Just purchased a home with an in-ground vinyl pool, mostly in sun all day, pool temp in the 80s, air temp in the 90s. Didn't do inspection of pool prior to purchase (1st mistake). Pool looked clean when purchased (5 /23), but within a week of owning this house, green water, no clue what I'm doing. Second mistake, hiring a pool company to maintain the pool (1x week). Thought pool company was going to do this for my $200/mo... sadly mistaken. Since then, I've been reading everything I could online, primarily on this forum but also other sites. It seems that pool people have a lot of differing opinions (e.g. replace sand? Not replace sand).
Here are the issues:
1. Pool company says I need a new multiport, sand change, and salt-cell, as well as electronic thingee (panel?) which runs filter and salt cell (don't know the name). Pool built supposedly in 2003. Salt cell (T-15) from 2003. Apparently new pump (I don't have make/model handy), according to listing agent. There is no salt in the pool. I ordered a salt cell, it is arriving in 1 week. Goal is to get the pool sanitized and balanced before putting in the salt and salt cell.
2. Relied on pool stores (2 different ones in my area) to tell me readings. Now know to buy my own test kit; got a good one today and have a few numbers from my kit and some from pool company.
FC in AM (7am): 2
FC in PM (7pm): 0.5
Total Chlorine pm: 1
pH am: 7
pH pm: barely 6.9 (lowest on test kit)
Tonight (6:30pm) I: backwashed till water ran clear. I added 1 lb of soda ash. I added 2 inches of water. The filter is running 24/7 to increase aeration.
(All numbers below from the pool store, yesterday):
Calcium Hardness 220
Copper 0, Iron 0
Nitrates: 30, phosphates 500. Note: No one has used the pool, so likely from other wastes? This is something I see differing opinions on: whether to treat or not treat for nitrates or phosphates.
3. History: I have been throwing in 2 packages of di-chlor a day, because it was recommended. Have been doing this for 2 weeks till I wised up and FC was virtually nothing the day after I would add it after testing with a very simple testing kit. Alkalinity was very very low as of earlier this week, per pool company, 30, they added baking soda (6lbs) to raise it 3 days ago. Then did more investigation and saw that soda ash is better for the specific issues (low alkalinity and low ph). Added about 4-5 lbs of soda ash over past 48 hours. The alkalinity is getting better! I have not been able to move the ph levels AT ALL. Pool company said it was b/c of nitrates, said I need to drain 3" of water, refill, do this 2 more times. Not sure?
4. Algae problem-- remains, is better than it was, pool water is clear for a few days after vacuuming but the algae shows up again. Not sure the type of algae, it seems to be greenish, clumps at bottom, when I brush it it poofs.
5. Need help figuring out specific steps and PRIORITIES for my $. I have tried:
-- Raising alkalinity with baking soda, now soda ash. Almost there. Thought this would also help pH.
--Not sure how to raise pH. Stuck??!
-- Think i need to shock the pool bc I can't get FC to the level it needs to be. Calculated I need to add 4 jugs of 121 fl oz of Clorox to do this, but am nervous about doing this without being home. I work 7:30am-6pm. It seems I need to be home to check the levels... so that means waiting till next weekend? But am needing some help now.
--Need to replace salt cell (already ordered). Fear-- if we add salt cell, once balanced, and the electronic panel doesn't work upon installation, then I will need to immediately hire someone to replace panel at a tune of 3,000 (?).
--Need a sand change and multiport (?).... when backwashing the multiport leaks, and there is a big rust stain on one side, so clearly has been going on a long time. Not sure.
6. Vacuuming. Okay, so I think I said that I work a lot, so I haven't (to be honest) figured out the vacuum situation. I have relied on the pool company till now, but want to do stuff on my own. The pool looks like it has the hook up for a fancy pump vacuum, but those are crazy expensive. Right now, we have the type of vacuum done through the skimmer. I would like to get the Dolphin Nautilus robot to plug in ($500) to suck stuff up, and then I can clean the filters. Thoughts?
Thank you, and I'm sorry if I left out any important info!