Chemistry from today 10/15/2014 from the Pool shop:
FC - .5 ppm
CC - .5 ppm
pH - 7.6
TA - 120 ppm
CH - 700 ppm
CYA - 115 ppm
Phosphates - 100 ppb
water temp in the morning: 72
We're running the pump from 9am to 7pm and the Polaris from Noon to 4pm.
We moved in in mid-July and inherited a ton of 3" trichlor tablets. We immediately went out of town and paid a guy to take care of the pool for the first month. When we got back, he handed the pool back over and told us to put a tablet in each skimmer and two in a floating dispenser. Until recently, we'd done a good job of keeping the chlorine and pH in check (at least according to the pool store people), and haven't had any problems.
However, I was growing more and more alarmed about the rising CYA levels. I told my wife to ask the pool store people if there were alternatives to the tablets (since I knew they were heavy on stabilizer), but not surprisingly they said no... With a new job, I just never got around to Googling (doh). Meanwhile, we also learned that the tabs in the skimmer is a bad idea, so we recently moved them into the floater (4 tabs, 4 holes open). Then, we had a bunch of rain and we apparently got behind on the chemistry (mainly the FC/CC). Last night (after seeing the Chlorine was really low on our rinky dink test kit), my wife spotted a small amount of algae starting to form where some of our rock border meets the water line/plaster. That got me searching around and Google until I landed on TFP.com. Finally, I'm starting to see some stuff that makes scientific sense!
I'm planning to begin a TPFC program, but I'd love your help. I am guessing that my CYA levels are near the top of the triage list? Should I add a bunch of bleach now to try and attack the algae issue, or should I drain some water first to try and bring down the CYA and then go after the chlorine? I've read a bunch of horror stories about the effects of draining on plaster and pools in general, so I'm really nervous about making more problems. How much can I safely drain in one go?
I've been told not to sweat the CH because it's just how the water is down here in Austin. Does that make sense?
I suppose I also need to invest in a better test kit so my wife doesn't live at the pool store? I'm looking at the Taylor K-2006 (should I just go ahead an spring for the commercial one)?
Do people in Austin close their pools?
I suspect I've already made this too long but thanks for all the help.