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Thread: Why convert to the TPF

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Why convert to the TPF

    Please don't flame me as a heretic, this system is new to me and I am trying decide if I want to take it on.

    Currently building a new pool. This is my second pool, but my entire life has been lived in homes with a pool.

    As as a kid my mom managed the pool, and from what I recall did it very well. I never remember a green pool or some other unsuitable condition. When I got out in my own the homes I rented had pools with a service. Again I don't recall any issues other than debris accumulating periodically between the weekly service, but I was renter who didn't dare touch the pool.

    2005 I built my first house and pool. I self managed this pool for 4 1/2 years. In the beginning it was easy, then got more difficult to keep clean and clear. In spring 2010 I developed an algae bloom that I battled for several weeks and finally gave up and called a service. The service is owner operated, and he came to my house and fixed the pool in about 48 hours. I was impressed and hired him to take over at $90 month for full service. This was easily justified because quicken told me I was spending ~$500 a year on chemicals to self manage, so for another $500 a year I never had to think about it again.

    Same guy has managed that pool since. Once in 2011, 6 years after build, he told me it was time to drain/fill because TDS were getting to high. It now 2016 and again he is recommending we consider a drain/fill, but that house is for sale so I decided to pass that task to the next owner. The pool is still very clear so it not like I'm passing a bad pool.

    We we are currently building a new pool in our new house, so I'm thinking maybe now is the time to try, but I'm not sure I am convinced.

    Is is the primary reason folks use this method to save money? Are there other benefits I'm over looking?

    If it's just $, and I am already comfortable spending $1340 a year, $95 per month plus twice annual filter tear down cleanings @ $100 each, should I just keep with the service?

    What else am I missing?

    It might be worth noting I travel a lot for work, so daily checking is not possible. Best I could manage would 2-3 a week, but likely not on consistent days. Maybe my work schedule would prevent me from using this method.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    The primary reason why people come to TFP is because they are sick of being "pool stored" or find that the service they have lacks any credibility whatsoever and want to stop spending thousands of dollars per year on their pools. Most forum members will tell you that their pool costs amount to an average of ~$30/month. Mine is certainly lower than that. People who can't bring themselves to DIY with their own pools probably would never consider TFP.

    Here are the benefits -

    - You manage your own pool and know exactly what you are doing and what you are adding to your water and why - no silly pool store hocus pocus
    - You spend much less, MUCH less, than the average pool owner on maintaining your pool
    - Your pool looks better than any other pool you've ever been in

    As far as being "too busy" to maintain your own pool, well, most people on this forum have day jobs and have to work like everyone else (I'm probably the rare exception as a stay-at-home dad). We have many members who are very busy people and travel a lot. All in all, once you learn to manage your own pool, your work schedule really doesn't matter. To give you an estimate of the time I spend on my pool (and I'm a bit OCD) - about 5 mins/day to look out my side door and make sure there's still water in the pool (because it's so clear it's easy to think the water is not there) and about 30 mins roughly twice a week to do some measurements.....so, you're telling me you don't have about two hours per week to take care of your pool??

    Also, since it sounds like you will build your next pool you can join TFP and check out our awesome "Under Construction" forum and see how people use both PBs and Owner-Build routes to create some incredible pools. You can also add on automation features to your next pool like salt water chlorine generators or Stenner liquid chlorine pumps (acid pumps too) to fully automate your chemistry dosing. If you build a pool with an auto-cover then it will be incredibly simple to manage....

    Have a look around and see what we do....you can absolutely do it all yourself and save that $1,500 per year to buy all the pool noodles and floaties you could ever want...

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  3. Back To Top    #3
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Let me start by saying I too managed a pool for years before adopting the TFP method about 6 years ago, and I can tell you in retrospect that looking back on those pre TFP years the water that I thought was doing fine then would be completely unacceptable to me now. So in other words it is not just about saving money, but also about making your water better than you knew it could be. If you are currently dealing with weekly pool service and dont have some form of chlorine automation (SWG, chlorine pump, etc.) then I can tell you that your chemical levels are on a roller coaster ride every week, swinging insanely high to insanely low and back again each time the pool guy visits as a result they are likely never perfect, and really only in what we might consider an acceptable range for a day or so per week. Now as the possibility of you maintaining a TFP method pool with your work schedule, I would tend to say it is possible if you have a chlorine automation (SWG, Stenner chlorine pump, liquidator, etc.), although even then depending on location, and other conditions it can be hard to maintain balanced water without testing every 3-4 days.

