As my pool was going in, the thought of maintaining the pool caused me great distress. I was so worried that I was going to have a mosquito farm because I knew NOTHING about pools and what it took to keep them clear and pristine.
I have since learned that there are:
* people that know their stuff (as we see here on this site!)
* people that know nothing at all (that was me)
* people that know less than nothing (those are people that think they know, but in reality don't)
I noticed over the course of the last month and a half, I have had to add muriatic acid every few days to keep pH below 7.8 (it kept kreeping up).
I also observed that the TA went from 110 when we started up (beginning of Sept), to 90, to 80 ... to last weekend being 60. I have concluded that having to keep pushing pH down every few days also causes TA to slowly drop over time. Reading about is is one thing, seeing it in my test every week really drove it home!
Fix - added a couple pounds of baking soda yesterday - TA @ 90 today
(also had to add some muriatic acid today to push pH back to 7.5 ... will continue to test over the next couple days and add more baking soda when/if needed to bump it back up to 90)
The CH started out at 150. (shocking considering that everyone told me it wasn't possible with AZ water).
The test results kept coming back the same over a few weeks which made me question my own testing procedure ... (after testing the tap water, it confirmed my test of 150 was right - pool store test of 250 was bogus!). So I went with my test results and added some Hardness Plus (Leslies) over a few weeks... CH @ 240 today.
I can't be happier with how easy it has been (thanks to THIS SITE) to wrap my head around the pool chemistry. The TF-100 was probably the best tool I could have gotten to manage the pool. I'm also quite thankful that I'm not a pool store victim and that I found this site first.
Because of that, I don't put any mystery compounds in my pool. The pool builder put some tri-chlor tabs in a floater when they started it up. This was fine for the first 2 weeks until I saw my CYA approach 40. Then they came out and I haven't used them since.
Now, the only thing that has gone into the pool is 10% chlorine, 20 deg baume muriatic acid, calcium, and now baking soda. Gotta love it!!!