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ALK - 90
I heard a lot of about this forum and I decided to finally get on here and be active. I am having one heck of a time with my pool this year and I am about at my wits end. As you can see in my signature it's a pretty decent size in ground, I should also mention it's kidney shaped. I live in a suburb on the outskirts of St. Louis, with any luck maybe someone on this forum is in the same region. I opened the pool late this year I wanted to get the DE filter in and I was hoping that would cure some bad experiences from last year. I have been in this house for two years now and I had a very old and smaller cartridge filter that was cleaning the pool the year before. It was a total nightmare the size could not keep up with the size of the pool and I was cleaning those cartridges several times a week. I believe the previous owner of the pool had something go out on him and he used this as a patchwork fix. When I opened this year I opened to an algae infested green swamp. It has taken so long for it to clear up in comparison to last year. Last year I had it opened and it was solid black...algae gumballs, leaves and all, it was completely disgusting. Honestly I feel like it cleaned up quicker and in worse shape than it has this year! Here are my main problems:
DE Filter: I bought this thing thinking it was going to be a major over haul to the cartridge system I was using before, I am not impressed so far and I feel like it's something I am doing wrong. I was not a fan of every 3 days it felt like spraying off the cartridges and reassembling the lid. The idea of back washing all of the time and re-filling seems like less work but I don't feel like it was as effective. I have a spy glass on the vari-flo valve on the DE filter, my backwash process is this. Backwash until clear, switch to filter for 10-15 seconds, Backwash again, Filter, Backwash, Rinse. When it was really nasty I did it a few more times but it felt like each time I filtered it kicked up more and I wanted it out of there. I literally go maybe a day and the PSI gauge is kicking up to 15 psi and started at 10psi. Once it hits 20psi I have read it's time to backwash and get things going, am I wrong on this? After each backwash I have read that if I go from 20psi down to 10 I am fine, but if I backwash and my starting pressure is around 4-5psi above my normal start I need to take the filter grids out and spray them down. Is this correct? I feel like if I am only getting a day maybe two out of my filter then it feels like the same and I am wasting money on DE. I bought on 7/1/2014 a 25lb box of DE I have already went through that and I am on my second one. Can anyone tell me what the usual amount they go through in a pool season? I feel like this is a lot in one month, not to mention needing to add it every time. The filter calls for 6lbs, I add around that much maybe a little more if I get a big scoop. I like watching videos on youtube from Mrdgvb1, he seems really on it and helped me a few times last year. In his DE filter video's he adds around 8lbs. Can someone please clarify any of this?
Rainbow 320 Chlorinator: I am not sure if it's the type of chlorine I purchased or if there is something wrong with my chlorinator. I put in at the beginning of the month around 7-8 cakes in the chlorinator. Most people I have ran into usually only put in around 3-4 and they are gone in a week or two. I popped the top of the chlorinator and around 4-5 were still in there. Now I don't run it non-stop I like it running for around 9-10 hours a day but it feels like they are dissolving really slow. I will have to check what kind of cakes they are I know they produce CYA. My CYA like I said from above was around 15-20 from my last test. I know a lot of people online experience the "airlock" problem with this chlorinator I just found this out recently and I am looking to test the theory. Is there any other way to see if it's chlorinating at all? I know the cakes are disappearing but maybe it's running only half the time and that's why I cannot maintain my water? I went out to walmart and bout an HTH floating chlorinator and put 3 tablets inside of it. I wanted a patchwork job so my pool didn't turn back to green again.
Water quality: I had crystal clear water and we got a ton of rain and it went right back to nasty aqua and then a light haze of green. Last year I had a Mirage MX robotic cleaner and it went completely out on me. I was less than pleased, I know it was purchased by the previous owner in 2011 and I need to find the receipt for it. I am not running auto-bot cleaner this year and I am wondering is this part of my problem? Should I be doing something DAILY to make up for the fact that the bot isn't running while I was at work last year. Last year my water was excellent, then I ran into a low ALK issue and had some problems but I was able to bring it back before the end of summer. I feel like this year with newer equipment and one year of knowledge I have taken a big step backwards. I keep getting a dust around the edge of the bowl and lightly in the deep end. Two days ago I put in 5lbs of turbo shock and it cleared up immensely, I couldn't see the drain at the bottom but everything was that cool pool blue color just cloudy from all of the dead algae. When I had my water tested above the guy at the pool store tested me for phosphates and I was really high on his chart. I spent $30 or something for a BioGuard pool tonic? I feel like I wasted my money because nothing has improved since I have put it in there. I understand the chlorine is killed by the phosphates but it's been going on a week and still no major increase. I would figure the phosphates would be gone by now and I am in shape with more chlorine from the chlorinator that floats and the rainbow 320.
All in all I am VERY down at the moment and just want to enjoy the pool. I feel like all I have spent my money on this year so far is just to keep it up for a few days and then it's back to looking like garbage, another $50-$75 here for three days of relief and then back to ****. I go out there and I test, I use a 7 way tester and just look at the colors. I hear a lot about the TF-100 and I will invest in one of those next year, I plan on closing the pool the beginning of September so no point in buying one now. Can anyone work out a process as to what I am doing wrong? Should I be out there brushing and scrubbing the walls with the broom each and every day because I do not have a bot to vacuum it up? I know CYA level is important but here in St. Louis we have had a semi cool summer. My pool is mostly exposed to the sunlight anyway, the pool store pro told me most of the problems he had ran into this year was TC. The sunlight wasn't doing it's job of killing off the dead chlorine and people had cloudy water time and time again.
Any help will be greatly appreciated I just would like some guidance because I'd hate to think this giant oasis in my backyard is totally worthless. Should I open up the DE and blast it out? Is that why I don't get long cycles in between running the filter? It feels like it's been that way from day one but it took the pool from green to a light blue in around 48 hours during opening. Chlorine? If my chlorinator isn't running as it should what kind should I get? I believe I have trichlor in there right now. I read online that a pool that size could take 14 - 16oz of granular chlorine every two days and that would be the same as running the automatic. Would it be a good idea to do that just in case, I figure if not anything it will at least help. I'm looking for a daily routine that I go out and get married to so I can keep this pool in tip top shape, I want to compare as to what I do and see what I am doing wrong.
I look forward to any and all posts, anyone from St. Louis can send me a PM if they wanted, local help is always great.