    Ike
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  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Thank you -- I can absolutely give a couple hours weekly to my pool. My concern about time isn't having any, more about the inconsistency in when I can give it. I must have developed a mistaken impression from my reading that most folks are spending a brief amount of time daily, and that one should develop a habit of testing and adjusting chemistry regularly around the same time of day. Wasn't sure if I was gone Sun-Wed on week and Wed-Fri the next if that would create havoc with the TFP method. I'm on the road 100+ days a year, but rarely more than 72 hours at a time.

    I do like knowing everything going into my pool and why, that is appealing.

    Who doesn't want to save money, that too is appealing. But saving $1k/year isn't really moving the needle much.

    decisions decisions decisions.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Generally with manual Chlorine dosing the TFP method requires about 2-5 minutes 3 or 4 times per week, more in some cases (areas with heavy rains, high chlorine demand, etc.) However if you automate the addition of Chlorine most commonly with an SWG or Stenner pump setup, and possibly acid depending on the pH stability of your specific pool then testing and tweaking can be pushed back to the every 3-4 day point with a reasonable success rate (there is always the risk of a bad storm coming through while you are out of town), When we start to see problems is when people try to push this back to once per week without taking extra levels of precautions. As I mentioned above it is all about proper levels and stability, the longer you go between testing even with automatic dosing, the less stable these levels are going to be.
    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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  6. Back To Top    #6
    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    I understand that sort of schedule. I used to do 85 overnights per year. I'm retired now and like tweaking, so you'd see me doing stuff often. But I was also able to develop a weekly regimen for fun trips.

    I just want to add that a weekly pool service is likely to compromise safety toward the end of their visit cycle. I'm sure there's really good services that can avoid this, but if I was going to use one, I would at least do my own testing as an audit. The key aspect is free chlorine falling below the level it needs to be relative to stabilizer, or cyanuric acid. When this occurs, person-to-person transfer of pathogens, and the pathogen load in the pool, becomes unsafe. If a pool reaches a point where it turns cloudy or green, then this threshold has very likely been breached.

    Another aspect is plaster life. With good balance of water chemistry, the pool finish will continue to look like new much longer.

    And finally, bather comfort. When the water is right, there's little to no reason for sore eyes, itchy skin, or swimsuits wearing out prematurely. When people visit a TFP pool, they are frequently surprised by how nice a pool can be.

    All said, I totally understand your concerns and have asked myself what I would have done if still on that schedule. Are there any kids around that would benefit from engagement in caring for the pool, and getting some hands-on backup to their chemistry learning?
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    It works. I have been on here for maybe 3 weeks. Ditched the pool store, use bleach, and test the water myself. I can't stop staring at how clear the pool is... i can see every etch on the bottom from wear and tear over the last 20 years it has been in existence... I have had it for 2 of those years... and last year it went totally wrong.

    The pool guys advice was, shock it once a week and keep pucks in it... there were days id randomly check it and there wasn't any chlorine in it, so id drop a bunch in and be happy... boy was I wrong...

    Glad I found this site... well worth it, 1000 bucks may not be a lot to you, but for 4 months out of the year of using it... it is a lot to save. esp when it still cost about 5 bucks a day for electricity and bleach... also depends on size... and pump HP.

    Go with TFP. I beg you... If you do you won't know what a bad pool looks like....
    IG, 25k gallons, 20x40 ft, Plaster, Pentair sand filter, variable speed pump, have a well, TF-100 test kit, Speed Stir

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    I do it so I have control over what is done, when it's done, and why it's done. Many first time posts on here are something like 'I have a birthday party in 3 days and my pool is green- help!'. For people familiar with this method, they know what to do (not that their pool would be green if the methods are followed), as oppose to asking the pool store and getting sent home with something to trat metals, algae, and borates....and it still doesn't work.
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    I think my case is super rare. I'm pretty sure I found this site by searching "concrete showing through plaster" or something similar when I noticed the plaster wearing out in my new pool that came with a house. That was late fall, and by spring when the new plaster was applied, I had been reading, reading and reading constantly, had the test kit ready and followed TFP methodology from day 0. So, rare in the case that I've never used pucks as a main source of chlorine, never "shocked", never been pool stored. It's always been one trip to Wal-Mart per week, 4 hours of pump time/day via a timer, 3-4 FC/CC/pH tests a week, one full test a week, hours and hours of enjoyment. I can't imagine another way.



    That drain (and puck working on an organic stain) is 10 ft underwater.
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  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Money is about last on the list of advantages to TFPC pool care for myself. Having high quality water at all times is the number one reason I use the TFPC method.

