I bought a house with an in ground pool 2 summers ago and haven't done much more than watch the pH and chlorine using a basic kit. However, I've ran into several issues last summer and I'm going to meet this head on as it's looking like things are about to get really expensive.
A little background:
I've been using 3" Trichloro tabs from In The Swim and some from HTH (I don't know if there's a difference) but this year I'm switching to bleach after a few suggestions from friends of friends and reading the information here. I have a Hayward sand filter than I haven't done anything with except backwash once a week and a Raypak pool heater. I've had an ongoing struggle with low pH ever since I bought the pool and it never seems to rise into the range I'd like to see. I've added a significant amount of HTH pH plus in the past (I think it's basically soda ash? I don't know) and while that has raised it some, the water becomes very cloudy and most people don't want to swim in it. Last year when I was trying to battle this issue the pool seemed to develop a white film over all the surfaces. It came off rather easily but made the bottom feel slimy. I don't think it was algae as I've made sure to keep the chlorine levels relatively high (not sure if high CYA affects this assumption). This year my pump went bad, my heater is leaking and I've noticed corrosion on the screws around the fixtures in the pool so I'm apparently losing the pH battle. Swimsuits have also turned green lately and while others blamed the chlorine, I'm pretty sure that's not the problem after reading some posts.
Here's the results of my last test as I remember them. I'll check to see if I made any mistakes when I get back home. I'm always worried that I'm doing these tests wrong but it's expensive doing them over and over again... But so is replacing half of my pool equipment. I've started using a Taylor K-2006 kit.
FC - Around 5
pH - Hovering around 7.0 but was much lower (I think I've added 10 lbs of HTH pH plus so far this year)
TA - 90
CH - 400? (I stopped because I didn't think I was doing this test correctly. No sudden change like other tests)
CYA - 80-90 (I tried draining some water and refilling but it takes forever. I need to test again)
I'm mostly just trying to learn more about pool care. I think I'm already going to pay quite a bit for my negligence (especially regarding pH levels).