I have an Intex SWG with copper ionizer. I've been using it for 3 years now on an Intex Metal Frame Pool and have never had anything but clear, beautiful water with very little maintenance. I've been using HTH test strips to test for Salt, Free Chlorine, PH, Total Alkalinity, Total Hardness & Cyanuric Acid. I never test for copper and my FC is usually pretty low (low enough that I don't see anything on the test strips). But according to the pool store (I bring the water to the pool store in the beginning of the year to have them test it) it's fine for swimming.
The SWG manufacturer recommends the following "Preferred Water Chemistry Reading":
Copper Ions - 0.1-0.2 ppm
Free Chlorine - 0.5-3.0 ppm
Combined Chlorine - 0ppm
pH - 7.4-7.6
Total Alkalinity - 100-140 ppm
Calcium Hardness - 200-400 ppm (mine is normally much lower but I have a vinyl AGP)
Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) - 20-40 ppm
Salt - 3000 ppm
Once I get these levels right in the beginning of the summer, I really don't have to add anything for the rest of the summer. Since the chlorine is normally so low that it doesn't show up on the strips, I throw a bag of shock in about once a month, just so I feel a little safer, but that's about it. Everything else just pretty much stays the same all summer long (according to those strips).
Last week we got a new pool. An all-resin 18'x52" above ground pool to replace the Intex metal frame. We are keeping our Intex sand filter and SWG. Since this pool is going to be around a long time, I want to do everything I can to take really good care of it. I joined this forum when I first got my Intex, but since I never really had issues, I didn't have to do much. This time around I'm trying to be more proactive. I'm about to purchase a TF-100 kit along with the K-1730 Taylor Copper Test, Taylor K-1766 Salt Test and Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer.
I've done a lot of research on here and below are my questions:
1. Is it possible that my water stays clear with such low chlorine levels because of the copper ionizer?
2. Is it safe to swim in the pool when the strips don't indicate that any chlorine is present?
3. Is it possible that the strips I use aren't detecting the chlorine, but there is still enough in the water?
4. Is it better for me to use the recommended chemistry from TFP or from the SWG manufacturer? And why?
5. Does the TFP proper water chemistry method take into consideration the fact that I have a copper ionizer? If not, how should the recommended levels changed based on that fact?
6. Do you think it's really necessary for me to buy all of those test kits?
7. Should I stick with just the test strips for copper and salt?
I should also mention that one year my hair did turn green and I had no idea it was from the copper. Now that I know, I'd like to avoid that if possible.
For the new pool, we brought the water to the pool store yesterday and they said it was ready to swim. When I tried testing with the strips last night, everything was good but the chlorine was non-existent. I'm starting to think I just need a more accurate chlorine test!
I'm sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible. Please let me know if I left out anything important.