We moved into our Upstate NY home with a 16 x 32 inground pool in late 2011. We replaced all of the equipment (Salt Water Pool) and had a new vinyl pool liner installed. The pool service did all of this work and cleaned and maintained the pool all last summer, year 1. This year they opened the pool and did one vacuuming and adjusted the chemicals (added liquid chlorine, algaecide and clarifier) and then we were on our own, primarily to save money.
To help us after a lot of research we chose the Poolvergnuegen 2-wheel and the pool is spotless on the bottom. I do see a couple of green patches here and there and use the rubber scrubber on the pole to wipe them away. We attached a canister to the cleaner hose to catch debris and that is working very well. We had a number of ferocious storms in the last two weeks and once I skimmed the surface to capture leaves and other tree matter the pool cleaner did a marvelous job.
We used this site to decide on which house/pool to buy, which equipment to buy and which pool cleaner to buy. We've studied Pool School and watched numerous videos. But we still have a few questions. Here are my questions:
1) see photo - tree pollen is off the charts and in the am I found this stuff on the surface in the last few days as the weather abruptly changed and hit 90 degrees with high humidity. As you drive around here there are puffy white balls floating in the air. Is normal skimming with pole and basket the correct way to handle?
2) last year the pool service ran the pump (IntelliFlo Variable Speed) 24/7 at level 2. We don't need or have a heater and the house has solar which meets our needs year round. I still want to conserve electricity to not pay our utility. I've been running the pool cleaner 4-5 hours in early morning at level 4, the pump and salt water generator an additional 8 hours at level 2, and the entire system is off 12 hours a day. Is this protocol wasteful or too little time running the equipment daily?
3) chemicals - where do I begin? I am no chemist and therefore need simple solutions. I believe the salt levels aren't high enough. I put in 2 bags of salt two weeks ago and the readings never budged. AquaChek test for salt shows less than 1 and has since we took over 3 weeks ago. The pool service said they use the same strip and got a reading of 6.5 (3000 ppm). They told me not to put in more salt. The Pentair SWG has all green lights and shows adequate (4 dots green) levels. Pool service said I have faulty test strips for salt. I also have AquaChek Select (6 readings) and AquaChek (4 readings). Water appears to be low hardness, total chlorine practically zero, free chlorine very low, pH high, alkalinity good, cyanuric acid ideal. Both strips confirm these readings. I know this is a big deal and would appreciate simple, constructive steps to begin to address the problem. In the meantime is it safe to use the pool? I think it is safe.
4) pump filter - the pump is a year old and ran constantly from Memorial Day to Labor Day a year ago. Could the filter need cleaning? I am sure the pool service did not clean the filter. I've viewed the YouTube movies and seen green algae filled filters that required 3 cleanings before being clean. They suggest this as step 1 before vacuuming and chemicals are added. Again, I know the service scrubbed the pool and they missed a couple of spots. I clean them when I see them. The water is crystal clear, no cloudiness just the puffy tree stuff floating on top. The Poolvergnuegen does not clean algae or water line as you know but I'm capable of that at least.
So, can two retired women in Upstate NY maintain our own pool and save $75 per week or do we give up and call the pool service? They will continue to open and close the pool for us. Any advice will be much appreciated!