I've been a lurker here since last spring (2015) when I stumbled across the site researching a product my local pool company was pushing on me (EZ-Pool). They could never tell me exactly why I should use it or what it was doing exactly but only that "...I need it, I'll love it, and my pool will be so easy to take care of". While spending hundreds on this snake oil they were still having me dump hundreds more on calcium, pH Up, chlorine tablets, etc, etc. As a new, insecure pool owner I just kept forking over the credit card simply not knowing any better and telling myself it's just "for now" until I figure out what I'm doing. Every week I would stop by the store with a water sample and they would have me buying 50 pounds of this and 30 pounds of that and I would go home and dump it all in the pool. Nobody ever mentioned CYA rising with the use of Dichlor tablets or that Sodium Bicarbonate is Sodium Bicarbonate whether it's $45 for a bucket or $5 for a bag!
Once I started reading the threads and excellent "Pool School" articles here at TFP I decided to pull the plug on the steady income I was providing the pool store.
Based on a couple of very well written replies in some threads here I first ceased the application of EZ Pool. This is after spending upwards of $450 on buckets that lasted literally only one Vermont season (i.e. short ). I then decided I didn't want to pay these same clowns hundreds more dollars to open my pool so, instead, I started reading TFP to learn how to open it myself. Imagine my surprise when it went off without a hitch with the exception of a couple of minor repairs I made myself based on their failures during the previous years' closing!
From there, feeling very confident in the advice I was getting at TFP, I switched exclusively to the BBB system and wouldn't you know it, my water quality and general pool experience was FAR superior this year than last year when the pool company was in charge and I was spending a small fortune on chemicals!
And if that wasn't good enough, I recently added up all of my 2014 receipts and the total was just over $1,000. Compared to this year at $65 for a Taylor test kit, $10.78 for 26 pounds of Arm & Hammer (the amount I needed to get things balanced at the opening) and about $5 or less per week on bleach (I never ended up needing to use the Borax). My whole summer cost less than $200 and I got a test kit out of it!
So, needless to say, after all of the successes this summer, I decided to close myself this year - just last weekend actually (a little late) - using information here at TFP exclusively (well, also one YouTube video demonstrating blowing out the returns with a Shop-Vac). It took me much longer than it will next year but I did it! I feel good about it every time I look out the back slider and see the safety cover nicely applied knowing I saved another $300 or more!
Now, I'm following the information here at TFP to "re-open" my hot tub. I shut it down in August out of pure frustration over the amount of maintenance my small, 250 gallon spa was taking using a whole myriad of Leisure Time products that never seemed to work right after a month or so vs. the maintenance of a 22,000 gallon pool using BBB! So tonight I did the Muriatic Acid/Borax balancing act to get the borates up on a fresh fill after getting a good test of my tap water so I know exactly where I 'm starting. I hit the PoolMath page, got the CH looking good and my first run of 10ppm (out of the 24 total before switching to bleach) on the Dichlor and I'm thinking to myself a) who is this guy and how does he suddenly know so much and b) I REALLY need to join the site, post an intro, and thank the folks here for all of the help you have given me over the last 7 months. I have a long way to go but I have come miles as a result of the great information and ready assistance here. This summer I went from being 100% ignorant as to how to take care of my $40,000 investment to actually teaching a guy at work how to use his Taylor test kit.
So...thank you! I really appreciate that the site is here and am extremely happy to have stumbled onto it!