Joined TFP last summer after we became proud owners of our very first pool. :P On the advice of a friend, we enlisted the help of a pool service professional to teach us how to manage our pool (we wanted to do it ourselves and not have someone coming out to the house each week). Sadly, we followed his prescription of a weekly scoop of Calcium Hypochlorite and 2-3 pucks a week in the automatic chlorine dispenser. Our water looked great, and while we didn't swim over the winter months, we used the spa pretty regularly.
We have had a cooler than usual spring this year in Houston, and so just last week as the water temperature finally got into the 80's, we noted a small amount of algae in the pool. We quickly turned to this forum and found all the information we needed! Our FC was low, our CYA and CH were way high (I'll post the before and after values below) and to make a long story short, we embraced the BBB method by turning off those stinking pucks, stocking up on liquid chlorine (10%), and replacing over 60% of our pool water. We have our T100 test kit ordered and are anxiously awaiting its arrival. Then we will have a better idea of where our FC really is and be able to do the overnight tests to see if there are still some organic materials using up our chlorine. Here were our values (using a kit purchased at Leslie's):
Algae Bloom Pool Values:
FC 0.5 (big oops!)
CYA 120 (did the dilution test to get this value)
Pool Values (this morning) after >60 % refill of pool water:
FC >5 (T100 test kit is on it's way)
pH 7.8 (this may be lower by now, we added 27 oz muriatic acid earlier)
We are very happy to have gotten the CH and CYA values within normal range. We were pretty nervous about draining water out of the pool, so we took 30 inches out with the first go, refilled and then removed another 15 inches. We did recheck our values in between draining and while our values had dropped significantly, the pool calculator determined that another 20-25% would get us in a much better place. So, we proceeded to drain again and are glad that we did.
I will post new values as soon as our test kit arrives. Right now, the pool looks great! The water's clear with no obvious signs of algae. We have brushed it a lot this past week and added several gallons of 10% liquid chlorine (using the chlorine/cya chart as our guide).