Greetings and THANK YOU from a short time member and first time poster.
I purchased a house with an indoor pool back in July and am a first time pool owner. The previous owners took pretty good care of the pool and have made some upgrades to the pool equipment over the years. They even took the time to show me how to use/maintain the equipment and go over some of the basics of water chemistry with me.
There are some problems with the pool related to the age of the pool (23 years old) such as a ladder that was rusting at the waterline and what I suspect was the culprit of some fine rust spots (dots) on the bottom of the pool. There is also some degrading of the gelcoat (fiberglass pool) that has caused some discoleration of the pool surface, but that is more of an aesthetic problem than a functional problem.
Upon taking over the house and the pool I immediately made two mistakes. I started testing with strips and taking advice from the local pool chemical supply store. At the time, I was unaware that the test strips could be wildly inaccurate and as a result of trusting them, my pool chemistry got a bit out of control. To make matters worse, the pool supply store had me test for phosphates as I am using well water (after the filtration system) to fill the pool. The phosphate tested positive and I purchased the chemical the pool store recommended and added the recommended dosage and was immediately treated to opaque water that took weeks to clear up. Additionally I was told to add chelating agents to my pool to counteract the effects of the rusty ladder on my pool chemistry. I did add the chemical but at the time the water was already so cloudy I could not discern any visible effect.
Dismayed at the general direction the pool was going in I started reading everything I could on the internet about maintaining my pool and search after search kept bringing me back to the TFP website. After reading thru Pool School and several other helpful forums specific to some of the problems I was having with my pool I ditched the strips and stopped looking to the pool chemical supply store for advice. 3 weeks ago I started using the TF-100 test kit and implemented the BBB method of maintaining my pool. In about a week, my pool went from cloudy and out of control to crystal clear and easy to maintain. I'm now testing every day and find that I don't have to do much to keep my pool looking tip top. I'm adding a little bit of muriatic acid every week as the pH tends to slowly drift upwards and other than a little sweeping and vacuuming now and then, the pool is fairly maintenance free and I've had 2 weeks of crystal clear water and we've been using the pool every day. Thanks TFP for all of the good advice and helping a novice like me get some some control over his pool.