First off, thanks to all those that put together this forum and the "Pool School" info. Great stuff.
I've never owned a pool or spa before, but just bought a house that came with one. I had a pool inspector look at it, and she gave me a brief tutorial on how everything works. She also confirmed that due to a leak in the main drain, which has been plugged, the only way for water to get to the filter is through the (single) skimmer. She said that wasn't necessarily a problem, just that I needed to keep a close eye on water level, which I'm perfectly fine with.
Now to the water. It's green. Not so green I can't see the bottom, but definitely a nice shade. The first thing I did when I found this site (after reading the "Pool School") was to order a TF-100 XL, which arrives tomorrow. The previous homeowners left behind a bunch of chemicals, including chlorine pucks, a few bags of shock, some Swimtrine algaecide, algae "preventer", and muriatic acid. I'm not planning on using anything until I get the test kit and can test the water, particularly the CYA level.
So now to my questions: Once I get the water tested, and depending on my CYA level, should I bother with any of the chemicals mentioned above? Should I just proceed with bleach to eliminate the algae? And in the meantime, is there anything else I can or should do, such as vacuum the pool or clean the filter?
Last question concerning the filter. I got an owners manual and think I understand the procedure to clean the media, but I'm a little worried about draining the tank. The drain plug isn't plumbed anywhere, so water is just going to run all over the place. How much is in there? It looks like I could use my vacuum hose to redirect it to a "better" part of my backyard. Is that fine to do?