So, on my 4th year of having a pool and using the TFP method, I just started filtering my pool last week.
First year was great, crystal clear, kids were in awe, wife made me my favorite dish at least once a week. Babies smiled, neighbors envied.
Second year there was a little cloudiness. I vacuumed more and made excuses about the kids not bathing.
Third year was more of a battle; constant cloudiness, but tests were all in range. I replaced the finger system (which did have a 3" crack on the main shaft) in an attempt to get the pile of sand to stop accumulating in the center. Vacuum to Waste. A lot. I make the kids bath 3x a day, just in case it really is them.
Fourth year, after opening, filling, backwashing, I was waiting on the Rinse and, out of boredom, started reading all the options on the pump head...
"Winter. Close. Backwash. Recirculate. Rinse. Filter?!? Wonder what that does. Waaaaiiit.... there ain't no way..." A quick Google sealed it. I'm an idiot.
I had been recirculating (read: NOT FILTERING, BYPASSING THE SAND ENTIRELY) for 3 years. After I got done kicking myself in the butt, I started patting myself on the back for keeping it so clean for so long... w/o Filtering. AT ALL!
12 hours on the filter cycle and my pool is the crystal clear oasis TFP first showed me how to maintain.
I'm putting this here just in case someone else (I really hope not) is as minor-detail-challenged as I can be.