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Thread: Testing Instructions for Dummies

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    Testing Instructions for Dummies

    The local health authority has mandated twice-daily, 7-day testing for all of our pools. As a result of this, I am about to deal with untrained persons doing evening tests at several sites. This is happening because the stratas do not want to spend the considerable extra money to have someone come back a second time.

    As a result, I've taken the "Extended Test Kit Directions" and personalized them a little bit, removing some bits and adding a few others to make them what I consider to be "for Dummies" instructions - complete with some basic pictures. Thought I'd submit the work-in-progress here for review, in case I made a mistake - and perhaps someone else can benefit from it when I finish!

    Note: The instructions are specific for testing with a Taylor K-2006 kit. Also, I use a 30mL syringe to quicken and simplify measuring out the water samples, hence the references to syringes. The large-ish fonts are because these will be posted on a wall, and often read by older persons.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    * Responsible for the operation of 21 semi-private pools and spas at 11 locations, varying from 1,900L to 20,000L spas and from 13,000L to 200,000L pools.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    Ok, just a few points that come to mind,

    1, remove the reference to higher precision Chlorine testing, it will likely confuse people, plus there are those personality types that will tend to use it every time

    2, change hold up to white wall, to something people may read less literally

    3, consider investing in Taylor Speed Stir units to remove the swirl requirement some people have physical limitations that make swirling difficult and in a group this big you will likely have a few. One note though the Taylor Speed Stir operates on 4 AA batteries, and the battery hatch is held closed by a small phiillips head screw which requires a precision screwdriver to remove, with this level of testing I suspect it would need monthly battery changes..

    4, I assume you know you are mixing metric and imperial units of measure

    5, You may want to make a note about if you get interupted while doing the test to start over as long delays can through off test results

    Ike
    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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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    I don't use the drop-based test so can't coment on that.

    (except to say, I also can't see why you'd need to tell people about higher precision chlorine testing. If the FC is 1.0 or below, you're "too low". Do you really need the extra precision in order to know what to do next?)

    However, in my experience it's not so much the tests that cause the problems, but knowing what to do with the results.

    You didn't post your adjustment sheets that would tell people what to do next.

    I have a sheet for my pool called: Test results - can we open the pool? I think this is the really important question, and you need to be able to give very clear answers.
    90k litres, outdoor in ground pool, concrete, painted (I hate paint)
    Sta-Rite 5P2R 1.5 Hp pump, undersized sand filter (needs upgrading).

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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    PS You might want to add a section on water clarity to the log sheet - with 10 being perfect and 0 being zero visibility. It seems a little obvious, and people will be assessing the water clarity without even being aware they are doing it, but it's good to have a record.
    90k litres, outdoor in ground pool, concrete, painted (I hate paint)
    Sta-Rite 5P2R 1.5 Hp pump, undersized sand filter (needs upgrading).

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    I agree with removing the high precision instructions, Getting Speedstirs and adding a cell for clarity. I wouldn't go with a 1 to 10 scale on clarity though. Just "is main drain clearly visible"?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    For clarity, you could use a free-form field, where people note whether the water is clear, cloudy, green, whatever... it's all useful information if a problem develops.

    I was wondering, does the local health authority specify which tests you have to do twice daily?

    Our daily tests are water clarity, water temperature, pH, FC, TC and CC. The others (TA, CH, CYA, TDS) get done weekly, although they might be repeated more often if we were actively trying to change one of them (e.g. after adding TA up).

    I just spotted that your test sheet has "stabiliser" recorded every day, but there are no instructions for testing it.

    You also give detailed instructions for testing TA, but it's not mentioned on the first page with the general routine.

    So I think you need to be a little clearer about which tests need doing every day.
    90k litres, outdoor in ground pool, concrete, painted (I hate paint)
    Sta-Rite 5P2R 1.5 Hp pump, undersized sand filter (needs upgrading).

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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    Answers to several questions...

