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Thread: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

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    Toolfriend's Avatar
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    Question All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Hi Everyone,

    My first post here. Glad I found this site. I have had an inground plaster pool for 31 years this month. I have a strange thing happening and it has me stumped. Using a test strip. I just opened the pool this week by the way. All the readings on the strip are at maximum. PH, TA, FC & Stabilizer (CYA). They were new test strips so I tried an older one from last year and the same results. I cannot explain it. I will take a sample to the pool store this week. What could cause this? I have shocked and am adding Chlorine through the skimmer. I do have a purple stain that worries me. From reading I guess this is from high CYA and cooper.

    Thank you for any feedback. Good finding you all.

    Toolfriend

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Hi, welcome to TFP! I have a few questions for you. What chemicals did you use to close the pool for the winter? Do you have copper pipes or a heater with a copper heat exchanger?

    As far as testing goes, test strips are very unreliable and you will get more accurate and consistent results from a high quality FAS/DPD test kit such as a TF 100 or Taylor K2006C.

    Please report your test results when you get them and we can help troubleshoot your problem.
    TFP Moderator
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    Toolfriend's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Thank you for getting back to me. I closed using Bioguard shock and algaecide as always. The only copper pipes are a few on the filter all others are PVC. No heater. I will check out the test kit you recommend.

    Thank you,

    Toolfriend

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    Toolfriend's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    After my water testing with the sticks for a four days and getting Max reading on everything I finally had my wife bring in a sample to the pool store. This is what they found and gave us a big smiley face. I am not sure why!

    TC 10
    FC 9.5
    PH 8.7
    TA 299
    TH 365
    SI 1.8
    CYA Not tested for some reason

    The pool place was pleased with these reading. Why are all the reading so high. Should I be concerned?

    Thank you for any help.

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    Mr Bruce's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    The pool store is happy because they are taking your money. What you need to know is in post #2

    edit: If that pH is even close I wouldn't even put a brush pole in the water, much less a toe.
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
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    Toolfriend's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    My first post and I cannot get any help that I see. The last comment was essentially I was screwed with no advice. Go buy a $70 test kit. What am I doing wrong here? I hope you understand my concern on my pool.

    Thank you for any help!

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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Here is your help.

    Go buy a $70 test kit.

    Sorry, but it is an undisputed fact that pool store testing or strip testing is so inaccurate that no "fixing" will ever be possible. Can you get by, yes, but it will be way more than the $70 you spend for a quality test kit. We read stories from first-time posters about the $200 they spent on magic pool store potions, algae removers, clarifiers, metal removers, chlorine replacements etc etc etc almost every day. They don't get their water clear and clean and back they go to spend another couple of hundred dollars.

    I have not stepped foot into a pool store in 2 years. I buy bleach, salt, stabilizer, baking soda and muratic acid at Walmart or Lowes or Home Depot and I have not had a single day of un-clear, perfect pool water. Some days, I have to work at it, but 99% of the time its just a test to make sure everythings going well.

    What we are telling you is based on fact, and those facts all start with knowing exactly what is in the pool water.

    Its not hard, testing is actually kinda fun and your neighbors will soon be calling you a mad scientist, but they will be enjoying a clean, safe pool along with you.

    As to your current situation, your pH is dangerously high (as stated by Mr Bruce), and the rest of those numbers don't mean a thing until they can be verified by YOU. The simple fact that they did not measure CYA is grounds to dismiss anything they said.

    Hope this helps...
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Quote Originally Posted by Toolfriend View Post
    My first post and I cannot get any help that I see. The last comment was essentially I was screwed with no advice. Go buy a $70 test kit. What am I doing wrong here? I hope you understand my concern on my pool.

    Thank you for any help!
    Yes, I have concern for your pool, but the truth is that you need your own test kit to practice the methods taught here.

    The pH test is hard ot mess up. You can get a $5.99 pH/OTO chlorine test at WalMart. While you are out pick up a gallon jug of muratic acid at Lowes or Home Depot.

    Use small additions of acid with the pump running to get the pH down around 7.5.

    Unless you can get a valid CYA number we can't say if the chlorine is high, OK or low. Chlorine should always be maintained as a ratio to CYA.

    To say it again as I agree with the others, you need a test kit to take control of your pool.

    How much Pool School have you read? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    That the pool store gave you a "smiley face" with those test results proves you should never set foot in their location again.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: what does High/Low Ph do to your skin?

    How about PH at 8.7. Is this a danger?

    Mod Note: This post was moved from an older thread that is no longer active.

