First let me say I so thankful I have found this site! I'm really impressed with all the information I have found so far.
Now a little history. Purchased home with in-ground 18ft x 36ft vinyl pool in off-season 2008. Hired a guy to take care of it during the 2009 season. $100 per month, he gave me a Polaris 360 and came out once a week and provided all the chemicals. I think all he did was add chlorine to the automatic chlorinator and shocked the pool weekly. Pool stayed clear all season. Towards the end of the season, he said he was raising his rates to $250 per month because the cost of chemicals went up. Well, I can't swing that but he agreed to finish out the year for $120.00 per month. I found an old test kit the previous home owner had left and I tested the water. Chlorine was off the chart. So I'm thinking "no wonder your paying so much for chemicals. you're dumping way to much in there!".
So this year, I'm going to tackle it myself. I was getting a little overwhelmed because of the price of all the chemicals I was seeing. Found this site and read pool school and this BBB method. Found a GREAT deal on a Polaris 360 and ordered it. Going to buy my test kit tomorrow.
So once I take this tarp cover off, I need to start everything up and test the water. Then I just plug it into the pool calculator and add what it tells me? Is it really just that simple! If so I am so happy I don't have to find some place to store chlorine! I was so worried about it rusting all my yard equipment, etc. I really hope it's just that easy because I don't want to be one of those guys standing in line at Leslie's waiting to get my water tested and then walking out with Metal Reducer, AK Up, Bromine, etc. I have a Koi pond I have to maintain as well, plus a 2ry old and a 7month old!
Also, we have two vacations planned this summer. Both a week long. Should I just shock the pool with bleach before I leave or should I buy some chlorine tabs and stick them in my automatic feeder? Thanks!