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Thread: Pool Store versus ColorQ

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    Pool Store versus ColorQ

    Hello!

    I recently had an in-ground pool completed and have been swimming 'trouble free' for about 3 weeks now. I have gone to the pool store twice with mixed results. I am NOT an expert.

    My first trip, I was told to add 19 pounds of 'balance pak 100' to raise the alkalinity, which I did before realizing it was just baking soda (yes I paid $30) and 2 pounds of granular chlorine. The printout of my chemicals from the store prior to adding said my alkalinity was close to 100, so I wasn't certain why I needed the 'balance pak'. Either way after getting home and reading through their papers I noticed hey put in an incorrect pool volume of 18K when mine is 24K.

    Since that first trip I purchased a ColorQ tester and have been controlling my and pH/FC/TA all with the TFP method. My water has been clear and I have had zero problems to date.

    Yesterday I returned to the pool store armed with knowledge for a follow up test. I sampled my water prior to the trip and then took the same sample to the store. My ColorQ has been giving me consistent readings, and my pH has been steady at 7.4/7.5. When I took the sample to the store, waited for the 3 people ahead of me to have their water tested, I was then told my pH was 8.5. A huge difference. I became a little nervous after they told me to add a powder acid to drop the pH hard. I said I had muratic acid at home, which they old me to add half a gallon of. I have added muratic acid on a few occasions, but never more than 15-20 oz at a time. I only use ThePoolCalculator.com

    I don't know if I should lean on the pool stores experience or the quality of my ColorQ, but even splitting the difference would seem like a very high pH. The test strips I was given following the install seem to tell me pH is in range, but I really can't be certain with those.

    Are there any other markers to elude that the pH could be off, like a smell or discoloration. We had 4 kids and 3 adults swim virtually all day yesterday and no one mentioned skin or eye irritation.

    The colorQ seems to be great so far. My FC drops a lot after 1-2 days of rain/sun/heavy swimming, which I'm happy to see (I take it as the machine working). The pool store also told me to be hesitant of only using liquid chlorine all the time, because it can cause 'build up' for the inert ingredients. I have not heard this in any of my online rabbit holes yet, but is that also possible? I asked, build up like calcium? And the store employee said yes.

    AAANY help would be very much appreciated, and any feedback on the ColorQ would also be nice. I felt that by spending $100+ on a digital monitor, I would get pretty accurate results, but that pH difference rattled my cage yesterday.


    Thank you for any insight from a newbie.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store versus ColorQ

    Welcome to TFP!

    Don't trust the pool store results, or their advice. The ColorQ has it's issues, but it wouldn't be off by that much on the PH test. Meanwhile we get reports all the time of pool store results that are way wildly wrong.

    The ColorQ seems to be the best of the available digits testers. It comes close to meeting our standards, but doesn't quite make it. It has some limitations that you need to be aware of: can't be used when FC is over 10, doesn't have enough precision on the CYA test to be useful, all of the tests are unreliable when CH is very very high (say 500+), and the sensor can get dirty and thus give wrong results without any obvious indication that anything is going wrong.

    Liquid chlorine is just fine. The whole "'build up' for the inert ingredients" has a tiny grain of truth in it, but has become so distorted that it is completely misleading. All forms of chlorine have some salt in them. Liquid chlorine/bleach has a little more than the other forms. Whatever form of chlorine you use, some salt will accumulate in the pool, but even using bleach it never gets to a high enough level to have any detectable effect.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Pool Store versus ColorQ

    Thank you for the quick response! I will stay the course then.

    I have read about the CYA being off in the colorQ, but I am addicted to the ease and digital-ness of it all. I will pick up a Taylor kit before the summer is over for a periodic comparison.

    Would there ever be an occasion where I would need to have a FC over 10? If I'm holding my FC at 2.5-3.5, I should be ok?


    Thanks again,

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store versus ColorQ

    If you get algae, you will need to SLAM and that requires measuring FC levels well above 10.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store versus ColorQ

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Just to add, a FC of 2.5-3.5 is pretty low if you have the recommended CYA levels of 30-50ppm ... that could certainly lead to an algae outbreak and then the need to SLAM the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

    BTW, we recommend the use of PoolMath now instead of the calculator at the website you listed, since we are able to make updates (and have) to PoolMath.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Pool Store versus ColorQ

    Outstanding. Thank you for the tips. I will aim to get my FC into the 4+ level, and grab a new test kit to keep a periodic eye on my CYA.

    I really want to avoid any algae this year. A lot of my neighbors and friends (and wife) are giving me a hard time for not following suit with the pool store and the Frog system that was initially installed in our pool. I'd really like to humbly prove hem wrong

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    Babylovestoys's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store versus ColorQ

    I have the color q photometer and the Taylor k 2006 kit. I use them both although I consistently use the Taylor kit more often. Be sure with the color meter that you occasionally clean the inside meter window with a q tip & windex, and that your tubes are always cleaned well between uses & you can get more consistent results.


    Pool size: 17x33'4 water surface area: 591 sq ft. Depth: 36 to 7 ft. 23,300 gallons.
    IG. Gunite pebblefina with travertine coping. 18 inch travertine trough waterfall. 2 deck jets I aerator . Aqualink Z SWG. Auto floor cleaner PCC 2000. Jandy stealth variable speed pool pump, cartridge filter and never line valves. Auto fill.
    Taylor k2006 test kit.

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