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Thread: Pool Store scam or truth?

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    sark76's Avatar
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    Pool Store scam or truth?

    New member with an emergency! (I'm sure thats how most members start ) I'm taking care of my landlords pool because she is a single women who getting older now, I took her in-ground 20K gallon (sand filter, chlorinated, vinyl) pool water for analysis today at her regular pool store. I had $100 of supplies in my hand when they told me to not bother buying any chemicals right now because my water was over 25,000 in TDS. I think she meant 2,500 PPM but she refused to sell me the chemicals saying that I would be wasting money buying chemicals without draining at least 70% of the pool. This pool shop does not offer any pool draining services. And they lost over $100 in business telling me this, I can think of no reason how they could be profiting unless they really believed what they were telling me....I'm confused. It's an old vinyl liner (14 years old) and I'm not sure it can take the strain of losing so much water. They wouldn't even tell me what the other readings were because they said the TDS was so high it was all irrelevant anyhow....maybe she did really mean it was 25,000 PPM? or is that next to impossible? AFAIK the pool has never been drained in 14 years.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Without even reading, I am going to say scam. I will get back to you after I read

    - - - Updated - - -

    Interesting ... shockingly they did NOT scam you by selling you stuff anyway.

    If you want to truly know what is in the water, then you need to invest in one of the Recommended Test Kits and stop trusting the abysmal pool store testing.

    TDS is actually meaningless. We prefer to know what makes up the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) ... like the CH and CYA and salt, etc ...

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    That pool store just accidentally cost them a lot since they not only didn't sell you anything but indirectly sent you here Welcome to TFP!

    TDS in and of itself is kind of pointless, it is what the individual readings are that matter. If your salt levels were in the thousands, well that doesn't matter. If your CYA readings were in the thousands, well that is really bad. TDS is a mixture of everything (TOTAL Dissolved Solids) and really just an obsolete way to determine problems.

    Jblizzle has you pointed in the right direction. There is no way we can offer guidance without test results from a good kit (the TF-100 and k-2006 are really the only two contenders for "good kit"). With those results and the reading he linked to you can really take control of the pool. Very kind of you to do so for your landlady BTW.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    the pool store is probably used to seeing high TDS readings for pool owners who have used their pucks all these years. The CYA gets very high (contributing to a high TDS as well) and it takes so much chlorine to overcome that CYA level that it's impossible to maintain.

    IF you do have high CYA, which is possible if the land lady has been using pool store chlorine pucks all these years, then yes you may need to drain a lot of the water. But none of that happens until you get meaningful test results from your own kit.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    darn...i wish I had INSISTED on getting the results for all the test! I was just so dumb founded because the woman sounded so serious about this, even warning me to not let anyone in the pool right now. I guess i'll have to get one of the two kits after all. I wonder if the TDS could have really been 25,000....seems unlikely right? Thanks for the advice.

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    BTW...she has been using "pucks" all these years....i'm sorry I'm coming here armed with so little information as to the other readings...as a high member of a computer tech message board I know what it's like when people ask for help yet can't provide basic stats of their rigs...so sorry about that...just know I'm only at this for 6 days now.

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    I seriously doubt that the tds is at 25,000 unless she's filling the pool with water from the ocean. Definitely get a good test kit and we'll get this figured out.

    Using all pucks will usually cause very high cyanuric acid and very low ta and ph.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Sark you are SO on the right track! You have made a wonderful first step---Finding TFP!

    Do not worry about not having the pool store test results. We would have just told you that you needed to get a good test kit of your own.

    We have found over and over and over that the pool stores tests are NOT accurate at all.

    Oh and thank you for helping out your landlady. That is so sweet of you!

