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Thread: test strips

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    delfargo's Avatar
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    test strips

    hello pool pros...i'm new here. i've been checking out all the great advice here and want to thank y'all. this is my 4th year with my 30' round above ground, and it looks better than it ever has at this early point in the season. i'm doing the b-b-b method for the first time and could kick myself in the arse for not doing it sooner. gone are the days of spending $500 a summer on chemicals. thanks for the "heads-up" on that. anyway... i'm wanting some advice on testing the water. i know you'll all say i should get an expensive test kit, but i've always used those test strips you dunk in the water. are they not reliable? if not, is there something that i can use that doesn't cost so much? i saw the taylor test kits on line, and that's alot of money ! thanx again for the great forum you guys got here.
    30' round above ground - 21000 gal. (shade ONLY in the evening),
    pentair dynamo 1.5 hp pump,
    pentair sand dollar 150 lb.sand filter,
    bbb method.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    I used to use the test strips. Last year when I started BBB I had some strips that I compared to my home results with my test kit, they were o.k., off a tad but what was REALLY off was the CYA reading. The strips said my CYA was okay, in the 30-50 range, but in reality it was over 120.

    I used the Wal-Mart HTH cheapy kit for $16, it got me thru last summer. If you don't want to spend a ton on the tAylor or the TF kit, which gets rave reviews by the members here....

    You won't be disappointed, and I can relate wishing I had used BBB sooner....

    "some cornfield" that's funny! I'm in a subdivision that used to be some cornfield. No trees.....
    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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    whoozer's Avatar
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    In short generally the test strips don't work period. I got the expensive kit from Duraleigh because I was sick of the pool store telling me to buy too many chems. I'm in the middle of my build of my 4th pool right now but the kit works wonders on my spa. My numbers were extremely off from the strips! No wonder I could never get the spa to balance, now it sparkles.

    It is definetely worth the money for the kit.
    14x33 fiberglass freeform
    Variable speed Pentair intelliflo superpump
    420 Clean and Clear Plus cartridge filter.
    pool-school/pool_calculator , http://www.tftestkits.net/

  4. Back To Top    #4
    The readings they get are reliable if the strips are fresh and kept in a dry area. The problem some people have is they can't match the colors to the bottle that well. Aquacheck sells a digital test strip reader that seems to be pretty accurate compared to my drop tester and you may want to try that one.

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    I personally don't trust test strips. They should be called guess strips. Get yo'sef a good test kit like a TF (http://www.tftestkits.com/) and your numbers will be accurate and your pool will respond in kind.
    20x40 30,000 gal IG Liner, Pentair II Sand

  6. Back To Top    #6
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    Re: test strips

    Quote Originally Posted by delfargo
    gone are the days of spending $500 a summer on chemicals.
    Investing in a good test kit will continue to save you money...GET A GOOD TEST KIT! (Since you are saving $500 on chemicals it should not be a problem, right?
    i'm wanting some advice on testing the water. i know you'll all say i should get an expensive test kit, but i've always used those test strips you dunk in the water. are they not reliable?
    In a word, NO
    if not, is there something that i can use that doesn't cost so much? i saw the taylor test kits on line, and that's alot of money ! thanx again for the great forum you guys got here.
    Yoy say that speiding $60-$80 on a good test kit is a lot of money but then you also say you were spending $500/summer on chemicals. Somehow there is a flaw in that logic when having a good test kit will save you even more money in the long haul.!

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by isoldmyexonebay
    The readings they get are reliable if the strips are fresh and kept in a dry area.
    The problem with strips is not whether they are reliable but that they do not have the precision needed for water balance (and some of the tests on them are NOT reliable anyway). They are easy and fast but do not give you the info needed to properly balance your water


    The problem some people have is they can't match the colors to the bottle that well. Aquacheck sells a digital test strip reader that seems to be pretty accurate compared to my drop tester and you may want to try that one.
    The Aquacheck digital tester is not any less expensive than a good drop based kit and Aquachek has had problems with the unit (inherent in all strip readers, even the expensive ones). It does not produce results that are repeatable. They even had to modify their instructions for the unit to try and solvethe problem because people would do consecutive tests on the same sample and get widely different results. Yet, you can do consecutive tests with a drop based kit and get the same results every time!

