First time I've posted here, but trust me that I think I've spent more time this past week putting myself through Pool School than the pretty lady sitting next to me would have preferred...
But, I've promised her it's all going to be worth it to keep our first pool hassle-free! Our little 14 footer's certainly nothing extravagant, but I've always had the "Do it right, and you'll only have to do it once" mentality, and from what I've read so far on the forums, that puts me in agreeable company here. We'd love to have a larger IG one day, but we're still on the road to homeownership and saving up some money down, so a vinyl AG we picked up on sale seemed like a great option for us to have some fun without breaking the bank. Of course, nothing is ever as easy as we'd like, but I think I found TFP just in time to save myself a few major headaches. My parents had a vinyl AG up for a few seasons when I was growing up, so I knew the barebones basics, but it took a little Pool Schoolin' to figure out where all my chlorine was going. ("Whaaa? You mean I need stabilizer too?... Oh. Guess that explains my crystal-clear Chlorine readings...")
Granted, some of my uphill battle turns out to be unpreventable-- after getting a little education under my belt and testing our fill water, I can proudly say our city makes the Hall of Shame with TA and CH both >300. I question the actual validity of the specific results when a test that needs THAT much reagent, but TA measured at 340 and CH at 390... I take it with many +/- grains of salt. But, now that I've got a little handle on chemistry, I'm planning to commit one of the most frequent cardinal sins I see admonished here-- Bring on the Trichlor!
I know that there's not much love lost for pucks at TFP, but taking a look at my full battery of test results, I daresay it actually makes some chemical sense:
*Note: I didn't know about TFP before we had already purchased our test kit, so I'm currently making do with the available reagents I have. It just has the OTO test regimen, so I'll eventually spring for FAS-DPD reagents as well. Since I know I haven't added any stabilizer aside from the Trichlor, I'm also holding off on a CYA test since it only comes with enough of the reagent for two tests. I've been tracking the Trichlor addition, however, and PoolMath tells me that the 8oz I've put in, I should currently expect it to be around 10.
Up to this point, I used 10% bleach for the initial fill, although it certainly didn't matter much. Without understanding the importance of stabilizer, it only served as a delicious sacrifice to the sun gods. With the disappointing TA of the fill water, I also find the pH continually creeping up. The initial pH testing was around 7.4, and it's risen as high as 8 before I really stepped up the Trichlor, which I'm now adding about four half-ounce 1" pucks every day to the skimmer basket.
Since I've really ramped up the rate at which I'm putting in Trichlor, at least until I reach a more defensive CYA level, I obviously don't need to supplement with bleach right now. I figure the higher TC/FC levels from stacking them in is an acceptable tradeoff for the short term-- at least I know I'll have plenty in reserve should any unwanted organics get the bright idea to move in. It honestly just seems to make sense given my particular set of circumstances; it's keeping the day-to-day chlorine levels high enough that solar burnoff doesn't put me at algae risk, while slowly accumulating enough CYA that it won't become a concern-- all with the added benefit of keeping the pH a little lower and chipping away at that ridiculous TA!
I know it runs the risk of stirring up some mixed emotions, knowing that the resources and information presented here are easy enough to grasp that y'all have already turned me into a convert for keeping this pool genuinely Trouble-Free... Even though it's got a newbie singing the praises of turning to the "dark side" with stabilized pucks!
Huge thanks to everyone that contributes to the forum and resources, I don't even want to think about all the nightmares that could've happened otherwise!
My heroes forever!