17 years ago we bought our house and it came with a pool We had the liner replaced when we purchased the house and 2 summers ago we needed to replace the liner again (14+ years is pretty good - right?). My wife grew up with a pool but always hated the burning of the chlorine and the strong odor (we have come to believe that the upkeep of that pool was not done correctly). 17 years ago we were new to pool ownership and when we found out that Baquacil was an option we decided to go that route mainly because of the negatives mentioned above and the ease of upkeep. Over the years we have had our ups and downs but overall owning a pool has been a fun and positive experience... until we noticed the cost increases! Baquacil prices have jumped up recently and after spending way more than we have ever justified last year, my wife and I said that in order for us to continue opening our pool we have to figure out how to save some money! Here in VA it has been unseasonably cool so we decided to wait until after our beach trip to begin anew. We got back from the beach last weekend and began searching for Baquacil alternatives. I came across TFP and feel that chlorine may be the answer we are looking for - if done the right way!
Since we knew that we were done with Baquacil I did not add anything before covering our pool for the winter. When I took the cover off Monday evening I was met with a cloudy mess! I have been working on cleaning the mess off of the bottom as I have had time after work each day and I'm probably over half of the way finished. I started with the shallow end and have worked my way down toward the deep end stopping when the water got so cloudy that I couldn't see to continue. I've allowed the filter to do its thing and have not stirred the water in the past 2 days. This morning I can see the bottom of the deep end for the first time this season and have a clear picture of the muck and mire that I still need to remove. However, since taking the cover off it seems that algae has started to grow as the shallow end now has a green tint. Before doing anything else I decided to join TFP and ask for some advice. So after all of that background info (sorry for it being so long) here are my main questions:
1. As I finish cleaning up the nasty bottom of our pool should I add anything to the water? Keep in mind that I am concerned about the algae.
2. I have been spoiled over the past 17 years to a pool store that I have taken a water sample to every week, so I do not own a kit to test my own water. Is it worth purchasing a kit locally to at least get started and then (after being advised on which kit to purchase) ordering a good kit online?
3. Is there a better place to purchase bleach than my local WalMart and if I want to take advantage of the time I have this weekend can you advise me on the amount of bleach I should stockpile?
4. Besides the typical Baquacil branded products, I have 50+ pounds of Calcium Chloride flakes and 25+ pounds of Sodium Bicarbonate I have been purchasing from a local feed store for ALOT cheaper than my pool store!! Will I still need these? If so, are there other things that I may need that can be purchased cheaper elsewhere?
5. Should I try to sell the remaining Baquacil branded products that I have and if so, how do you recommend that I do that?
Lastly, please feel free to give me any advice I may have not thought to ask for as this will be a new experience for us after 17 years of using Baquacil.