Glad I found TFP tonight! Greetings from Chestertown, Maryland -- a small town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
We are a family of six with a physically handicapped daughter. Our pool was a prescription for her aqua-therapy.
We have enjoyed our 30' round above-ground pool for three seasons with crystal-clear water and no water problems. We purchased and had the pool professionally installed through a nearby pool store in Delaware. We chose the Baquacil system on day 1 because we were told it would be a better option for our daughter's sensitive skin. I followed the weekly maintenance instructions and opening/closing instructions as best I could. It was expensive, but seemed worth it as we enjoyed such clear water for three seasons. We would put a cover over the pool each winter.
Then we took the cover off in May of this year -- we found "cloudy" water!?. The cloudy appearance proved to be white gobs of grossness hanging on the sides of the pool and the bottom was covered -- you could sweep a path on the bottom with a broom.
I took a sample of the white stuff with pool water to the Delaware pool store for diagnosis. Three staff each said "I've never seen that before." I took another sample to our local pool store and a 15-yr veteran diagnosed it as "white mold - very bad." She convinced me to switch from Baquacil to chlorine and gave me two choices - convert chemically to chlorine over a two week period or drain and clean the pool, replace the sand, and start over with new water.
Since my wife insisted to have the pool ready ASAP, we opted for the drain, clean, and refill. It was expensive, but took only two days.
For the new method of chlorine dispensing, the 15-yr veteran recommended the Pool Frog Mineral Water/Torpedo Pack system - to benefit our daughter's sensitive skin. "The chlorine level with this system would be 0.5ppm to 1.0ppm compared to higher amounts for other systems and the mineral water will moisturize instead of cause dry skin" is what she told me.
After getting the Pool Frog installed and a few more days of back-and-forth taking water samples to the local pool store and following their instructions, the water was finally "balanced" and we were once again enjoying crystal-clear pool water.
I was obsessed with keeping the water clean and balanced. I spent $800 to purchase a high-quality electronic robot to clean the bottom and sides of the pool. I loved the fact that I didn't have to hook up the vacuum hose and use the pump filter to clean the pool (it was always so difficult - took two people to get it hooked up correctly, and at least two hours for one person in the pool with the hose to clean the whole pool, etc.)
Knowing our 18-day vacation was fast approaching, I tried desperately to find an electronic timer for the pump. Unsuccessful. So we asked a friend to watch our house, feed our pets, and keep an eye on the pool while we were away -- and we left the pump on the whole time.
Maryland experienced several intense storms along with very hot days while we were away.
Three days before our return from vacation, our friend sent us a photo of the pool via cell phone. On Wednesday, the day before, the pool was perfectly clear. On Thursday afternoon, the pool was green. I was horrified. There was nothing I could do until we returned home the following Sunday.
At 8pm on Sunday, I saw with my own eyes a VERY GREEN pool and was heartbroken.
I discovered an empty Pool Frog dispenser. With the pool running 24/7 the chlorine run out too soon. With no prior Pool Frog experience, I didn't know how long "normal" would be. The fresh rain water in combination with the heat and zero chlorine -- well, it was perfect conditions for algae.
I backwashed the filter and I replaced the Pool Frog Torpedo Pak with a fresh one and turned the dispenser dial to 10 - maximum for Sunday overnight.
It has been a week now and after several back-and-forth visits with the local pool store and conversations with the same 15-yr veteran, multiple purchases of various chemicals, I have shocked the pool twice and adjusted the alkalinity and pH level. And I have used my robot to clean the bottom and sides for a total of more than 20 hours -- lots of yellow and leaves and tree droppings in the bag collected in the process.
The green is gone but the water is so cloudy that the robot disappears half-way down the 4-ft deep water -- let alone trying to see bottom. And my wife is asking me twice a day, "when will we have clear water again so we can safely swim?" I had no answers.
Using the Frog test strips didn't make sense to me. And I didn't understand the numbers printed by the pool store's computer analysis report.
Today, I decided to take control from the pool store staff and learn about pool chemistry. During my internet search for a proper test kit I could use myself, I accidentally found TFP via one of the product "comments."
The Pool School has been quite educational and fit exactly what I needed.
My new TF-100 test kit XL with Speedstir can't get here soon enough!
Thank you for all the great information and TFP features. I am looking forward to freeing myself from the pool store and acquiring the quality tools, knowledge, and advice to solve my pool water issues.