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Thread: Do I really need the testing kit?

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    Do I really need the testing kit?

    Hi,
    I am brand new to TFP and I've read through a lot of the material already. I really like the idea of keeping my pool looking great with very minimal cost in chemicals. My question is simple, do I really need to buy my own testing kit? I've been getting my water tested at my local Pinch-A-Penny and they seem to do a great job. He is honest with me and if the pool doesn't need anything he tells me straight up and doesn't push additional chemicals on me just to sell. Would I be able to take the water test results he gives me and plug it into the pool calculator and them buy the chemicals to make the adjustment from local stores? Thanks,
    Jeff

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    Welcome to TFP.

    If you are lucky enough to have a good store, you can rely on their testing, but you need to test your chlorine at least everyday, and if you are having water problems you might need to test hourly. At chlorine levels most pool stores can't test.

    I wouldn't want to think of running a sample to the store everyday.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    For me it is a convience thing. My closest pool store is 50 miles away. I have made a habit of testing my Chlorine and PH every morning and adding the appropriate chemicals. I use the BBB method with hypo so I have to add chlorine daily if you had a liquidator or a SWG you may be able to get away with less testing and utilize the pool store testing.
    35K IG Vinyl 20 x 40 self built pool, Hayward Pro Series High-Rate Sand Filter 31" 98gal/min, Hayward TriStar 1.85hp, Hayward 400btu heater, BBB method w/Hypo, Jazz light w/matching fiber optic rope lighting around coping w/syncronized color wheels. Concrete Paver deck.

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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    If you can get the rest of the info reliably from the pool store I would still get the TF FAS/DPD kit. Strips and the 2-way test kit can't give you reliable info about your CC's which will be the first thing to alert you of looming problems. I assume you can test the pH yourself?
    Peter
    21' X 52" above ground
    1 HP Hayward Power Flow Matrix Pump
    Hayward EC40C DE Filter

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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    I am new to taking care of a pool, I am actually taking over the care of my uncles pool as my aunt has been sick lately so I'm taking that off his plate. It's about 18K gallons and it is a salt water pool. When I took the pool over it looked horrible, so, I got it tested at my local Pinch-A-Penny, bought about $120 worth of chemicals, followed instructions to a T, set the pump to where it ran 8 hours a day (as opposed to whenever my uncle thought about turning the pump on) and the water cleared up. It has looked amazing ever since and that was about 2 months ago. I got it tested 2 weeks later and the guy told me the water was perfect. I tested it again yesterday and I just needed to add some total alkalinity and calcium hardness, that was it. So, so far, the pool hasn't been any trouble at all not really expensive since I corrected everything. That's why I am wondering if I really need to spend $75 on a testing kit and also take time to test every day, maybe every week for daily seems excessive to me. Just thought I'd get some opinions, I appreciate the responses.

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    another one's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    I got it tested at my local Pinch-A-Penny, bought about $120 worth of chemicals
    If you spent $90 on a good test kit, you could probably have cleared your pool up following the recommendations here for a lot less the $120 and the test kit provides chemicals for lots of tests. I have found the test kits much more reliable then my local pool stores, which rely on strips and color interpretations.
    29,000 gallon, 18' x 44' Indoor plaster pool - 8'x'8 spa in corner. Well water, TF-100,
    pool cover, Pentair MasterTemp 400k btu heater, Jandy RS-4, 4 x 105 sq ft cartridge filters,
    Wisperflow WFE-4 1.0 HP pump for pool, WFE-6 1.5 HP pump for spa jets, MagnaSweep.

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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    It would be in your best interest to buy a FAS-DPD Kit, it will help you understand your pool water chemistry and in the end lower your overall pool related costs!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    YES.

    I can test my water any time, day or night. If I'm heading out of town, I can get a FC reading, punch some numbers into Pool Calculator, and add enough to carry me through, then get in the car and go. Then when I get home, no matter what hour, I can check it again and take corrective action, if any is needed.

    Do you really know what your CYA level is? What about after a good rain? Did it go down? How much? Are you wasting bleach? Did you know that pH changes with agitation and temperature? How accurate is that pH test done at the pool store, after that sample rode along with you on your errands and sat in a hot car while you were inside Costco?

