Is is alright to use the borax and baking soda, but still use my chlorine feeder? I don't know if I'm ready to give that up, its just too convenient. I find that my CYA level stays at around 40 all the time.
As I've read here several times "Chlorine is Chlorine". If you are not seeing any CYA increase and you are using trichlor pucks you must be replacing enough water through backwash, splash out and evaporation to keep CYA steady. The other possibility is Cal hypo pucks which won't increase CYA but will increase Calcium hardness. If thats the case you need to watch your CA level. There is no penalty for being only a BB.
If you REALLY are able to keep your CYA at 40, then you should be able to keep using the pucks and chlorine feeder. But realize that you will be spending quite a bit more money on the chlorine pucks that you would on liquid chlorine.
eplacing enough water through backwash, splash out and evaporation to keep CYA steady
teppy... there is nothing wrong with using the pucks. Testing is the key to the pool, watch the CYA if you get to 50 I would stop using the pucks. Also watch the PH it will probably fall some, the pucks are acidic as you probably know and Borax would be a good choice to raise the PH. The Baking soda will raise the PH but also raise your TA.
I don't know how my CYA stays in the 40 range, I only add water about once every week and a half or so, depending on how much it rains. My Ch stays at around 250. I have a raised bond beam with two spillways. I don't know if that helps or not.
My pool starts out with 0 CYA when we open in April. I add enough to get CYA = 30. At the end of the season it runs at CYA = 40 and that's what I close with. Beats me what happens to that CYA over winter.
At any rate, my feeder is set to 1/4 flow and I add liquid bleach to maintain a FC = 3 level. I rarely shock, if ever. With the dogs I do get a lot of backsplash which requires refilling at least once a week.
YMMV. In our pool and with our usage the trichlor has not presented a problem.
krcossin, might I suggest using Cal-hypo pucks instead of the trichlor when you are away.
my reasoning, CYA is best in a 20ppm range (30-50/60-80), while CH is a 200ppm range (250-450 is acceptable). each tablet pretty much adds 1ppm CH or CYA per. so after 1 week, assuming going through 3 tablets, you have gone up 15% CYA, or 1.5% CH of acceptable range.