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Thread: Pool store vs Self testing

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    Angry Pool store vs Self testing

    @duraleigh can you tell me what exactly you find "erroneous" before completely disregarding my answer? I am the only person who actually addressed the OPís problem, rather than ranting about pool shopís and testing methods.

    OP can test the pool a thousand times, but it won't make the stain go away... Test results are never 100% perfect no matter who or where you get the test from. There will always be inaccuracies. I don't disagree that in a pool shop where there is a speed v efficiency trade-off, the testing can be wildly variable. I think giving someone advice that they should "run" from a pool shop because of the testing alone is erroneous. Just because one hairdresser gives you a bad haircut, does it mean that every hairdresser in the world can't be trusted? Making a blanket statement about all pool shops with "overwhelming evidence" of bad testing is simply confirmation bias in my opinion.

    For precision, it's always better if the same person performs the test. If you truly want a more "scientific" water test, you should take 3 samples and perform 3 tests and then find the average result for each parameter. But in my opinion it is just as important to look at the water test history, not just the individual results when it comes to problem-solving.

    To re-word what I said previously, most stain treatments I have used say that you need to have the chlorine <0.5ppm (because they cause cloudiness if added when the chlorine is high). Then, once the stain is removed you can increase the chlorine again. However, if you rapidly increase the pH, (which will happen when using calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite) the stain can come back.
    65,000L/17,000gal IG Pebble/Concrete, AstralPool Viron P300 Pump, AstralPool RX320 Media filter with glass media, AstralPool VX9T SWG, The PoolCleaner 2W

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    Re: Disgusted and Confused on What to Do Next

    See Metals in the Water and Metal Stains in the Pool School. What you describe is mostly consistent with that. We talk about first identifying the stain -- if it's organic than elevated chlorine levels will fade it. It it's metal, then iron stains will fade from ascorbic acid while copper stains (if fresh) will fade from citric acid. Because these are reducing agents, chlorine will react with them and THAT is why most stain reducing products say to lower the chlorine level because otherwise the chlorine will needlessly use up such products (or at least the reducing agents in such products).

    Likewise, one should monitor the pH and keep it lower. It's perfectly OK to use chlorinating liquid or bleach if one brings up the FC slowly and doesn't have the pH get too high. It's not about the chlorine source, but rather the pH.

    However, pool store results are very iffy though for metal tests it's usually worth using since they are rather expensive. Of course, such tests don't mean that much because there can be a stain with little metal ions left in the water, particularly for iron since it is so insoluble (when chlorine is present where any ferrous ion is oxidized to ferric ion). Of the metal tests, copper is more useful since it registers more readily and gives one a sense for staining potential. For iron, testing well water or other fill water is useful, but testing water that already has chlorine in it is not usually that helpful.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Disgusted and Confused on What to Do Next

    Quote Originally Posted by mboogaard View Post
    @duraleigh can you tell me what exactly you find "erroneous" before completely disregarding my answer? I am the only person who actually addressed the OPís problem, rather than ranting about pool shopís and testing methods.

    OP can test the pool a thousand times, but it won't make the stain go away... Test results are never 100% perfect no matter who or where you get the test from. There will always be inaccuracies. I don't disagree that in a pool shop where there is a speed v efficiency trade-off, the testing can be wildly variable. I think giving someone advice that they should "run" from a pool shop because of the testing alone is erroneous. Just because one hairdresser gives you a bad haircut, does it mean that every hairdresser in the world can't be trusted? Making a blanket statement about all pool shops with "overwhelming evidence" of bad testing is simply confirmation bias in my opinion.

    For precision, it's always better if the same person performs the test. If you truly want a more "scientific" water test, you should take 3 samples and perform 3 tests and then find the average result for each parameter. But in my opinion it is just as important to look at the water test history, not just the individual results when it comes to problem-solving.

    To re-word what I said previously, most stain treatments I have used say that you need to have the chlorine <0.5ppm (because they cause cloudiness if added when the chlorine is high). Then, once the stain is removed you can increase the chlorine again. However, if you rapidly increase the pH, (which will happen when using calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite) the stain can come back.
    While I understand your "bad-haircut" analogy, the track record of pool store testing and advice as seen on this site is not very good at all.

    I also understand that most pool owners that follow pool store advice and are satisfied with their pool will most likely never visit this site (until there is a problem), so the "track record" may be somewhat skewed.

    But, for a new member to come in here and push practices that are not recommended, nor proven to be as fool proof or affordable as TFPC, looks like a bit of trolling.

    If you do not agree with our methods, why are you here?

    IME I went through two terrible and expensive seasons following pool store advise. Now that I follow TFPC and the advise on this forum all I worry about is finding time to swim! The money I have saved this season compared to the last two has been enough to justify the purchase a solar heating system.

