Hey everyone, first post here. Wife and I bought a house and immediately had a pool (see my sig) built in our backyard this spring. Here are the latest test results:
FC: 0 - tested by me
CC: ? - not tested
pH: 7.6 - tested by me
TA: 80 - tested by me
CH: 210 - tested by pool store
Borates: Not using (yet).
CYA: Tested by pool store 3 times in the last week ... got 80, 70, and 35, in that order. <--- More on this below
Phosphates: 0 - tested by pool store (we put in phosphate remover 2 weeks ago)
Iron: 0 - tested by pool store
Copper: 0 - tested by pool store
Here's a 2-part problem we're having.
1) I've been putting trichlor tabs in the puck tower and been leaving the chlorinator on, trying to maintain FC at 1-2 ppm per instructions from my pool builder. My chlorine has been all over the place, more often too low (near 0), however. I only have a basic color matching test. We did have CYA added along with metal remover once the pool was built. We thought at first we did not have enough stabilizer and was losing excessive Chlorine to the sunlight. We don't have much shade around the pool, if at all. So we added more CYA last week. Then I switched over to bleach (Tandil 8.25% sodium hypochlorite from Aldi's) and tried to shock the pool that way. In order to rule out sunlight, I added it after sunset last night, and the next morning, the FC was almost gone. Which leads me to my next point...
2) We have plaster stains of what I think are algae. I might want to post an actual pic, but the stains look grayish and won't brush off. I only notice them on a cloudy day, or shadowed from direct sunlight. The water itself is clear, and when we have direct sunlight, it looks beautiful, blue, and sparkling. At first glance, my pool may look normal and quite swimmable, I'm not fooled by its appearance, I know and feel something just isn't right. I'm just not sure if the stains ARE algae, or if it's something else like metals (but with algae still floating around in the water, as the overnight FC test showed me).
Let me rewind to last week... we talked to the pool store, and they told us to turn off our chlorinator and use shock instead, because the pucks contain stabilizer (WHY?!), so we may end up having too much CYA and may have to drain half the pool and refill! Before we talked to the pool store, we didn't know any better and we had already added more stabilizer thinking it was the sunlight that was killing our FC - that may have been a big mistake. Before we added extra stabilizer, our CYA was already at 80 as of last week per store's test results. Now, the weird part is, we tested CYA two more times... 70 a few days ago, and 35 yesterday. That was AFTER we added more stabilizer 4 days ago.
Maybe I shouldn't trust the pool store's test results. I just ordered the TF100 test kit and it's on its way soon, so I can test everything myself and see the results with my own eyes.
I'm afraid my CYA levels are too high, and may have to drain part of the pool, and then do a SLAM. So I looked at my instructions packet from the builder, and with regards to draining, it says:
"Pools with a hose bibb at the equipment pad that is used to drain your pool when necessary. Should the water rise to the top of the tile line or above, attach a hose to the hose bibb, turn on your circulation pump and turn on the hose bibb to lower your water level. Your target water level is the middle of the waterline tile. When that tile line is even with your water level, turn off the hose bibb. DO NOT FORGET!!"
Can anyone explain to me what this means?
To summarize, here are my questions:
1. Why are there grayish splotched stains on my plaster? it seems to be getting worse with time. If it's algae or metals, what are the ways to remove such stains?
2. How do I drain a pool? What equipment is needed, where do we dispose of the water, and how much will it cost?
3. I have friends coming over this weekend, and I don't want to drain and SLAM before they come. But how do I keep the chlorine levels up to keep algae from getting worse?
I'm sorry for the rambling, long and confusing post. That should tell you how confused I am!