    With a pool service you have no idea what is in the water and if you are not testing it yourself, you don't really know if it is safe to swim in. A clear looking pool is not necessarily safe to swim in it.

    If you feel that your pool service is right for your situation then by all means use it. We don't say that this is the only way to care for a pool, it's just a reliable, cost effective, and simple approach to pool care that you are in complete control of.
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    I have an idea for you..............go to Walmart and get this:

    HTH 6-Way Test Kit - Walmart.com

    This will allow you to test your water right before and right after you service is there. Just know the Free Chlorine (FC) test only goes up to 5 I think so right after your service is there your FC reading may not be correct as they will have added LOTS of chlorine so hopefully the FC will still be in there some when they come back. That is the way most services work.

    shhhhhhhhh but I don't test my water every day I only test every 3 days or so BECAUSE I know my pool and what she wants/needs. I DO add my chlorine each day. We have ways to help automate that as well if you would like.

    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

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    i bought those test strips... mostly for the salt ones... i am not sure they even work. i got the same reading on them after adding 2 more bags of salt... which according to the chart on TFP should have been enough to get me to 2000
    IG, 25k gallons, 20x40 ft, Plaster, Pentair sand filter, variable speed pump, have a well, TF-100 test kit, Speed Stir

  13. Back To Top    #13
    RyanMcC's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Because dropping off a bottle at the pool store and then buying expensive chemicals to get mediocre water sucks.

    Because while the TFP method feels scary, it sounds simple- and unlike the pool store, nobody here is actually trying to sell things. Our first year we were pool store customers, but when we filled for our second year my wife decided to try the method as an experiment. We couldn't believe how much better our water was and how easy it was to get and keep it that way. We bought muriatic acid once. We buy Borax sometimes. I buy store brand bleach when I'm at the grocery store. It's easy, and the water's great. Once your water is good, maintaining it takes almost no time at all- how many days a week does the service show up?

    The real problem looks like your traveling. Chemistry aside, having a service may be your best move. Last year we paid a neighbor's kid to come over and check the chlorine a few times, but for recurring absences a professional would probably make more sense.
    "...chemistry is not an exact science" -Mario Andrada, Rio 2016 Olympics spokesman
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    To be honest, we really don't need to convince you, it's your pool to treat as you see fit. There are tens of thousands of pool owners out there who have never heard of TFP or our methods. Many do a fine job of maintaining their pools with little difficulty. But, most of them are in "snow belt" states where they drain a lot of water each year getting ready for the winter snows which replenish the pool with fresh water or high rain states like Florida where water is replenished every afternoon at 4 with the daily thunderstorms.

    For the most part, folks who follow our methods don't do it to save money. Most have already spent thousands on pool services and chemicals at the pool store, which didn't work.

    I think you will find that your cost estimates are a little low. Most pool services charge monthly fee, plus chemicals. So, you will be buying all your chemicals at retail, plus mark-up.

    You may be able to get a few years out of your plan before problems start to crop up. When they do you are going to be in a pickle, to get the pool back under control you will need to drain and refill. I do believe the Central Valley is having the same water problems as the rest of California, so replacement water is going to be an issue.

    I think Dave, Site Owner of TFP said it best:
    Throughout TFP, you will read that we suggest certain levels that good science and practical experience has taught us fall within safe ranges.

    Further reading of posts here will draw you to the inescapable conclusion that these guidelines work.......in thousands and thousands of pools worldwide.

    You may or may not choose to use these methods and guidelines or you may use some and not others. Our goal is to teach you what has been proven time and time again and then let you use that information to your benefit.
    Good luck with your pool!
    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

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Awesome replies, thank you.

    I think I am going to give this a shot on our new pool once it's complete in a few weeks.

    Let me me clarify a couple questions/comments...

    - Yes, California is in a serious drought and no more so than the Central Valley. However water managers have learned pools use less water than lawns on an annual basis, therefore in my area we have Zero restrictions on building pools and drain/fill is legal with a free permit no more frequently than every other year.

    - The pool service I use is $95 month inclusive of all supplies. The only extra I'm asked to spend are twice annual filter cleanings and any repairs, of which I have had none in the 12 years since I built the pool. I am fortunate to have a really good pool service, but he does only come weekly and therefore I have no doubt the Chemisty swings quite a bit and not stable through out the week.

    Thanks you you again for all the comments. This is a great site.