    Dom
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    Re: Pool store vs Self testing

    I can give a quick example. Advice to add Calcium up in a vinyl pool with no heater. It happened to me


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    Re: Pool store vs Self testing

    No one has to take advice on the TFP method. Everyone is free to take care of their pools as they see fit. The problem is when someone asks people on this forum to help them, but will not then follow the advice. Let the stores do the tests, but don't ask people here to help. No one is getting paid here.
    Inground 13,200 gal Vinyl, Pentair 3/4 hp pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter, Polaris 280

    Pool School, Pool Math, CYA to FC ratio chart, Testing Kits

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    Re: Pool store vs Self testing

    I think giving someone advice that they should "run" from a pool shop because of the testing alone is erroneous. Just because one hairdresser gives you a bad haircut, does it mean that every hairdresser in the world can't be trusted? Making a blanket statement about all pool shops with "overwhelming evidence" of bad testing is simply confirmation bias in my opinion.
    Read for a while on this forum and you will withdraw that statement. I have been reading Pool Store stories for 9 years now and I believe I have overwhelming evidence. I used to defend pool stores as honest folks who sometimes make mistakes......no longer. I am more than comfortable with my words based on what I have witnessed on this forum

    Perhaps it's different in Australia, I don't know. BTW, are you associated with any Pool Stores? Just curious.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Pool store vs Self testing

    I became a first time pool owner right at 2 years ago. The misses had prior experience, so I let her take care of the pool. She'd come home from the pool store with a slip saying we needed this that and the other. I ended up buying some phos-free on one of those trips. Fast forward a few months when I learned we weren't using our SWG for Cl and took interest in the pool. Over the course of several weeks, I sent her to the pool store on several occasions to get the water tested....I noticed huge discrepancies in the results...at first, i thought...this must be normal...but then I began reading and learning what values tend to only rise, and which ones tend to remain stable, etc. In particular it seemed that CYA, Salt, CH, and Phosphates were all over the place. The final straw was when I sent her to two different stores with identical samples and received entirely different results. One of the stores was a repeat from earlier in the day...needless to say, the results did not repeat.

    Consider that each and every time she went to the pool store, she came home with a laundry list of items we "needed".

    I was actually searching for reviews on test kits when I found the TFP site. I'm an engineer and what I read here made sense. I may use the pool store when I need something in a pinch, but I will never trust their advice on balancing my pool's water!
    15k Pebble Tec (2002), Ecomatic ESC-16 SWG
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    Re: Pool store vs Self testing

    ^^^ this discrepancy testing happened to me too!!


    Lisa P.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Pool store vs Self testing

    Now the stain is gone but water is very, very cloudy and no matter what I do cannot get it clear for the past 3+ weeks. Went to pool store today and this is my readings:
    The OP stated "the stain was now gone" if I read your advice correctly, you gave him advice on how to correct the stain which was not what he was asking, I believe he was asking how to clear up cloudy water.

    Does the stain appear to be organic (algae/mould) or does it appear metallic (Iron/rust/copper) staining? If it is organic, the best treatment is to superchlorinate and add an algaecide. Abscorbic acid is best for removing metallic stains. Usually it's best to add it when the chlorine is <1ppm otherwise clouding can occur. Some metal control treatments (liquid based) contain phosphates, which can compound the issue. I'd say the cloudiness is due to the chlorine being too high and reacting with the ascorbic acid. You definitely need to get some chlorine back into the pool! I would advise against using large amounts of bleach/sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite as these types of chlorine are alkaline. If you do, add small amounts at a time and keep checking and correcting your pH. Metallic stains are more likely to occur when the pH is too high (alkaline) as metals are more soluble (dissolve better) when the pH is in the correct range.
    Secondly you advised him to "I would advise against using large amounts of bleach/sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite as these types of chlorine are alkaline." Bleach/sodium hypochlorite is a base chemical used at this site and although you explained why you made that statement a chlorine based pool does need chlorine no matter what to sanitize. At the point you gave your advice there was not a clear cut diagnosis. In fact if you have been following the thread what he need was excessively high levels of chlorine to solve the problem.

    My third point is, the OP was an inexperienced pool person desperate for some good advice, If Dave did not cut you off the poor guy could have gone down the wrong trail spending more money and time and not getting his problem resolved. You seem to have a good grasp on pool chemistry but were addressing a problem he did not now have. As a newbie myself to pools I had a terrible 2 weeks with a pool and was given very bad advise one of which was to bring in a backhoe to dig up the concrete and replace the return lines, his diagnosis was wrong but if I had followed it I would have spent thousands of dollars and not solved my problem. This site solved my problems and had it ready to swim in a week, it cost me less than $200 and that was with replacing top half of my valve. And I had a cesspool.

    Fourth point, pool store testing. I after I got control of my pool was still having difficulty interpreting my CYA results and it is to me, a rather subjective reading. So I went to 3 different pool stores 2 of them Leslie's so they had the same type of testing equipment. All tests differed with each other and with my tests from the TF-100. The advice here is given off the results of tests contained in the TF-100. Read a few threads of newbies and there seem to be a reluctance to buy this for some reason. But it does give fairly consistent results that work well with poolmath and lets the experts here quickly resolve problems. I can give you many examples if I go back and dig but I will give you one of my own. I was inpatient to start getting my PH down in prep for the Slam took poolstore advice bought dry acid and only put in about half of what pool store recommended because poolmath told me to only put in that much based on poolstore's PH reading. The next day my kit came and I was below the 6.8 mark which is as low as the color chart goes on the tester. 8 lbs of borax later and 2 days which were even worse I was back to 7.2, so I believe pool stores reading was never correct in the first place and not even in the same ballpark. So If there advice is hit or miss and in my experience it is miss more than hit, and there equipment is so inconstant why go and spend hard earned money and mess it up even more when you can test it yourself. After you have the kit and learn a little it is far less time consuming than taking it to a store. Also, when I get some spare time as an experiment, I will follow your advice of going to 3 stores and averaging them out and see if it is anything close to the TF-100 results.

    Good thread, it helps me learn, I like to hear differing opinions.
    Thanks

    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
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