Advice To New Pool Owners

We’ve had a pool for over 12 years now. It’s nothing fancy, just an above ground 24′ round pool – our 2nd pool – the first was a 12′ x 26′ oval. We had the first
pool installed, but we put up the 2nd pool all on our own.

We are by no means experts on pool care but wanted to share some thoughts on how to maintain a pool both easier and cheaper than the typical pool store wants you to.

We used to have issues with chlorine levels and shocking and green water and what levels are we supposed to have and how much of this chemical to use, etc, etc.
One day, Cheree stumbled onto a site called Trouble Free Most of what is presented here is from that site and it’s definitely worth reading their “Pool School” section and about the “BBB” method.

The forums at are also a valuable asset. In our opinion, it is/was worth the $30 to become Life Time Supporters of – you can read about the benefits and decide for yourself. We have saved many times that by following their methods.

Rule: Stay Away From Pool Stores

Mark Twain once quipped “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” And that pretty much sums up our feelings about most pool stores. The only reason we visit a pool store now is to replace a skimmer basket or other part that we might need. We ignore most of the free advice they give. IMHO, their job is to get you hooked on all those chemicals – lots of money to be made in those and they know you will be back to buy more – or something else – to solve a problem that is likely caused by using those chemicals.

Last time I was in a pool store, I needed two things – some CYA (stabilizer) and some salt for our pool. I went into Leslies Pool in Burleson, Texas to buy the stabilizer – about $45 which is a tad high, but I could get it that day and not have to wait on shipping it in. While I was there, I asked how much they charged for pool salt – it typically comes in a 40 lb bag, looks a lot like table salt. He quoted $8.99/bag – Wal-Mart sells it for $4.97 bag. I gave him the opportunity to match Wal-Mart’s pricing and he immediately said – it’s not the same stuff, theirs has additives and fillers, ours is 100% pure salt.

I took my stabilizer and left, stopping at the Wal-Mart on the way home. As I said, $4.97/bag for Morton Pool Salt and it clearly states on the bag that it’s 99.9% salt – Lies, Lies, and more damned Lies.

Rule: Get a Decent Test Kit

You can’t fix a problem unless you know exactly what the problem is. Having a decent test kit is the only way to know the chemistry of your pool water. The test kit we use is the TF-100 Text Kit from TF Test Kits. Notice the “TF”? Trouble Free? yep!

This kit gives you everything you need except a Salt Test (only needed if you use salt in your pool) and a Borate Test (again, only needed if you choose to use borax in the pool)
At about $80, the kit is not cheap until you consider how much you will save by knowing exactly what you need to do for your pool. Being a Life Time Supporter of TFP get’s you a $10 discount – so it’s about $70 which includes the shipping. If you bought a new kit every year and have a 6 month swimming season, it’s about $12/month – easily offset by the savings.