7 years in, owning a small (12' x 24' x 5') vinyl pool. There've been some good periods ... & some bad periods, but overall I haven't really had a clue what I've been doing. I've used the basic test strips & periodic trips to the (not so) local pool store for water testing. I have NEVER used liquid bleach, only pucks & HTH granular hypochlorite.
The local pool store is a large, very professional company with a long history. Their water testing seems very professional with a computerized printout etc., however, even if they were reliable, they are a 25 minute drive away, so not very practical for day-to-day water monitoring.
After a bit of a struggle with algae this spring, the pool water is clear now. CYA readings are higher than ideal - the test strips indicate somewhere between 50 - 100, the last reading from the pool store was 63. One thing I wanted to clarify: does the granular hypochlorite add CYA to the pool? How quickly does CYA dissipate on its own? I will start using only liquid bleach from this point.
I need to order a proper test kit, which seems to mean ordering from the US & picking it up there (I'm about a half hours drive from the border), as the only recommended kit available (apparently) in Canada is the Taylor 2006C at $295 CDN (plus 13% tax).