I've had this pool since 1998 and last year was the first year I didn't absolutely hate it, and the reason is the information on this site and a good test kit. I believe I found this site about this time last year and since then I have not had to shock the pool even once. The filter requires back washing about once every six weeks. In previous years I had to shock the pool and back wash the filter every week. My chemical costs were excessive and I thought they were normal. I had never heard of a CYA/chlorine ratio nor had the local pool store - at least they never said anything to me about it if they did.
The pool was almost never completely clear for more than about two or three days and most of the time it was cloudy and turbid looking if not green. When I shocked I had to vacuum the pool to waste to get rid of the dead algae so my water use was high. And all the time my local pool store kept telling me I was doing every thing right. I didn't have any means of doing an accurate chlorine test and I even if I had I didn't know how much to use and never used enough to do a real shock. The result was I always had algae in the pool. I seriously considered filling
in the #$%& thing and probably would have if my wife had not threatened me with bodily injury.
When I first found this site my CYA was over 200 since the only chlorine I used was pucks and HTH. After reading the "Pool School" write-up and obtaining the TF100 test kit I drained it almost completely and started over. Since that time it has remained as clear as clean glass for the entire year. My chemical costs are about half of what they used to be and I spend very little time on maintenance.
Since March of last year we have had 84" of rain which is over 20" above normal. The large amount of rain has required additional chemical usage, but even so the costs are much less than previous years and I have not had a single problem with algae or turbid water. In the summer time when the water was hot and we had bright sun every day I was using 3 or 4 quarts of 6% bleach every day. Now that the water is cold and the sun does not shine as long during the day that usage has dropped to about 3 quarts per week - and the pool is still clear enough to read the date on a dime at the deep end.
My water use has gone to zero mainly because of all the rain, but also because of the infrequent back washing. I have not had to vacuum to waste even once the whole year. I can honestly say that this the first year I actually enjoyed the pool and have even gotten in several times - something I had not done in over five years and it's all because of the information on this site and the test kit. Thank you very much.