We have had the cheap above ground pools (Intex) for about 10 yrs now. In 2012 we upgraded to the 26' size and bought a salt water system as well. It only took me about a year or so to figure out I did not need to spend alot of money on chemicals from pool stores, and for the most part, over the past 10 years, I've only added a cheap shock packet from Walmart once/twice a week and our water has always, ALWAYS been crystal clear.
Last year (2012 - the first year with the bigger pool/SWG) we did not have a drop of rain all summer long. Pool water was crystal clear all summer long. I didn't add a thing to the water other than 1 bottle of Backup Algecide to get rid of biting bugs.
This year has been like all the others. I started up the pool mid-June, added the appropriate salt, turned on the SWG and have had crystal clear water all this time. Until....this past Sun. We received 1.5 inches of rain and during the rainfall our electricity kicked out for a second, shutting off the filter. Since it was Sun and we were busy for the day, it didn't click in my mind until Mon morn that nothing had been running for about 24 hrs. I went out to check things and found the water cloudy.
I turned on the SWG and kicked in the 'boost' to jump start it, added about 12 oz of Algecide, and let the pump/filter run about 24 hrs. Nothing has changed...water is still cloudy.
I called a pool store and they said I'm low on chlorine. I tested the water with test strips and that would appear to be accurate. The chlorine shows up as non-existant.
From reading this site, I understand that test strips are not always accurate. I need to invest in a good test kit. Since we live in a very rural area, I'm guessing I would not get it for at least 4-7 days. Likewise, we are an hour from any large city with pool stores/Walmart.
Please advise what to do to get by until the test kit arrives and I can have accurate readings. Should I/can I shock the pool with bleach from the grocery store? Should I make the hour drive to a pool store and buy other chemicals? My test strips show that the chlorine is low, the PH is off the chart high (it always has been and I've never had a problem), and the total alkalinity is perfect. Are there any chemicals I should have on hand?
Again...I know the test strips are less than ideal......can anyone advise for a temporary fix to the cloudy water until more accurate testing can be done?