I moved into a house with a pool just a year ago. This was the first time I owned a pool. Because I was clueless, I hired a pool company to open the pool last spring. It was the same company the previous owners used to close the pool in the fall. It cost about $450 to open the pool which included "chemicals." Part of the opening kit was CYA. So, between the previous owners using pucks and the service company adding CYA, I was fighting high CYA levels all last summer.
After reading the posts and stickies on this group over over the summer, I felt I could close and open the pool by myself. I closed the pool at the end of October and opened last weekend. To lower the CYA, I drained about 1/3 of the pool and refilled. Based on what I read here, I just used antifreeze, Cal Hypo and Polyquat for closing and Cal Hypo for opening. Total cost of the chemicals was around $45. Also following the advise here, I soaked the DE filter element in dish detergent for a few hours and rinsed it well. I was amazed at what came off.
The pool was crystal clear after taking the cover off. There were a few leaves and worms in the bottom. Last year when the pool serviced closed and opened it took we a week to clear the pool enough to see the bottom. The filter is now working much better as well. Before cleaning, with no DE on the grids the back pressure was 10 psi which went up to 12 psi when DE was added. Back pressure is now 8 psi with DE. Flow through the filter also went up significantly.
Water chemistry is nearly perfect after adding some chlorine. Current numbers are:
Temperature 52 F
I'm hoping some sun will get the CC down to zero soon enough and warm the pool. I've got several gallons of bleach and a box of baking soda ready for the summer.
Anyway, thanks everyone. I figure doing the opening and closing myself saved over $800. In addition, the pool should be much easier to manage this year.