Gold Supporter
Mar 10, 2014
So Cal
I moved into my house 12 years ago and had never owned a pool before. I bought a simple test kit and used the pucks with floaters. I didn't know it, but my CYA kept rising higher and higher every year, and so I had to use more and more pucks (and floaters) to keep my pool clean. I didn't understand why I was having trouble because my FC was at a level that I thought would work (of course the standard recommendation was 1-3 ppm, so it never worked). Additionally, my plaster is really bad, so I always got really bad black algae that I just threw copper algaecide at which helped, but never fixed the problem.

Basically things got so bad with the slimy black algae that I all but stopped using the pool for the last couple of years. I think I was looking online for help with algaecides and found PoolSolutions.com and eventually TroubleFreePool.com. TroubleFreePool seemed to have a few more advanced techniques (how to add Borates, etc), so I think that's why I'm here.

Between the two sites, I realized I needed to get a good test kit, did some testing and realized just how out of whack my pool was. My readings were something like CYA of around 400, CH of around 1000 and I can't remember what my TA was but I'm sure it was too high. I dumped half the pool and filled it. Dumped 3/4 the pool and filled it. Got CYA down to 40, CH to 250, and have been working on getting TA under 100 so I can add borates. I recently read that you lose some CYA over time, so I measured and it was at 30, so I'm working on getting my CYA back up to around 50 with a few pucks because I get a lot of sun (pool temps hover around 90 in the summer with a cover). I now have been using liquid chlorine and just moved to the Liquidator (thanks Bama Rambler). The pool's plaster and tile are still horrible and I've got black algae in the cracks, but the pool water is crystal clear I'm working on the black algae with PolyQuat and hopefully I can nip it in the bud next year.

After reading a ton on this site, I'd like to thank JasonLion and chem geek (a man after my heart) for providing excellent posts in every area of the site I seem to go to (I like to hang out in the Deep End). Thanks to the many additional experts and moderators who provide their valuable insight and thanks to duraleigh for putting together a site that seems to do an excellent job of being industry neutral.

I'll have to make sure I sign up as a supporter because, well, frankly it's important to make sure the site is here for me and others. :)

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
Longview, Texas
Hi glewis,
It sounds like you have come a long way in a short period of time. Yeah, that jason lion and chem geek are quite a wealth of knowledge aren't they?

Thanks for sharing your experience and success. It's why everyone who offers advice does it, and free of charge to boot!

cheers !


LifeTime Supporter
May 23, 2009
Fairmont, WV
Thank you a million times over! From helping me with my Baquacil conversion to teaching about deep cleaning a sand filter and everything in between. Never in my life have I swam in someone's pool water as beautiful and safe as mine. Shout out to all the great mods and experts on this site!!

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Ed Buell

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 12, 2014
Venice Florida
When we purchased our pool home in Florda, I had no idea what it took to maintain a clear clean pool.

That's been fixed almost entirely due to the knowledge and wisdom that I've gleaned from TFP.

Thanks for all the effort of all the site administrators and members.

Bravo Zulu bravo zulu.jpg


In The Industry
Dec 29, 2014
I point all my customers here. While I get fewer questions about things like vacuuming, balancing, etc... and fewer opportunities to bill, once they see what is here, they truly realize they found the pool service they can trust. When they need service for something more substantial, it's me that they call. For that, I thank the keepers of the site and my fellow contributors. Empowerment through education works.


Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
It was like an aha moment when I found your site and found the CYA chart only five minutes after stumbling on your site in search of answers. I wasn't expecting such a definitive and simple solution to a huge problem with pool ownership all over the country. It should be a no brainer; should be included in any instruction session on caring for a pool. It should be explained everywhere pools are sold. Is it so complicated that it has to be skipped and worked around and tried to be made up for with other products like algae bomb, which is an attempt to make up for pools that do not have enough FC for the level of CYA.

My PH was okay. I had done a shock every week and algae bomb every week. I've kept the pucks in like they said. I've got a small, 18' round pool with an oversized filter and pump. I should have no problems, but I did. Every time I take my sample in or test my pool with strips, I've got some FC in the pool, but it's getting cloudy anyway. I started asking questions. My sister-in-law said you've got to be careful not to get over stabilized, but she didn't explain the problem except to say you'll have to use alot of chlorine if you get over stabilized and if you use those pucks all year, you'll end up over stabilized. And then one day I got a really good associate at the store tell me that my CYA was too high, and that I should not put any more pucks in it or put any of the shock in it with stabilizer until it works its way down. That's not the normal protocol. They normally don't say anything until it needs draining. They don't tell you what happened that caused this need to drain, which is the fact that you did what they said. In this case though, since I had a smart, conscience associate, he said that it's not so high that you should drain it, but that I should just stick with the Cal-shock until it gradually works its way down by the end of summer. He was right, it was in the high 80s, but he left out the part about how I've got to keep FC higher due to my higher CYA, and that they make this stuff called bleach that mixes even better. But since my FC target was this generic 1-4 target level, my pool was staying dirty and getting dirtier each day. And that's what I'm having trouble understanding now that I know. Why this information, which seems simple to me once ya'll explained it, is not being told by the professionals to dummies like me.

