I hope I'm posting in the right forum -- I'm new, but have been lurking for a bit and trying to do all of my homework. I have been trying to use the Pool Math calculator and have read the SLAM directions, as well as the page for recommended chemicals. However, I'm a little nervous that we're doing something wrong...
Long story short (okay -- maybe not so short...): We bought a home that was rented for years, and then foreclosed on. It is an inground vinyl liner, approximately 45,000 gallons and L-shaped. The neighbors said that the pool had been consistently left open (and uncared for) for a duration of almost seven years. They did close it up this last winter, but upon opening in June, we had thousands of tadpoles and at least a foot of gunk (leaves, pine needles, miscellaneous debris) on the bottom of the pool. It opened black/brown.
We attempted to shock it right away, then started scooping. We've removed heaps and heaps of debris. At this point, I'm sure there's still SOME debris down there, but most of the time, the leaf rake comes up relatively unburdened... Whenever we've scooped for a certain amount of days WITHOUT adding chemicals, the pool obviously turns brown after churning up muck and backtracks. At one point, we got more tadpoles... At least three times we've heavily shocked with probably twice the amount of chemicals necessary (via shock bags -- about 20 lbs.) and it has turned a lighter blue color, but always super cloudy so that we can't see clearly past about a foot, at best, past the surface.
Upon finding TFP, I tried just bleach -- it didn't work as well, and I didn't have a kit for a long while as I tried to learn the ropes of pool ownership -- but just recently got a K2006 kit. Last night, we added bleach in an effort to keep the gunk/algae at bay. This time, we added 4 gallons. Before this, my husband tested FC, CC, and CYA, which all came up at zero after about four or five days without any bleach/chlorine additions).
When I finally got the kit from Amazon late last night, I got up at 6 am this morning to test the water with these results (I'm sure there's some beginner's learning-curve error involved, but I followed directions carefully):
CYA: 0 (The black dot was always visible with no change...)
TA: 20-30 (I may have been a hair under the allotted water line, which is why I say 20-30, since it was between 2 and 3 drops that achieved the red color)
pH: < 6.8 (it was more yellow than orangey-yellow enough to match the color on the scale... it took 5 drops to get to 7.2 color match)
I've read on the forum that it isn't necessary to increase CH with a vinyl liner, so I didn't adjust that. However, in my Taylor handbook (which I read the WHOLE thing at about 6am today.. haha) it indicated that I should sync up the pH and TA levels before shocking. I focused first on adding 8 lb. of Borax to increase the pH level and then 12 lb. of CYA (in socks -- some in the skimmer baskets, some in front of the return jets) to try to achieve 30ppm. I know I can't test for this for a while, but I thought it would help to maintain FC levels as I shock since it's been super hot here (95 degrees - humid - lots of direct sunlight to my pool). As my husband situated the CYA socks, I added 36 lb. of baking soda to increase the alkalinity.
An hour after these three additions (I did the Borax, waited 30 min., then we did the CYA and the baking soda), I tested again. The results were as I thought they'd be, as best as I could have estimated (going off of the 50,000 size pool recommendations and slightly adjusting for 45,000 gal). My figures at 2:30 pm today were:
FC: 3.4 ppm
CC: .8 ppm
CYA: not tested; assuming 30-40 ppm according to 12 lb. stabilizer addition from Walmart (at 98.5 CYA content)
TA: 90-100 ppm (leaving room for user error -- again, this is only my second test)
pH: ~7.0 (took one drop to achieve 7.2; two to 7.4)
CH: not tested, based on what I read about 130 being sufficient for a vinyl liner (I hope that's a correct assumption)
I read that pH will jump up some during shocking so proceeded with SLAM process and added 10 1-lb. bags of 54% chlorine hth Super Shock. (I know that it's not really recommended, but after dumping so much $$ in, and having 2 extra 10 lb. packages, we really wanted to use them up...).
Then at 3:45, I retested. Still super hot and humid out with lots of direct sunlight. We continued scooping/vacuuming the bottom. Hard to get anything, as all gunk is probably in the deep end, if there is much left... I was a little confused, as I thought perhaps it would have sucked up much more FC. Readings were:
FC: 12.6 - 15 (Did the 25 test, where 1 drop = 0.2, and at 12.6 it was mostly clear with just a tinge of pink -- at 15, the pink was almost gone, but unsure because of needing over 75 drops...)
I didn't retest CC because I wanted to preserve reagents for further testing. The pool was still very green. We backwashed -- though I know with CYA still dissolving, it's ill-advised, but it was clogged -- and added another 2 gallons of 10% chlorine just to ensure I was above shock level. Then at 5:00 did a new test. At this point, FC read 21.5. If I added two more gallons, this would mean that the FC didn't decrease much (hard to believe) or I wrongly estimated size/impact of chlorine additive. Thought continuing to add would be a good idea, since all was still green (if anything, somewhat grayer tint, but still green). We put in another 4 gallons out of frustration. 3 of those gallons were 10%. One was 12.5%.
I tested again, about an hour later, and FC level was at appx. 21.5 and CC is 1.5-2ppm.This HAS to mean the pool ate up something in terms of FC, no? Still green, with filter running, so I waited an hour and added again my 5 remaining gallons, thinking we had to shock it hard. These gallons were all 12.5%.
The only thing I can think of is that the sand must be replaced or deep-cleaned. We have a Hayward pump that my husband just replaced the spider gasket. That's what forced us to stop this past week in our efforts and set us back.
I hope we're not being overzealous with chlorine in figuring more is better.. Can someone confirm/give feedback as to my current progress? Again, in the past, we super-shocked -- so to speak -- with shock bags and it turned a brighter blue, though very cloudy. This time, it's green. Shouldn't it be bluer, based on past progress, or no, since there are fewer additives in straight bleach (although the initial shock effort today was the same shock bags -- though 10, rather than 20, 1-lb. bags).
SO frustrated right now and so much money down the drain. I just want to clear this up. It's been so, so long and my husband is at his wit's end!! So am I!