My family moved into a new house two months ago that has an in ground pool, and I've been barely keeping problems at bay since we've moved in. I've talked to pool stores and have become skeptical of their advice, although I'd often still be too ignorant to distinguish good advice from bad advice from them. I think there may be a couple of things going on. I apologize if I am I am missing information or giving too much of the wrong information. I will do my best with what I present and try to follow up as best I can if I need to supply any supplementary information.
Here's the scoop:
Under my no doubt inept efforts (thus far), pool is as finicky as Morris the cat. Test readings seem to fluctuate a lot and I've had to run to the pool supply store some half dozen times in the past two months to take some action to avert developing cloudiness problems, and one time even a noticeable green tint that was starting to form. Even when the pool is crystal clear, there is a lot of sediment on the bottom. It is normally silt colored, and looks like large grains of sand, but on days like today, when I'm having troubles, it's cloudy, not quite there, but looks like it's on the verge of looking greenish, and has some dustier looking sediment along with the usual sand like stuff. Except for the silt, pool has been beautiful for the last three weeks until now. At the moment it looks bad enough to be worried about swimming in it and based on the readings I am at a loss.
Educated from the reading I've done, I'm ordering a good test kit today, probably the TFTTestkits TF-100. All I have at home now is a cheap kit that tests only pH and chlorine. Yesterday I went to a pool store to have the water tested (store A). I must have left it on the counter, because I couldn't find it when I got home. Feeling privately sheepish, I went to a different store this morning (store B) so that I could provide readings with my post. Readings from Store A (from memory only), Store B, and my test kit from this morning do not necessarily agree, so I am posting them all:
Chlorine (don't remember what type) Store A: 3
FC: Store B: 5.1, Test Kit: 3, maybe a tad bit more (NB: I think it's surprising to see a higher store reading today than yesterday, since I've not added chlorine and the tablets in the floating dispenser are ready to replenish. Home test kit reading is unchanged from yesterday)
CC: Store B: 0.7, Test Kit (calculated): 0
pH: Store A: 7.0, Store B: 7.1, Test Kit 6.8
TA: Store A: 40 Store B lists "Alkalinity w/ stabilizer correction" (whatever that means) at 0. (3 to 8 weeks ago, TA was always within the "normal" range of the store's chart, maybe a bit on the low end of the range).
"Hardness" (is this the same thing as CH?): Store B: 198 ppm
CYA: Store B: 62
Pool Temperature: 86 deg F / 30 deg C
NB: Store A wanted to sell me stuff, store B thought the readings looked pretty good.
Information I've provided that may be suspect:
I THINK the pool is vinyl. It's not rough to the touch like I would expect cement/concrete to be, it's not hard like I would expect fiberglass to be, but it is smooth and slightly spongy to the touch. if someone could confirm "yep, that's vinyl" or describe how I can figure out for sure, I would be grateful.
What I've put in the pool:
Chlorine, in various forms, including shocking the pool a couple of times. Got low a couple of times the first few weeks when I was even more clueless than I am now, but it has been within range at all times now for the last three weeks.
Pool Perfect + PhosFree, one capful weekly. Alas, have I merely lined the pockets of the pool store?
A small bag of some sort of powdered algae treatment, one time, 3 weeks ago.
Metal Free, a capful, twice, 4 to 6 weeks ago. I'm now skeptical.
Baking soda, 1 lb, about three weeks ago
Hopefully Helpful Observations:
Pressure is around 3 psi. any time the pump is running (and yes, 0 when the pump is off). This was true before I cleaned the filter, after I cleaned it, and when I tested running the pump without the filter. Changed the pressure gauge to rule out a bad one: no difference. I see no obvious tears on the filter. Also, although water is flowing into the pool from the jets, I can completely block the flow over any given jet with my hand. I have no idea what "normal" is, but I seem to remember the flow being a lot more forceful at a cousin's pool when I was a teenager. I don't know how dirty is "dirty" for a pool filter, but it was white, but not new looking before I cleaned it, and after I cleaned it it looked like a pretty new-like looking white to me, but I have only now realize that I neglected to properly clean the inside pleats, which are protected behind a screen and hard to get to. Immediately after cleaning the filter and then vacuuming was the only time I saw a moderate improvement in the sediment problem (vacuuming generally does not pick up the sediment very well). I guess I need to clean the filter again, but it was a bear to do.
Only today, rummaging through stuff, did my wife discover that the mysterious blue thing just past the filter is a VISION Catalyst Purifier, Model VS-i. Apparently it has its own filter. It's anyone's guess how long since it's been changed and it's not obvious how to open the housing. The instructions reference a special housing wrench that's supposed to be supplied, but I doubt we have that and I can't even fathom a guess as to what it should even look like, and googling for that housing wrench, replacement filter, or even for the model and brand itself comes up dry. It appears there is a bypass around the purifier. I'm a little unsure of how to position the valve, but based on the other valves and the fact that the pump is actually pumping, it appears that the purifier is NOT being bypassed. I guess I should rotate the valve?
There was a lot of rain in July and much of August. It has finally eased up a bit. Also, in the few hours since we've been searching for paperwork, browsing for info, testing, water and writing this post, we can deny it no longer: the water is definitely starting to turn green.
HELP! Much appreciated!