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Thread: Pro's of testing yourself?

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    Pro's of testing yourself?

    Ok, so this is my first day on this site and I see many posts about test kits and a lot of signatures with test kits. Am I missing something here? I live in the South West and every pool store tests water for free. Why should I shell out money? There are four stores within 3 miles of my home that does this for free. Computerized printout to boot!
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
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    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    There are two main reasons. First, we have a huge number of reports of pool store testing being wildly wrong. Consistent reliable test results are the foundation of knowing what to do to take care of your pool. By far the most consistent way of achieving that is to have your own test kit. By the by, fancy computer printouts are a strong indication that the testing is especially unreliable. Stores doing drop based testing by hand are consistently more reliable than places with computerized systems.

    Second, there are many situations where you need frequent timely testing, fighting algae goes much more quickly and reliably when you test the chlorine level hourly and similar things come up in a few other situations.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    There's a reason those tests are------------"free". All those magic chemicals make up the cost difference in the first visit.
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Ah yes, they do the drop testing at the stores and print it out. I should've been more precise with my post.

    So, is the Taylor K-2006 the best? What is the best? And what should I expect to pay for the best test kit? Do all stores test for free, or is this just a South West thing?

    I know, I know, a lot of questions to answer all at once...
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Nearly all pool stores test for free, though there are some that don't.

    The Taylor chemistry is the best currently available. The best kit using Taylor chemistry is the TF100 from TFTestKits.net. The Taylor K-2006 is vey similar, but has very small amounts of some of the reagents and too much of others, so it runs out fairly quickly. The TF100 has different quantities for each test that are designed to last about the same length of time.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    The TF-100 is the best, it uses the sand Taylor chemicals as the K2006, but includes more of what you actually need. There is a comparison of test kits we recommend in Pool School.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    TF100. Can't go wrong.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
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    First Pool Judith's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    I'm fairly new to the Forum too and a first time pool owner. If you read through the forum, you'll understand why you need a test kit. I actually went to the pool store to buy TF-1002 and they sold me the Leslie's 81330 saying it was the exact same thing - but that doesn't have he FAS/DPD test kit so I then had to buy it separately. I test my pool daily and follow the forum advise. Here are my last readings - Pretty proud
    FC - 4.8
    CC - 0
    PH - 7.4
    TA - 70
    CYA - 45
    Judith and Brian D
    16,000 gal; IG Quartscape; Cartridge Jandy CV460 (150 gpm Max); Jandy Pro 2.0 Variable
    Polaris PB460 3/4 booster; Polaris 280 Cleaner; In Line Chlorinator Tri-Chlor (don't use it) Ozonator
    Fill Date 11/11/2013

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    The pool stores always say the DPD is the same as the FAS-DPD ... Usually because they have never heard of it.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    If you go with a test kit I would recommend TF100 great quality and easy to understand and follow instructions. Check out Speed Stir it is not necessary but it makes testing easier for me I can`t rub my belly and pat my head at the same time.......
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Try this, take the same sample to 4 different pool stores and compare your "electronic printouts". Nuff said'.
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    You could try what PharmerAntony suggests and based on our typical experience you will probably find that 2 or maybe 3 are close on a few readings, and significantly different on others and 1 or 2 are so far off you will wonder if you have someone else's results. Or take a moment and ask yourself from a business model point of view, what incentive does the pool store have to get the often free test right and minimize your chemical usage? Afterall what do most customers do when the hundreds of dollars worth of pool chemicals fail to solve the problem, or only temporarily solves it while creating 2 new ones. They faithfully bring in another sample, see the "infallible" computer print outs with pre-printed advice, and pull out the credit card once again to buy this and that magic in a bottle. Don't blame the kid working at the counter, much of the time he is just doing as he was trained, remember most smaller pool stores get their training from the chemical supplier reps, and the larger ones get it from the corporate training departments.

