I'm new to the board and could use some expertise. I purchased and received my TF-100 kit. I live in NC, so it arrived in one day. I spoke with Dave, very nice, informative. I'm giving my full history here, you can skip to the bottom for my current test conditions and signature info.
My in-ground, gunite pool was installed in 2003. I was trouble free for most of this time. My biggest issue in the last 4 years was black spot algae that would find its way into corners around the steps, places where my vacuum didn't seem to go. It would not brush off the gunite easily, and I would use chlorine tabs to scrape the head off algae, and then grind the tab into the "spot". The black algae would die off to a yellow, and would brush easily out of the cracks. I would usually only have to do this once a year, but each year it would return when the water warmed up to around 80.
Last year, in May, I shattered my arm in 13 places. Pool care was left to my wife, who, bless her, tried to manage me, the kids, and get to the pool. We could not get the cover on in winter, and the pool went swamp by this Feb.
Fast forward to early May and I finish my teaching job and get to serious work on the pool. The pool was a sick very dark green color. I could not see three inches into the surface of the water. Starting May 8th, I added around 10 pounds of powdered chlorine (sodium-dicloro-s-triainetrione hydrate 99%, available chlorine 55%), added 6 3" tabs to the in-line chlorinator (tricloro-s-triazinetrione 99%, available chlorine 90%), put 5 tabs in a floater, and set the pump to 24 hours a day work. On May 11th, I vacuumed the bottom trying to get out pine-needles and pin oak leaves. These I pulled directly to the pump basket, and found that the waste was full of worms. Disgusting. I pressure washed out the filters and left them overnight in filter cleaner and rinsed them the next day.
4 days later, I put in 15 lbs of the same powder chlorine. On the 18th, the pool was a better green; I could barely see 9 inches of depth. I washed out the filters again, which took half as long (1 1/2 hours). I then put in 10 lbs. of powder chlorine. Two days later, the pool turned an extremely cloudy blue color. I get in this soup, goggles on, and take to diving with the leaf net pulling out roughly 20 lbs of debris. I get an eye-infection the next day.
On the 23rd, I go to the pool store for a test. I get these results:
FC - 0,
TAC - 0,
I'm told to add 15 lbs of Alkalinity Up (I have this in the form of an expensive brand from Home Depot, but costs 1/2 as much than pool store. I use sodium bicarbonate 100%). I put this in the pool, in solution, wait 4 hours, and add 2 lbs. Soda Ash. I use 2 lbs. Dry Acid (sodium bisulfate 93%) in solution, hoping it is the same. I tell them about the extreme cloudiness, they sell me 20 lbs. of Alum.
On the 25th (3rd weekend), pump still running 24 hours a day since the 8th except when I wash the filters, I clean the filters for a third time. Brown goop rather than green. Pool is still VERY cloudy, but blue, these are good signs I think. I get the idea to pressure wash the inside of the pool... and spray (or think I'm spraying) the walls and floor. I can't see anything except maybe a foot deep, but get a good pattern. The pool turns greener. I add 10 lbs of powder chlorine and refill the in-line chlorinator with 3" tabs (about 5 this time). The floater is still full, so I add nothing there. 4 hours later I add 10 lbs. of Alum, circulate the pool for 2 hours, and then shut if off for the first time overnight. May 27th; 8 hours later I have a very yellow and sick looking layer of scum on the top of the pool. It looks like congealed mucus. I'm extremely disheartened by this, it looks like pestilence. I get to work and skim off the top layer. Sections come up and I fill 3 8 gallon buckets with foam/gel. Some lying just below the surface breaks up as I try to net it, but I get the whole top layer off, 4 hours labor here. I can see the shallow end bottom! I then start to vacuum to waste. This drops the water level about 5 inches in the pool as I get up the brown bottom layer. I re-fill with the hose, keep the pump off. The next day, vacuum again to waste. I can barely see the vacuum head near the bottom of the deepest 6' section, but get a lot up. I'm convinced there is little debris left in the pool, hardly a 1/3 of the pump basket has needles/leaves. This drains about 4 inches of water; I refill and rewash the filters. They are filled with a neon green goopy gel. They wash very easily though. Turn pump back on for two hours, turn it off.
Next day, vacuum for third time to waste, water much clearer then green soup I started with 3 weeks ago, but realistically is very, very cloudy. I can't see the drain heads in the deep yet. Refill about 4 inches of water, turn pump on and let it run... I used a test strip here and the pH was WAY UNDER the scale, so much less than 6.8. I then found these boards and read, and read, and read. And then read some more the next few days. Need a test kit. Need a test kit...
CURRENT CONDITIONS: Yesterday I ordered the TF-100 test kit; today I received it, and ran the tests. The pool is clearer; I can finally see the drain heads in the deep end at dusk. Still somewhat cloudy. Yellow is just starting to spread pretty rapidly on the walls and is turning to brown. Strip test kit reads FCl - 0, Allc - 80, pH 7.0, CH >800
TF-100 kit results: (all ran two times to get familiar with the directions and kit.) Same results on all tests, so I'm doing those consistently (right I hope).
OTO/TC - 1.0 (my son thought it was lower, wife and I think it was 1.0)
pH - 6.8
FC - 1.5
CC - 2.0
TA - 100
CH - 640
CYA - 120 (I ran this multiple times and kept coming up just over 90... so I did second stage, half pool, half tap test and got 59-60 multiple times)
So, I hope the full history of the last three weeks wasn't boring. I'm at a loss at what to do next, mainly because I'm tired. I've read the boards and know my pH is low and my CH is very high. CYA is very high as well, and it looks like more water changing. I'm not surprised, but I could use some real step-by-step advice on the next moves. I plan on washing the filters again tomorrow.
Clearly I still have algae. I appreciate any advice that will help with the weekend's work. I really appreciate the idea behind these boards. I plan on educating myself, but could use some initial guidance as I do so. I clearly need to move away from the 3" tabs and all of the powder...