Hello TFP members,
First, I want to say thank you for the wonderful resource you've put together here. Even before registering, I found a lot of useful info.
So, as the subject line indicates, I own an Ecosmarte. I had just moved into a new house and was a first time pool owner and after a terrible time controlling algae my first summer in the house with a standard chlorinator, my electrician/plumber/general handyman recommended the Ecosmarte to me, and I went with it because I trusted him. (Long story short - he stopped returning my phone calls about a year ago...)
From perusing the old posts, I've gotten the message loud and clear that copper ionization is not sufficient as a sanitizer. I will add, however, that last year using only the Ecosmarte and a couple of gallons of Clorox bleach every couple of weeks, I did not have algae problems and it did seem to prevent any significant bacterial growth, though the water was occasionally a little cloudy. Thankfully, no one got sick from being in the pool, but I am concerned about bacteria and viruses in the water, person-to-person transmission of disease, and just generally keeping the pool as safe as possible.
I still have a giant bucket of tri-chlor tablets which I would like to use up this season, but afterwards, I think I would like to move toward the BBB system. I understand with BBB, you shouldn't need to add anything else to the water, but I was wondering what you more knowledgeable folks thought about using the Ecosmarte strictly for algae control (given that the money has already been spent - bought it used fortunately, so I didn't get beat up too badly)...would it be OK to use it to ionize the water up to levels of 0.3ppm copper? Would that help control the algae, especially at the higher ph levels (Ecosmarte recommends copper levels of at least 0.4 to kill bacteria and ph 6.8-7.0, but going back to chlorine, obviously I need to up that to the standard 7.2-7.8 range) or would it just be a stain-risk?
I just opened the pool last week (first time doing it myself, actually). Ph and alkalinity were way low (6.4, 40) so I dumped in about 32 lbs. of baking soda. Had my water tested (post-baking soda) at the local pool shop yesterday. Here are the results:
Total Chlorine: 0.7ppm
Combined Chlorine: 0.7ppm
Baking soda seems to have done the job on alkalinity and ph. Obviously chlorine and stabilizer are super low. I added a couple of gallons of concentrated (~8%) Clorox bleach to shock the pool last night and test strip showed total chlorine up somewhere between 3 and 5ppm as of this morning. Almost no FC though.
Pool store guy recommended I add 83 lbs of calcium chloride to bring the hardness up to the desired range (175-350ppm), but based on what I read here, it seems I shouldn't need quite that much - it's a vinyl pool, but I do have a heater, so I was thinking I should get the level up to at least 50, maybe 100?
I had a chlorinator on my system, but it was removed when the Ecosmarte was put in. For the time being, I thought I could use the tri-chlor tablets in a floater. I had 3 tablets in my skimmer basket for the past week (kept the pump running 24/7), but I don't want to do that long term.
Thanks for any and all advice.