This is my first year as a pool owner. We bought a house last fall and paid the guy who was servicing the then pristine pool to close it. During the month before closing (on the house--which was about the same as the month before closing, since we closed the pool shortly after moving in), the pool was neglected, since apparently they miscommunicated with the pool guy about service. Anyway, he got it looking good again in a matter of days and then closed it. Before noticing TFP, I had already decided to "do it myself" this year and save some money. The pool is 16x32 so I estimate the volume to be 21,000 gal.
Also before seeing TFP, I purchased a load of stuff (online) that now I realize is unnecessary, and some of which is recommended against on this site, for reasons that I think I understand, having educated myself a bit at "Pool School." I'm probably going to pay $20 shipping to return the 50# bucket of trichlor pucks. I'm not even sure I have the heart to try to sell it on Craigslist now after reading "How to Chlorinate Your Pool." I have to note, though, that although this is clearly not biased by selling things, the phrase "very convenient and very insidious" is clearly an opinion. (I probably would lose more than the $20 shipping by trying to resell anyway.) Besides, I could also return the unused stuff in the "start-up" kit (metal out and clarifier) in the same box without adding much to the shipping cost.
I promise I'll get to my question soon. Here's what I've done so far:
When we removed the cover, the water appeared to be in pretty good condition--closer to blue than green, but cloudy. When I got the start-up kit, I added 2 bags of Ca(ClO)2 (just showing off what I remember from 30 years ago in Chemistry class, although I'm not sure I got the subscript right, but I think I know Ca is +2 and I think I remember ClO3 and its "-ite" relatives being -1). I followed the instructions on the bag, which TFP says are wrong, dispersing as evenly as possible by sprinkling in the deep end. I didn't know about the sun's effect on FC, but fortunately I added in the evening anyway, since that was the only time I could. The next morning, FC was at 0 (according to cheap test strip), so I knew I needed to add more, which I did (the other 2 bags that came in the kit), but this time after 2 quarts of 10% alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (algaecide, but I still had the bottle, I figured maybe there are different types and it would help to know what kind I used). What's worse, I added in the morning on a sunny day, so I know that the Cl in that dose did nothing. I also brushed the walls of the pool. I have no idea what effect, if any, the algeacide had. Yesterday, which I think was the day of the wasted dosage of Cl, I stopped by the pool store to get some more "shock" (parentheses indicate that I now know that "shock" is not a noun, but it's way easier to say and I've already identified the type as Calcium Hypochlorite). Last night, I happened upon FTC and didn't add any of the "shock" since I have no idea what my CH level is. Instead, I went to Walmart and bought 4 big jugs (182 oz?) of bleach. I poured 3 of them into the skimmer. An hour or 2 later, FC level was above 0, but not by much, so I dispersed the 4th bottle in the deep end by pouring it in a bucket and throwing it into the middle of the pool to avoid it getting close to the liner. This morning, FC at 0 again with no visible difference in pool water. CYA is in the 30-50 range (best precision I can get with my cheap strip). According to the Pool Calculator, the bleach (6%) should have raised the FC level to about 17ppm, which is shock level for CYA=40. From what I've read, I just need to keep shocking until I see a difference and until FC is present in the morning, which brings me to my real question. The fact that the water is more blue than green (and has been since we took the cover off, or maybe I just don't remember) and the lack of visible difference in pool water makes me wonder if I should just keep shocking, shocking, shocking. After all, bleach isn't nearly as cheap as it was the last time I bought it! Could there be another reason I still can't see the bottom any deeper than 4 ft? If so, is chlorine the answer, regardless?
FYI (just measured prior to posting; lack of precision due to strips):
Ph: low 7s? (appeared to be upper 7s? 2.5 hours ago, a testament to my need to a test kit)
CYA: <30 (although it appeared to be 30-50 range 2.5 hours ago)