    Yes, you need your own test kit, if you want to be in control of your pool. Use it for a week, and it will be as routine as making coffee. After the novelty wears off, you'll know your pool well enough that some days you can skip testing and just add the usual. That's when you have a truly Trouble Free Pool.

    end
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    dorpo75's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    What Richard said. He is absolutely right. Your own test kit will allow you the freedom from running to the pool store to get it tested and at best, their interpretations can be offbase. You are lucky if your guy is a good one, but it is better to know immediately what is going on in the water and have the ability to fix it right away. I think all summer I have spent around $75 on bleach and maybe another $12 on borax. That is for the whole summer and it has been a nasty one! Think about getting your own test kit. It pays for itself almost immediately.
    2005 Dimension One Venture model 370 gal. hot tub. We'll be using the TFP method to keep it clean and ready to use!
    TFP - The Finest Phorum on the Net!

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    Welcome to TFP

    Any chance you could share those perfect results with us?

    FC
    CC
    PH
    TA
    CH
    CYA

    Glad to hear the pool is doing great. To answer your question directly, you may not need it right away, but eventually something will throw your balance off and I would much rather know exactly what my water requires to bring it back in balance than some ones telling me...not so bad, add a bag of this a dash of that and voila You get my point...but just my opinion...I've been pool stored one too many times.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    Great post Richard!!! I gotta tell you that with only one summer into pool ownership, and only about 3 months using the BBB method, I truly feel I'm getting a good sense of what my pool demands in the way of chemicals to keep it trouble free. I recently went out of town on business for a week, and left someone else in charge of adding chemicals. Knowing they wouldn't be able to deal with the daily testing process, I knew that my pool uses about the same amount of chlorine every day now. So I simply left instructions to add a 96oz bottle of chlorine every day, and half-way through the week I had him add a 1.42 gal jug (just to nudge the level higher just in case!) instead. When I returned on Friday and performed my tests (and yes, I went to see the pool before I even said hello to the dog!!! LOL), my levels were SPOT ON!!!! Now that's a trouble free pool.
    20'6" X 38'6" (609 sqft)
    22,500 gal gunite/plaster IGP
    DE filter, Jandy 2HP pump, Nature2 Sanitizer (removed cartridge!)
    Raypak 39.9K BTU gas heater
    2 ColorLogic lights, Maytronics Dolphin pool cleaner

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    What kind of pool is it?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    I really appreciate all the response from everyone, giving me lots to think about. It is an in ground, 15 x 30 with deep end, about 18K gallons, vinyl, salt water. Not sure about the pump size. It has a sand filter, and a polaris that cleans the floor.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    Ok...well the pool store that isn't leading you astray sold you CH increaser for a vinyl pool.... not necessary.

    Wondering what your TA was when they sold you ALK increaser too...

    Just piling on here... get your own kit.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    I see what your saying. So, having lower CH doesn't matter in a vinyl pool? Does it affect equipment like the polaris or the pumps?

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    Nope
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    And TA typically needs to be lowered vs raised, unless you have been using trichlor pucks for a long time or overdosed on PH- or muratic acid. Not to pile on but just saying.

    By the way, Alk+ is just plain old baking soda and can be picked up rather cheap in the supermarket
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    One reason you may want CH in a vinyl pool is if you have concrete or grout in the surrounding area, deck, etc. Even then your only looking at a slight chance of long term problems caused splash out. I keep some in my pool for that very reason, afterall it is relatively cheap and tends to stick around, is it needed, porbably not, does it hurt anything, again probably not.

    Ike

    p.s. yes you need the test kit, it will pay for itself in chemical savings
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    I read this forum from time to time and do find it informative. I am curious about one aspect of this forum. It seems to me that the moderators and site administrators may be tasked with selling the site owners test kits. Is there a commission involved? If this is the case, its pretty slick. I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to make a profit. I just haven't seen anyone asking for information not being pitched a "TF test kit" If I have offended anyone by asking, I apologize in advance and if I get booted, I will know my suspicions were true.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really need the testing kit?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo65
    I read this forum from time to time and do find it informative. I am curious about one aspect of this forum. It seems to me that the moderators and site administrators may be tasked with selling the site owners test kits. Is there a commission involved? If this is the case, its pretty slick. I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to make a profit. I just haven't seen anyone asking for information not being pitched a "TF test kit" If I have offended anyone by asking, I apologize in advance and if I get booted, I will know my suspicions were true.
    The same person owns both sites, but there is almost no connection between the two, and no business relationship whatsoever between the moderators and either site. You'll seldom see any recommendation for the TF-100 without a mention that the Taylor K-2006 is also acceptable.

    The bottom line is that the whole foundation for the BBB method is knowing what's going on in the water, and that's not possible without a good test kit.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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