    Let us know when your test kit gets that and we can help you from there.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Well, being a member of a tech board you also know that we all start with almost no knowledge and sometimes have to erase the bad information that was already implanted. Since now I know we speak the same language, I can give you some comparison:

    Claiming that TDS is too high is like someone saying they have a great computer because they have a 3 ghz processor. Well sure, that sounds good, but it is only a part of the picture. How many cores?, how much cache?, how much RAM?, what speed is the RAM?, what graphics card?, etc, etc. Much the same, even if TDS is 25k, it doesn't really mean anything significant and it especially can't say that it is or isn't safe to swim. Since that is Parts Per Million, it isn't much. What matters is the individual test results. I can tell you I have a perfectly clear pool and no idea what my TDS is. I know the parameters that I need to know.

    Pool store testing is pretty hit-and-miss as well. We have found such discrepancies over the years that we just can't trust any of them. So frankly I'm glad she didn't give you the results since we still would have told you that getting your own kit is the only way to be sure. The TF-100 is my kit of choice. Designed for the residential pool it contains lots of the stuff you will use often and less of the stuff you use less often. To keep with my tech comparisons, the TF-100 is to test kits what Noctua is to case fans. I guess that makes the k-2006 the Cooler Master, it will work well but it can be improved upon. Both are available in the link in my signature.

    The good news is that you are on the right path. The TFPC methods of pool care are very simple once you learn all of the lingo and can offer a pretty significant savings as well as water quality that is better than I have ever seen in any other pool. My chemical costs dropped to about a 5th of before finding this site and I haven't had any water quality issues since I got the TF-100 and used the methods taught here. So don't be afraid to ask questions, that is why we are here!
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Hi sark76, welcome to the forum...

    The TDS could be 25,000 ppm or not; In this case the sum is less important than the individual parts. As everyone here has stated, you need to find out what your water chemistry is like. The only way to do that is to get a good test kit such as the TF-100 or K2006 (TF-100 offers the best bang for the buck and the various test reagents are often fresher). I guarantee you that the $70 spent on the test kit (assuming the TF-100) will save you hundreds (if not thousands) down the road in unneeded pool store chemicals.
    14,000 Gal IG Pool/500 Gal Attached Spa
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Part of the problem is we often find pool store testing to be nearly worthless, this is not to say that it is true about all pool stores, but most just use testing as a way to sell chemicals and could care less if the tests are done in an accurate and meaningful way. With your particular pool store I suspect the testing methodology is stuck in the 1970's (ok maybe 1980's) since they are still relying on TDS numbers to make a diagnosis, instead of looking it its component parts CH, Salt, CYA, etc. Which leaves us back to step number 1, you need to get your own quality test kit in order to have reliable test numbers and maintain a balanced pool. This means either the Taylor K-2006 or better yet the TF Testkits TF-100 (the TF 100 is a little more expensive, but is a much better value it is also assembled by the owner of this site using Taylor reagents, so buying it helps keep this place going).

    Once we see what the results are we can go from there, personally I suspect you will need to change a substantial part of the water, but again without numbers it is hard to say how much. Also your concern for the liner is valid, so if you do have to change water it is likely best to do it in stages, say 20-30% at a time.

    Ike
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    If we do have to drain it...we'll literally be down the drain as well...we live right in the meadowlands reserve in New Jersey...literally 100 feet from the pool there are 100's of swampy tributaries that all lead to one of the most abused rivers in u.s. history...the hackensack river, which runs through newark, kearny, elizabeth. The Hackensack River Keep is INSANELY protective of the meadowlands and our waste pipe leads almost right to it. we've never seen a problem backwashing a few gallons out, but this would be more like 15K!. I looked into reverse osmosis filtration services...but apparently they aren't a thing yet here on the east coast. The water is brackish and tidal...so I'm hoping that their isn't a leak into the pool from any of the swamps...still though from the research i've done i still don't think that could possibly make a TDS reading of 25,000. I'll get back to you guys when I get one of the recommended test kits, and give you guys some more to work with. Gonna be a few day since i have to order online. cheers.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    If you have to drain it will not all be at once due to the age of your liner. You will do it in parts. I think that will help with your river concerns.