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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Work on lowering the pH and TA which needs to happen now to prevent scaling which I would be surprised if it hasn't started already.

    A $70 test kit is nothing compared to thousands fixing a scaled pool.

    Tim5055 is right on the money with his advice.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I have to agree with the others. You need the proper tool for the job. Make that investment, post up your test results, and you will get plenty of chemistry-based accurate advice to give you better water than you have likely ever had in your 31 years.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Tool Friend-

    Invest in the test kit; and a speed stir. After a few runs you will have the entire process down to <20 minutes. You can then post up YOUR test results VS sample; drive; store; drive; post.

    I am speaking from first hand experience. This is my first year as a real pool owner and these guys will help you 100% as long as you are willing to help them. ( real time information)

    The pool calculator is dang near spot on; just don't get eager and throw everything in at once. ( again; first hand experience)


    After correcting my pool issues with products bought in the grocery store; I compared prices of the same re-branded product from a pool store. That itself paid for the test kit x 3.



    Just my .02
    Viking Pools Cancun, Saphire color scheme, Deck Jets, Pentair 1.5 super flo pump, Pentair 250K heater, CL Free System

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Hi welcome to the forum. Good advice given.
    Please review this link: Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Quote Originally Posted by Toolfriend View Post
    Thank you for getting back to me. I closed using Bioguard shock and algaecide as always. The only copper pipes are a few on the filter all others are PVC. No heater. I will check out the test kit you recommend.

    Thank you,

    Toolfriend
    How did you manage your pool earlier? What are you trying to accomplish?
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    PAGirl's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Add up how much you have already spent at the pool store this season..... (assuming, of course, you have already tried that route without success). Was it more than $70?
    The TFP method works well when followed precisely. (Icluding the testing.)
    Welcome!
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    This my second year using this system get the test kit I was spending 240 month for pool service they really had me in mess then on each of those little blessings showed up since then our pool is so clean it's hard to believe we spend less than hour week on it

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    Toolfriend's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Hi All,

    Test kit on order. Taylor 2006 with Speedstir. Shipped already. Got another test at a new pool store. I lowered the PH and Alkalinity with some muriatic acid and that is inline now. The CYA is at 78. The thing driving me crazy is the FC level. We stopped adding chlorine tabs a few days ago and the FC reading is still over 15 ppm. Here are the most recent pool store readings:

    FC OVR 15.77 Strips confirm
    TC OVR 15.77
    CC 0
    PH 8.3 Better now per strips
    HD 662
    AK OVR 258 Better now per strips
    CYA 78
    CU .2

    Waiting patiently for my test kit.

    Thank you for any help. Happy Father's Day all.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    While you wait for your test kit to arrive, get your pool details in your signature (what you have, how many gallons, the equipment you use with it, be as specific as you are able to be).

    If you follow the method here you will have a pool that will blow your mind and possibly the stitching on your wallet because it will fatten up with all the cash you are saving. I have nothing in on the kits so take my word as a person who stumbled into this forum trying to educate myself about pool care and healthy water for my family to enjoy swimming in.

    Make sure all of your equipment works properly.
    You can buy Liquid Chlorine/ Bleach in advance ~ store it in a cool, dry place.
    Your kit will test your water with accuracy, you will not need pool store numbers and there are no reason to compare the two when your kit arrives. Test as instructed assume the results are accurate, but post them so folks can see them and know from the numbers if you have possibly done a test incorrectly (being a new user until you become familiar it can happen, but the tests are super easy). The CYA test is the most looseygoosey you may want a second set of eyes to confirm the reading.
    Adjust your Ph to 7.5 ~ ph/oto kit will give you that number.

    Filter and brush pool as you wait for your test kit to arrive.
    Someone in the know may tell you to add X amount of liquid chlorine/ plain home bleach until you have the actual kit in your hands and begin to learn to use it.
    Try to see the date code on the liquid chlorine and get the freshest you are able to get, you will also want to pay attention to the concentration so you know how much to dose.
    AGP: 27' x 52" : 17,500 gallon
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    Toolfriend's Avatar
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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    Still waiting on my test kit. Maybe tomorrow I hope. So we have not added any chlorine for a week now and the test strips still show very high chlorine. How is this possible? It has been sunny everyday and the reading is still through the roof. What would cause this?
    31 year old Anthony Pool 16 X 35 20K Gals
    Hayward DE Taylor K-2006 W/Speedstir

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: All Readings At Max On Test Strip

    There's a reason we call them guess strips!
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
    Test Kits - Pool Math - Chlorine/CYA/Target/Slam Chart

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