So, I bought a house 11/06 with a pool, and the former owner had been using Baquacil for all 8 years since the pool was built. I tried it for one summer (last summer) and couldn't keep up with the algae growth. It seemed I needed to vaccum twice a week and backflush the filter every few days.
Anyway, I've been reading these forums, which are FANTASTIC, because the people at the pool stores seem to know almost nothing about Baquacil, even if they sell it. I was very nervous about starting this process because I'm new to pools in general and haven't exactly mastered all the eqipment yet. Last weekend (May 3rd), I took the cover off, and the water looked pretty good. My DE grids had recently been acid washed, so they were clean and ready to go. I hadn't added any Baquacil since early August of last year. For August and September, until I closed my pool, I only added non-chlorine shock on a weekly basis. As I said, I had to constantly clean the pool and backflush the filter. Last Sunday, I added some dry acid to get my pH down to 7.2, and ran the filter for about 12 hours a day, bought the TF100 test kit and loaded up on bleach. I took a water sample to the pool store, where they told me my Baq levels were 40ppm! Way higher than what I was hoping for, especially since I hadn't added Bac for 8 months. At the pool store, they told me that the vinyl liner leeches out the Baquacil during the winter.
The first beach went in early Saturday morning. I bought the 1.42 gal 6% supermarket bleach. The pool immediately turned an opaque brown with a lot of foam and gunk floating on the surface. The FC level was back down to zero in about an hour. It may have happened sooner, but I waited an hour to check. During the day on Saturday, I added bleach every one or two hours to get back up to 15ppm. I bought some of the Clorox Outdoor bleach from Lowes that is more concentrated. That seemed to get the FC up to 15 pretty easily. I had to backflush the filter and add new DE at least four times on Saturday when the pressure in the DE tank rose to 20psi (it normally sits right on 10psi).
By Sunday morning, the pool was clearer, but still had a ton of junk floating on the top, but I could see the bottom. As of this morning (Monday) after 48 hours of constantly adding bleach (the equivalent of 45 gallons of 6%), the water is crystal clear. I had no idea that my pool could be that clear. It's really amazing. Almost all of the foam is gone from the surface too. I did a quick reading this morning and here's what I found:
FC = 10
CC = 7
I added a 1.42 gallon jug of 6% to get my FC back up to 15ppm. The DE filter was still reading 10psi, so I think I'm good with not having to backflush so often anymore. My plan is to keep adding bleach in the morning and evening until the FC holds overnight and the CCs go down to less than 1ppm. I guess this is the part that takes a while. Here are my questions:
1. When should I take my DE grids out and hose them down / replace them? Do I need to wait until the very end, or would doing that now help out the conversion?
2. When do I need to worry about the other tests like CYA, TA, etc. Can that wait until I have the chlorine stabilized?
3. I have a chlorine generator ready and waiting to be installed. Do I want my TC to be 2-3ppm or 0ppm before I start running that?
I think that's it for now. I took some pictures that I'll try to post tonight. I just wanted to let people know that even with a high Baq level, if you can focus a lot of attention on your pool (and it was definitely hard this Mother's Day weekend, especially on my wife), you can get to clear water in a short amount of time. Saying you need a lot of bleach is an understatement. I made five separate bleach runs in two days. I would definitely recommend that Clorox Outdoor stuff though. One big jug brings the FC level up quite a bit.