Hello, and thank you to those who have helped me in the past few weeks.
Brief summary -- started TFP method around 6/6. Using the test kit I bought from TFP. My water looks great, and I have never seen it so sparkly. I was actually shocked (no pun intended) at how sparkly it was today.
But - I still have some questions and concerns.
First, here were today's readings at 11:00 am today (Hot, sunny, KS day):
pH - was 8.5 (yikes - I've never seen it that high) added muriatic acid and brought it back down to 7.2
CC <.5 (very slightly pink)
1) I guess I thought this was supposed to be less expensive, and no more trips to the pool store, but it seems that the only thing that has changed is now I'm having to add stabilizer and bleach when before we used the trichlor tablets. I guess other people had bad experiences with pool stores, but ours didn't have us putting any thing in other than what we're using now, except now I buy LOTS of bleach and stabilizer in a different form. (I guess there is no question here - just whining).
2) I'm having a really hard time getting the CYA up. (Started with 0!) I have been testing and adding CYA and had it up to 30 at one point and today was back to 22. We have to add water every day, and I have backflushed A LOT so that is probably why. I have added it a few ways -- about a 1/2 cup at a time in the skimmer sock and in a stocking hanging in the pool giving it squeezes periodically. I have added about 8 lbs over the past 3 weeks. Given my problem getting CYA in the pool, why not turn my tower of triclor pucks back on to supplement? (I've had it off since switching to TFP, but I wonder why not use it as long as I am monitoring the levels very frequently? I am getting ready to leave town for a few days, so I am planning to turn it on while gone b/c I don't have anyone to monitor the pool. I'm truly not concerned about getting too much CYA since I seem to have the opposite problem.)
3) I've also had trouble getting my CH up. I finally have it up to 275. OK? Or keeping bringing it up? (I've added about 30 lbs. It was 225 when I started this on 6/6; then it went down to 150 for a while and I steadily brought it back up)
4) We had/have black algae so I have been scrubbing and keeping the FC between 7 and 14 (because my CYA level is low). I *think* it is dead (or mostly dead) and at this point what I'm seeing is staining and dark areas from the pool needing to be resurfaced. At first, I thought that all the dark spots were plaster problems until I started seeing parts that were streaked clean from the bleach and realized I was seeing black algae and not just pitting on the plaster. At that point (a few weeks ago) I started keeping the FC up higher and scrubbing like crazy and read everything I could about black algae on here. I don't think we had black algae last year. The pool was a disaster when we opened it this year. I also see it growing on the concrete deck area and around the diving board. (I plan to scrub all of that with bleach water too, but there is a lot of it -- it's not up next to the pool, but at the edges of the concrete furthest from the pool, with the exception of the diving board.) I haven't done the OCLT for about 3 days, but I passed the the last two times that I did it. I feel like it is continuing to fade and get better, but it's hard to tell. So - I wonder if I should just keep doing what I've been doing, or if there is something else I should do.
5) When I brush the pool, I see little poofs of fine particulate. Is this normal? Will I always see that no matter what? (This is my first year to pay any attention to the pool - was my husband's job before.) We seem to get a lot of pollen in the pool (in addition to the pine needles and leaves).
I'll post some pictures too.