I just joined today. I've been convinced for some time now that most of the stuff the pool store wants to sell me is snake oil. The AquaSmart is a bust so we're switching to the BBB system. Of course, the pool store said that household bleach would ruin the pool. They sold us a Hornet pool robot (wife had to have it). It went half way across the (not very dirty) pool and stopped. Cleaned it's filter, it went half way across again. Cleaned filter again, went half way across. It then went back to the store.
We are budget pool owners. We got the 24' pool on CL for free last spring. It was only two years old. It came with a sand filter. I bought a used canister instead. We bought a new liner, installed the pool ourselves and built a deck around it connecting it to the house. I found some wedding cake style steps on CL advertised for $50. When I got there, they had a big crack in the corner of one of the steps. I told him I was going to pass and he gave them to us. I simple fix with some fiberglass on the inside and they looked and functioned like new again. This year I replaced the filter element and bought a new pump. The AquaSmart is not working for some reason so I've been chlorinating with tablets. The water is crystal clear, TC is always good and TA and PH are on the low side of OK. Bringing them up now. The CYA has always been low. I added 5 lbs last week and it didn't seem to make much difference, but I'm using strips. I need to order one of the recommended test kits. I take a water sample into the pool store (Watsons) but they use the same test strips I use so they never tell me anything I don't already know.
Last fall we let the pool get away from us. The leaves started falling and the pool turned green/brown with algae. I think I was having AquaSmart issues at the same time. I cleaned out debris, poured in a gallon of liquid chlorine and an algaecide. That turned the water cloudy but killed all the algae. We then covered the pool for the winter. When we opened it, the water was clear and the dead algae had floated to bottom. I vacuumed it all to waste, shocked, adjusted TA and PH, added a few 3" tabs and the water was crystal clear within a few days.
Anyway...That's my story. Good to meet y'all.