I recently had an in-ground pool completed and have been swimming 'trouble free' for about 3 weeks now. I have gone to the pool store twice with mixed results. I am NOT an expert.
My first trip, I was told to add 19 pounds of 'balance pak 100' to raise the alkalinity, which I did before realizing it was just baking soda (yes I paid $30) and 2 pounds of granular chlorine. The printout of my chemicals from the store prior to adding said my alkalinity was close to 100, so I wasn't certain why I needed the 'balance pak'. Either way after getting home and reading through their papers I noticed hey put in an incorrect pool volume of 18K when mine is 24K.
Since that first trip I purchased a ColorQ tester and have been controlling my and pH/FC/TA all with the TFP method. My water has been clear and I have had zero problems to date.
Yesterday I returned to the pool store armed with knowledge for a follow up test. I sampled my water prior to the trip and then took the same sample to the store. My ColorQ has been giving me consistent readings, and my pH has been steady at 7.4/7.5. When I took the sample to the store, waited for the 3 people ahead of me to have their water tested, I was then told my pH was 8.5. A huge difference. I became a little nervous after they told me to add a powder acid to drop the pH hard. I said I had muratic acid at home, which they old me to add half a gallon of. I have added muratic acid on a few occasions, but never more than 15-20 oz at a time. I only use ThePoolCalculator.com
I don't know if I should lean on the pool stores experience or the quality of my ColorQ, but even splitting the difference would seem like a very high pH. The test strips I was given following the install seem to tell me pH is in range, but I really can't be certain with those.
Are there any other markers to elude that the pH could be off, like a smell or discoloration. We had 4 kids and 3 adults swim virtually all day yesterday and no one mentioned skin or eye irritation.
The colorQ seems to be great so far. My FC drops a lot after 1-2 days of rain/sun/heavy swimming, which I'm happy to see (I take it as the machine working). The pool store also told me to be hesitant of only using liquid chlorine all the time, because it can cause 'build up' for the inert ingredients. I have not heard this in any of my online rabbit holes yet, but is that also possible? I asked, build up like calcium? And the store employee said yes.
AAANY help would be very much appreciated, and any feedback on the ColorQ would also be nice. I felt that by spending $100+ on a digital monitor, I would get pretty accurate results, but that pH difference rattled my cage yesterday.
Thank you for any insight from a newbie.