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Thread: pH Test Issues

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    pH Test Issues

    I'm a new practitioner of BBB and am using the Taylor K-1000 and K-2006 test kits.

    I'm keeping the pool guy for awhile since I can't commit to maintaining the pool full time (work, travel, etc.). It's handy to have him around to vacuum, brush, clean the filter and so on.

    A major sticking point has come up over pH. The pool guy and I agree that a good number would be 7.2. He would also accept 7.5. He "tests" pH by flicking a drop of reagent into the pool and reading the color. This is what he's always done and he generally adds acid after the test, as if the pH was too high. Now that I have Taylor test kits, I am able to "shadow" what he is doing.

    Here is what has happened:

    Pool Guy: "pH should be 7.2"
    Me: "I agree"
    Pool guy does his reagent-drop-in-the-pool pH test, pours in acid, then leaves
    I test pool (several hours later), and pH reads as yellowish, which is off the chart.
    I add borax and get pH reading to 6.8
    I add more borax and get pH to 7.2
    I add baking soda (to increase TA) which gets pH to 7.5

    Next visit:
    Pool Guy: "pH is WAY too high." (This said after he flicks drop of reagent in water and it's INDIGO for the first time. Prior to this it's always been in the orangish/reddish range.)
    Me: "I got 7.5 earlier today. Let's test it with my kit."
    I read 7.5 and pool guy says it's higher. We put white paper behind the comparator and I still say 7.5 and he still says higher. He then pours acid all around the perimeter of pool.
    Several hours later, I test pH at 6.8 or lower and start pouring in borax.

    In the pool guy's defense, he's generally been very good about preventing algae, and he attributes that to a "correct" pH. However, we have copper piping and have experienced leaks. I've read that running a pool on the acid side is bad for metal and I'm wondering if the low pH has been preventing algae but contributing to pipe damage.

    Second-guessing myself, I've tested the pH over and over again to make sure I'm not reading the colors wrong. IMO, the pH test is one of the easiest.

    FC/TC is below 10 ppm so that shouldn't be affecting the pH readings.

    Can anyone shed light on why a mostly competent pool guy is making my pool acid, while "talking the talk" of 7.2 - 7.5 being the correct range? What re-agents might he be using and why is he doing single drops in the pool?

    FC: 7
    CC: 0
    pH: 6.8 or lower after pool guy pours in acid (was 7.5)
    TA: 70
    CYA: 60
    ~ 15' x 30' gunite/16800 gall; Hayward D.E. Filter

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    OTPirate's Avatar
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    Re: pH Test Issues

    Sounds like you may not need a pool guy! I am not sure how effective his method is for testing pH. You can always get a pH meter as there will always be subjectivity to color comparison test. I like this one: Dr.MeterĀ® 0.1pH PH002 High Accuracy pH Meter/pH Pen Tester with ATC(Automatic Temperature Compensation) LCD 0-14 pH Measurement Range: Amazon.com: Industrial Scientific.
    Remember, you can spend a ton of money on these meters or less than $20 and the price is often associated with how well it works.

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    YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: pH Test Issues

    How are you defining "mostly competent" if you know he repeatedly over-doses your pool and is risking your equipment and water quality? Yes, too acid a pool can certainly cause problems with the copper in heaters and pipes.

    He *thinks* he knows more than you but... he's gotten too sure of himself at your peril. Your test results don't lie.

    Yip
    Maddie- TFP Guide. 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: pH Test Issues

    Who's pool is it? Who's paying the bill? Who is using a REAL test kit correctly rather than just flicking some drops in the pool and guessing? You might want to be diplomatic in order to keep him around to do those items you can't get to....but if he isn't doing it correctly, possibly causing you equipment damage and costing you more than he's worth...are you sure you want to keep him anyway? There might be a neighbor's kid or someone you can get to brush and vac and actually listen to you about what you want to be done and save money at the same time.
    16X32 AB, Pentair SD filter, 3/4hp Pentair Optiflo, CircuPool RJ30+ swg, TF 100

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    Re: pH Test Issues

    Give him the Donald Trump You're Fired
    16 x 32 17500 gallons
    Vinyl in-ground
    Hayward 250# Sand Filter
    1 HP Pump
    Hayward SWG

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    Re: pH Test Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by OTPirate View Post
    Sounds like you may not need a pool guy! I am not sure how effective his method is for testing pH. You can always get a pH meter as there will always be subjectivity to color comparison test. I like this one: Dr.MeterĀ® 0.1pH PH002 High Accuracy pH Meter/pH Pen Tester with ATC(Automatic Temperature Compensation) LCD 0-14 pH Measurement Range: Amazon.com: Industrial Scientific.
    Remember, you can spend a ton of money on these meters or less than $20 and the price is often associated with how well it works.

    Thanks, I'll look into it. While I'm not exactly enthused about getting another test kit, getting away from colors might be of help.
    ~ 15' x 30' gunite/16800 gall; Hayward D.E. Filter

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    Re: pH Test Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Vickery View Post
    Who's pool is it? Who's paying the bill? Who is using a REAL test kit correctly rather than just flicking some drops in the pool and guessing? You might want to be diplomatic in order to keep him around to do those items you can't get to....but if he isn't doing it correctly, possibly causing you equipment damage and costing you more than he's worth...are you sure you want to keep him anyway? There might be a neighbor's kid or someone you can get to brush and vac and actually listen to you about what you want to be done and save money at the same time.
    This is something my wife and I are discussing. She wants to keep him on since he's worked for us a number of years and she feels a certain loyalty. If you take away the chemistry, he has done us well over the years. I don't know how long he's been acidifying our pool, but I can't help correlate these actions with the leaks we've been having. Guilt by association. Although, in reality, the copper piping is old and could give out at any time -- acid or no acid.
    ~ 15' x 30' gunite/16800 gall; Hayward D.E. Filter

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