This is my very first post here so I apologize in advance if I'm not super knowledgeable. We have a 3 year old 22,000 gallon saltwater pool in PA. We seem to be having a hard time maintaining our chlorine levels. It started 2 weeks ago when we took water to a pool store to double check my husbands results(he uses a dropper kit to test and checks it regularly). We were told the total and free chlorine readings did not match. I will admit until then we did not know that they needed to match. She had me add a large amount of shock to bring those figures into balance. Which skyrocketed the chlorine levels. We turned down the dial to maybe 20 in the generator and eventually my husband turned it off for a day or so to bring the levels down. She also told us that we had phosphates of 2500 in the water. I checked all of our readouts from prior years & we never had any. So she said once the chlorine readings matched, to use Phos Out-that phosphates can tie up the chlorine and can cause the situation we were having with the numbers not being equal. Since then we have had the generator on 50, which is normal as compared to prior years. My husband checked the water Sunday after we returned from a trip and it seemed like there was barely any chlorine in the pool. He added some shock and super chlorinated. This brought the levels up temporarily but they dropped again. I took the pool water to the same pool store yesterday and these are the readings:
Total Chlorine 1.2
Free Chlorine .8
Total Alkalinity 145
Calcium Hardness 300
Total Diss Solids 4900
Since then, I added 6lbs pf ph reducer-which is common for us-seems like it always creeps up.
I also added 1 lb of chlor guard granules.
And 9 oz clarifier.
As of this morning the water is crystal clear and according to test strips the chlorines match and are around 1. To me that's still low. Super chlorinate is still on and the dial is at 50.
I was told to add more phos out(8oz) every 2 days to reduce the phosphates. I have not done this yet and hesitate to because I know once I add it the water will become cloudy.
My question is-could the phosphates be causing the chlorine issue? The guy that installed our pool said he wouldn't worry about phosphates. Are these chlorine levels an issue? What else are we doing wrong? I am very particular about the pool water & always want it to be perfect-which seems impossible to maintain. Even though my husband checks regularly, I feel like we don't know everything about pool chemistry. So when I go to a pool store, am I being a sucker by buying everything they tell me? Any help or guidance you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.