First off, let me say that I don't have any problems with my pool, it's pool care that I'm questioning. The money and time I'm supposed to spend. Is it all necessary in my case? I read pool school last Spring and then went back to school again this Summer after asking a question on the "deep end" about a creeping PH problem I've had ever since going TFPC and getting corrected about not following TFPC on several points in which I thought I understood. Now, except for still not having the appropriate test kit, I think I'm doing everything right, except that, w/o the FAS-DPD kit, I may not be finding CCs when they first show up in the pool and I don't know my CYA level until getting it from the pool store, and I know that TPFC wants me to test everything myself, but I just can't justify it from an economic standpoint thus far with my little, 18' round vinyl pool.
I do find, probably because of my age and how my generation learned how to learn, that it's hard to totally comprehend information presented in web-site format in order to turn the information into action or like a set of instructions. I do better learning from a book format and then re referencing information via an index or table of contents, and it has been hard for me to put all of the elements of the information together on this site by clicking back and forth through tabs, links, articles, etc. But just today, I found the closest thing to an instruction manual on here, and I found it in the forum; under a sticky thread, for beginners. So that helps a little.
First for the kit; why I haven't bought the Taylor 2006. How does it make sense to buy a kit that cost maybe $68 that will give me 25 FC tests, when I need to test the FC every day, all summer and half the Spring and it's been shown that OTO tests work? And therefore, if I spend the bucks to get that kit, I'll have to start getting refills before the first 30 days comes around. The kit I've got is Swimline. It has been predictable on TA with an acid drop, PH, and approx. FC via OTO tests, so I trust it and I'm still not even close to using any of the drop bottles. It's July; and it was $20, and I've still got a crystal clear pool and chlorine in it every day according to my results.
But the problems I can see with using it, instead of a "do it all" test kit, is: (1) my FC is approximate and not very accurate, but I don't see how that's a big problem as long as I keep the test results daily in the color range based on my CYA. And that brings me to CYA. (2) This kit doesn't give me CYA level. So I get CYA level from the pool store with a once-per-month sample. I've been blasted on here for trusting their results, but they seem consistent based on the products I've used and adjustments I've made and see no reason to think it's wrong. And then (3) there is the bigger problem of CCs. I'm supposed to use my OTO and relook in the vial after 2-minutes to see if it turns darker, and if so, I've got CCs. I don't really trust it for that, so I also get a sample from the store every three weeks or so for the CCs, but I guess that's the biggest weakness of my kit. I don't really know when I need to shock, so if I can't get to the pool store, I'll shock every three to four weeks. I know it's wrong and not the TFPC way, but I just can't get myself to spend that much money on a kit that doesn't get me through the Summer.
Now for PH creep: I asked about it on the "deep end". I told the group that my pool tries to be 8.0 or a little higher all the time; for one and a half years now; at least since I quit using chlorine products that are acidic on a regular basis. I made the mistake of telling the group that I had recently adjusted my TA from 49 to 100, because that's one of the things I missed on the site; that is the TFPC recommended levels; that there was a difference between their recommendation and traditional pools. I think I didn't know the meaning of "traditional pool care" and had that in the calculator as a preset. I didn't realize that meant industry recommendations, so I thought that was the recommended level. Some of the group stated my PH was drifting high, because my TA was too high. I couldn't make them understand it creeps high at all different TA levels; all the time when using bleach, even after the daily dose of chlorine has been consumed and FC is down near minimum level for my CYA level; it will still be above 7.8 if I skip a small dose of MA for a couple of days. Anyway, I've had my TA in line for weeks now. It actually tends down over time, so when it drops down into the 40s or 50s, I'll raise it back up to 60-65. I think I'm dropping TA, because I'm almost daily adding around 6-7 oz. of muriatic acid four or five days a week, and according to the calculator and my own pool, I lose some TA periodically adding MA.
I researched looking for an answer to my problem. I want to know if higher PH is a problem and worth dealing with daily; should I keep adjusting it down almost all the time. If for some reason I'm using dichlor or trichlor for my daily dose back up to target range, it'll stay balanced pretty well on PH, but if I use Cal-hypo or bleach, it'll creep up. I don't really know if it'll keep creeping up past 8, because I've never tried living it alone. I found an article at poolsolutions.com that states that it may be best to let it stay high, but no real details as to when this is acceptable and when it is not, and that's what I'm trying to get a second opinion about.