    I probably will remove the high precision test reference; I'm not sure why I even put it in, really.

    Good idea to note about interrupted tests.

    "Hold up to white wall" is probably the simplest in this case. At almost every location, the test kits, logs, and a disposal drain are on a table in the pump room; a room which is equipped with Daylight bulbs to provide better color readings. These rooms all have at least one section of wall which is free of equipment and white. The locations which do not have this setup are locations where the testers know how to use the kit (having had their own pool before moving into a condominium).

    Yes, I know I am mixing units. This is on purpose, because:
    - The 16 pools and hot tubs I operate (and several more I assist with) range in age from 4 to 40 years old. At many locations, equipment such as flowmeters and pressure gauges only display US measurements. Replacement isn't required, and actually the ones that only display US are the expensive digital ones - and I really don't feel like referring to a conversion chart! If it wasn't for this, I would probably have everything in metric. I keep my logs and procedures the same across all locations to avoid confusing myself or others. And yes, I know pressure gauges are cheap to replace, but the larger, easy to read ones are generally only available in psi, especially the nice liquid filled ones that hold the needle still.
    - CYA, FC, TC, and TA are freely read as mg/L rather than ppm if you prefer
    - Chemical and liquid measurements are metric because all chemical instructions are in metric. Same goes in the Taylor instructions. Bioguard products are used at all locations. I and the helpers (an assistant, and the random strata people) find it easier to do all measurements in grams, record it in grams, and use a per-product weight to volume conversion chart I made up (attached, but needs updating for smaller amounts at one strata with a tiny hot tub). We mostly use a set of large kitchen measure spoons - I got some cheap plastic ones at the dollar store, which are the only ones the chemicals don't stick to. Powders stick to the expensive ones. I never needed the chart myself, I memorized the amounts long ago (Burnout 200g per cup, LoNSlo 330g per cup, etc) and am good enough at math to figure out how much I need easily. But when I got an assistant with a poor memory and slow math skills, I had to make these up, and now they are useful for the strata people as well.

    The required testing is pH/FC/CC twice daily, and CYA/TA weekly. I do TA 2-3 times a week, usually. They do not care about CH, TDS, or anything else - that's up to operator. I don't have a TDS reader, so that is done whenever the water goes in for testing at the pool store. (Generally every 2-3 weeks, or whenever I feel there is a need to check the things I can't.) The evening testers are ONLY doing pH/FC/CC - the detailed sheets for TA and CYA are there (or going to be there) in case they phone me with a problem and I want them to check those; also to ensure the assistant I have (who currently handles a few of the easier to maintain pools about 90% on his own) does it properly - I sometimes wonder.

    The "adjustment sheets" aren't done yet, and have to be made specific for each location (for varying pool/spa sizes). This was just the first bit of work I did. The sheets are what will cover the "knowing what to do with the results" part - certain absolute basic items will be covered - changing the chlorine feeder or (rarely) salt generator settings, adding pucks, adding pH decreaser or increaser in pre-set amounts, etc.

    I actually removed water clarity (and water level) from the log a long time ago, finding it pointless to log. My pool maintenance routines keep the pools crystal clear for 49 days out of 50, and ever-so-slightly-cloudy for the other day. About once a year the water the water may get foggy enough that it might be possible that someone with severe eyesight problems could not completely make out the main drain. In other words, the water isn't crystal clear, but the main drain and any debris on the bottom is still easily seen at 5' deep. And I clear that up within a day or two. Only once in the last two years (at only one location) has the water ever actually gotten truly cloudy...and that was something nasty that we found out was brought back in someone's shorts from South America - ten triple-shocks of cal-hypo over 3 days had zero effect and zero FC. I had to drain the pool and acid wash it. The water makes the users very happy, of course! One recent statement from a strata council: "For the last ten years our outdoor pool has been closed at least three times every summer - a week at a time - for algae or other problems, even with the salt system... and it's only open from late May to September! How did you manage to keep it open and clean all summer!?" Really makes me wonder what the old maintenance people were doing...

