A little background; we recently bought (closed in January, move-in in March) a new house in Florida, with a pool (it was a requirement for me as we have 2 young girls who love swimming in the pool). The house and pool were, let's just say, neglected. We had a pool guy come out to check on the pool equipment and get rid of the nastiness that was our water. As far as I can tell, he did a good job in getting the pool clear. He also taught us about our pool equipment, clearly labeled the flow control area for us, explained some things about keeping the SWG going smoothly, etc. He even found a (albeit old) fiber-optic pool lighting system that we didn't know existed, and was able to "fix" it (needed a bulb) for us.
Anyway, things have been going ok until the past month or so. Now I've found myself in this terrible cycle where I can't get the chlorine and pH under control. I've been reading this site for the past couple of weeks and trying to follow the guidance found here. With the old test kit, and using the pool calculator linked from this site, I had added bleach to get the chlorine up and muriatic acid to get the pH down, as well as baking soda to get the TA in line. It seemed like, no matter what I did, nothing was working. I had the SWG turned up to 100% (super-chlorinate) without any measurable improvement in chlorine (old test kit, mind you). Even though I cleaned out the filters, inspected and cleaned the T-9 cell (no visible scaling), I was having no luck.
I recently ditched the old $20 test kit and picked up a Taylor 2006 last week (I liked the box better...I know, silly, but whatever). After receiving that via Amazon last week my numbers were thus:
.4 ppm Free Chlorine
.4 ppm Combined Chlorine
70 ppm Total Alkalinity
70 ppm Calcium Hardness
0 CYA (yup, 0)
Again, punched the numbers into the calculator, went out to Target (for bleach and baking soda) and the pool store (for liquid stabilizer and a 25 lb box of calcium chloride). The liquid CYA was costly, but I'm only in town every other week (work takes me away often) and needed to stabilize the pool quickly so my family can use it. After the past couple of days of adding the chemicals and re-testing, my numbers are now:
7.0 pH (***?)
The water was clear, but with those numbers the calculator says "corrosion of plaster likely" (assuming that's from the low pH).
Earlier this morning, I added about 5 lbs of calcium chloride and 2 lbs of pH UP (bought it a while ago before reading this site and how much pool chemical prices are inflated). I want to give my SWG a chance to start generating some chlorine.
Sorry for the long lead-up. Here are the question(s) I wanted to ask:
First, after adding the calcium chloride to bring the CH up, the pool is now cloudy. I waited a few hours and checked again and it is still cloudy. Will that clear up? The water was pretty clear this morning. Not so much now.
Second, if my chlorine tests this afternoon don't show a significant increase, should I drop in another gallon of bleach? If that's the case, how do I know the SWG isn't kaput? It has the two green lights, and I checked the diagnostics the other day and everything seemed in line (salt levels, voltages, etc.) I'll check that again tonight and post those numbers if needed.
Third, I have some leaf stains on the bottom that will just not clear up. Any thoughts on what I should do to clean those out short of an acid wash?
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. We're at the point that we're just ready to hand over the reins to a local pool service and pay the monthly fee just so we can start enjoying it instead of it ruling most of my down-time from work just trying to maintain it. (Not to mention the wife has mentioned, only half-jokingly, filling it in with dirt so we can have a back yard instead.)