Hello, I'm new to the forum and glad that I found it. It looks like there's a lot of knowledge in this community, and I've already learned a lot just by going to Pool School and reading a LOT of posts the last few days.
But I need some help. Here's the background:
I let the pool go last fall, after it had turned green from a vacation last October and ignored it through the winter. (I don't usually close it, the pump runs 24/7 and normally I just keep the inline chlorinator full of tabs through the winter months and rake the worst of the leaves off of the bottom a couple of times. I didn't do that last winter, though, and let it run out of chlorine a few times over the winter.)
Needless to say, I had a swamp this spring. To their credit, the local Leslie's said my CYA was high and suggested I do a few partial drain & refills to bring it down. I did several and got it to about 80 or 90 (their testing). They then said that was low enough and had me add a quart of their algaecide and shock it several times. while this was going on turned the Chlorinator way up and kept it full of tabs. The algae never really fully went away and I kept shocking and pouring algaecide into it, as well as Pool Perfect +Phos Free that they said I needed to get rid of the "algae food". The algae would go away for a day or two, but I started getting green patches if the chlorine went anywhere near what I thought was normal (1-5 ppm) They then said that my CYA was "creeping up" and suggested I stop using the tabs and just use the 73% Cal-Hypo "shock" they sell to maintain my chlorine in the "normal" range. That worked as long as I keep the chlorine level high, but it was taking a couple of pounds a day to do that, and the other day the pool turned cloudy. Very cloudy - I can't see the drain and can barely make out the pattern in the shallow end.
I took another sample to Leslies and they said everything looked good, I just needed to add some clarifier to clear it up, so I did a couple of days ago, but don't see any difference.
Monday night my OTO test kit showed the chlorine at about 3, so I put 8 lbs of CalHypo in it. Reading this forum, I realized that the pool store testing wasn't reliable and I needed to be able to measure high chlorine levels, so I ordered a Taylor K-2006 test kit, which arrived today.
With my new test kit, I got the following results this evening:
FC - 8.6
CC - 0 (? sample didn't stayed clear when I added the 2nd liquid)
pH - 7.6
TA - 180
CH - 320
CYA - 150 (1st test >100, so I diluted sample 50:50 with tap water, then doubled result of ~75)
Borates - (not using)
Just for Kicks, I took a sample to the pool store right after doing my tests. They got (with thier comments):
FC - 5 ("the highest my test goes, may be higher")
Available Chlorine - 5
pH - 7.6
TA - 130 ("a little high - needs 4 lbs dry acid, maybe as much as 10 lbs")
CH - 310 ("no problem, within range")
CYA - 105 ("slightly over 100, not enough to worry about")
TDS - 1100
Phosphates - 300 ("Need to add 32oz of Phos-Free")
Sorry this is getting so long, but I wanted everyone to know the background of the problem and what I'd done so far.
I have a few questions -
1. Judging by what I've read here, the best thing to do would be to replace about 2/3rds of my water to get my CYA down to about 50. Being a vinyl liner pool, that's going to take several partial drains & refills. Would a CYA level of 80 (50% replacement) be reasonable to work with? or somewhere in between?
2. Does dumping these huge amounts of CalHypo (73%) raise my CH, and if so, how high can I let it go?
3. I know it's not ideal, but is there a way to keep the algae out with the CYA at 150? It seems like that would take an extremely high FC level. Would it bleach the liner? Could we swim in it? Can I use a lower FC level and an algaecide (PolyQuat 60) to keep it away after killing it by shocking? Can I even get high enough in a vinyl pool to kill algae at a CYA level of 150?
4. Why is the water so cloudy, and how can I clear it up?
5. I can see that the BBB method is the way to go, but can I use Cal-Hypo instead of bleach? I think it would be cheaper and easier to handle than dozens of bottles.
Sorry for the long post and so many questions, but I'm really getting frustrated. We've dumped hundreds and hundreds of dollars in this pool since spring, and haven't even been able to use it yet.
Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!