I've read for hours but could use some expert advice to make sure I'm doing the right things without going overboard.
Problem: I live very near Seattle Washington (known for cloudy skies and rain), but that doesn't mean I should have cloudy water all the time! For the last two years I've had very clear water only when I remove the winter cover. I know this is the opposite problem most people have when opening. In winter I have very little chlorine loss (assuming I get cover on before leaves fall). As soon as I start running the pump (vacuuming to get any gunk on the bottom) I end up with clouds that prevent seeing the bottom just 52" down. The clouds last the rest of the season until ~December when I peek under the winter cover! I have never had clear water since I started up the pool .
I also get green algae blooms fairly easily. I just recently finished shocking the pool from solid dark green back to light blue cloudy. I've finally decided I need to chase the blue clouds away too, but high chlorine levels don't seem to be enough. I'm not sure if I'm doing the right steps or prioritizing my time appropriately to succeed.
I don't have time to clean the pool with a toothbrush. What do you think I should be focusing on to chase the clouds away? Will keeping above shock level (FC 28+ ppm) alone do it after several days even if FC 20+ and filter running 12hr per day for 2 weeks hasn't solved the problem? Perhaps I got zeobrite dust in the pool (if so then how do I remove it???). Please help!
Current test results:
CC 1 <typo corrected 9/4>
water temp 70
Filtering ~2 turnovers per day (10-12hrs filtering per day, 5-6.5 hrs per turnover)
FC 21.5 (2ppm drop from last night)
CC .5 (.5ppm drop from last night)
Pool water volume: 7,700 gallons per the pool calculator (12'x24'x52" oval)
Filter pressure: 13 psi after backwash, ~20 psi when dirty.
Flow rate: 26 gpm with 13 psi filter (19.4 through solar panels)
turnover rate: 5-6.5 hrs per turnover (7700/26)/60=4.9359 , (7700/19.4)/60=6.6151
Overnight FC drop from 9/1 evening to 9/2 morning was only 2 ppm FC, .5 ppm CC. I'm assuming any drop meant algae is being consumed, but I'm not sure.
Full disclosure (stuff I'm not doing "by the book"):
1. FC high but not shock level: I've been trying to keep FC between 20 to 23 since before 8/20 (14 days now). After reading & re-reading cloudy thread posts and pool school I found I should have FC=8 target (non-shock) and FC>=28 for shock when my CYA=70. FC=20 to 23.5 has eliminated the green (after 2 weeks!), but I'm unsure if this or even official shock level will clear the clouds. Note that I'm letting the kids swim (age 9 and 11) in the pool but have to shower after they are done.
2. Filtering 12h per day instead of 24hrs per day: My 2hp motor is fairly noisy. I don't want to risk bothering the neighbors if I don't have to. Also we can clearly hear the pump since our bedroom is about 25' from the pump and filter. I typically run the pump from 8 AM to 10 PM.
3. Backwashing Limited: Since I've killed the green clouds my filter is consistently running ~13psi (clean pressure) so I haven't been backwashing. I just keep dumping in more chlorine and running filter 10-12 hrs every day. I also use a redneck(tm) skimmer sock (panty hose) to catch most the bugs and occasional stringy white plants (roots from seeds the birds drop in ???). I hate wasting water followed by adding more chemicals to balance freshly added water.
4. Brushing infrequent and incomplete: I brush the pool floor moderately about once a day. I use a pool ranger (hooked up to my only inlet) vacuum once a week. I don't brush the walls because they feel smooth with no residue. Perhaps I'm delusional because I keep reading about brushing the walls in other posts. I even bought a wall whale to help brush the pool bottom while pulling back the brush. It works a little for that, but the idea of walking around the outside of my cramped pool perimeter scrubbing up and down just takes more time (~20min) and hassle than I've been willing to give.
5. Zeobrite filter media: In July 2007 I started with 75 lbs zeobrite in my 150 lb sand filter (per zeobrite instructions). I backwashed the zeobrite per instructions to get the dust out. The first time I actually drained waste to an inflatable pool so I could see the drainage and repurpose it for watering the lawn & shrubs. I noticed about a cup or two of zeobrite in the waste pool I set up. I'm sure each time I backwash there is at least a little bit of filter media going to waste. This spring I peeked in the filter and I noticed the sand level was a bit low (just below half-way mark on molded tank), but I'm unsure if that is normal given zeobrite instructions recommended 1/2 the weight of regular sand. (I don't know if zeobrite just needs less or if it takes up more volume than regular sand.) My current plan is to add a couple hand fulls of D.E. via skimmer sometime soon and see if it improves cloudy situation.
6. Solar blanket issues: I've only had this solar blanket for 3 years (2007). It has some damage and near the damaged area I noticed a couple bubbles had green in them. I read in a separate post that old solar blanket can provide a haven for algae which might explain my constant battle, but I'd hate to replace the blanket when it otherwise appears fine. I plan to look for damaged bubbles and give it a separate washing soon.
7. Ladder in the pool 24x7: I typically leave the ladder in the pool except when vacuuming (~once a week). I know the rocks in the bottom rung compartment (designed to keep ladder down) provides an impossible area to clean beyond high chlorine level. Do I need to remove the ladder more frequently or scrub it regularly? (Please don't recommend extra work if you wouldn't do it yourself .)
TO DO (in my order of priority):
1. FC>=28 consistent shock for 3+ days, test twice a day (~noon and evening)
2. Brush pool 2 times a day (morning and midday) and vacuum twice a week. Backwash each time water condition shows improvement (which indicates stuff in pool is now in filter)
3. Wash solar blanket and check for/remove any algae-filled bubbles
4. Add D.E. to sand filter
5. Remove ladder when not in use (PITA, but likely haven for algae)
6. Close pool with floc/polyquat (?) in about 3 weeks and try again next year (perhaps catching zeobrite dust)
7. Microscope examination of water culture for signs of life vs. inorganic cloudiness. Trick will be getting a good sample because I don't have deposits on pool floor that I can see (too cloudy!) Perhaps I could try panning for particles by filling a pyrex dish with pool water, letting it settle for 4+ hours, then slowly pour off 99% of water to obtain sample for microscope.
8. Read more about zeobrite dust as possible inorganic cloud particle (and how to remove said fine particles).
I can commit to doing 2-3 of these at a time, but if the battle drags on I'll be likely to throw in the towel. Even if I don't get much benefit for this season the battle will help me understand how to conquer this problem next year starting at opening day.
Would you do more or less? Would you change priority of steps above? Any additional ideas I haven't listed? Please reply with your ideas!