I need your help here guys. I am a relatively new pool owner; 1 year. The first summer of pool care seemed easy, 3 tabs a week, shock it every week or 2, test with my OTO/PH kit - piece of cake! Now I'm realizing there is much more to it.
I kept having reoccurrence of mustard algae this spring so I began studying and a good ol' SLAM sounded like the right solution. Before I added anything I had my water tested by the pool store, they told me my CYA was high (over 100). I realized this was priority 1 because of the amount of chlorine it would take to shock and maintain. So I drained about 30% and refilled (I also disassembled and cleaned filter). Took water to pool store - CYA at 100. They sold me some chemical that is supposed to reduce the CYA, so I'm prepared to use it since it will be cheaper than the amount of water it would take to lower my CYA to proper level.
My question/problem is that while I was in there I was discussing how to avoid getting back into this situation. He said, it's unavoidable, you have to drain every 4 years to reduce CYA. I asked why don't I just put less CYA in the pool (by using unstabilized chlorine instead of the tabs he has which contain 1%)? He said they don't sell that anymore because it can be used to make bombs. I said I thought liquid shock or bleach was basically unstabilized chlorine. He said "You can't buy true unstabilized chlorine anymore (he reminded me of the whole bomb thing) true unstabilized chlorine is 4 or 5 molecules and bleach is a totally different kind of chlorine with only a single molecule and it won't work, especially in our Texas heat." He said "his di and trichlor (which I've been using) which is 2 or 3 molecules, doesn't break down as fast. You'd need 50, 5 gallon buckets of bleach to treat your pool, and you'll have to add it everyday...." on and on he went. I objected, yes but isn't the extra "molecule" you're referring to just the CYA which protects the chlorine... which I already have too much of?? We went in circles; he seemed to contradict himself a few times. I didn't make too big of a scene because I realized that I'm still in the "know enough to be dangerous" category.
So, long question short - is bleach a viable option (the strong stuff)? Is he correct that I should prepare myself to drain my pool every 4 years?