This is probably my 4th or 5th post on this board. A couple of years ago (2009) I came onto this board totally unschooled, crying about an algae problem, having poured a bunch of $$ and pool store c**p (dichlor, and some copper ) into the pool with little results. Not quite a worst-case scenario, but still pretty bad: impossibly high CYA, some copper, and nothing to show for it but a green pool. After reading this site and asking a few questions, I purchased a real test kit, managed to drain/refill 1/3 of the water in the pool and get it into swimmable condition, but didn't have a real clean go at the BBB method that summer.
FF to 2010: Open the pool to its typical green murky appearance (safety mesh cover), CYA is <20 if that (whew). Start fresh with the BBB method - used all liquid chlorine at the start, banished dichlor from my vocabulary. OK, still had some trichlor pucks I used but with a very low starting CYA level (and a pool that is in the shade 60% of the time), I made judicious use of these and the CYA never got over 30 during the summer. Still made some mistakes along the way ... BUT lo and behold, the water cleared faster than it ever did, AND the dreaded late-season algae bloom never happened last summer. (Hmm. Once you learn about proper pool chemistry, it's amazing how some problems you just assumed were part of the territory are not necessarily so.)
2011: I've got this down now. Finally found where to get the big 5-gallon jugs of liquid chlorine; armed with a couple of these and a couple of boxes of washing soda, I first test the pH/TA/CYA of the murky green swamp, adjust the pH/TA with the washing soda, start scooping leaves/gunk, pour in enough chlorine at sunset to overshoot shock level a bit, and monitor the pool the next day or 2 to maintain chlorine at slightly higher than shock level. Pool clears in about 3 or 4 days - and given that it's a 36K gallon pool or so, that's saying something. Return the empty 5-gallon containers and use the deposit to buy a box of 4 gallon jugs of liquid chlorine for maintenance. Run the robotic pool cleaner once the chlorine drops below shock level. Two mins or so every morning to test the water, as they tell you to around here.
2009 cost to get the pool swimmable: somewhere north of $300, lots of time and heartache.
2011 cost to get the pool swimmable with BBB: about $40, less than a week. Wish I had taken before/after pics.
Now I have on hand: a few pucks to bring up the CYA a bit, a box of mule-team borax to tweak the pH as needed (tends to drift down with the pucks, but not much), and a 3-jug carton Clorox beach that I pick up every week or 2 on my Costco run. TA is fine and I have baking soda on hand from last year should I need it.
I know I'm just offering up "me too" testimony in the church of BBB, but I'm here to say that BBB works, it's inexpensive, and it's dead simple. End of story.
(OK, I do have to go to the pool store to get the 5-gallon jugs of chlorine, and return the empty jugs for my deposit. And maybe a new leaf rake next year. But that's IT.)
Thanks to everyone for helping me see the light.
(no longer such a)