After getting what I thought were ridiculous results from the pool store, I bought a LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 test kit which I find pretty easy to use and I'm very careful to follow the instructions to the letter. However, I have read in this forum that the ColorQ isn't necessarily accurate, either, and that I should get a Taylor kit. But how would anyone know which one is accurate? How could you prove accuracy of one versus another?
I know my water is out of whack. I'm planning to drain and replace it next week, but that's another issue. Meanwhile, I'm watching my neighbor's pool. Since he and I got our pools finished and set up at nearly the same time (March 2014) by the same builder and with nearly the same equipment, I thought I'd run a little comparison (the only differences are that I have an in-floor cleaner, I'm shaded, and have solar, whereas he is mostly sunny). We both have inline chlorinators. I would have expected somewhat similar results, and I suspected he would also have high CYA buildup just like me. My neighbor doesn't have the big calcium buildup that I do. My own pool has enough calcium buildup that I'm having it bead blasted when I drain it down. I spent a fortune on these nice beautiful boulders and it just irks me to see that &#&@#* calcium on them within six months!
"Because I could," I ran tests on his water and my own, and also ran samples to the pool store to get their opinion as well (BTW, both pools are sparkling clear with no algae whatsoever). Here are the results (my LaMotte results first, pool store results in parentheses):
My Pool: Temp 85, FC 7.88 (8.4), TC 7.88 (8.4), PH 7.5 (8.1), TA 61 (110), CH 308 (475), CYA 108 (160). Pool store reports Langelier Index of 0.94. Pool store tells me to remove chlorine and add 3 pts 4 oz of acid, but I know from experience that such a small amount of acid has virtually no effect, probably due to the excessive CYA.
Neighbor: Temp 84, FC 5.15 (8.4), TC 5.15 (8.4), PH 7.2 (7.6), TA 54 (95), CH 283 (450), CYA 103 (110). Pool store reports Langelier Index of 0.37. To further complicate matters, my neighbor has a pool service that also tested his water earlier today and they texted him that his CYA level is 76, so they see no problem (I don't yet have his other results from the service).
Looking at these results, whom do I believe? I guess I could buy the Taylor test kit just to confuse matters further, but how would I know THAT is accurate, either? I guess I could then take three results and roll the dice to see which one I want to believe. The only thing I can say right now is that my CH and CYA are too high according to both tests, which is why I'm going to drain 75% of the water next week and refill with as much soft water as I can generate. I want the fewest chemicals possible and I never want to see the darned calcium buildup again if I don't have to, so the decision to drain and refill is easy for me. But do I advise my neighbor to drain and refill his own pool? Even his CH and CYA are pretty high ... aren't they? Seems to me that he is probably accumulating calcium as well, although I think he scrubs it off his tiles so maybe I just don't see it. Personally I think both pools were incorrectly set up by the builder and the problems have been compounded by the trichlor tablets.
But again, no one around here seems to care, everyone else I know in this town just keeps on popping tablets for three or four years until there is so much CYA that the chlorine won't work any more. I like to actually get in my pool and not have my eyes burn and my skin get all dried out, which is why I care. I should learn not to care, I'd get less stressed out.