We are renting a house and moved in in mid-Sept. I've been doing alot of reading to figure out how to take care of the pool. The house was on the market for about 8-12 months and the pool guy, who came once each week, apparently was told by the owner to keep the pool looking good (blue) and not to spend alot of money. So, the pool guy said that he just kept the chlorine very high by putting in lots of skimmer stickes and didn't fool with the pH or alkalinity or anything else. So, now, the CYA is off the chart as is the free chlorine. I haven't done anything except increase the pH and alkalinity. (I've backwashed and kept the pool free of dirt and leaves.)
The water still looks great. My kids got in and swam a few times, but now, I'm a little scared after studying about the chemicals. I'm going to take some water to the pool store to find out the exact levels, and see what they have to say, but I guess my question is this: If the water is pretty and blue, chemicals are staying in balance with a very high CYA (the strips only read up to 150) and a high free chlorine (strips only read up to 10), should I worry too much about it? Is the water unsafe to swim in? (we live in the south and with the cool nights lately, swimming is pretty much over, but I'm hoping to have it all figured out by the spring and really don't want to have to drain the pool--22K gallons of water has got to be EXPENSIVE)-
A couple of other questions:
--I live in the deep south -- I've started running my pump 6 hours at night....is that what I need to do all winter? Should I be running it more or less this time of year?
--Do I just keep checking the water every few days and adjust the chemicals as needed (once I get the CYA stuff figured out)? There is no cover for the pool and I was told that the owner has always kept is "open" during the winter.
Renting a house with a vinyl liner pool that is about 22K gallons