So in January, I fired my pool guy. I have gotten most of the basics down and most chemical levels seem to be stable in the right area. I did have some questions:
I have been using chlorine tablets up until a week ago. Does using bleach boost the total dissolved solids more than liquid chlorine or tablets? If so, how much does that really matter? My total dissolved solids are at 1900 right now, and the guy at Leslie's says I'll probably have to drain my pool in a year...
As far as bleach goes, any particular brand you guys recommend? I was looking at the 3 gallon pack of clorox at sams club...
For the chlorine, my CYA is high and the chlorine/cya chart says my target chlorine should be 12+. At what point is the chlorine level unsafe to swim? Because the CYA is so high, does that mean the chlorine level would be equivalently harsh on your skin as a lower chlorine level with a lower CYA level? I have a young child, so I don't want the chemicals too harsh for her skin.
Also, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the difference between total alkalinity and ph. Is it possible to have a ph that is in the optimal level, but a total alkalinity that is too high/low? If possible and that happens, what do I do? Last time I went to the pool store to get my water tested, my ph was 8, and TA was 170. My ph is 7.5 now, but I haven't gotten the water retested yet, so I don't know what the TA is (Basic test kit right now). In theory, should the TA be in the optimal range if the ph is? If the ph is optimal, but TA is slightly off, does that really matter (much)?
My CYA is at 150 currently, and I was debating about trying that CYA reducer, I know the results have been mixed at best, but since my TDS is at 1900, would it be best to just wait it out and drain the pool once that hits 2500? Should I really wait till TDS gets to 2500 before draining? At what point is it recommended to drain the pool? How often are people generally draining their pools?
I live in Vegas, and there will likely be water restrictions no later than 2017 as Lake Mead is being depleted, so I have a somewhat narrow window to drain and refill the pool. Don't worry, everything that goes down the drain in this city gets recycled and ends back up in the lake... Its the other 2 states and a country to the south using all the water.
I know thats a lot of questions... Thanks for any help