Seriously wishing I had found this site BEFORE we got the pool! But glad I finally found it... We are in Sunny South Texas (100 degree days are the norm and the closest thing to rain we have is lawn sprinklers) and bought an Intex 18' metal frame pool. Our friends with a similar pool assured us it would be no prob... fill it up, hook up the swg, add some cya, and every so often change filters or clean the cell. Seemed simple enough. Hmmmm... not so much luck for me - lol.
Our water turned out to be very high total alkalinity and pH (I'm still working on trying to get a handle on that). I talked to another friend who has the same water supply and their fill water had low pH, so I'm baffled by that! I have two different sets of test strips which give totally different readings regarding FC (one might show 0 while the other shows 3 or 5) and just show TA and pH as off the chart. The swg seems to have a split personality... it works sometimes and sometimes shuts off with high salt light (initially our salt level did test high, but I have since drained some and refilled and it is testing fine now). Also, I have cleaned the cell with vinegar twice and the second time it was GROSS within a couple days...
I'm SO glad I found this site... I've been reading like mad. At first I was nervous that there were different recommended levels here than my manuals, but as I read more, I'm starting to get a better sense of what I need to do (and what I did wrong!).
At this point... I just ordered the TF100 test kit. I'm going to add more CYA (which I had at 30-50 according to manufacturers' recommendations, but according to this forum should be higher), and wait on everything else until I get the test kit. In the meantime, I'm going to keep reading up as much as I can here on the site. I'm determined to reach "trouble free pool" status! Thanks for this site... it just may be what saves me - lol!