First off, I love this place. Our pool has been amazing, 40,000 gallons and it is the clearest pool I have ever swam in.
My current readings from the TFT-100 are:
TA = 100-110
FC = 4
CC = 0.5
CH = 75
pH = 7.2
CYA = 60
I've been dropping my pH using muriatic acid to try to get my TA down. It was at 150, and I've managed to get it down to 100-110 after a couple of cycles over a few weeks. Right now the pH is on the low side as I just used acid the other day. The water is noticeably different, it's never bothered my skin or eyes before, but there is a slight irritation and the smell is off. So I think it might be slightly below 7.2 but the pH read looks very orange. I was thinking about throwing in a box of 20 Mule Borax I have on hand to get the pH up a bit. Borates sound very beneficial so I want to use them to help buffer the pH and chlorine even more. If I do, I will order some test strips for borates, but I figured it would be safe to throw a box in since I need like 10lbs of it anyway according to the calculator.
I go through a lot of chlorine (.5-.75 10% 121 bottles daily), I tend to come in at 1-2.5 FC in the drop test every day I go into the pool. The CC tends to be 0.5 or 0, and seems to vary day to day, but hasn't gone above 0.5. I tend to add in the morning or middle of the day as that's when I go in the pool, I know adding at night is better it just has been when I've been around the pool. I want to try shifting to a later schedule of testing and adding to the pool.
I originally planned on going SWG but I got scared away as the new liner we had to put on had some issues and I've heard mixed feedback about SWG, but I am seriously considering it now as buying 10-20 gallons of chlorine/bleach every 3-4 weeks and looking around for stock and pouring it in daily isn't fun. A 40K gallon pool will require a huge generator to run for only 4-8 hours and I've heard a lot of people say they only last around 4 years but I'm seriously reconsidering it now that I have the pool in order and working good.
So my questions are:
1) Should I add borates and if I do what's the best way to do it. I put a handful in already to see how it reacts to the water. It is very clumpy and looks like it would require a lot of help if I put in boxes at a time.
2) I have friends and family coming over tomorrow, would adding a box to bring the pH up a little until I get borates strips a good idea? Will it cause any cloudiness or issues in the short term? The eye irritation is extremely minor and nothing like what I'm used to from other pools, but it is noticeably different than it has always been in the 2 months I've been maintaining the pool.
3) when testing, do I count the drop that takes it from slight slight pink to clear (FC drop) or from light pink to bright pink? A lot of times on those two tests it is clear or pink depending on the test, but I know another drop will amplify the color from very light pink to clear or light/medium pink to deep pink. I've been counting that last drop even though I don't even have to use a drop as I know when it is that close but I am not sure if I should. It hasn't been a big deal but I am curious.
4) I've been doing the acid thing because I've noticed the pH kept wanting to be at 7.8-8.0, I've brought it down a few times to 7.5 and it was 7.8 really quickly. So I figured out my TA is too high and I'm trying to get it around 50-80. I've heard mixed feedback on 50 or 80. So I'm curious what is a better target so I don't have to constantly add acid.
Thanks, you guys are awesome!