We bought a house with a pool a little over three years ago. I'd never owned a pool before and had no idea how to maintain it - the previous owner's advice was "just throw a chlorine tablet in the floater every once in a while". At first the water was fine but I quickly began to realize I needed to learn more about maintaining it.
So I went to the local pool store and bought test strips and some shock on their advice. I was "shocked" at the price of things already. And I still had no idea what pH or stabilizer was, how to adjust them, etc. So I started to search around the net for advice and stumbled across TroubleFreePool.
I have to say, this is the most complete and easy to understand treasure-trove of pool information anyone could ask for! I learned everything I ever wanted to know about pool-water chemistry, filtration systems, and maintenance techniques - I feel like a pool-water expert now. Armed with my Trouble Free Test Kit and the BBB method, I can tackle anything that my pool throws at me.
I just opened my pool for the third time and like other years the water was initially cloudy and green, but after getting the filter up & running and balancing & shocking the water it cleared up in just over a day! After a little more vacuuming and some time for the chlorine levels to drop to normal it'll be ready to use again. The pool store guys must wonder what happened to me... the only time they see me now is once a year or so when I need DE. Lol! And I have to wonder what the supermarket check-out people are thinking when I show up with a cart full of nothing but bleach and some baking soda and borax.
Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the education and all the great advice on the forum. And to anyone else who's in the same situation I was in at first, just read through the basics here & get a good test kit. With a little patience and perseverance you can become the master of your pool too.