It's the first time I've opened my pool and for the last 2 months I've been fighting problems with keeping my chlorine levels up which has allowed algae to grow. I'll give a rundown of events during that time, and have unfortunately spent too much money already. I also have been asking my friend who's owned a pool for 10 years now. Keep in mind, I have a SWG and cartridge filter (cartridges are old and gross, so I planned on replacing this year anyways. They should actually arrive today, so I can replace them at any point in time now).
Opened pool, put in the shock and salt needed to get values and pH corrected. It was 'too cold' to effectively use my SWG, so I was using chlorine tablets for the first few weeks.
Everything's crystal clear, looks good, turned SWG on, pool store tested water, said things looked good, nothing more to add (despite me double-checking, sort of bewildered that I'd need to add nothing more than the initial shock and my routine algaecide for maintenance).
A week later, pool turned cloudy. Found out that I should have added stabilizer (did i mention this is my first time opening the pool), so my chlorine levels went to 0 once it got sunny enough, allowing some algae to grow. Bought stabilizer and raised it where it needed to be. Also applied several pounds of shock, and added tablets, to clear things up.
A week later, pool is clear again, SWG seems to be doing its job, stabilizer seems to be keeping chlorine in. At this point in time, left the tablets in just in case.
4 days later, vacuumed the pool again, noticed debris flowing back in through the jets. Took apart the filter and cleaned the cartridges.
Had a party, things are good except noticed slimy algae on some of the walls and on parts of the ladder. The following day, added some shock and turned the SWG to "super chlorinate".
A few days later, green algae starts growing on the sides of the pool. Water gets cloudy. I take water sample to the store, they test and say there is no chlorine and no stabilizer (despite the 14 lbs I put in 2 weeks before). They sell me a algae destroyer shock to use, so I use that, I'm still using chlorine tablets, I still have my SWG to super chlorinate.
Green algae goes away, but water still cloudy. Go back a few days later, they say chlorine is still 0, stabilizer is like 20 ppm (I had added 2 lbs that I still had). Tell me to put in more tablets, use 6 lbs of shock to get levels up.
A few days later, still algae in the pool, still cloudy, still 'no chlorine' in the pool. They sell me a liquid algae destroyer and more shock. I go home, vacuum the pool, clean the cartridges again (noticeable dead algae on the filters), shock the pool, add the destroyer, add 4lbs stabilizer.
The next day, very noticeable dead algae on the top of the pool, so I skim it off. scrub the pool again (been doing this every day so far btw), test chlorine and still low, so add in another few pounds of shock, SWG still at super chlorinate.
It's now been 3 days, water was clear yesterday, but after brushing, it was cloudy again and could barely see the bottom of the deep end. Tested chlorine and level is still low. SWG still set at super chlorinate and chlorine tablets still in the skimmers.
So at this point, I had a few questions, and thoughts, and since the pool store doesn't seem to know much, other than how much their products cost, and the order of things to sell you to cost you the most $$, I figured I'd post on here.
1) as a salt water pool, I shouldn't have to rely on chlorine tablets. I don't know if I should ever have to add chlorine shock to the pool either (maybe after parties or after a heavy rain, but I thought that's what the "super chlorinate" feature was for). I tested the SWG sort of (turned skimmers off to avoid pulling the tablet chlorine, took sample from the jets, tested and it was off the charts), and it seemed to be generating chlorine, and the diagnostics all read good. Maybe I have to let my system run longer during the day since it can only generate while running? i was doing 8 hours originally, then turned it to 12 at the start. I've had it running 24 hours for the last 6 days.
2) stabilizer is supposed to keep the chlorine in the pool, but somehow my 14 lbs of stabilizer 'disappeared'. The store blamed the algae for it, so I've added 6 lbs since. If this is gone, I guess that'd be why my chlorine is going away again too?
3) algae seems to be mostly cleared up, but water still gets cloudy when I brush. Since my chlorine levels are still low, I can assume it can come right back. I figured I would switch out my cartridges tomorrow since my current ones are likely covered with dead algae again.
4) Lastly, any suggestions for how to fix my chlorine demands? I assume the algae was eating up the chlorine, but if it's dead, the chlorine should rise again and stay up. If it's not dead, then what else can I try to kill it? I've used my SWG and tablets to continuously add in chlorine to the water, algaecide to kill it, and lots of shock continuously to keep the levels high. I'm out of shock again (gone through ~20 lbs over the last 2 weeks) so if I need to buy more, I can do that, but wanted to run things by the forum first.
Obviously I'm frustrated, now I'm broke, but most of all I'm bewildered because if my equipment is working properly, then I don't know how I got algae to begin with, and since I've been treating it with shock and algaecide, why isn't it dead yet. And why does my chlorine level continue to read low.
I think I have my pool stats in my signature, and I can go get my water tested again today and get some numbers for you if there's anything in particular that would be useful to know.