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Thread: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    I just purchased a home that has an in ground pool. Its small (24' x 12') and he left me his testing kit and some chemicals. I tested the water day 1, it tests for CL / BR on one side and PH on the other. I read over the ABC's of pool water chemistry and noticed right away "free chlorine (FC)" is one of the vital checks. What is the CL stand for? Just chlorine levels? I didn't notice anything that said CL on the ABC page? Next to the CL it says BR and I am not sure what that stands for.

    Anyways so the CL side is orange, which I am assuming is off the charts. And the PH side is a very pale yellow. Obviously I need to buy an extensive testing kit, but how does anyone get by with one so limited?

    I picked up a bucket of soda ash yesterday to raise PH, and hoping the wind / sun helps bring the chlorine levels lower. How long can that take, and does stabilizer keep it from dropping, its been about 5 days and hasn't changed yet?

    Thanks for the help!

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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Notice no expert logo by my name...but I'll attempt to help. It sounds like you have a kit similar to the Taylor K-1000, which is a basic chlorine/PH test kit. The BR stands for bromine, I believe, which isn't a popular chemical in pools, so just concern yourself with the CL (chlorine, which the kit tests as TC (Total Chlorine = FC and CC added together)).

    Also, it sounds like you're mixing the chemicals in the opposite sides. The CL side would have a pale yellow reading being one of your levels of chlorine, and orange is a normal PH reading of around 7.2.

    A common theme here is to recommend a reliable test kit, such as the TF-100 that I'm using from the
    http://tftestkits.net/
    website.

    I can vouch for the kit, I've never been more sure of my pool chemistry. The kit almost makes it easy.
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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    First off thanks for responding. This looks like my tester although I only have the red and yellow dropper bottles with mine.

    http://www.vminnovations.com/sys/res...2d74aad17099c5

    The bottles are marked to correspond with chlorine / PH so I figured it was fool proof? So the CL tests for FC?

    Thanks!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    That kit is more or less alright, but it does use an OTO Chlorine test, which measures TC (total chlorine) rather than FC (free chlorine) or CC (combined chlorine). TC = FC + CC
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Does the TC do you much good, I keep reading its the FC that is most important? I obviously need to go order one of the comprehensive test kits... Thank you!

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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Great decision!!!!!
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    TC is fine ... IF you know that your CC is low. TC = FC + CC.
    The FAS-DPD chlorine test that is included in the Recommended Test Kits is far superior to the OTO test and much easier to know your FC and CC levels.

    How are you chlorinating your pool? If your CYA is very high, then the chlorine level may be slow to drop.

    Also the soda ash should have raised the pH in only 30-60 minutes allowing you to recheck.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    I noticed a post somewhere that said a lot of people use the TF-100 test kit? Is that the best idea for me?

    Thanks!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    I use a TF100. I will endorse it.

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a saltwater generator? Or a cover? Orange on the OTO test is below 20. TC should have come down to at least blinding tweety bird yellow by now unless the pool is covered completely or something is adding chlorine. If after 5 days the FC is still showing orange, it should have started a deep brown color. Be sure you're using the right reagents in the right side.

    The pH test drops are red, and the pH tester goes from bright pink to yellow-orange.
    The TC drops are clear, and the tester show only shades of yellow.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Like Richard said, make sure you are using the right reagents on the right side. I will say this, in theory you should be able to manage a small seasonal pool with acceptable results with only that test kit and careful control of the type of chlorine products you are using. In fact I am doing just that in an experiment now, as I set up a small 12'x36" easy set pool in the enclosed part of the yard for my dog to cool down in over the summer and I am attempting to manage it with only calculated additions of stabilized chlorine and measurements from a similar OTO/pH test kit. The advantage of a small seasonal pool is if everything comes tumbling down and the pool turns green it is reasonably easy to dump the water and start over.

