Everything I know about pool care I learned from pool contractors and stores. Much of it is suspect, I'm finding. I am re-teaching myself everything I know about pool care after 5 seasons of pool ownership! I found this forum *this week* after suffering a sudden, major algae bloom. I really DO want to do it the right way.
I live in Central Illinois, and have a 10K gallon fiberglass, in-ground pool with automatic cover. I run an Aqua-Rite SWG and sand filter w/ZeoBrite. The cover is closed most of the time during the week, and I run the system timer to filter about 10 - 12 hours daily, depending on usage.
Traditionally, my TA has always run high, around 150 or 180 -- but I never worried as the water looked clear. I've battled CYA since the beginning. It's a struggle to even get it to register -- but haven't worried too much as I never seemed to have problems maintaining acceptable TC. In fact, I often had TC on the high side -- which I always assumed was due to the pool being covered all the time.
After reading MANY posts on this forum, I have officially renounced test strips. The kit from TFTest is on the way. However, the strips are all I have at the moment - and I'm growing concerned.
I rolled back the cover on Tuesday to discover the water had turned. It was fine (or so I thought) on Sunday when we closed it up. Test strips showed zero FC, pH around 7.4, TA very high - around 200, CYA at ZERO. I shocked the pool to get some chlorine in there, and discovered my SWG had shut down due to inadequate salt levels (which tested fine 5 weeks ago when I opened the pool). I added salt to get back up to 3100 ppm. I began adding acid to bring down TA first, with intent of getting pH back in line thereafter.
NOW, I have TA still a bit high at 120, but the pH is VERY low, at 6.2 (as close as I can tell with the strips). FC is high at 10 ppm or more (the square is DARK purple). CYA still reads zero. The water is now a very cloudy white - an improvement from the cloudy green I had earlier this week.
I have read about aeration, and purchased components to build a bubbler to run on my air compressor. I'll get that going tonight. However, I'm worried about this extremely low pH, and what it may be doing to my cell. The heater is OFF.
So, do I start aeration immediately with such a dramatically low pH? Does the addition of CYA tend to force pH even lower? Should I add that now? later? If I aerate now, do I just monitor pH until it gets to 7.6? AND, can I do all this with the test strips I have on hand?
Thanks, in advance, for any and all advice.