I think at my pool store at least, they are not intentionally misleading people so that they buy more products to try to fix problems caused by under chlorination. I think it's either they don't totally understand it, or they think it would be too complicated to explain. So instead of telling us this super-complicated, hard-to-manage protocol [sarcasm]: Add chlorine daily to bring it to the top end of your FC target based on your CYA level; check and adjust PH every couple of days; watch your CC level and shock when necessary (not on an arbitrary time table), and occasionally re check CYA, hardness, and alkalinity. [more sarcasm] Instead, we're going to make it easy on them and tell them to keep FC between 1-4 for everyone and accomplish this 1-4 FC level by keeping floating pucks in your pool; shock it and algae bomb it once a week just to make up for these pools getting dirty from having regular FC levels below sanitizing levels; and when their CYA gets too high from all these pucks and shock, we'll make it easy on them and have them simply drain their pools two or three times and then get everything back in line. [more sarcasm]. All of that is much easier than handing out a CYA chart and explaining what it means and how to use it. I get it now. We don't need you guys and all this CYA nonsense. We all love draining pools.
Jun 15, 2014
Oak Island, North Carolina
Pool Size
Liquid Chlorine
I am currently in the process of opening the pool for season 2. So far, so good! I was fortunate enough to stumble upon TFP during the planning stages last year, so I did not have any bad habits to unlearn. I have followed the TFP guidelines without deviation, and I could not be happier with the results. When I removed the winter cover a few weeks ago, the water was as crystal clear as when I put it to bed last fall. Comprehensive test results show that we are in great shape for the new season. A few tweaks to return us to optimal levels, and it will be time to swim. It will take longer for the water temperature to reach a tolerable level than it will for the water chemistry to balance out. Thank you to all the great individuals who make up this community! They do not always listen, but I recommend TFP to all of my friends who are struggling with their swimming pools.

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Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 9, 2015
Sierra Vista, Az
So here is my TFP testimonial:

Here is the link to my SLAM process also. Please note I quit posting numbers as I was above shock level per CYA chart.

I started roaming TFP around April 11, 2015. I needed to get my pool crystal clear and was intrigued by this method. I figured what do I have to lose by trying it. I ordered. TF 100 test kit as I discovered from my reading the forum that I needed one if I was going to do this the right way. After receiving my kit and doing initial test I was guided by members and moderators as to my next step. My pool appeared to be blue but was very cloudy. I could only see down about 6-12 inches. I was advised to start my SLAM http://www.troublefreepool.com/content/125-slam-shock-level-and-maintain-shockingl

4/18/2015 process so I stocked up on bleach and liquid chlorine. I figured a week tops and I would be done. However, I got an auto cleaner and there was so much **** on the bottom of the pool I was emptying it every hour the first 2/3 days. I could not believe the pine needles in there. Aka algae breeding ground. The pool was slowly gaining more clarity though. I was very diligent on keeping my FC at or above shock level (usually above to see if the process might go quicker). My CYA was 50 in the beginning so I based my shock level on that. http://www.troublefreepool.com/content/128-chlorine-cya-chart-slam-shock

Very important you add bleach slowly if adding in front of the return especially if you have a vinyl liner. I do have some bleached liner in front of the return because I added bleach to fast. We will likely upgrade next year so it is not a big deal for me.

I did not run my SWG at all during this process. I read my sand filter 24/7 during the process and backwashed as needed. I quit going according to the gauge and started basing it off of flow reduction from the return. It made things simpler for me.

I followed the SLAM process exactly as it says and was guided by some great people along the way! I tested every 2 hours in the beginning. Eventually I went longer between testing and would just add bleach based on the previous day's numbers without testing to keep FC level up at or above shock level. I started adding DE to my pool filter as per the instructions to see if that would help clean the water faster. In the beginning I had to backwash a lot! Gradually that slowed though as the water became clearer. I was finally ably to see the bottom after about a week. I pulled all of the stuff from the bottom, diving rings, a snorkel, and 5 black stopper caps. I also pulled the ladder our and cleaned and scrubbed it with bleach water making sure to get all. Of the nooks and crannies on the bottom with e old toothbrush. I never put the ladder back in as I decided to get a new one that was more sturdy.
I brushed the pool daily 2/4 times a day also and ran the auto cleaner off an on through the the process.

On 5/1/2015 I finally passed my OLCT test.
I was so excited. I decided I will do it again 5/2/2015 just to be certain I was done.

Below are pictures of my progress. Please remember when doing a SLAM properly you must have the right test kit! I recommend the TF100. You must also follow the advice you are given and keep your water at or above shock level at all times. Bleach has a born on date. You always want to make sure the date is current. I had some liquid chlorine that was from last year and it was not the 10% it said. It was more like 6% ( lesson learned there as it slowed my process down some). I recommend testing about 30 mins after adding to make sure you reached the shock level. I wish I would have done that sooner when it was recommended to me. If you have it then your bleach has lost strength and you will need to adjust your percentage.

4/18/2015 prior to slam










I hope you enjoyed this and it is helpful to you. Just listen to the advice you are given and flow the process exactly until you pass all the SLAM process criteria. I am very grateful for this forum and the members on here.


Bronze Supporter
May 6, 2016
Burlingame CA
Several other posts do a better job laying out the compliments than I could, so I'll cut to what I know best: Finance.

My calcium hardness was low, and, as so many others have said, a quick look at a chart and poolmath showed me the solution.

25lbs of Calcium at a reputable pool store: $43. 25lbs of Ice melt: $19.

$24 savings in one shot (almost) pays for that Bronze Supporter Shield that's about to show up.

Thanks all!


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
Eastern Ohio
Pool Size
Liquid Chlorine
And there it is. :D

Thank you greatly for your support and I am greatly excited we can help you save some cash while maintaining your pool!


Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 26, 2016
Monroe, GA
Love the site and members. First time pool owner after install this past spring (2016). I had made the mistake of one visit for pool-store testing before finding site. Everyone comments on how clear my water is, and I have this site to thank, especially since I needed to supplement my undersized SWG with liquid chlorine until I replaced it. Love the tools like the pool calculator, the pump excel sheets, ... Gave me the resources and confidence to truly DIY. My only regret is not finding the site before our build, as I would have save some $$ not having to replace some equipment so soon.

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