We are FINALLY making some progress on installing our first pool. It is a 16'x40' rectangular fiberglass inground. The builder ran into lots of problems: heavy rains, first delivered pool was cracked and had to be replaced, soil has been too wet to backfill the hole, etc., etc. It's been kind of a nightmare. On the plus side, though, the delays gave me time to start asking some questions, and that led me to this site. Maybe there's time for someone out there to help me avoid any more costly mistakes that a first-time pool purchaser can get sucked into.
Let me start by saying that I have read everything in the Pool School (boy, have I learned a lot!) and I have ordered a TF-100 test kit. Until that gets here I only have a kit with two tubes and two little bottles of liquid. I fill the tubes with pool water, put red drops in one tube to test the PH and yellow drops in the other tube to test chlorine, and compare them with a color chart. So, I have no idea what the levels are.
My questions started when the builder said he was going to put me on a maintenance plan that included using something called EZ Pool. I looked that up here and it looks like a bad idea since it's a chlorine-free system, so I'm going to go with testing and adjusting everything myself.
Question 1: The pool was placed in the hole 12 days ago and filled up about a third of the way with water (straight from the garden hose - well water - no filtration or chemical treatment of any kind). The builder told us to get in any time we wanted and have fun, so we did. After a few days the water started to turn green. I asked him about that, and he said it was normal, caused by the iron in my water reacting to the chlorine (which I don't think he had even added at that point). He put a little round floater in the pool filled with slow-release chlorine tablets. The water stayed green, so on the 10th day he put in a portable filter pump and the next day he said he put in a small bag of shock (yes, I know from Pool School that shock is a verb, not a noun, but that's what he said). The water looks better now in the shallow end, but it's still murky and a little green in the deep end. I think it may be algae, but he says the water is safe.
Question 2: The filtration system is supposed to get connected today (FINALLY!). There's a gizmo there (not hooked up yet) called "New Water model 400", and tablets to go with it. It seems to be a continuous-release chlorinator. Do I need this? The active ingredient in the tablets is "Trichloro-s-Triazinetrione." Will that be raising the water's CYA along with chlorinating it? Should I tell them not to install it?
Question 3: We ordered a Polaris pool cleaner, but it's not installed yet. I don't know the kind or model number, but the booster pump that it comes with is model PB4-60, if that helps. Now someone has told me that these are not really necessary for a fiberglass pool and they don't climb vertical walls very well. He says I'll save a lot of money and do a better job with a long-handle brush, plus I won't have to deal with the aggravation of putting it in, taking it out, de-tangling hoses, etc. My builder said that most people just leave them connected and sitting on the bottom of the pool when not using them. Should I tell them not to install it and get my money back, or do people find them worthwhile for a fiberglass pool?
I promise I'll post some test numbers when I get my kit and my water is being filtered. Until then, any help is appreciated!