Hello to all! I've been avidly reading and learning from TFP over the past two weeks in anticipation of taking over pool care from a pool service we've had for the past three years since moving into a house with a pool in June 2010. Like many of you whose posts I've been reading, I've never had a pool before moving into this house, and, until this week, I've never taken care of one. When we moved into the house three years ago, it was never our intention to keep a pool service for so long, but life happens. Now, in an effort to reduce costs in our monthly budget, we decided to cancel the service and do it ourselves. Knowing this was going to happen starting this week, I began looking for books on amazon that could help before we quit the service. I read many reviews of books with titles like "Ultimate Pool" or "Best Pool Practices,"--you get the idea. One reviewer gave a very detailed explanation as to why a particular book was inadequate and supplied the link to TFP. Thank you to that reviewer! I promptly went to TFP and started reading TFP's website, starting with Pool School several times as suggested along with numerous threads and also watching some youtube videos (how to clean out skimmer basket on pump, etc.). As per recommendations on TFP, I also ordered a TF-100 and a Speed Stir. I purchased an app for my iPhone called Pool Calc that was also suggested somewhere on TPF. I feel armed and ready and not just a little bit overwhelmed, but determined that I, too, can take on my pool & spa and get better results than with the service. However, now I have an awful lot of questions! If you're still following me you experts out there, thank you for reading my background information and thank you in advance for any and all help you may supply. I'm going to ask all my questions here, but please let me know if I need to put them in other posts as per rules of the forum. I'm not exactly sure where I'm supposed to be posting all my questions, but since I'm new, this forum seemed the most logical.
Question 1: Even with research, I have not been able to determine if my Pentair Whisperflo 2HP model # WF-28 is a 1, 2 or variable speed. Can you tell me and why does this matter?
Question 2: There is a piece of equipment that I cannot identify next to my DE; it looks kind of like a large bell on top of a long post with a valve at the bottom of the post and is at least a foot higher/taller than the DE. What is this? I can try to send a photo if needed.
Question 3: Do the pool and spa, which share the same plumbing, etc., each get treated or does treating the pool alone take care of both since they share water? I've been testing from each just in case...
Question 4: Does anyone know if the Pool Calculator that TPF links to can give incorrect readings? I've tried it on my iPad and my computer just to make sure it wasn't a software/hardware problem, but I still get what I believe to be an incorrect reading for how much bleach to add to raise my FC. Also, I can't seem to find a way to enter 8.25% bleach or in the correct quantity--another thing I didn't understand about using the Pool Calculator. Seems like a good time to look at test results, so I can ask my other questions (!):
Last night, after dark, here's what I got:
The Pool Calculator and Pool Calc app gave me some numbers, but the Pool Calculator came up with some tiny, minuscule number that didn't make sense, so I went with the Pool Calc app and added 8.25% liquid bleach to both pool and spa based on separate calculations for each. Unfortunately, I didn't write down how much I added and now I don't remember. I estimated, based on things I've read here and the charts that I should have an FC of 12ppm--is this correct?? I also forgot to note the water temperature. That said, I thought I should retest for FC and pH this morning to see how things were going. Here are the results:
So, I dutifully input into both the Pool Calculator and the Pool Calc app and came out with roughly (since I can't input the correct numbers) 130 oz of 8.25 bleach to add to pool (I could input 8%, so I simply added the 121 oz gallon of 8.25% to raise to FC !2 assuming FC 12 is correct) and 26 oz to the spa (I added 26 oz of 8.25%, again assuming an FC of 12). Pool temp was 88F. At this point, I think I'm rockin' and boy am I starting to understand what I'm supposed to be doing (after only two readings...) and then, WHAMMY, I do a test 40 minutes later on both pool and spa to make sure things are going well and get some REALLY strange results!!! See below:
What on earth is going on? Help!!!!
The Pool Calculator is telling me to add 0.4 oz of 8.25% and Pool Calc app says 330 oz to the pool to raise from 1.1 to 12 (assuming 12 is correct). I didn't bother calculating the spa, but came right to my computer to write this in the hopes of some help. I'm going to retest after I finish writing here and if the FC is still so low I'll add the 330 oz. because I'll be dangerously low on chlorine otherwise. If any of you wise and experienced pool keepers out there can provide some insight, I would love to have it.
Question 5: At the moment, because I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm spending at lot of time on this. If it continues to be more than 15 minutes a day I'm not sure that I can dedicate this to my schedule. As of now, I've been doing about 1-2 hours per day--am I in good faith that this in only temporary? What's normal time wise once one's pool is under control?
Question 6: I assume that my CYA is so high due to years of the pool service using pucks and the previous owner's using some kind of crystal products (I remember the bags of crystals, but don't know what they were...). Is it necessary to partially drain the pool/spa or can I just live with it like this adding larger amounts of bleach?
Question 7: I appear also to have a borderline CSI and I do have calcium scaling. Again, I assume this is due to the products that have been used up to this point (a good reason to BBB). Once the BBB method is adopted, will CSI be meliorated and the scaling start to go away? I've read some threads on TFP that would suggest this, but it would be nice to have it confirmed.
I realize that I've written a very long post and you've been great to stay with me so far. While I would love answers to all of my questions, I think the most pressing issue is the strange results I'm getting on FC this morning, so if anyone could provide some insight pronto on that one topic you'd have my sincere gratitude.