Fiberglass Salt Pool..Green Algae Water..Drain & Refill..

by Nick

I moved into a house that has been vacant for a couple of years. There is a rather large salt water pool in the back that has been unattended for years. It is basically a wildlife habitat for frogs and such.

The pool and equipment are only about 6 years old. Everything seems to work, and the owner said that a year ago he emptied the pool and refilled it with tap water.

He came by last October and topped it off for some reason. Anyway, the pool is inground and made of fiberglass. It has a nice concrete deck around it with a nice fence. This pool had no cover, and there are many trees around, so it is full of leaves and tadpoles right now.

I am assuming the first steps would be to get the trees trimmed, and get all the leaves away from the pool deck. Then get all of the stuff out of the pool itself.

I do not have any pool vacuum currently. It has a sand filter, and is missing the basket from the hole near the skimmer I guess you'd call it? I can get the basket and the proper test kits and chemicals.

Really, I am wondering if I can get this pool up and running this season without spending a fortune on it.

Is it easier to drain the pool in this case? It seems to me it would be the only way for me to really clean it out and scrub it down.

Being I don't have one of those vacuums, do you think it would be best for me to drain this pool to clean it out, or would it be better for me to hire someone with the gear to clean it out for me? Water is not cheap here, but neither is pool service I would imagine.

Secondly, if I do drain it, how far away from the pool should I pump the water. The owner said when he drained it last year, Water started coming back into the pool in the form of a leak on one side. He said they made some attempt at patching it. He topped the pool off in October, and it stayed up for a long time.

I know down in south Florida the water table would push a pool out of the ground if you emptied it. I was down in the Florida keys before I moved here.

Any way, it sure would be nice to have a pool this year. It has already been in the low 90's several times in the last two weeks.

I can refer to your awesome site for the rest of the details. I just did not see anything about the draining process, or what would be best for a pool that's this far gone.



Thanks for the question Nick

I did pools in Arizona for years. I've been in many backyards with pools just as you have described. There are really only two ways to get your pool up and running. Like you said, either drain and refill, or with cleaning and chemicals.

Honestly, I've always done it on a case by case basis. Some pools that I've done needed to be drained and refilled. Others were borderline. I don't have the pictures of the pool so I'd be unable to tell you what to do in your situation.

In the question you mentioned a drain and refill a couple of times so I'm thinking that's the route you're probably going to take. You might just need to do a partial refill, maybe 1/3 - 1/2. Be sure to close the skimmer valve if you're using the pump motor.

You'll want to use the WASTE setting for draining. Or you can rent a submersible pump. I've always tried to get the drain hose as close to the street as possible because I'd be draining 10,000 gallons or more. You probably don't have a problem with the water table being high.

A couple of things:

Scoop out as much debris from the pool as you can. You can get small push broom to go along the water line to break up as debris that sticks to the sides.

You want to do this because if you just start throwing chlorine in the pool the leaves, grass, etc...will use up alot of the chlorine. You want as much chlorine going to the algae as possible.

Get a good large leaf rake, not a square blue skimmer. They're useless.

You can use the pool filter along with the submersible pump to drain the pool faster. Close the skimmer valve and be sure the bottom drain is clear of any debris, as best you can, before starting up the motor.

If you don't there will be little if no water going through the drain and that will burn up the pump motor very quickly.

It is important that you do get a vacuum. You can vacuum to WASTE which will kill two birds, so to speak. Do this after you scoop out as much as you can.

You'll be draining the pool and vacuuming at the same time. But remember to not allow the water to get below the skimmer because you'll draw in air. Keep filling the pool.

You have to weigh the cost and time for each kind; getting a pool service or drain/refill and chemicals on your own. If the money is close, I'd go with the drain/refill.

Be sure to check the sand in the filter for any channeling. This is when the sand is so greasy or packed with debris the water bypasses the sand, goes down the sides, and returned back to the pool.

You can feel around the inside sides of the filter. If there are holes or pits, you have channeling. Use GLB degreaser. It works very well. If you do have channeling, check back and I'll tell you the best way to use it.

If you either do a partial drain/refill or simply try to clear the pool up like it is, these links will help:

Swimming Pool Algae

Green Pool Water

Swimming Pool Vacuums

Pool Start Up

Pool Shock

Water Testing Kit

Swimming Pool Sand Filters

Pool Sand Filter Maintenance

Swimming Pool Chlorine

The chlorine and shock pages have a chlorine chart. This will tell you how much you need.

Remember you're going to go through alot of chlorine so don't be surprised is you get the level up to 15ppm, then the next day you have none.

It's doing it's job in killing the algae. Try to keep the level above 5ppm. You can also use a good algaecide during this process to help out with keeping the algae gone. Algaecide is normally used to prevent algae, but it will work to some extent while you're clearing it up.

You don't need to use an algaecide on a regular basis if you keep the chlorine level between 1.5 - 3.5ppm and the Cyanuric acid between 30 - 50ppm. The CYA is the stabilizer for the chlorine.

While shocking the pool be sure to keep the salt chlorinator cell OFF. It doesn't need to run and you might end up ruining it. When I shock the Y salt pool I turn the cell off.

Hope this helps and let me know how it turns out for you

Have a great swimming season


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