I am looking for guidance on how to nurse my pool back to health. I am a long time pool abuser as I didn't know about this site or the wonderful TF-100, and in the past have relegated my pool care to the occasional poolman or staff at Leslie's. My pool/spa is about 10 years old, plaster, D.E. filter, salt system that hasn't worked for well over a year, heater that hasn't worked for longer than that. Unfortunately, I don't know how many gallons the pool is, but plan on getting that information soon. All equipment is Hayward. Filter runs for 8 hours (don't know if that's necessary, but that's from Leslie's). I manually brush and vacuum the pool.
My plaster appears to be pitted, have calcium deposits, as well as stained with a few spots of "rust" and other spots that appear to be "bleached" out (probably from someone adding too much chlorine or acid in one spot at once). I usually get a yellow/gold algae in shaded areas for a few months throughout the year, but this year was the worst as it was throughout the entire pool.
Christmas came early this year when I received my TF-100 today and tested my water with the following results:
FC - 4
PH - 7.2
TA - 120
CH - 700+
CYA - 100+
CC - 0
I plan on retesting the CH soon, but don't want to use up the test kit in the first week or two.
I only tested the CH on the fill water which was 200.
From searching around, I believe I need to drain most (65%+) of my pool to bring the CH levels down. I am hesitant to do that for fear that I will refill and get the chemicals fixed only to have to drain it and have the plaster redone. I can deal with the stains, but the pitting and apparent calcium deposits seem to be more of a problem. I know without pictures its hard to give advice on the condition of my plaster, but I hoped someone could tell me the calcium could be fixed and brushed away and that the plaster isn't necessarily in need of refinishing. I have called for an estimate to re-plaster, but don't expect them to tell me it's not needed.
So I guess my question is, am I wasting my time and money until I drain the pool and get the CH level fixed?
I should add, about 4 months ago I got my salt system up and running (or so I thought), and it said there wasn't any salt. Two bags of salt later it was still telling me I needed more. At that point a sample was sent to Leslie's who told me it was waaaay over. I don't recall the exact numbers, but waaay over. Is there copper in the salt? Could all that salt be giving me these results and could it be the salt on the plaster?
Thank you. I appreciate any advice.