So my wife and I bought a house with a pool back in August, which is a first for both of us... It's a lovely thing with a Pebble Tec finish, but it's becoming clear to me that the previous owners neglected it, along with almost everything else about the house (that's another story). Anyhow, I hired a pool guy when we moved in, who assured me everything was fine... Then after a couple of months he simply stopped coming. No answers to emails, no phone calls, no bills -- just *poof*. I decided it was a sign that I should start managing the pool myself, so I bought some crappy test strips and, based on those and some pool-store-guy advice, ended up putting two small bags of chlorine powder (I think it was stabilized) in the pool in late September (yes this is northern California and we were still using the pool). I have also been religiously keeping the floating chlorine dispenser stocked with Kemtek 3" tablets (which, in retrospect, is probably a mistake) and manually scrubbing the pool once every two weeks to keep the algae from getting a foothold.
My early Christmas presents this year were a Barracuda G3 (to replace the defective Navigator) and a Taylor test kit... The latter altered me to what I had been suspecting for some time -- my chemistry is out of whack:
CYA >100 (way above... I think at least 200. Need to run a dilution test.)
This leads to a lot of questions, but my first and foremost question is about the CYA... My research suggests there is no option to fix that other than changing out a significant portion of the water. Is that correct? Assuming it is, if I rerun my CYA with dilution and find it's 200, what percentage of the water do I need to remove and replace?
Other, less burning questions:
I assume the high pH issue will also be resolved by replacing the water... Correct?
How did the water get so far out of balance (was it using the tablets?) and what can I do to prevent that in the future?
Once I do the water replacement, what are the next steps to getting the water properly conditioned?
Is it okay to let the pool slide until the spring (ain't no one swimming in 55F water), or do I need to address this soon?
My pool has an unusual shape, so I'm not sure about the volume since the usual online calculators aren't quite applicable... Are there other methods of figuring this out?
I'm sure I'll think of other questions, but this is a good start... Thanks in advance for your help!