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Re: test strips

    Quote Originally Posted by delfargo
    hello pool pros...i'm new here. i've been checking out all the great advice here and want to thank y'all. this is my 4th year with my 30' round above ground, and it looks better than it ever has at this early point in the season. i'm doing the b-b-b method for the first time and could kick myself in the arse for not doing it sooner. gone are the days of spending $500 a summer on chemicals. thanks for the "heads-up" on that. anyway... i'm wanting some advice on testing the water. i know you'll all say i should get an expensive test kit, but i've always used those test strips you dunk in the water. are they not reliable? if not, is there something that i can use that doesn't cost so much? i saw the taylor test kits on line, and that's alot of money ! thanx again for the great forum you guys got here.
    Good test kits are like divorces...they're expensive because they're worth it (or so I've heard from my divorced friends!). Seriously, it's the best money you'll spend, because it allows you to reliably monitor your pool's chemistry. Plus, the FAS-DPD chlorine test allows you to reliably measure chlorine levels above 5 ppm, which is needed especially when shocking your pool. This test also allows you to reliably measure any CC's as well, so you know if you even need to shock your pool or not.

    I can honestly say it's the best money I've spent, and the money it's saved me by not getting "pool stored" has more than paid for it, considering the MPS shock I was adding weekly was $100 a bucket, and the bacpac's another $100
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    delfargo's Avatar
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    thanx for all the advice. looks like i'll pick me up a good test kit. do you think the kit would be cheaper on-line or at a pool store?
    30' round above ground - 21000 gal. (shade ONLY in the evening),
    pentair dynamo 1.5 hp pump,
    pentair sand dollar 150 lb.sand filter,
    bbb method.

  10. Back To Top    #10
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    IMHO, the TF100 is the best bang for the buck. Check out the link in my signature. You want a kit that uses the FAS-DPD chlorine test, not the DPD chlorine test. This means a TF100 or a Taylor K-2006 (not a taylor K-2005 wihich is a DPD test kit )

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    delfargo's Avatar
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    can you get these test kits at the pool supply store, or would i need to order from the web site? thanx.
    30' round above ground - 21000 gal. (shade ONLY in the evening),
    pentair dynamo 1.5 hp pump,
    pentair sand dollar 150 lb.sand filter,
    bbb method.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    you have to order from the website. www.tftestkits.com

    8200 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, manually chlorinated with 10% liquid, salt added to ~2000, 12" sand filter, 1600gph pump, TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, Chlorine/CYA Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  13. Back To Top    #13
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    You can sometimes find the K-2006 in a pool store but most of them seem to stock the k-2005 so if no one has it in your area you will need to order onoine. Duraleigh, who makes the TF100 test kit ships the same day he gets the order if it is before 2 pm. His customer service is outstanding which is part of the reason we recommend his test kit (besides the fast that it is a better value than the K-2006 since he inclused more reagents and the list price is lower!)

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Plus, Duraleigh is a very active member here at TFP, so you can get very quick answers to any questions you have.
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    Re: test strips

    Jeez... reading through this, I'm more confused than ever. I was about to re-order some reagents for my Taylor kit, when I came across the AquaCheck test strips. They seem to be accurate and quick and pretty dependable. I'm simply a pool owner who wants a quick & easy way to keep a clean pool. I've been using a combo of bleach & tablets for 2 years now. I'm fighting algae after being away for about a month (I knew it would happen) - so based on my 60 cya reading, i needed to shock at least 20ppm. The only way to get a cl reading that high is fas-dpd. So I will continue to use my taylor K-1515-A test kit for extra high levels - but was really hoping for a weekly strip when everything was within levels. Mainly PH & Chlorine levels at about 4 or 5 ppm.

    You guys really don't trust these strips? I haven't seen any positives on this forum so far, which I depend on way more than user reviews elsewhere, or product reviews from the manufactures.

