Greetings all. I'm a newbie, both here and to pools. I'll try to get all the information you guys need to give me some good advice.
My basic pool specs are in my signature, as suggested. We purchased the house in December of 2010 and the pool looked beautiful. On closing day, the pump died. The company who owned the house hadn't put the little "hands" on to make the pool turn on and off, so we're guessing they burnt the motor out -- and the home warranty doesn't cover the pool! It took us about 4 months to get the pump repaired, so during that time, the pool wasn't running at all.
Then our husband began to work the chems and get it swimmable. For a little while, things went well. Then suddenly, the pool was GREEN. You couldn't see the bottom, even in the shallow end. The more he tried, the worse it got. Until the pool began *bubbling*! He was dead-set to drain it -- and by now, the temps here in Arizona were hitting 100 daily. We contacted a couple places and they all said: DON'T DRAIN! We would risk cracking our pool, if we did so.
We contacted the place who repaired our pump (pump? filter? the little motor to the side of the big sand "bell" thing). They had a guy come out and he worked for about a month, I want to say (maybe less) to get it back to swimmable. He noted we had a couple (three) stains remaining and said we'd probably want to drain this winter and consider some maintenance. And then we established service (the deluxe service) with them.
This service was supposed to: manage chemicals, brush, backwash, skim and vacuum the pool weekly. We've had 4-5 visits by our "regular" guy. We noticed almost immediately there were "slimey spots". My wife and I would use sponges or scrub brushes to dive and scrub -- free diving, no masks, so short bursts of scrubbing. We typically swim towards dusk and in the late evening hours, so we can't always see the pool as we're getting in. Last week, we noticed the stained areas seemed to be growing larger. And the pool was taking on a green cast.
We called the company on Thursday. They sent someone out on Friday, who looked but did nothing. We heard nothing all weekend. My wife called today to yell at them and they tried to blame the problems on (1) not enough returns in the pool and (2) the age of the pool -- neither problem having been mentioned after they cleaned up the first problem and agreed to service our pool. (It was mentioned that one return was not really enough by modern standards, but it was never said that would create a problem in their professional maintenance.) Verdict from them: we have Black Algae. We're looking at a minimum of 1, probably more like 2 weeks of not being able to swim in our pool. Our regular guy has been spending less than 10 minutes at our house each week. It takes us 10 minutes just to skim the pool! How is he testing, skimming, brushing, vacumming and backwashing in that time? My guess is: he isn't.
So, my wife and I have decided to take on the pool ourselves (after the service cleans it up!). There's a *lot* online about Black Algae -- some of it contradictory. What should we expect these guys to be doing? Until we can get to the winter months to drain, scrub (and fix the surface, which is doubtful due to cost), how can we battle these blooms?
Currently, our pump has been turned off and is not supposed to be turned on again until tomorrow AM. Our local Leslie's gal said that sometimes the sand filter can become a nest-bed for the algae. Is that true? Should we be doing *anything* to support the pool guys? Or will that alter how they think the pool is improving and/or their chems?
What questions don't I know to ask? Oh -- and for when we're on our own -- can you point me to a good place in the forum which compares the various automatic/robotic cleaners and/or a place I can see reviews of these units?