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?