This is our 3rd summer having our 28x52 above ground pool which we installed ourselves. The first 1 1/2 summers we used store bought chemicals but never really acheived crystal clear water and spent a ton of money. The second half of last summer I attempted to switch to the BBB after stalking this website for hints and advice. We ended the season last year with fairly decent water but it was somewhat cloudy and would get a green tinge every now and then. I spent the winter and spring reading up on TFP and was excited when our pool opened this year to hit the BBB method head on. Our pool was crystal clear when we removed the cover the end of May, until all the junk from the cover fell into the pool, but with a few bottles of bleach things cleared up quickly, within a few days, and was crystal clear for a few days but then started to cloud and would get a slight tinge of green here and there but return to blue after a few bottles of bleach and that's where we are now. I had been using the 5-way test strips but did break down and order the K-2006, which should be here this afternoon per the tracking via Amazon. I was attempting to do a SLAM, figuring that is what I needed to do to get a hold of everything but without a proper test kit I've really just been adding a ton of bleach. I did find the Pool Essentials Pool Chlorine at Walmart yesterday, 10% and only $2.50/gallon which is less that I was paying for the Walmart brand bleach which is 8.5% ($2.98 gallon). We live in north central WI, our weather only allows at most 2 good months of swimming, 3 if you're brave, and our yard is surrounded by trees and lots of pollen and such, so maintaining the chemicals and levels has always seemed unreachable. I am hoping that with TFP I will be able to have a clear pool (that's also safe) for us to enjoy.
Yesterday we had awful storms throughout the day and were gone most the day (spent the day at Lambeau Field for our sons birthday, Go Packers!) so I did not do anything with the pool in the morning as I didn't want the pump running while we were gone with the storms. This morning when I checked the levels using the 5-way test strips, which I know aren't too accurate, what I got was:
Total Bromine - 2
Free Chlorine - 1
Total Alkalinity - 40
pH - 6.8
Total Hardness - 0
Basically everything is very low, which I suspected as I haven't done anything to it for 2 days. The water is fairly clear, you can see the steps, see the bottom, etc., but it's not crystal clear. I added one gallon of the Pool Essentials Pool Chlorine this morning and turned on the pump. Should I add more or wait until my test kit arrives, which should be around 1:00 central time, and then post my numbers here?
Also, I should note that I will be leaving for a 2 week vacation out west with my kids on Monday, my husband will be home but really prefers not to do too much with the pool, as far as testing and such, so is it realistic for him to just add chlorine each day (or every other) and keep the pump running during day, and call it good? I hate to go through all this now only to have to redo SLAM when we return in a few weeks. Thoughts?
Thanks much for all your help! Since our swimming season is so short here in WI I am excited to enjoy the pool as much as possible