Boy am I glad to have found this forum!
I recently purchased a house with a pool and made the decision to DIY.
Without knowing any better, I kept up the chlorine using tablets. Tested chorline/ph/alkalinity weekly, and didn't run into any problems for a solid 3 months. Over the weekend, I started seeing some algae. Went to the pool store, got some powdered shock and, per their advice, shocked multiple times. Tested chlorine levels throughout and could NOT understand why my problem was getting worse instead of better until frantic Googling led me here, where I learned about my arch-nemesis: CYA.
After reading a few threads, it was obvious that my CYA levels were going to be off insane, thanks to my merciless use of powdered shock and chorine pucks. I ordered a proper test kit (Taylor K2006) and ran out to get as much liquid chorine as I could fit into a shopping cart. While waiting for the test kit to arrive, I started dumping liquid chorine into the pool, brushing like crazy, and cleaning my ancient filter twice a day. Lo and behind, the water was clearer than I've ever seen it before the kit even arrived at my door 2 days later. (BIG thank you to everyone on this forum for this!)
Algae's been gone for the last 2 days. Here are today's test results (assuming I did things right):
CC 0 (Hooray, this is a good sign, right?)
PH 7.8 (I will knock this down a few notches this afternoon)
CYA 120 (1st test was off the chart, so I did the half pool water, half tap water, results x2 trick to get 120)
I live in southern California and draining/refilling isn't really an attractive option right now, not only for the expense, but I'd also prefer not to be drought-shamed by my brand new neighbors (forgive my sarcasm - I'm sure they're all very nice people). So, I'll be taking the hard route and learning how to manage my pool's CYA until I can scrape together enough to try a reverse osmosis treatment which I see some on the forum have reported success with. In the meantime, I'll keep the cover off, be more aggressive with cannonballs and splashing around to displace water more frequently, and will spend all the rest of my time/energy willing it to rain.
So - good people at TFP, my next question is: what other problems do I need to keep an eye out for with a CYA as high as mine? I plan to keep my FC between 10-12 at all times (which looks ok according to the Chlorine/CYA chart) - higher if I know we won't be jumping into the water for a few days. It's my understanding that chlorine levels in that range wouldn't be unsafe for swimmers because of the CYA - or am I unknowingly putting people at risk despite the crystal clear, irresistibly inviting algae-free water?
Any other tips to share? Also - I can't say enough - thank you to everyone at this forum for sharing your knowledge. I feel like I've saved so much time/money already, and wish I'd have found the site before I entered the dark puck-era months of my pool ownership life.