off-season, we can easily roll it up.

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