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Thread: Success!

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    We changed our method of opening the pool this year. We did not go to the pool store to have our water tested nor to buy chemicals. The result: my wife said that she could not believe how much better the process went this year. Less money spent, less effort, less time required to have a sparking clear pool.

    The secret. BBB, home testing, and a little knowledge.

    In the past we used hypo to shock the pool. This year we used Wal-Mart bleach. In the past the hypo would cloud the water so that we had a hard time determining if we were making progress. The pH would increase so we were constantly pouring muriatic acid into the water. And running back to the pool store for more acid..

    In the past we tried to gage how much shock to use by pool store testing combined with OTO Cl tests, and DPD Cl tests. While we could tell that we were shocking the pool it was difficult to determine if we were making progress killing algae. Of course the pool stores recommended algaecides with their unmentioned side effects. If you have been fighting algae for days it is difficult to not pickup a bottle or two of algaecide just to make sure.

    This year we tested the water with the FAS-DPD test. We could accurately measure the Cl level; this enabled us to take the Cl to shock level and hold it there. By the second day the Cl level held so we knew that we did not have to continue adding more Cl. We were done shocking the pool in less than two days; previously we struggled for more than a week.

    Last summer I stumbled into a test that proved to me that a pool owner should not rely on pool stores for water testing. Saturday morning we drove to the pool store that we liked and had our water tested. Later in the afternoon we discovered we needed another chemical and we drove to a closer pool store. We had the same water tested again. The water was in a capped bottle and had been kept out of the sun. The second water test was significantly different from the first water test in two levels. I realized then that a pool owner should not rely on a pool store for testing.

    The next week I asked the owner of a pool store how they calibrated their testing equipment and how they verified their water testing results. You should have seen the blank look on his face. I decided then to test my water and only have a pool store test the water when I went to the store to purchase muriatic acid or CYA. One Saturday I tested my water and determined that the water was almost in perfect balance except the pH was 7.8. I went to a pool store to purchase muriatic acid and had the pool store test the water. When I received their water test results I burst out laughing. They had changed their computer program to suggest pool owners purchase more chemicals. The computer results listed between $100 and $200 of chemicals that I needed. I asked the owner why not just add a little muriatic acid. He was embarrassed at the obvious over selling and told me that I could ignore the two pages of computer recommended chemicals.

    Pool stores printed results give a false sense of accuracy. Using a scanner attached to a computer does not increase the accuracy of a test strip. A computer can print the water test results to three decimal places but still be wildly inaccurate and unreliable. Remember GIGO.

    For spring opening we went from one to two weeks of pouring chemicals into the pool and daily brushing to less than two days to open the pool for spring. If you are experiencing pool maintenance problems I suggest the following:

    1) Read the articles in the Pool School. Read it, think about it, and learn it. You will know more than many if not most pool store employees.

    2) Purchase a good pool water test kit. The test kit should include a FAS-DPD test for Cl and a torpidity test for CYA. The FAS-DPD test enables you to test for FC and CC accurately. Proper CYA level is necessary to minimize costs and problems; test strips do not accurately measure CYA nor is the test reliable. My experience has been most test kits give similar results for TA, CH, and pH. Most pool stores use test strips for their convenience and speed.

    3) Use the BBB method.

    I now tell other pool owners that they can solve their pool maintenance problems by purchasing their pool chemicals in the laundry isle of Wal-Mart and by testing their own water.
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
    Hayward 1 HP Super II filter pump, Hayward 24 " Sand Filter Pro Series using zeolite media
    Polaris 380 cleaner with ¾ HP booster pump, Hayward Heatmaster pool heater, AutoPilot DIG-220 Power Supply SC-60 cell
    Testing with the TF-100 Test Kit

  2. Back To Top    #2

    In the Industry
    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: Success!

    Hi, Steve,
    Your post put a big smile on my face! You are what BBB and this forum is all about. Testing your own water and understanding the results (and what to do about it) are the heart and soul of BBB. It does not have to be complex or simply have to do a little homework.

    Some years ago, I had the same epiphany as you and it is very rewarding to hear of others who experience the same.

    You can never graduate from Pool School or get a TFP diploma (because the learning never stops) but it sounds like you're ready to move to the front row of the class.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Success!

    Congratulations! Also, well written!
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL

    Re: Success!

    That's what it's all about!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Butterfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South Carolina

    Re: Success!

    Hi Steve,

    What a great post!
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Coastalish 'down easter'

    Re: Success!

    Steve - I don't like to 'pile on' but this post is so good that it ought be put on a gold plaque and hung over the fireplace!! EXCELLENT

    BTW - sorry about the digression with waterbear in your calcium testing post

    Now that you know the "secret", I hope that the rest of your season is as Trouble Free as the opening
    Luv& Luk

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  7. Back To Top    #7
    MikeInTN's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Middle Tennessee

    Re: Success!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve456
    I now tell other pool owners that they can solve their pool maintenance problems by visiting, purchasing their pool chemicals in the laundry isle of Wal-Mart and by testing their own water.
    There..fixed that for ya! 8)
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

  8. Back To Top    #8
    pikeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Pflugerville, Texas

    Yes, you DO know more than the pool store clerks!

    Last summer I neglected to buy unstabilized sanitizer and the result was a major overload of CYA that required a near-complete drain and refill. The drain % was calculated by the same store that sold me the trichlor pucks and was treated as something of no consequence. It cost me money though, and I did not like the idea a consuming more than 10K gallons of fresh water.
    After I accomplished the task I had these people check the CYA level because I thought their test would be more accurate than my "dipstick" method. I was informed that the CYA was over 100! This is after at least 75% of the water was drained. I about blew a gasket and walked out before that idiot could tell me to drain the pool again.
    My test read 30, and I had another store near work read it at 20. I have had some mechanical repairs competently done by the second store and they are not "chemical happy" as most of the others are.
    But this first store has some kind of water test training program and the head tester is a bright, well-spoken and convincing young woman who studied the testing process. But I doubt she has any practical experience with actually caring for a pool and NO appreciation of her mistakes.
    So after bitter experience I will NEVER trade with this store for ANYTHING and am done FOREVER with any stabilized chlorine.
    Anytime I know someone with pool trouble - this is where I send them!
    15K IG, WetEdge technology lined pool, StaRite pump, Hayward DE filter, Hayward Navigator, Zodiac MX8 (junked).

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