First, thanks to those that run this site and post their knowledge about pools for doing so... I have learned so much in the past few weeks--far more than I have in the first 4 years of pool ownership. With that said, I was hoping for some advice on a few issues...but first some background (and an apology for the long post!):
When we opened the pool this year, we had an incredible amount of scale (and some leftover copper staining from the past couple of years). Several weeks ago, we had a rep from Jack's Magic out to our pool who helped us get a treatment going--this involved a lot of muriatic acid, their Magenta Stuff and their Copper and Scale stuff. We completed the treatment and thus far have been very happy with the results.
During this time, I figured I'd finally stop relying on the pool store people for testing and my research into what test kit to get led me here--so after spending a good bit more than I planned, I now have a K-2006C kit and a SpeedStir (which is so much better than swirling, BTW). Once I had that in hand, my eyes have been opened with just how inaccurate both the pool store and test strips were. So testing immediately after we had the pH back into normal levels showed CYA around 90 and CH upwards of 550 (we were using trichlor for the first couple years, then backed off to liquid chlorine last year because of the high CYA). I figured now was as good of a time to drain the pool halfway and refill to drop those levels. In addition, after the refill, we decided to switch over to a SWG, which I installed this past weekend (as an aside, our salt test strips were showing 3500ppm vs 4200ppm from the Taylor K-1776 salt test kit--ugh, more inaccuracy!).
So this leads to my issues/questions...
When we completed the Copper and Scale stuff treatment, we were told it would interfere with chlorine readings for 3-4 weeks (we're on day 10 post-treatment). We were previously having trouble getting any chlorine readings prior to the whole treatment process, so I was wondering if I should shock now or wait until three or four weeks have passed per Jack's Magics info about the interference with chlorine readings or go ahead and do it. Here's where we're at:
FC - .5
CC - 5.5
pH - 7.5
TA - 80
CH - 275
CYA - 50 (slowly bringing this up to be in line with TFP's SWG recommendations)
I'm unsure how to read the levels--Jack's said use the TC as our chlorine level. Does that seem right? I'm just completely bewildered by what I should be doing with the chlorine right now (besides having the SWG set at 70% per the install instructions. As a side note, we've always had beautifully clear water.
A couple of other questions:
- Our pH keeps rising--where I'm having to add 16-20oz of muriatic acid per day to keep it in check. We have a small spillover from our spa into the pool, so not a ton of aeration going on. Is this normal with a SWG? (bearing in mind that i have little experience with the pools "normal" fluctuations over the past 4 years because of the lack of a good test kit)
- I have a 25 pound bucket of dichlor from when we first got the pool (4 years old)--can I use that to shock with, knowing that I still have some CYA to add to get to 70-80 given the new SWG? Is it still good, or will it have expired?
- As part of the scale treatment, I installed a bypass on my heater--any insight into whether or not it's a good or bad thing to keep the heater bypassed unless its in use? I've heard some say that it helps prolong the heater's lifespan, whereas others have said you don't want water to just sit in the heater and stagnate.
- Finally, doing an "inventory" of supplies, I have some chemicals left over from when we first bought the pool... any suggestions on how to dispose of them properly? Some "Pro 60 Algaecide" and "Sparkle Conchelate". Those were my first unnecessary purchases pushed on my by the pool company.
And just for fun (although it was shocking at the time) here's a picture just after I started the refill--the water almost immediately turned green. Scared me half to death! The only thing that calmed me down was when I noticed that the return was only going to the spa, which was still nice and blue, so I figured the filter and Magenta Stuff would pull out whatever was causing the green issue (iron?).
Notice the spa color vs. the pool color. Thought that was kinda cool!
12 hours after the fill was complete, the pool was back to it's normal blue color.
Thanks in advance for the help!