    Thanks guys -
    Rob
    20*40 Liner 2'-8' deep, Spill Over SPA, Electric Cover, Jandy Purelink (Aquapure & PDA), Hayward SP2610x15 (1.5HP Single Speed), Hayward H300 (Millavolt)

  16. Back To Top    #16
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: test strips

    I don't trust the strips. The basic results aren't reliable at high FC they pads can bleach out. The CYA readings aren't reliable, back when I used strips they said my CYA was 30-50 but regular tests at pool stores and when I got a kit said it was over 100. So I don't trust the strips.
    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

  17. Back To Top    #17
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    Re: test strips

    One of the biggest problems with strips is not their accuracy (will they produce the same results on the same water sample with repeated testing) but rather their precision (is that result a pH of 7.2 or 7.6?) Strips just do NOT have the precision needed for water balancing. Another examaple, when you are trying to get your TA lowered to a 20 ppm range (70-80 ppm) it is next to impossible to do with a strip that has a resolution of 40 ppm! (The color blocks on strips for TA go in 40 ppm increments.)
    Some of the tests included on strips are just not reliable (CYA is an example) and some are worthless (the hardness test on strips is a total hardness test, both calcium and magnesium hardness. This is not a really useful test for pools since we are interested in calcium hardness only, particularly with a plaster pool.)

    I did an interesting experiement with strips once. I had 4 different brands (AquaCheck 6 way and 4 way, LaMotte 6 way and 5 way, HTH 5 way -- which is a rebranded Taylor strip, and PoolTime 6 way --which is from Chemtura), a Taylor K-2006, and LaMotte Waterlink Express colorimieter on the same water sample.
    The two chemical tests were pretty much within tolerance with each other. The strips that meaasured CYA (3 of them) gave me readings from 0 ppm to 150 ppm (cya was at 65 ppm) pH was all over the place with strips (pH 7.6), TA rad from 40 ppm to 120 ppm (80 ppm).
    Anyway, you get the idea.

    Do strips have any value. Well, the chlorine tests were about as accurate as an OTO test (but some WILL bleach out at high chlorine levels) so strips are ok for a quick check to see if there is chlorine in a pool. I sue them when on vacation before I go into a public pool at a hotel or water park.

  18. Back To Top    #18
    New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: test strips

    From someone who's bought several "cheap" kits/strips, spend the money on a TF-100, you'll get a guaranteed kit that has been very well tried and tested, with probably the freshest reagents you can get. If you do go to a pool store, take a cell phone to check the batch codes on the reagents,call 1-800 TEST-KIT and have Taylor tell you if they are still good.
    Test strips are better then not having anything, any drop based test is better, TF-100/K-2006 is best of drop based, absolute would be some kind of CSI like gas chromatograph.
    I think my Grandpa said it best when I got my first motorcycle "If you've got a $10 head, get a $10 helmet! You're gonna need it!" I'm here to tell you I'm glad I spent more than $10 for the helmet, and the test kit!
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Alfred Beachport's Avatar
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    Re:

    Quote Originally Posted by delfargo
    can you get these test kits at the pool supply store, or would i need to order from the web site? thanx.
    If you would rather get a test kit from a brick-and-mortar store, I believe that Leslie's "Chlorine FAS-DPD Service Test Kit" contains the important tests for a chlorine pool, but it looks like the TF100 comes with larger size reagents.

    I know it seems like a lot of money when bottles of test strips and "complete" test kits go for less than $20 at Wal-Mart, but if something gets out of whack with your chlorine pool, it can save you much more to be able to detect it early and to be able to cure it.

    Good peace of mind to know what's going on with the water you and your loved ones are soaking in.
    Cheers, Erik
    ----
    320 gallon Beachport San Clemente octagonal fiberglass spa, RayPak Versa 155B heater, Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 1HP pump, Sta-Rite 100TX cartridge filter, Len Gordon FF1000 controller, Mariah blower
    Pristine Blue with 30ppm borax, bleach and MPS shock

  20. Back To Top    #20
    New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: test strips

    How far is the nearest pool store, what gas mileage do you get, how much is gas, and what is YOUR time worth? Also, is the tester at the store well trained and impartial to the results?
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

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