I am pretty new to this forum, and loving it! I am so very thankful I discovered it very early in my pool ownership process (I bought my house last year, the pool hadn't been used in a few years, and I just opened it and started maintaining it last month.) I have everything to the point where I'm comfortable swimming in it, but even after extensive reading, I still have some things I'm confused/concerned about. I wanted to compile a list of questions that I have. Please, no one feel obligated to answer all of the questions...I have a ton of them! Just take a few you can answer easily! I hope it's okay to include them all in one post...I didn't want to create a ton of separate threads Thank you all SO much, in advance, for any help you can provide.
First, my current stats, with explanations when helpful:
Combined Chlorine: pretty much negligible
pH: 7.0 (maddening! "ph Down", boxes of Borax, and I still always get the joyful pee yellow of a 7.0 reading)
Alkalinity: 110 (I've gotten it down from 180 or so via muriatic acid. It's tough trying to handle two things that counter one another...)
Calcium Hardness: ~200 (was virtually zero when I opened the pool, I gradually dumped in a whole 50 pound bag of calcium flakes and I think I'm set now)
CYA: 100? (I'll comment more on this later, but I was shooting for 60)
My pool is the first picture. The water is cloudy there, but it's been clearing up perfectly after brushing, it just takes a while.
Here come the questions and issues!
1. pH has been the single most frustrating thing. EVERY time I test for pH, I have received the wonderful pee yellow of a 7.0 reading! Neither "pH Up" nor Borax has had any noticeable effect as best I can tell. And I've dumped in a lot of each.
2. Alkalinity has been consistently high. I've dumped a lot of chemicals in the pool already, and there are still leaves and dirt in the bottom of the deep end, so this may be understandable. But three whole bottles of muriatic acid later, my alkalinity is still at about 110 (down from maybe 180), and I have a sinking feeling it'll be higher tomorrow. What is the best way I can handle the double whammy of low pH and high alkalinity?
3. I have chemical stains (from chlorine, muriatic acid, etc.) on the concrete around my pool. Some are my fault, many are not. Is there a good way to get rid of them, or do they just come with the territory? An example picture is attached (504...why are the pictures posting in reverse order )
4. The back part of my ladder looks like it had some THINGIES on it where it goes into the concrete. When my pool was opened, these thingies were not installed, and I do not know if I even have them. I would like to know whether these thingies actually exist, and if so what are they really called and how do I get two more.
5. My filter/skimmer: This is one of my main issues. (Only three attachments are allowed? Oh no!) I have no idea what type this is, how I can check how well it's working, and how I can maintain it. How do I figure out what type it is? Where does the "earth" go, if applicable?
6. Is there a section/topic on what to actually do with your pool? Like how to organize a great party, or what games to play? (I have no children, and while I'm not asking about anything "adult", I'm also looking for something other than Marco Polo lol)
7. What is the shelf life of BBB chemicals? Can I start stocking up on bleach for next season?
8. Is there any kind of "break-in" needed for BBB? Can I just start using Clorox and Borax right now, or do I need to wait until a certain point? (I've used nothing but pool chlorine to this point, but I've already tried Borax in hope of keeping my alkalinity down.)
9. How big do you think my pool is? The shallow end is three feet, but it dips down to eight feet FAST just after the point where my ladder is. My guess is 30,000 gallons, is that too high?
10. For BBB, about how much bleach do you think I'd be adding each day?
11. Can I still use my skimmer with chlorine pills (they were left here from the previous owner, and still seem to work well!
12. What if i used scented bleach for chlorine? Would that make my pool smell nice? How long would it take for the smell to wear off?
13. I have two thermometers: one is a polar bear drinking some kind of yellowish beverage, and one is a rubber ducky. They often don't match. Which reading should I believe? Why?
14. The BBB method recommends I test every day. I can get kind of lazy. What if I tested every other day? What are the worst case scenarios that could happen?
15. How long is too long with the same water? My water's probably been in the pool for years and years. How do I know when it's time to change? When it is time, how exactly do I do it?
16. Robot cleaners...how do they work? is there a good video I can watch? I mean, I'm having a tough time imagining one of those little robots holding tight to the walls of my pool! Are they worth the investment?
17. How LOUD is swimming? If you're just diving into your pool by yourself, when is the latest time you should do it?
18. HOW MUCH clarifier is counterproductive? If you add a little at a time, do you have anything to worry about? (note: the cloudiness in this picture of my pool has nothing to do with clarifier, it cleared up) If you were to use too much clarifier, how could it be fixed?
19. My vaccuum just floats out of the tube thingie, making it impossible to vacuum by myself. Not having the ability to add any more pictures, I'll leave this until another time.
20. My water is clear now, but I see a ton of dirt and leaves at the bottom of the deep end, if I brush it all (my vacuum doesn't work!), how long would you expect it to take until my water is clear again? I do know from experience that the water becomes mega cloudy right after I start brushing.
Thank you all SO much for listening, and perhaps replying!
I already have my pool to the point where I can swim in it (and so far my face hasn't melted off!), I'm just trying to learn all I can about this stuff, and perhaps one day I'll be able to help others