I've been very fortunate. I bought and had my AG, vinyl liner pool delivered and set up late July 2013. Like most people who are new to pools and pool care, I did not know that the whole industry and my pool store were all crazy, so of course, I followed their advice. That first summer I did what they said...I ran the pump, did some periodic brushing and vacuuming and of course kept those wonderful magic pucks in my pool. I also under shocked once per week or every ten days or so per their instructions. My CYA must have gotten pretty high, because I'm pretty sure they had me bring it up to level with something called stabilizer upon set up and then proceed with the pucks 24/7. I also got my CH up to the recommended level to save my vinyl liner and protect the warranty-lol. By summer's end, I was dealing with some clouding, but I guess due to luck and actually having an over-sized pump/sand filter for my size pool, I escaped that first summer with no major algae out breaks or permanent severe clouding. The store invited us to a free class on closing the pool, which was pretty good (equipment wise), but they gave us three or four special winterizing chemicals to dump in before covering.
So Spring 2014, I opened it up. Everything looked good and clear; just a few worms. Took a sample to the pool store, but the pool store had a problem. They had an intelligent, conscientious testing associate working there. My CYA was 68. The report stated to drain it and refill to lower the CYA. The associate told me not to drain it; but also didn't tell me to ignore it, like they often do. Instead, he rightfully told me to stop using stabilized chlorine and that throughout the summer it will gradually go down to an acceptable level. He explained which chlorine products were stabilized and which ONE is not. The reason I state ONE is because they don't carry liquid chlorine or bleach, so he didn't mention those options. He also told me what an acceptable CYA level is. He suggested a big bucket of cal-hypo pucks to maintain FC 1-4.
So this guy really saved the day. No; he was not teaching TFP, but he did mention something called CYA, and he did explain that it can be too high or too low, and when I got home I wanted to figure out what this CYA thing is and why mine had gotten high. And due to that little bit of information, this is the reason I looked around on the internet and stumbled upon TFP. I've been fortunate, because I'm one of the few that, even though I'd spent the equivalent of one season following pool store methods, I never had to go through major problems. Never seen a speck of green stuff on any part of my pool or equipment...at least not until yesterday, and that brings me to the aha!
So you read and learn and re read and you think you've got it all down pat, and you think you really know, and you always have a sparkling pool. But I've come to realize that a level of understanding can keep going up and up on something even if you get to the point that you think you've completely got it. This week I started reading some of the threads on the forums and have learned alot more about alot of things, but something very specific happened yesterday that has probably solved a little repeating issue with me and my pool; and that is cc's showing up with the need to SLAM three times this season even though I've kept FC perfectly in line 24/7 and have done all the other recommended care procedures as well. A senior member helping someone else trying to get that last little 10% of a SLAM done suggested that maybe there is some little spot of algae somewhere around the skimmer that was keeping him or her from finishing up the SLAM. The underside of that little flappy thing. Another senior member following the thread went out to his or her pool with a toothbrush and wisked away a little bit of green. Likewise, I went out to my pool and flipped that thing over for the first time. There was a spongy, foamy thing inside a slot. It had a little green on it in three of four spots. I took it out sprayed 3:1 water:bleach on it and scrubbed it; let it sit out a while and put it back in.
That was my aha! If I'm having cc's show up more often all of the sudden and/or I'm getting ready to SLAM not related to a major outbreak, but just due to cc's above .5 with no visible alage, I think now I've realized that it is very important to really inspect and scrub every little area of the pool and equipment and look for anything that may be causing the cc's and remove it mechanically; maybe do that first, before starting the SLAM. Even though I'll still have to SLAM because it won't rid the pool of the cc's by itself, my aha is telling me that this could save alot of chlorine during the ensuing SLAM due to a quicker pass of the three tests; or at the least at a minimum, finding the hidden problem will save chemicals and time by not having the recurring problem.
Thanks TFP nation! The gifts never stop here!