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Thread: Learning How the Pool Store was Hosing Me

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    DFW/TX
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    Exclamation Learning How the Pool Store was Hosing Me

    I went to the Pool Store (the one that rhymes with Nestle's) for the first 4 weeks of pool ownership. I had zero previous knowledge about pools. I needed to know if I had any emergencies to react to, and I figured I'd learn a few things and possibly pay a bit more for chemicals in exchange. I thought I'd share exactly how the process worked for me. I got my TFT-100 a few days ago and I've learned so much since then.

    1. Chlorine. Pool Store FC max result was showing 6. TFT-100 showed 12.5. [Edited based on my previous mistake caught by Schadenfreude post below] Therefore Pool Store underprescribed dosage of MA required to get pool down to 3-5 range. Pool store also didn't advise me to reduce SWG % [which was likely driving consistently higher pH levels of 8+]. Was this to just keep me on a relentless routine of adding more MA? Were they secretly hoping for an earlier-than-necessary Salt Cell replacement sale?

    However, Pool Store was happy to sell me Fresh N Clear and Chlor Brite, as "most owners" need additional chlorine added on top of SWG generation. Don't know if this was accidental (only reading up to 6, not the actual 12 via TFT kit) or intentional, but I was WAY overproducing chlorine already, yet they sold me additional chlorine products I won't be needing unless there's a crisis/failure.

    2. Calcium Hardness. Pool Store CH reading was showing 190, so they sold me 15 lbs of Hardness Plus, indicating I needed to add 11.4 lbs of it. After adding the Hardness Plus, the Pool Store reading was up to 310, considered "OK". TFT-100 test later showed that CH was closer to 525, so I was oversold product and overapplied product.

    Pool Store has no testing or reporting of CSI. Now, thanks to this forum, I know that unless I make changes, I'm at risk of long term plaster damage. I must now work to get CH back down to 350-400 range.

    3. Phosphates. I have been using Perfect Weekly since my pool's former owner recommended it - it seemed the Pool Store guy was disappointed that Phosphates kept coming up 0 - was he secretly hoping to sell me something additional?

    4. Testing Interval. I wonder if the Pool Store recommended "free water testing" interval of 2 weeks is also part of the carefully crafted business strategy? It's long enough, and combined with bad readings, that could lead a pool owner into a "manufactured crisis"? This leads to an immediate panic, which means SPEND immediately: no time to shop around, you need to buy chemicals and add them ASAP! And the Pool Store looks like "The Savior" because they helped you work through your issues.

    Then 2 weeks later, you may discover that you have over-corrected or under-corrected, then leading to even more chemical purchases to deal with the next situation or imbalance.

    Overall. A combination of infrequent, inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete water test readings, plus possibly mis-diagnosis or oversimplification led to these mistakes. Since then, I have also learned how to obtain chemicals from less costly sources, which will be a financial help.

    So glad I started learning early about TFPC methods in the first month, with more to learn ahead!

    PS-Testing inconsistency plagued other readings from the Pool Store until I got my TFT-100: TA bounced around from 90 to 120, but my TFT tests are a consistent 110. CYA bounced around from 60 to 90 without adding any conditioner, yet my TFT tests are a consistent 80. Both of those fell into the "OK" range and did not result in extra chemical purchases, but those are pretty wide ranges within a week.
    SWG - 15,000 Gal - IG pool/spa - plaster/pebble
    Pentair CCP520 DE Filter + Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG - Built 2012

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Phoenix AZ
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    Re: Learning How the Pool Store was Hosing Me

    That's great, but I'm a bit puzzled about #1: Chlorine

    MA does not bring down FC. It does bring down Ph (which can go up pretty fast if you're running your SWG more than you need to) and TA.
    50,000 gallon plaster in-ground salt pool with two 60 sq ft DE filters, two Intellichlor IC60 SWGs, two Intelliflo VS pumps, two Whisperflo pumps, two Pentair 400K BTU NG heaters, PCC2000 in-floor cleaning system...two everything.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Learning How the Pool Store was Hosing Me

    Hey alright! You are officially in charge of answering everyone who asks what is wrong with pool store testing.

    Good catch on the MA and FC Schadenfreude
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Learning How the Pool Store was Hosing Me

    Thanks for catching my newbie mistake, Schadenfreude! I adjusted the original post with [] and strikethrough in an attempt to rectify yet keep your comment relevant to the original.

    Let me also add that my intent is not to simply thrash the Pool Store. They provide utility value: knowledgeable and helpful people and local availability of products. They can also help with input on specific equipment problems. I'm thankful they're there. It's just that there are limitations on the "free" water testing that pool owners should be aware of.

    No matter how brilliant the analyst is, if he has bad or incomplete data, it will lead to flawed diagnoses and flawed remedies. As a corporation, the Pool Store probably doesn't mind too much, as those flaws will bring the people back in to the store over and over. As I learn more about TFPC, I realize that I can avoid many of those trips (and costs) by self-testing, narrowing the fluctuation ranges, and add less costly chemicals at less frequent intervals.
    SWG - 15,000 Gal - IG pool/spa - plaster/pebble
    Pentair CCP520 DE Filter + Pentair Intelliflow Variable Speed Pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG - Built 2012

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