Hi all. I recently bought a foreclosure that came with a pool that was left uncovered and not maintained since last pool season (at least). Needless to say, the pool is a swamp. I have been reading a lot on this site, and I have read everything in pool school, the article about turning your swamp back into a sparkling oasis, and various other posts about other people's foreclosed swamps. I have also bought a TF100 test kit, and tested my water. Below are my results:
pH: 10.2 (tested with included kit and it was off the scale so I then tested with a digital pH electrode)
CYA: 0? I filtered through coffee filter and then filled the tube all the way to the top and could still see the black dot
I have raked as many leaves and junk out of the bottom of the pool as I could, and I have also brushed the pool once. I started the filter up for the first time this past weekend. One thing I did notice was the pressure never did rise like I have read it will. I started the filter up by backwashing first to make sure it was clean and get a baseline pressure reading, which was 25. I ran the filter for about 3 hours, and the pressure never rose, so I decided to try backwashing to see what came out. The water did appear to be dirty, but like I said, the pressure never rose. I continued to filter the rest of the weekend, and backwashed periodically, and then the next day, the pressure started at 25, and dropped to 20 while filtering. One thing I have noticed are 2 of my 4 returns are "spitting" air bubbles back into the pool. Is this because of an air leak somewhere, and be the cause of why the pressure never rose?
Anyways, I know I need to bring the pool up to shock level with bleach and maintain it there, and run the filter 24/7. My questions are, I took a sample to the pool store, and they told me I am wasting my time with bleach, because it will take twice as long to clean and cost a lot more. They also told me I need to buy Lo-n-Slo and algaecide, and told me theres no point in adding stabilizer until I get it clean, since I will be backwashing so much. So my questions are:
is my CYA level really 0? if not, how do i get a more accurate reading?
i DO need to add stabilizer before bringing up to shock level correct?
is bleach going to most likely be my best and cheapest chlorine source? 96 oz of 6% is $1.25-$1.50 here
is Lo-n-Slo ok to add to bring down the pH to 7.2?
Do I only need to get the pH and CYA level adjusted before shocking?
Why does the pressure in my filter not rise?
why do the returns spit air?
Thanks in advance for any help and any other advice is appreciated.