All right, so I've been lurking your site for over a year now and finally decided it was time to join, so I can eventually ask questions. I've gotten a lot of useful information, undergone some trial and error, and I guess I'm ready to jump in with both feet (next year). You'll note my teeny-weeny pool. Don't laugh at me because I'm learning professional-level pool care for a seasonal pool LOL. I've wanted a house with a pool for many years, now. We've moved four times in the past 10 years and I've been vetoed each time. "Too much work." In fact, hubby popped my "kettle style" pool after the second summer because it was too much work. (Really? Except I was the one taking care of it... so I failed, it kept turning green, the point is to keep learning until I succeed!) So I invested a bit more money, bought a pool with a PVC frame (part of the popping I think had to do with how cheap and silly he thought the old "pool" was), something he might hesitate to throw in the trash and give me a bit more time to fool with...
My theory is that, if I can succeed with a seasonal pool, by the time the kids have well and truly outgrown it (36" deep by 15' round-- the only reason it isn't bigger is because my son wasn't bigger when I bought it), maybe I can convince him we need to install a real pool
Last winter, I left the pool filled, with "thermal" pillows except they sprung leaks and sank long about February so they're useless, and a cover that ripped long about January when I tried to drain the water off. When we did the "unveiling" in April, it was a real mess. Too much, even, for my little vacuum. It had to be drained and scrubbed (how many times can you empty a wetdry vac before you lose your patience?). But I've bought a new, sturdier cover, I have a siphon pump, a better pool vacuum and I'm ready to go for this season!
(Barring the occasional hurricane, which was part of the problem last year, slowing down the end-of-year preparations with Sandy.)
So, laugh if you will. I'm determined to prove myself. I still have enough tri-chlor tablets that I will probably only do a BB rather than a BBB for the first part of next year (I'll use bleach if I need to "shock" it though, and once the expensive stuff runs out, I'll go on straight BBB), but I've had VERY good luck solving my pH/alkalinity problems by applying your borax and baking soda method and aeration. This marks the end of my second summer, in fact, and it worked MUCH better than any chemicals the pool store recommended the first summer (and the beginning of this season) that yo-yoed everything out of control until I threw up my hands and gave up. I've learned that alkalinity is a better indicator of whether I need to adjust with "chemicals" (borax or baking soda) than pH is. If my alkalinity is fine but pH is low, then all I need to do is adjust the outflow nozzle toward the surface for a few days. Problem solved. I've gotten a "feel" for my pool and my water's needs since lurking here. I only have to test pH once per week, now (I will do it daily if I'm aerating, to monitor the changes). I only have to check alkalinity if my pH changes, to see if I need to add or aerate. Easy!
I'm still struggling with cloudy water, although it miraculously cleared up about three days after I adjusted the pH with borax. I skipped a vacuuming because the kids weren't swimming as much, and I think I got a low dose of algae. The polyquat my pool store sold me in the spring was only 15% and I didn't know any better at the time. Will purchase a 60 for next year. This, too, will pass...
So... I guess onward to the questions thread. I have only three, so it should be much shorter and less painful for y'all than my introduction was