I've not been very active on the forums, but I've read quite a bit over the last couple years. I wanted to take a minute to share my success story and say Thank you to all contributers of this site.
Long story short. We purchased a house with our first ever pool in April 2009. I had no clue what to do so I just took a water sample down to the local Pool Store. This was the begining of my aggrivation and the endless cycle of buying whatever they told me I needed which never yeilded the results promised. Well that first summer the pool was frequently cloudy and always on the edge of turning green.
My wife found this forum and sent me the link.
I read through Pool School a few times.
Still continued down the Pool Store powder shock, 3" pucks, and whatever other water treatment junk they had to sell.
Purchsed the suggested test kit.
Started testing my own water and found out my biggest issue was high CYA which peaked in June around 100.
Water is not cheap here in Tampa so draining & replacing was to going to happen overnight. Instead I went the Mother Nature route and drained the pool little by little during heavy rains.
I was also stopped suplimenting the liquid chlorine with 3" pucks in the feeder. Now I just use liquid chlorine and when needed baking soda and muriatic acid.
Well it took about a year, but I am happy to say I have dropped my CYA from 100+ to 50 thanks to Mother Nature and 32 inches of fresh rain water.
My first full year of owning a pool I spent around $450 at the pool stores on chemicals and such which left me with terrible results. That's what you get when you allow others with a financial interest to guide you along the way. Well, enough was enough and in 2010 I am happy to say I spend just around $100 and our pool has never looked better!!!
You'd think that saving $350 is the best part, but for me the best part is that I've spent less time managing my pool than I did while I was "under the control" of the pool store. Leaving more time to enjoy the pool with my family.