    For my plan I am only about 5 days into the experiment, but I am chlorinating with dichlor to start with, which I will limit to 1 pound total use over a week or two so as to not drive my CYA level too high (1 pound of dichlor will raise CYA by 34 and FC by 37 in a 1775 gallon pool, the chlorine will burn off but the CYA will stay), then I will switch to bleach for chlorination, I may semi-blindly add more dichlor later in the summer based on estimated amount of splash out. This 30-35 ppm CYA level will allow me to keep the TC from the OTO chlorine test in the suggested range, in my case targeting chlorine level at just over 4 ppm, towards the upper range of the comparitor on my test kit (mine reads to 4.5, some kits read as high as 5 on the OTO scale, others as little as 3.5)

    Ike
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleforge View Post
    I noticed a post somewhere that said a lot of people use the TF-100 test kit? Is that the best idea for me?

    Thanks!
    If you're in the US (as you are) the TF-100 seems the best option. In Canada you can't get the TFT kits so a Taylor K2006 is the kit of choice.

    A more basic kit will suffice most of the time but every so often it's really nice to have a kit that measures everything and gives reliable results. I've been using test strips for daily testing and a K2006 (guess where I live) for weekly testing, but I'm finding that each new pack of test strips gives me somewhat different results so I've sworn off them for a while.

    The thing that annoys me a bit is that in addition to more sophisticated test reagents the better kits also have better "hardware" eg the cylinder with the reference colours. I have a $10 test kit but can never interpolate colours correctly -- but the Taylor (and TFT) kits have more reference colours so I can actually find a bar the same colour as the liquid in the tube. If the $10 kit was a bit better and sold for $15 instead it would be a lot more useful... but it isn't and it doesn't so I use the good kit instead. Bleh
    Cedar hot tub, 680 US gallons - Snorkel wood-burning heater, canoe paddle, "offline" Intex 1000 GPH pump/filter with skimmer

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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Bridgman, you should have seen the color compaitor blocks 30 years ago when you could see the individual halftone dots that made up the colors, not the nice smooth consistent color that they are today.
    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: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Ewww !!
    Cedar hot tub, 680 US gallons - Snorkel wood-burning heater, canoe paddle, "offline" Intex 1000 GPH pump/filter with skimmer

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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    OK thanks a lot guys, I will order one of the TF-100 kits. I want to stay on top of everything all season long. And the previous owner seemed to leave the heat cover (blue, bubble wrap look to it) on the pool most of the time. I have left it off in hope to allow the sun to bring the chlorine levels down. Last night it seems to be better, the chlorine has dropped from orange to the deeper yellow at the high end of the scale, and the PH has raised to the minimum. I wanted it in the middle so I added a little more soda ash. Now since I am getting close to having them in place should I be adding anything else to the water? I believe I was left a clarify-er.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    We generally feel there is no reason to add clarifier, and sometimes it can hurt
    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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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    OK I will avoid using it then, is there something to add to clean up the walls and bottom (stains / darker areas) or do I need a scrub brush attachment and do it by hand? And last question (sorry) once my chlorine gets in the middle (still darker yellow after 3 days) is this when you use stabilizer?

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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleforge View Post
    once my chlorine gets in the middle (still darker yellow after 3 days) is this when you use stabilizer?
    No.

    After you receive your test kit, and after you do the tests, you will know what levels you have in your pool. Stabilizer (CYA) is just one of the things you need to manage, and it may well be too high rather than too low.

    Resist the urge to just start dumping junk into your pool blindly. Figure out what you have first, post your results here, then figure out what you need to adjust. You will get lots of great (and free) advice here.
    21K gallon, plaster, 1hp Hayward MaxFlo pump, Hayward 244s sand filter, 3/4 hp Halcyon PB4-60Q booster pump, Polaris 280 cleaner.

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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    OK! Thanks rterickson!

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    Re: My test kit only tests three chemical levels?

    Have you checked out the pool school link? If you follow the advice of this forum you will be blown away by the results. On the stains you speak of, they could be several things, and there are tests to help you figure out what they are. At this point leave them be, and get all the chems in order. Then you'll be free and stress will have dropped so you can most likely fix the stains.
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