I've google searched and enough threads came up here and I've used that info a lot! This is going to be long... I'll give info about my pool and me since day 1.
I bought this house with a pool here in Phoenix about 5 years ago. I used to be "that" guy that went to the pool store and bought what they said. If it was green I added more shock and tabs (I now know them as tri and di chlor) and couldn't understand why I kept adding chlorine but it was still green. It smelled plenty strong like chlorine!!
I gradually started testing myself and learned a little along the way, but still struggled.
NOW, over the last 2 years I ask "why?" for everything. I want to know the root cause and not the solution. "Add x amount of shock and use this $80 quart of Matrix clarifier" I have been on an information journey, which has included the pool. I am smart and am a do it your selfer. I rebuilt a Honda engine with a blown head gasket at 203,000 miles on it and it currently has 8,000 trouble free miles on it. I do everything around my house myself. So I am not some goof ball that is trying his hand at something...but this hole in the ground filled with water is frustrating the heck out of me!!
I did a complete drain and fill 2 months ago and I read up on the BBB method and I want to stick to it. I have a 12,000 gallon pebble tec pool that gets sun from sun up til sun down. I used to have a DE filter but switched to a sand filter because the DE was clogging too quick. I have a 2hp pump. My yard is dirt with no gravel. Not much tree debris gets in it on a regular basis but dirt does. I have a 75 Dutch Shepherd that loves the pool and loves to get out and run around and then jump back in...I know I know.
So I started my attempt with a hole full of fresh AZ tap water with a baseline of 250 hardness!, 1 ppm TC! and 0 FC, 100 Alk, 7.2ph, and 20 CYA. I can't give accurate pre drain levels because they were maxed with TH and CYA with an Alk of 240
So to start I used Dichlor tabs to get my CYA to atleast 50. Accomplished but it did drop the ph slightly...but nothing to worry about. Once the CYA was acceptable and ph came back up I started using Bleach. I bought Clorox 8.25%. They were a bit pricey, but higher concentration so I was ok with it.
Fast forward 2 months later. It's now over 100 during the day, I'm adding a full bottle, 96 oz of Rinso bleach a day to maintain chlorine levels (Clorox got too expensive), my ph keeps going through the roof and it gets cloudy until I add Muriatic Acid which temporarily fixes the high ph. I'm beyond frustrated!!
FCL: .5 usually when I test it every day at 5pm (I add the chlorine when it gets dark)
ph: 8.2 (it was 7.2 just 5 days ago)
I tried to lower my TA by adding Acid once I got the ph to 7.0 and aerating to bring it back to 7.2-7.4. I think the high ph bleach is counter acting that though.
I read that hypo chlorate is hypo chlorate. Well now I come to read that cheaper bleaches have high lye content which they have a very high ph!
The pool will get cloudy because of the high ph and then clear up once I drop the ph with acid. I'm fighting the onset of algae because I can't keep chlorine in it.
I was running it 8 hours a night from 6pm to 2am, but I currently added more timer trippers so I run it a total of 12 hours from 6pm to 12am and then again from 7am to 1pm. I realized I was being a mizer trying to save on electricity and shooting myself in the foot with the pool!
My thoughts: I think I'm running the pool enough as my pocket book will allow, my CYA is ok (could be higher to preserve chlorine, what do you think?), Alk could be lower but I'm fighting to lower that. I need help in maintaining chlorine levels and keeping the ph around 7.4 to 7.5. Is it the bleach?
I've come here humbled by the hole of water in my back yard and need some assistance and your thoughts.
I'll be glad to answer any questions raised after reading my saga.
Thank you in advance for helping me save what little sanity I have left after only fighting this for 1 month of the desert season!