    Also, for those who will look down on the pool store testing - I am working on changes. Up until this year, all testing was done with test strips, all supplies, chemicals, and parts came from one overpriced pool store, and water tests were done on a weekly basis at the pool store (in part so that problems with the pool could be blamed on them because "they said everything was fine" - ***!). Big wastes of time and money, as far as I'm concerned - especially with how inaccurate their testing seems to be! I now use K-2006 kits, do not rely on or trust pool store tests, source parts and supplies from several suppliers, and am working on a report to convince the owner of the company to drop the sole-supplier and pool store testing model, let me order chemicals in bulk and split them up, and get me the tools I need (TDS meter, salt strips for the one pool still using an SWG that doesn't display the salt level, borate strips, etc). As I figure it, I can do it all myself, add a profit margin for the company (currently zero), and still save the stratas 20-30% on their chemical and parts costs.

    Oh, I just realized the attached sheet is WRONG - it is an in-progress copy, apparently I forgot to save the final! Many of the numbers are incorrect on this sheet. Don't use it. Makes for a good example, though.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    * Responsible for the operation of 21 semi-private pools and spas at 11 locations, varying from 1,900L to 20,000L spas and from 13,000L to 200,000L pools.

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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    Just browsing your instructions.pdf, noted that on the last page, "General Notes", that the first item has an incomplete sentence. I assume you finished it later. Very good instructions.
    Arvil, 30ft round, 21k gal, AG/vinyl(2003), StaRiteIII hp cartridge 150ft, Polaris65.
    6/30, Temp83F (28.3C), pH 7.8, FC 2.8 ppm, CC 0 ppm, TA 100, CH 80, CYA 40, -B4O7 30, CSI-0.17.

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    "Hold up to white wall" can literally mean "walk over and touch the vial to the wall". Honestly, I have worked with people* that would easily make that interpretation. Reasonably normal people, seemingly intelligent enough to drive and procreate. Not necessarily in that order.
    Might I suggest something like "view the vial with the white wall in the background", or some such very literal description.


    *We had a production station where the operator would place their finished product on a roller conveyor, and these containers would roll down the line to a stop gate, where they would accumulate and wait to be admitted to the central conveyor belt. When the gate opened to allow one container to pass, a clamp held the second container so as to allow only one container to go through. Once the unit cleared the gate, the gate would close, and the clamp released to let the line of containers on the rollers to advance.
    One night, the clamp broke, and every time the gate opened, multiple containers would barge through and bunch up on the conveyor, shutting down the system. When the maintenance guys removed the clamp to weld it, they told the operator to only place one container at a time on the rollers until they could get back. Before they could finish the welding, they were recalled to the line for another multi-container jam.

    I personally heard the following conversation ensue:
    Maint. guy: "I thought I told you to only put them on one at a time".
    Operator: "I do put them on one at a time, but sometimes two go down there".
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    Wow, old thread maybe I should post the completed ones we are using when I have a chance.
    * Responsible for the operation of 21 semi-private pools and spas at 11 locations, varying from 1,900L to 20,000L spas and from 13,000L to 200,000L pools.

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilton
    Wow, old thread maybe I should post the completed ones we are using when I have a chance.
    Did you ever post them? I hope your employer recognizes and appreciates how good of a job your are doing. You still are doing a good job aren't you?
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    Re: Testing Instructions for Dummies

    Hmm. No I didn't. I think they need updating, too...

    Here are the versions in play now. Although the volunteers never see the Alkalinity and Cya test sheets, I do use them to train my assistants. I want to update the Cya sheet with an "Almost There" image where you can just barely make out the black dot.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    * Responsible for the operation of 21 semi-private pools and spas at 11 locations, varying from 1,900L to 20,000L spas and from 13,000L to 200,000L pools.

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