So How Much Money Could this Newbie Save with TFP?


Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2016
This is not my first post or the first thread I have started with TFP, but I am still a newbie at all of this. I am also a newbie at pool ownership all together. I purchased a pool, not because I wanted it, but because my wife wanted it. You know, “Happy wife, happy life”? Of course, I am the one who is most in it now, but that is a different story.

I wanted to make this post so that those of you that are or will be in my situation might be able to learn from my mistakes. Luckily I have not had a problem with my algae or had the unfortunate problem of having to SLAM my pool. I had that other major problem…. I listened and trusted in the POOL STORE.

Being a new owner of a swimming pool, I did not understand pool chemistry and just listened to the Pool Store about how to:

  1. Adjust my pool chemicals
  2. Use a float with chlorine pucks to have a carefree pool
  3. Use algaecide weekly to keep any algae from forming
  4. Shock the pool weekly to kill the nasties that may be forming
  5. Come to them weekly to have my water tested FREE

So I was diligent the first couple of months doing exactly what I was told. I purchased:

  1. A Floating Duck Chlorine puck holder - $20
  2. Chlorine Pucks for the Season - $150
  3. Stabilizer to keep my chlorine from a sunburn - $80
  4. Calcium to make my water soft (ahem!)- $30
  5. Algaecide for the Season - $60
  6. Shock for the Season - $125

Total cost from my FREE testing results - $465.00

The problem I had was that I was a new pool owner, but I have worked as an Analyst my whole life. I started to analyze the FREE reports (with Gold Stars I might add) I was getting back so that I could watch for trends and understand what was happening in my pool. I noticed that over the course of the time I had my pool, the CYA level had crept up from 30ppm to 98ppm. So the next time I went to the Pool Store, I casually asked about this increase. I pointed out that their prime range they had on my FREE reports was 30-100ppm, and I was starting to push the top of the range. I was worried that I was not going to get a Gold Star soon because one of my test items would be in the bad area. I wanted to know what I needed to do to lower this CYA to ensure I get my Gold Star. The Pool Store man looked up over his glasses at me and said:

“You will need to drain your pool”

!!!!! What??!! I had done everything they told me and now I will need to drain my pool??!! Surely there was a chemical that they could sell me to fix this problem. I mean looking around in the Pool Store, I saw lots of chemicals that I had yet to try. So I asked them again if there was something on these shelves that I could use to lower it. I mean what does everyone else do who owns a pool? So he told me that most people are not as particular as me. If they were, they would drain their pool twice a year, and just use the chemicals he sells to bring it back to a Gold Star status.

So the analyst in me started researching and Google brought me here. I studied Pool School. I read many posts from the wonderful moderators here and users like Chem Geek (hope it is alright to mention another user who I have never spoken to. Not sure if he is still an active poster, but his old posts made sense). I also started a thread just to talk out loud to make sure I understood what I had read in Pool School.
The results from all of the above is that I am now using exotic chemicals from Walmart like bleach, borax, and baking soda. I look like a mad chemist with my Taylor testing kit (instead of my FREE reports). And best of all, when I have a pool full of friends who are complimenting me on how blue my water is, I am confident that it is safe and understand why it is that way.

So the point is that TFP COULD HAVE saved this newbie $465.00 and COULD HAVE saved YOU from having to read such a long post. My only hope is that this post (along with a little help from TFP) will help YOU to save $465.00 and keep you away from the dreaded Pool Store. :D


TFP Expert
Feb 3, 2014
Central Minnesota
Great to hear about your experience and so glad TFP is working for you. It really can be more economical than the pool store and much easier as well. There is a wealth of information here and certainly much of the nitty-gritty detail we owe to users such as chem geek, JasonLion and countless others who have and continue to contribute to the science behind TFP. chem geek is on a hiatus from the forum but does check in from time to time from what I'm told.

You can get a gold star right here on TFP if you want by becoming a supporter and helping us continue to help others like yourself!