I am not entirely new to pools, TFP, or the BBB method, but it has been long enough that I seemed to have forgotten everything. Up until about 4 years ago we had a 14'x42" Intex pool. It was a lot of trial-and-error and learning. Eventually, I had found the BBB method and got everything working as it should. Share with me my [hopefully] laughable experience as I refreshed my memory.
Fast-forward to today and we once again have a pool. This time it's a 15'x48" and apparently I have forgotten everything! It was set up on June 6th and I bought a dozen large bottles of bleach (I at least remembered that part) along with the test kit and other supplies. Filled it up and added half a bottle of bleach and started testing the water. pH was low as was the TA. I knew there was something I could use other than expensive pool chems, so I got on the net and re-found the BBB method. I added my Borax and Soda to bring the levels up to the recommended amounts.
Well, by the end of that day the chlorine levels were 0 again so I poured in the rest of the first bottle. In the morning, it was all used up. This time I poured a full bottle... and by the end of the day it was 0. This trend continued until it got to where I had to use 2 full bottles in the same day and the water was still not clearing up.
Now, bear with me here, I was still in the foggy/trying-to-remember phase. It's all obvious and laughable now, but I'll continue my story. I had thought that maybe our bleach we purchased, which was in bulk from Sam's Club, was expired or not full strength. With my water rapidly clouding up, I knew I needed to do something and quick so I went to WalMart and stood at the pool chemicals for what seems like hours. Something in the back of my mind kept telling me NOT to get the tri-chlor so I went with the cal-hypo. Actually, I went with the super shock because it has the exact same ingredients at a fraction of the per-ounce price. Anyway, I just got a couple of bags and added half of one. Chlorine levels were ok... until the next day. I'll be danged if the same trend wasn't happening.
That is when it hit me. CYA!!! I forgot all about that one crucial chemical and that is what the back of my head was telling me about the tri-chlor (because with the old pool I had put in CYA but also used tri-chlor and couldn't figure out why I had 10+ppm FC but cloudy water... but I digress). So back to the store I went, but unfortunately I could not locate any CYA in town (actual pool stores were closed). I went ahead and picked up a few of the 3" pucks of tri-chlor and dumped them in. I knew that it was just a by-product of the tri-chlor but I didn't know just how much. I had hoped it was enough, but it certainly wasn't. As per the packaging, I should have only needed 1/2 a puck to keep FC where I wanted but even with 3 pucks in the DIY floater, the sun was burning it off faster that the tri-chlor could release stabilizer.
After a few days of letting the pucks float around in the ever-increasingly-murky water with the FC levels staying at 0 during the sunlight hours, I went back in to town to find some CYA. This day happened to be yesterday, by the way. It was time to finally get this pool whipped in to shape! Along with the CYA, I bough a 5-pack of the Super Shock N Swim (cal-hypo), which I believe is 53%. GASP, I KNOW! It's not bleach! However, I did this for a few reasons: First, my plan is the absolutely shock the heck out of this thing and hopefully have clear water for the weekend. Secondly, my use of the tri-chlor (and I suppose some other reason) had lowered my pH so why not kill two birds with one stone? Third, my CH was reading at about 60 and it's a vinyl liner so I figured I could spare the CH rise.... and besides, it was convenient to grab the box right with the CYA.
Back home I brought the CYA levels up to about 30 and I dumped in one bag of the super shock. As of an hour ago the FC was off the chart. I am trying to walk the wife through a dilution test via text to try and get the TRUE number, but regardless I am pleased that the pool is finally holding FC. Once I get home I will run the whole suite of tests and adjust where needed accordingly.
So there you have it, my introduction/journal! It only took 3 weeks to get back in to the swing of things (it took many months to find the right information the first time!). I'm still not in the clear, but I am well on my way. I'll use the cal-hypo until it is either gone, my CH goes above recommendation, or my pH rises past where I want it. After that, I will be back on the BBB method entirely with another Trouble Free Pool!