Just wanted to say hi, and that I'll be posting several questions here over the next few weeks in preparation for getting the pool ready this year! A little background on us...
We had a 15' above ground pool (Intex type) with a SWG two years ago. I literally set it up, added the recommended amount of salt and CYA, and didn't test the water or add anything else for the rest of the year. The pool stayed decently clear all season, but I realize now that I was just EXTREMELY lucky.
Last year we moved up to a 20' round pool with an appropriately sized SWG and sand filter. Sorry to say, but I basically made every mistake I could last year (forgive me). I let a local pool supply company test my water and talk me into putting an insane amount of chemicals in the pool when I set it up. I didn't do regular testing. We had several bad wind/rain storms that got my water all out of whack. When the bottom was particularly dirty, I made the mistake of vacuuming it with the pump set to filter instead of waste, so my water was a cloudy mess. The first half of the season was decent, but it went downhill fast! After reading some stuff on this site last fall, I decided to just close the pool 'dirty' and try again this year.
My fist instinct is to drain all the water when I uncover the pool in May, clean it out really good, and start fresh. Is that reasonable (as opposed to trying to clean out the debris and SLAM it)? For now it is just drained below the skimmer. Either way I'll have a lot of questions as I go along. In the meantime, I'll continue reading some of the Pool School articles. Also, I'm ordering one of the recommended test kits, the separate K-1766 saltwater kit, and a SpeedStir so they get here before I'm ready to get to work. I'm also debating ordering the Catfish battery powered vacuum unless someone talks me out of it. That sounds much nicer than dragging out the pump vacuum hose every time.
I look forward to learning a lot this season, and I'm (somewhat geekily) excited to start my mad scientist water testing. I'm mostly excited to have a nice, clear pool.