I have had two pools in a total of 23 years and I have always taken care of my pool myself.
My most recent pool was filled in January of this year 2008.
I have tested my water probably more frequently then needed but I'm that type of guy.
I have also learned that when you test you need a good kit but I won't bore you with that as you here it here hundreds of time. I have learned to test your water on a regular basis. Regular basis is all dependent upon usage, rain, draining, contamination from bugs and dirt just to mention a few. I try and maintain 5 ppm FC and that has taken care of my pools and have NEVER had any algae blooms. Let me get back to the reason I'm writing this story today.
As I have said before I test my water myself both liquid and test strips.
A few week ago I took a sample to a local National pool store chain.....
My readings were FC 5, TC 5, pH 7.6, Alk 100, CYA 50 and CA 500!
CA 500 no way! It has been 250 on everyt test since I filled 6 months ago.
So today Sunday I decided to play a little game and take 3 samples of the pool water to 3 different stores in my local area. I know I'm lucky to have 3 all within 2 miles from my house.
All 3 results were different and insure that I need an accurate reading for my chemicals..
Store 1, Store 2, Store 3,
FC 5, 5, 5,
TC 5, 5, 5,
Salt 2600, 3400, 3800,
Calcium 300, 250, 500,
CYA 50, 70, 0,
Alk 100, 90, 110,
Phos 500, 250, 350,
Store # 2 has been around the longest and has the most accurate reading compared to mine.
Stores 1 and 3 just wanted to sell me all kinds of junk from bags of salt, phosfree and one wanted me to replace from 40% of my water then come back and see them for salt, acid and who know what else.
So what have I learned from many years around the pool. Take the time and learn how to maintain your water as well as take your own tests and it still doesn't hurt to backup your reading with ones from a local (honest) pool store.
Since my pool was finished I have spent a total of $54 on chemical which most of that was acid with a few bucks on a clarifier and one lb shockit.
Thank you all for your pawst help and assistance on many occations.
Hope this message helps someone in taking the plunge and learning more about your pool..
Iggy in the cool part of Arizona 8)
Enjoy your pool and don't lose any sleep over minor changes from day to day.