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    I forgot to mention, no matter which way you decide to go forget the puck chlorinator and go with a salt water chlorine generator. The absolute biggest problem you will have with the pool over time will be the ever rising stabilizer levels if you decide to stick with the pucks.

    Not knowing how big you pool would be I just picked 15,000 gallons a random. With that size pool each puck will add 2.2ppm stabilizer to the water.

    Someone needs to enlighten me on how often you add pucks, but it will only take 45 pucks to push you over the 100 mark and you end up with an uncontrollable pool.

    Now, if the pool service throws in an 8oz bag of dichlor shock each week that adds another 2ppm per week.

    With those kind of stabilizer additions you will not make your two year mark before you need to drain and refill the pool.
    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

  17. Back To Top    #17
    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Hey, you didn't get flamed as a heretic! This is truly a great forum

    There's a link in my signature - Become a Supporter. The donation is very modest and is tax deductible. It also gets you a discount on a TF100 test kit and on a purchase from inyopools.com

    At the very least, discuss your pool equipment here before it's installed. The experience base is amazing, and too many times, people come here after the build with a SWG that's too small, or other sub-optimum components, many of which are easily avoided. If you're using an amazing pool consultant over-seeing your pool builder, no worries, but TFP is much like that amazing pool consultant, with only occasional bursts from the pulpit
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    This method of pool care is not for everyone. Everyone I know uses traditional methods/swg and have nice pools. They all buy stuff they don't need and they all have the occasional bought with algae. They won't change. It works for them. I manually dose and test everyday, and enjoy it. Liquid chlorine and muriatic acid...that's it. Borax once.if you follow these methods you will NEVER get algae. And if I ever have a problem ,it's already been documented here before.
    Kris
    14x26 rectangle vinyl liner pool . 1.5 hp 2 speed tri star pump, 2 aqua genie skimmers , no main drain. 175 sq ft star clear cartridge filter. 200,000 btu hayward heater Tf-100

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    Clubhouse, add me to the list where its not really about the money. I dont hesitate to pay folks to clean, mow, remove snow, etc
    And I still pay pool techs to open, close, and do any mechanical. So I'm not what you'd call a DIYer in that since I bill hourly in my job, I'm better off working and employing others

    But what I get from TFP is incomparable water that's clear, clean, super soft and safe because I spent enough time on the learning curve to get those results, a d as such, can either DIY or direct others to get the results I want.

    That's how I ended up at TFP...bought a foreclosure and the water was still black after $750 in initial pool tech hours...I quickly realized they just couldn't nail it, not being onsite and not having experience with something this bad... so I nailed it myself. They still marvel about it.

    In your shoes, if I still travelled like I used to, I'd consider SWG (I just switched this year and love it) and maybe even still use the pool guys if they'll do your bidding and if you need someone to keep an eye if gone for extended periods - eg. Extra cleaning, check, manage/control ph, then open and close. You just have to tell them no stabilized products, no algaecides with copper, etc. On my account with the pool techs there's a big note in case a new guy gets my open or close: NO CHEM
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  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Why convert to the TPF

    To be quite frank, I would pay an obscene amount of money to a service if they could maintain my pool up to my standards, which is exactly the same as the TFP standard...a crystal clear sparkling, algae free pool with perfect chemistry. But a service can't because at the most, they come once a week, and eventually problems will arise. The issue might be minor or it might be major, but I want to control my own destiny for my pool. I also enjoy the intellectual aspect of maintaining my pool and pride of ownership knowing I take accountability for my pool. Most people are intimidated of taking control of their pool, but it's actually pretty easy after getting to know your pool with experience.

    But it does take some work, especially at the beginning, learning the knowledge and techniques taught here. There is no magic one time bullet for maintaining a pool. Most of my friends with pools live in ignorant bliss using a service and they're happy. But, there's a reason you can see all the way down to the bottom of my deep end and theirs is a cloudy, smelly mess. There's some things that will help with the maintenance, like SWG and a robot cleaner, but this method is a cultural shift in thinking, it's not for everyone. Stick around and read more. People here are super helpful and friendly.
    17k IG plaster pool+ spa, Stonescape mini-pebble midnight blue, marble coping, Trex and porcelain tile decking, Pentair Intelliflo VSP x 3 (filter, laminars and spa jets), Pentair IC40, Pentair MasterTemp 400, Pentair Quad DE 100, Pentair CC 150 for laminars, Intellibrite 5G LEDs, MagicStream Laminars x 3, Intellitouch i9+3 automation with Screenlogic2, IntellipH, Dolphin s300i, TFTest kit, SpeedStir

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