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Thread: Better pH Test?

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    Better pH Test?

    As part of the TF-100, I have the "Basic Kit" that does Chlorine and pH, and to be honest, I find it pretty useless. The yellow chlorine test isn't all that accurate, and I find it more work to use than the full Scoop/Regent test in the kit. I'd like to replace the pH test with something like the other tests (put water in tube, use the spinner gadget, count drops and do math). Is there an accurate and easy to use pH test like that?

    I'd then move the basic box outside with the pool supplies for the rare daytime test (I tend to test at night when I have more time).
    Pool, 11000 Gallon Gunite Pool, shallow ( < 5' deep ) including spa. Hayward 1750 Cartridge Filter. Pump is a single speed 2 HP Hayward Northstar. Polaris Caretaker 5 Zone Floor System. Pool ~ 8 years old. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    The short answer is no there is not, or at least not until you get into electronic pH meters which require frequent (about monthly) calibration, must be stored in acidic fluid to keep the probe from drying out, etc. This is not a big concern for most pool owners though as the acceptable range for pH is so wide unless you are fighting high CH and watching your CSI closely.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Hmm, I wonder if I can find a plastic version of the pH chart on the Taylor box then. Just throwing 10 mL and the stirrer in would at least be consistent.

    I found when I relied on the pool store, I had a preference for certain pH's, but now that I've tested myself, I don't think that the pH test shows anything meaninful. The basic kit takes up a lot of space in my box (which is cramped because of the spinner thingy) for what seems to be of negligible utility.

    Thanks for the answer though. I appreciate the help!
    Pool, 11000 Gallon Gunite Pool, shallow ( < 5' deep ) including spa. Hayward 1750 Cartridge Filter. Pump is a single speed 2 HP Hayward Northstar. Polaris Caretaker 5 Zone Floor System. Pool ~ 8 years old. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    I can relate. If there was a different (drop-based) "economical" way to test pH I'd be all-in. My eyes have a bit of trouble with the comparator view at times. It gets better with time and practice, but the accuracy of drop testing (i.e. FC, CH, and TA) sure is nice.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    As part of the TF-100, I have the "Basic Kit" that does Chlorine and pH, and to be honest, I find it pretty useless.
    How do you test your pH?

    I find it more work to use than the full Scoop/Regent test in the kit
    Really?? The OTO chlorine test is in the kit for a quick way for you to tell the rough amount of chlorine in your pool. It is a much faster test than FAS/DPD.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    My biggest gripe with the comparator is the 0.3 range between colors. When my current batch of pH reagent runs out, I'll probably spring for the comparator block & reagent from a Taylor 2000 test kit that has a 0.2 range. I keep my CYA in the 50-60 range so the OTO chlorine test is nearly useless to me.

    Amazon.com : Replacement Comparator #9058 for Taylor 2000 Series Test Kits : Swimming Pool Liquid Test Kits : Patio, Lawn Garden
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Typically drop based colorimetry based pH tests are by far the easiest and fastest method of pH determination. pH meters are fine too but require upkeep (another "pool toy" to take care of...). A titration based scheme would not work in practice because the TA of your water would affect the drop count to reach a specific pH. So in that process you'd need a way of calculating TA and then a bit of extra math to work out the pH change. Perfectly fine for freshman college Chem-101 lab but not practical at all for pool side testing.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    haha, I actually asked my husband if he posted this thread! (he didn't)
    My Pool Build (2015): inground 12K gals gunite/plaster pool, SWG, 2-speed pump, cartridge filter, gas heater, and polaris cleaner (Jandy). TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    How do you test your pH?
    I don't think I do. I put water in the basic test. Add the 5 red drops. Shake it up. Then walk around staring at the thing trying to make sense of it all. Then I shrug my shoulders, give up, and move on. It's very time consuming and I don't have any clue what my pH is. I may go back to "bring a sample of water to pool store." I'll get a random number from them, but at least I'll feel like I have a number.

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Really?? The OTO chlorine test is in the kit for a quick way for you to tell the rough amount of chlorine in your pool. It is a much faster test than FAS/DPD.
    Yeah, really. I find the FAS/DPD test faster to do. Throw water hit, hit button, and count drops. Takes almost no time. I find filling the basic kit to the line, adding the 10 drops, then staring and squinting and trying to make some sense out of the color chart is much more time consuming.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Cinic View Post
    My biggest gripe with the comparator is the 0.3 range between colors. When my current batch of pH reagent runs out, I'll probably spring for the comparator block & reagent from a Taylor 2000 test kit that has a 0.2 range. I keep my CYA in the 50-60 range so the OTO chlorine test is nearly useless to me.

    Amazon.com : Replacement Comparator #9058 for Taylor 2000 Series Test Kits : Swimming Pool Liquid Test Kits : Patio, Lawn Garden
    Well, I find the OTO completely useless, and the pH mostly useless, so I guess you're ahead of me. I only do the OTO when testing the water because it says so on the laminated card.

