Here are the results from my water test. I found all of the tests fairly easy to run except for the FAS-DPD test itself which was very difficult for me to get repeatable results. I watched the Taylor kit video and made sure I matched it. Here are my results and my comments:
PH: 7.2 --> this is similar to the pool store results, they got 7.4 a few days and we have had rain since then.
Alkalinity - 150 --> this is slightly higher than pool store results, but the pool store did show a slightly high alkalinity at the time, I ran the test twice and it is indeed roughly in this range.
Calcium Hardness - 200
CYA - 0 --> this is consistent with multiple pool store readings. And no, the water is not new, its from last year, no fresh water has been added
FC - 1.5 --> this is consistent with the test strips, the free chlorine is low. The FAS-DPD did indeed change to pink after adding the powder so there definitely is some free chlorine, just not a lot.
CC - 12 --> or some large value like this. It was hard for me to get consistent results with the FAS-DPD test. I believe the last time I did it was the closest to the correct method based on the taylor video and this also echoes the test strips: the test strips showed a high total chlorine, say around 10 but the free chlorine was not 0 but it must have been close to 0 based on strip color. With the Taylor, the water definitely turned deep pink after adding the R-003 5 drops, so there is definitely a decent amount of combined chlorine.
So to be honest, the FAS-DPD seemed like a lot of work but it seems to be telling me roughly what the test strips did. I do agree that its much easier to gauge PH and alkalinity with the Taylor kit.
So I assume I need to add some CYA and slam the pool? I want to be VERY careful with the CYA.
The pool is 26700 gallons according to the Pool calculator (though this seems high, my deep end has sloped sides and I thought my pool installer listed it closer to 23000).
Last year, we added too much CYA before we reduced combined chlorine to 0 and free chlorine to a decent value, and after the chlorine level was corrected the CYA went up to 100. I cycled in some new water and got it to 85 but it did not get back towards 50 until the end of the season. I have used liquid chlorine for the past few years, even a novice like me realized I did not like the powder, the liquid always seemed to worked better at establishing a chlorine level.
I am guessing the CYA was eaten up during the off season based on what I have seen posted on this site.
Please help with some recommendations.