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Green Pool Clean up


When a pool is neglected, it quickly deteriorates into a nasty algae infested mess that is unsightly and a potential health hazard.  When a pool is in such a state of disarray, a process known as a ‘cleanup’ is required.  For the purposes of this chapter, a cleanup simply refers to all the steps associated with turning a nasty mess into a beautiful swimming pool.  Knowing the proper procedures for a cleanup will save significant time and money.  There are three factors to consider when starting a cleanup.  First, note the characteristics of the pool and the condition of the water.  Second, check the equipment and make a list of any parts that will need to be replaced.  Third, develop a plan of attack and begin the cleanup process.  With the right knowledge; a cleanup can be a very satisfying process.  In a short time, you will witness a useless swamp turn into a sparkling aquatic environment that the entire family can enjoy!

Unfortunately, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to cleaning a pool that is in a horrible state of disarray.  All pools are different and what method to use for cleaning depends on several factors (length of time the pool has been green, amount of debris in the pool, condition of equipment, etc.).  When someone calls me to do a cleanup, one of the first questions I ask is if the pool has a screen over it.  Unscreened pools can be a nightmare due to all the leaves/debris that can accumulate on the bottom. 

If the pool hasn't been green a long, then most likely, you can simply shock it and run pump until it clears (cleaning the filter frequently). However, if the pool is really bad, you'll need a more aggressive plan of attack.

Cleanup Procedure - Shortened Version (Day 1)
  1. Determined how much debris is on the bottom of the pool
  2. Inspect the pool equipment and note any problems or parts that need to be replaced
  3. Test the chlorine, pH, phosphates and TDS
  4. Start adding fresh water to the pool
  5. Remove all debris from pool
  6. Vacuum the bottom of the pool sending everything out to waste (depending on the severity of the algae, this may be done on day 2)
  7. Shock the pool (typically, 1 gallon of acid and several jugs of liquid chlorine)
  8. Brush down all surfaces of the pool
  9. Clean the filter but then leave everything off
Cleanup Procedure - Shortened Version (Day 2)
  1. Note the water clarity and check the chlorine and pH. The pH should be low and chlorine 3ppm or greater. Inspect for live algae and if necessary, shock the pool again.
  2. Vacuum (or re-vacuum) the pool sending everything to waste. Continue to add fresh water to keep the pool up to level.
  3. Brush the entire pool again – net out any debris on the surface.
  4. Depending on the water clarity, either follow the procedure for flocing or filtering.
Procedure for Flocing - Day 3 (use this procedure if the water clarity is poor)
  1. Proceed after all algae is dead and all debris have been removed from the pool.
  2. Adjust pH to 7.2 or higher (it will probably require the use of Soda Ash to raise pH)
  3. Pour floc out around the perimeter of the pool while the pump is on. Use your brush to agitate the water. Allow the floc to mix with the pool water for about an hour and then turn everything off. *I normally use double the recommended dose (2 bottles).
  4. Turn the pump off (at the breaker) and do not disturb the water for 24 hours
  5. The next day, observe the pool… the water should be noticeably clearer with all the waste material collected on the bottom. Carefully put your vacuum in the pool and vacuum all the floc material off the bottom and out to waste (amazing stuff)!
  6. Turn the pump on and allow the system to run for 24/hours (clarifier may be used).
Procedure for Filtering (use this procedure if the water quality is decent)
  1. Make sure the filter is clean and the pool is set where most of the water is skimmed from the surface.
  2. Use clarifier and run the filter 24 hours.
  3. The next day, clean the filter (make sure to keep the chlorine to at least 3ppm)
  4. Brush the pool daily until water is clear
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 until the pool is clear. Then set your timer to run at least 8hrs/day
Final Stage of the Clean up

After you clear the water (either by flocing or filtering or a combination of both), you can start balancing the pool water. If needed, add stabilizer and adjust the total alkalinity.

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