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Thread: Pool Store Test results

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    Woodberg's Avatar
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    Pool Store Test results

    I'm a new pool owner and am learning how to manage my pool. I'm currently using a TF-100 test kit and feel reasonably comfortable with testing my water myself, but thougt it would be interesting to get the local pool store to double check my number. One of the main numbers I wanted them to check was my CYA level. Since this is a new pool, I've been using pucks to raise my CYA to a decent number. My testing with my kit looks like I have a CYA level of 30.

    Overall my numbers matched the pool store numbers with the exception of FC and CYA. They said my FC level was 2. I had measured it as 5 using the drop test. For CYA, they said my level was 0. Obviously this surprised me since I have been using Trichlor pucks for about 3 months and had tested the level myself. I told them that their test had to be wrong. You should have seen the look on the ladies face. They said their test solution was fresh and I need to buy stabilizer to get my CYA level up. I told them again that their test had to be wrong. After arguing for a while, they opened a new bottle of CYA test solution and retested. It showed a CYA level of 30. The really funny thing is that they told me that they had noticed that most of their customers had low or no CYA.

    The lesson learned is that the TF-100 test kit seems just as accurate or more accurate than their testing.

    One thing they tested that I can't is for Phosphates. They said that my level was 1,000 which is high. Does this seem reasonable and what should I do about it?
    20,000 gallon gunite pool, attached spa, Pebblesheen finish, Paramount PCC-2000 infloor cleaning system, Paramount ClearO3 ozone system, Intelliflo VS main pump, Whisperflo 1HP cleaner pump, StaRite cartridge filter, StaRite heater

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    They said that my level was 1,000 which is high. Does this seem reasonable and what should I do about it?
    Totally disregard it. Phosphates are virtually irrelevant to successfully managing your pool.

    Always believe your own testing. You will see that over and over on this forum. Pool store testing is normally designed around speed and too many operators allow for many, many errors.

    The drops-based kits like the TF-100 or the K-2006 are a little cumbersome by comparison but are almost always more accurate.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Woodberg's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Thanks for the reply regarding Phosphates. The pool store guy told me that high Phosphates helped contribute to algae. That didn't sound right, but is there any relationship between the two?
    20,000 gallon gunite pool, attached spa, Pebblesheen finish, Paramount PCC-2000 infloor cleaning system, Paramount ClearO3 ozone system, Intelliflo VS main pump, Whisperflo 1HP cleaner pump, StaRite cartridge filter, StaRite heater

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Algae eats phosphates. If you get rid of all the phosphates it is very difficult for algae to grow. On the other hand, if you maintain proper FC levels algae can't grow anyway. Removing phosphates is somewhat expensive and often messy. It is much simpler and less expensive to maintain the correct FC level.
    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

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Also, algae also eat nitrates and we don't normally test for nitrates since the only way to remove them is to replace the water (and this means pool stores can't make money by selling you something to remove the nitrates). Reduicng phosphates without removing their other source of food will not help keep algae at bay.

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    Woodberg's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    OK, I think I understand. Phosphates and Nitrates both contribute to algae growth. However, by keeping my FC at an acceptable level, algae can't grow regardless of the amount of Phosphates or Nitrates. The problem then is if I let the FC get too low for a period of time. If my Phosphates and Nitrates are high, then algae could begin to grow. If they are low, then I may be able to get away with it for a while. So basically, chemicals to remove Phosphates and Nitrates are just added insurance that only make an impact if I'm not keeping my FC level correct.
    20,000 gallon gunite pool, attached spa, Pebblesheen finish, Paramount PCC-2000 infloor cleaning system, Paramount ClearO3 ozone system, Intelliflo VS main pump, Whisperflo 1HP cleaner pump, StaRite cartridge filter, StaRite heater

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    There are no chemicals to remove nitrates, which means the pool store can't sell you anything if you have high nitrates, which means they can't make money off of you, which is why they don't test for nitrates!
    Phosphate removers are basically a scam that pool stores use to sell you unnecessary chemicals.
    (I will add that in certain, very rare, select cases they can be useful but for the vast majority of pools they are a waste of money!)

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    if you're worried about your levels getting low (i.e. going on vacation) borates are a good algaestat (waterbear has a good story about that) or I think most people recommend a polyquat 60 algaecide. but the polyquat 60 algaecide is expensive and requires weekly additions, and borates add a lot more than just algaestatic properties, plus they stay in your pool until splashed out. so-you-want-to-add-borates-to-your-pool-why-and-how-t4921.html?hilit=borates
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Woodberg's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Reebok, I have read that link about adding borates to a pool and probably will do it next year. For now, I'm just trying to keep it as simple as possible until I'm more comfortable with keeping my pool balanced.
    20,000 gallon gunite pool, attached spa, Pebblesheen finish, Paramount PCC-2000 infloor cleaning system, Paramount ClearO3 ozone system, Intelliflo VS main pump, Whisperflo 1HP cleaner pump, StaRite cartridge filter, StaRite heater

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodberg
    Reebok, I have read that link about adding borates to a pool and probably will do it next year. For now, I'm just trying to keep it as simple as possible until I'm more comfortable with keeping my pool balanced.
    Woodberg: I agree with the KISS (keep it simple-I'm stupid) philosophy: It works.
    Bleach for shocking and sanitizing
    Borax for increasing PH without having much impact on TA
    Baking soda (for increasing TA alone)
    MA (muratic acid) for decreasing both PH and TA
    Aerating with lower PH/TA to increase PH alone
    CYA (stabilizer, conditioner, etc.) to "shield" water against the sun "stealing" the chlorine (like I said, I'm Simple 8) )
    AND
    TESTING!
    ...and in my case, SALTfor the SWG! <it doesn't seem to work well without it!>
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Fuzzy,

    I wish we could take your post and have every member (especially the newest ones) print it out and put it in front of his/her computer. Literally, that is all you need to know about pool water adjustments. With that knowledge and an acceptable range for each parameter, you can keep your pool water balanced and absolutely pristine for the rest of your life.

    I know we're a few hours apart, but if our paths cross, I will "hug your neck" (uh-oh. I'm probably gonna take some heat for using that terminology ) for the clarity and simplicity of your post. You have captured the essence of BBB.

    Thank you!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool Store Test results

    Dave,
    Thanks for the good words. There seem to be few cases where "some of us" make it harder than it needs to be.

    BTW: We're not as far apart as you might think. I work at the intersection of I40 & NC147 (Durham Freeway) in RTP M-T-W-Th of each week. I just happen to live and have my own little piece of paradise, leak and all, in the NW Triad!


    And yes, I have LOTS of organics in the pool daily, but that what makes it "home".
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

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