I am a newbie at pool care. We moved into the house last year and had a pool service come every other week, but didn't know we still had to do some maintenance ourselves the weeks they didn't come. Luckily, our pool never turned green. This year I decided to learn about taking care of the pool, but still had the pool service come biweekly as a double check to my maintenance. Thank you for all the great information. Now onto my problem...
We opened in late May and according to the pool company, it didn't looked too bad. They added start up chemicals and so forth. I originally bought the basic Poolmaster test kit to test my levels and also brought samples out to 2 different stores to test every week. I noticed that my chlorine was always low -- usually around 1 (which was confirmed with my home kit), even after the pool service came and indicated they balanced the water and shocked the pool. Let me add that the water has always been clear. Pool store said to shock it which I did. I assumed levels went back up and added my tabs to the chlorinator, but as I started to test my water more frequently, I saw that I always stayed at 0 to <1 ppm for both FC and CC. So then I started reading more about the chemistry after which time I bought the Taylor K2006 kit to test. One night I added 7 gallons of 8.25 % and the next morning, I was again at 0 FC. I added 6 more gallons the next night, and 6 again the next day, and the chlorine always went down to 0. I read about slamming which I tried to do -- added about 13 gallons of bleach over a day, and saw that I was finally holding some chlorine. But my daily usage has been inconsistent. I've been adding enough to get to my target of 6-7 according to the chlorine/CYA chart, but I am usually back down to 3-4 by the next morning which isn't terrible, but I'm going through 1-2 gallons a day to keep the levels. I have decided to do a more proper slam process and given that I was holding some chlorine, I thought it wouldn't take too much to go to and keep at shock levels, but I am still running through jugs of bleach. My numbers as I started the process are:
CYA 50 is my best guess since I can't pinpoint when the black dot disappears (pool store reads 60-65)
And according to Leslies a while back, my phosphates were 2500+. That freaked me out so I did do a treatment with Phosfree and I left a note for the pool guy about my phosphate levels so they added phosfree (to the pool water and not to the skimmer as instructed in the directions) twice. When I got it retested, Leslies said my phosphates are still 2500+ even though my test kit reads around 500. After reading all the posts about the irrelevancy of phosphates, I am now less worried about them, but wonder if they are to blame to my chlorine usage.
Last night (10 pm) I added 5.5 jugs (121 oz) of 8.25% gallons to reach shock levels (20). This morning at 7 am, my FC was 11, CC was 0.5. I added 3 jugs to get back to 20 and closed the cover to protect from sunlight. At 11:30 am, my FC was 13.5, CC was 0.5 to 1.0 so I added 2 jugs. At 4:00 pm, FC was 17, CC was 0.5 to 1.0. Thought I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I added one jug. At 11 pm, my FC fell to 15, CC still 0.5 to 1.0. Not sure what's going on -- is this normal? I just added 1.5 jugs tonight. Left the cover open for the night and will retest in the morning. So I am confused with what is going on here. I don't understand why a few days ago when I would add two gallons, my levels would only drop from 7 to 3 ppm over 12 hours, but now as I am adding more to get to shock levels, I am losing chlorine faster -- having lost 9 ppm overnight over 9 hours, then 6.5 ppm over 4.5 hours. It slowed with the loss of 3 over the next 4.5 hours, but I'm back to 5 over 6 hours. My current lost is at a higher ppm/hour than the previous time frame. Do I keep going? As I said, my water is and has always been clear and I having been keeping the opaque cover on, only to open to add chlorine and left open overnight (the pool guy said chlorine will degrade the material faster if I always leave it covered but I do anyway due to safety reasons). When would it be appropriate for me to do the borax addition? I was thinking that may help decrease the chlorine consumption. Any advice would be much appreciated!