I've been reading on this site for the past week trying to learn. Like everyone else, I'm tired of being at the mercy of my pool store...and they got me into this mess. My husband took care of our pool using Sustain products for 12 years, but he passed away in 2012 and I've been struggling with it ever since. We really never had any issues with the pool other than an occasional yellow algae bloom. For the last spent all last summer and a month of the previous summer trying to find a leak that eventually was found in the heater (which is now bypassed). Had to add water every couple days, and now have a few stains that I think are iron (and I'll tackle that problem after I get the water balanced.) Bought the taylor test kit K-2006 as suggested.
Here's my numbers just now;
Alkalinity- 170 (1st try testing) 190 (tested a second time)
Yesterday, I had a friend come over to teach me how to use the kit....our numbers were all different and the only thing I've done since is add 2 packets of Cal-hypo (shock) and added more pucks to skimmer basket cup. I'm using the Sustain Pucks (cal-hypo per reading I've done here) because I spent 275 bucks at the pool store a few weeks ago and so, I just want to use them up. I plan to switch to bleach when I've used up my current supply.
I was really careful doing the testing today...even repeated a few of the tests. The water had been sparkling a few days ago, and today I noticed a very subtle change, it's very clear, not cloudy at all, just doesn't "sparkle" if that makes sense? I don't know why the numbers would change so much in one day? I only "balanced" the water per the pool store about 1.5 weeks ago - 13 lbs of cyanuric acid was added along with alkalinity increaser (sodium bicarb) and the pucks. I was using dipsticks to check the water daily last week and every thing seemed ok (albeit on the high normal range).
So.....I know I need to get the pH and Alkalinity down with muriatic acid?? I'm really nervous about adding stuff and having the numbers go even more wacky. Thanks so much in advance for any and all advice you can give me! I've learned so much reading these boards....but now I need to put it into practice and I'm freaking out!!