    Or lets take this another way, you own a small pool store, even assuming you got into the business wanting to help people and make some money, so like many small businesses you feel like you are being squeezed from all sides, and are not sure how you are going to make your note payment, rent payment, etc. and one day after trying to do what is right for the customers by giving them the best advice you know, which may not be all that great, a sales rep from big corporate pool chemical supplier walks in, and ask why your sales volume is so low, and he says he has just the tool to help, for only a small investment of a couple of thousand dollars, which will include some special rebates on chemicals purchased in the future he will install this computerized pool water tester, it will look all fancy and scientific and print out exact advice including their brand name product, like Super Stuff #20 for when the test says you need to raise TA, which is just 99% baking soda and 1% special binders to make it looks like flakes not regular baking soda that sells for 1/5th the price. (and hey who cares if it is a bit off, they will come back and buy whatever else ti tells them to correct the over/under shoot, side effect, etc) A month later business is booming, customer's are walking out spending $300 instead of $75, and all is good, afterall if these people can afford a $40,000 pool what harm is there in taking an extra hundred or two from them each time they come in the store. After a while you get used to this, and want a more profit, but when it comes down to it there is only so much people will pay for baking soda, and enough of them remember enough high school chemistry to know when they read the label on Super Stuff #20 that Sodium Bicarbonate is just Baking Soda or something close. So you move on to fancier testing for things like Phosphates, oooh that sounds bad, and everyone knows Phosphates are algae food, so if you can test for it and the number is anything but 0 now you get the chance to sell expensive phosphate remover which can't be bought in the grocery store with a big arm and hammer on the side. Of course somewhere along the line someone neglects to bring up that phosphates are irrelevant if you have enough chlorine in the water to kill the algae, much like it does not matter how much cheese you have in the refrigerator if there are no mice, and you keep any that might try to move in from getting to it (keep your chlorine levels right). So now business gets even better and before you know it you have gone from wondering where money for rent is going to come from to openings 3 new locations.

    Ike
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    New here but on the very same day, I took a sample to the pool store for testing and did my 1st test ever with my T100 kit. There was a huge difference in the numbers... so much so that I doubted my numbers since it was my first time doing....so... I repeated my tests and came up with my same numbers. My pool is now clear and not cloudy after only 4 days! I can't say enough good about this site and the T100 kit !

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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Well alright then, you've sold me! Now I have to sell it to the wife as she has always done it this way since she moved into the house and I came along after (divorce and remarry) it's a long story...

    Thanks to all your advice. I really should've hit up this site back in the summer of 2010 when I encountered my first problem with the pool. My wife's ex was not too good with things around the house and I inherited a monster with the pool. First time in my life owning and taking care of a pool. Learning as I go as I'm a DYI kind of guy. January of 2014 we had a problem with the valves. The tops split open within 2 months of each other. Then, I found out that the valve bottoms had hair line cracks in them so I had to replace them as well. So for literally 4 months, I was only using the main drain pump and sweeping down the pool to keep it halfway clean. After I fixed the problems I found myself with quite the mess chemically in the pool. You know the feeling, you look out and it just doesn't look quite right, algae starting to form on the steps, I'm sure my problem has been had by quite a few here. Anyway, I have the pool working almost up to snuff as I've just one last problem to address. I need a new salt cell as it has stopped producing chlorine. Pools are tough on the wallet but really do give back in the summer time in spades!
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Welcome to the Forums Xexys!

    Every pool store around me tests for free. Some of them aggressively sell products based on their results, some merely recommend additions and provide good advice based on what their 'computerized results' (which are frequently not accurate) indicate. I have not encountered any of them that can provide the depth of knowledge and increase the understanding of how to manage your pool as you will find available here to use in conjunction with your own test results using one of the recommended kits.

    Money spent on one of the test kits recommended is well worth it when you combine the results with the methods recommended here you will actually end up saving money.
    Pool: IG 22k- 16x32 clipped corners- vinyl liner, w/ a great board. Built in 3/99, new to me 2/2011.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    All I can add is why own your own watch? There are plenty of clocks around that will tell you the time for free.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Xexys, that should read: Pool Stores are tough on the wallet
    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: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by PharmerAnthony View Post
    Try this, take the same sample to 4 different pool stores and compare your "electronic printouts". Nuff said'.
    I was just going to say this but I will take it a step further. Pay close attention to your CYA level on the electronic printouts. Then go get the tests run the following week and see the difference. You will also probably notice that your CH level is also different. These are two things that should not change much if at all over a week if you are not adding/replacing water or using the magic shock powder or pucks.
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Xexys, that should read: Pool Stores are tough on the wallet

    I really don't buy much at the stores, but I certainly agree with your statement. I need to get my mind in the game here. I've been on this site for less than 24 hours and my brain is floating right now with all the information that is here. This is the MOST informative site for anything I've ever been on!!

    So I've a tab up for the TF-100 test kit from the official site. Is there any other place that I can purchase this test kit from? I see that amazon doesn't have it for sale. Is $68 the going rate for this kit?
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pro's of testing yourself?

    Dave (owner of this forum and tftestkits) buys from Taylor in bulk and creates the TF-100 test kits, so that is the only source. poolsupplyworld.com is a west coast distributor of his kits which might be a little cheaper and faster on shipping, but they do not offer the options (like XL option or the SpeedStir, I don't think).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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