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Pool daze: Why your learning curve on your pool is so frustrating

Having a swimming pool, in theory, is one of the more wonderful and spectacular ideas and endeavors you'll attempt to achieve as part of owning a home and, in some cases, adding that above or in ground pool to your property.
As a kid, my grandparents had an in ground pool, albeit not very deep and quite old even through the eyes of a child. I have a summertime birthday, so having a pool and subsequent pool parties in July made for some superb celebrations and get togethers. Summer vacation simply was going to grandma's house to swim every day, never once considering exactly what, if anything, went into maintaining this sea of blue water than always seemed so perfect with every cannonball, dive and jump off the side of the pool.
Turns out, pools can be quite taxing and puts that aforementioned theory to the test when you consider either buying a home that has one or adding one after the fact yourself. The pool can be a tricky hill to climb, particularly if you've never had one or cared for one at any point in your life.
The most daunting task truthfully is to find a reputable person or pool store or service that you can trust not to run you through the mud as far as telling you what you need to do or buy but ultimately leading you astray.
My sister has an above ground pool, which she and my brother in law put in for their three daughters. He struggled mightily with cloudy water and algae, and mistakenly trusted a local pool supply store to show him the way.

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They did, but it was hardly what he wanted or, most importantly, needed. He ended up leaving with $300 worth of chemicals that he didn't need. He learned through trial and error (and an eventual pool person that wasn't in it to rob him blindly) how to care for his pool year after year.
The basics of pool care focus on three main factors: weather (rain specifically), PH and alkaline levels and how and when to shock your pool.
Rainy summers that are excessive tend to turn your pool green quickly and can wreak havoc with your filter. You have to make sure your PH and alkaline levels are normal, and that can be accomplished with inexpensive test strips (don't let someone test your water for $50 or $60 bucks). No chemical or clearing water solution will work, including shock, if your PH level isn't balanced properly. This can be accomplished with buying just those items.
As for the filter and shocking, the latter should be done at night and the shock powder needs mixed with hot water. If you notice the same green water circulating through your pool even after all the above is done, check your filter. You can hose it off, but the better bet is cleaner for the filter (yes, this isn't a scam and does work).
The pool can truly be a benefit rather than a hinderance in the summer months. Cooling off or laying by it on a hot summer day is paradise for all intent and purposes as long as you're paying close attention how you care for it.

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