    Thanks for the link. I think that that is what I want. I'd toss the OTO, and it looks like that should consolidate the CYA tube with the pH tester. That would make the kit less crowded. I'm pretty oafish and convinced I'm going to break the CYA tube... I haven't yet, but this looks like an option.

    CYA is my big thing to test, my weird pool seems to eat it.
    Pool, 11000 Gallon Gunite Pool, shallow ( < 5' deep ) including spa. Hayward 1750 Cartridge Filter. Pump is a single speed 2 HP Hayward Northstar. Polaris Caretaker 5 Zone Floor System. Pool ~ 8 years old. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_H View Post
    I don't think I do. I put water in the basic test. Add the 5 red drops. Shake it up. Then walk around staring at the thing trying to make sense of it all. Then I shrug my shoulders, give up, and move on. It's very time consuming and I don't have any clue what my pH is. I may go back to "bring a sample of water to pool store." I'll get a random number from them, but at least I'll feel like I have a number.
    The pH test is not this complicated and you're doing several things wrong.

    Fill the tube, add 5 drops and GENTLY INVERT to mix. DO NOT SHAKE IT. Reagents almost NEVER need to be shaken.

    You then stand with your back to the sun, hold the tube out stretch in front of you waist-high in your shadow and make sure the background you are viewing through to is a flat neutral color. White paper works well. If you walk around your house holding the tube up to different backgrounds you'll never get a consistent color read.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    The pH test is not this complicated and you're doing several things wrong.

    Fill the tube, add 5 drops and GENTLY INVERT to mix. DO NOT SHAKE IT. Reagents almost NEVER need to be shaken.

    You then stand with your back to the sun, hold the tube out stretch in front of you waist-high in your shadow and make sure the background you are viewing through to is a flat neutral color. White paper works well. If you walk around your house holding the tube up to different backgrounds you'll never get a consistent color read.
    So at 10 PM and in my house, how do I test it. Hold it up to a white sheet of paper?
    Pool, 11000 Gallon Gunite Pool, shallow ( < 5' deep ) including spa. Hayward 1750 Cartridge Filter. Pump is a single speed 2 HP Hayward Northstar. Polaris Caretaker 5 Zone Floor System. Pool ~ 8 years old. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    I will try the white paper tonight. I'm guessing the light quality of the CFLs doesn't help that.

    Thanks again for the help and sympathy!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Yes, indoor lighting is not optimal and CFLs are terrible. Can you do the test in daylight?
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    And Alex, when all else fails, do what I do when I'm struggling with shades of red, light red, and pink .... I ask someone for a 2nd opinion if available. After a while, with other's validation and performed in the correct conditions as Matt noted, you slowly train your eyes what to look for.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    I have a white plastic plate just for testing my PH. I hold it under my stove hood that has a bright light in it. I hold the PH tube in front of the plate and pull the plate back and forth until I get a match.

    I hope this helps.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Yes, indoor lighting is not optimal and CFLs are terrible. Can you do the test in daylight?
    I will try, just hard with my schedule.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    I have a white plastic plate just for testing my PH. I hold it under my stove hood that has a bright light in it. I hold the PH tube in front of the plate and pull the plate back and forth until I get a match.

    I hope this helps.

    Kim
    Yes, I will give that a try.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Pool, 11000 Gallon Gunite Pool, shallow ( < 5' deep ) including spa. Hayward 1750 Cartridge Filter. Pump is a single speed 2 HP Hayward Northstar. Polaris Caretaker 5 Zone Floor System. Pool ~ 8 years old. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    One thing to remember is you are looking for the color shade not the intensity. So the important issue is the shade of peach color not how pale it is.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Is there a chance you are color blind?
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    Re: Better pH Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by PAGirl View Post
    Is there a chance you are color blind?
    A large fraction of the male population is red-green color blind (most common form of color blindness). Color vision is determined mainly by the gender-linked chromosomes. Since men only have one X chromosome, we are predominately affected by this.

    Men also can only see 8 colors - red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, black and white. It's why we hate clothes shopping and aren't allowed to dress our children
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Better pH Test?

    I believe that you can adjust the number of drops with the Taylor test to get the intensity to match. I have found it much easier to match with 4 drops rather than 5. Also don't mix, just flip once and it should be mixed enough.

    You could also consider taking a picture with you phone, I find the colors sometimes easier to identify in a digital picture.
    In Ground 17X29 90 ft perimeter; 3.5 to 5 depth; 15,000 gallons, Stonescapes Tropics Blue, Jandy stealth 1.5 HP 2 speed, Jandy 450 SQ cartridge, Jandy JXi 400K BTU NG, POLARIS 280 W/ HP booster pump, North Texas

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