    I look forward to seeing your first real test results!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    BTW Donaldson do you use Marvin's picture in your avatar as a way of saying "don't panic" or is there some other maniacally depressive reason?

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Part of the problem is we often find pool store testing to be nearly worthless, this is not to say that it is true about all pool stores, but most just use testing as a way to sell chemicals and could care less if the tests are done in an accurate and meaningful way. With your particular pool store I suspect the testing methodology is stuck in the 1970's (ok maybe 1980's) since they are still relying on TDS numbers to make a diagnosis, instead of looking it its component parts CH, Salt, CYA, etc. Which leaves us back to step number 1, you need to get your own quality test kit in order to have reliable test numbers and maintain a balanced pool. This means either the Taylor K-2006 or better yet the TF Testkits TF-100 (the TF 100 is a little more expensive, but is a much better value it is also assembled by the owner of this site using Taylor reagents, so buying it helps keep this place going).

    Once we see what the results are we can go from there, personally I suspect you will need to change a substantial part of the water, but again without numbers it is hard to say how much. Also your concern for the liner is valid, so if you do have to change water it is likely best to do it in stages, say 20-30% at a time.

    Ike
    Bought the TF 100 for the sole reason of supporting the site...and it being recommended as well

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Actually, never really thought of it that way. I really liked that design of him (and will forever defend the movie as imperfect but an enjoyable adaptation), so I used it on Facebook and a few forums. I like that though, I really should incorporate it in the future.

    Also Alan Rickman was a great choice for his voice. I can just hear it: "I could calculate your chances of fixing your pool with pool store test results, but you won't like it." "I have a million ideas, and they all point to a certain SLAM" "Phosphates? Don't talk to me about phosphates" Ah, the possibilities
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson View Post
    Actually, never really thought of it that way. I really liked that design of him (and will forever defend the movie as imperfect but an enjoyable adaptation), so I used it on Facebook and a few forums. I like that though, I really should incorporate it in the future.

    Also Alan Rickman was a great choice for his voice. I can just hear it: "I could calculate your chances of fixing your pool with pool store test results, but you won't like it." "I have a million ideas, and they all point to a certain SLAM" "Phosphates? Don't talk to me about phosphates" Ah, the possibilities
    Well...so long (for now) and thanks for all the fish.

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson View Post
    Actually, never really thought of it that way. I really liked that design of him (and will forever defend the movie as imperfect but an enjoyable adaptation), so I used it on Facebook and a few forums. I like that though, I really should incorporate it in the future.

    Also Alan Rickman was a great choice for his voice. I can just hear it: "I could calculate your chances of fixing your pool with pool store test results, but you won't like it." "I have a million ideas, and they all point to a certain SLAM" "Phosphates? Don't talk to me about phosphates" Ah, the possibilities
    I like you already.

    OP, sounds like you and I are in similar situations re: knowledge! Of course if you are a TRUE nerd, you will now spend 250% of your free time learning about pools.

    Pardon typos; sheep have hooves, not hands.
    29,000?gal in-ground concrete rectangular
    Pump: Hayward SP2610x15 Filter: Hayward S-244T (Sand) Chlorinator: Hayward CL-200
    2 skimmers; plugged main drain (reason unknown)
    New pool owner! Hooray! /sarcasm

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    Ok, so i got my test kit..the TF-100 ran some tests. Mind you I have not attempted to add any chemicals except for 1 bag of shock and some baking soda 8 days ago. Trying to figure out if I need to drain the pool...pool store told me the TDS was way too high (read the OP if necessary). Here is the reading...i assume some of the readings will mean nothing since I really haven't tried to balance anything yet and CYA (i assume) is the most important reading for what I need to know..but I did all the tests anyway more just to learn. It's a seasonal pool in NJ, 20,000 gallon, Vinyl, Sand filter with a 14+ year old liner (that's why I worry about draining even in small amounts). bottom has some light black discoloration, deep end has some leaves, steps starting to turn a little green (was waiting for the test kit to arrive before I did anything else)

    CYA - 80
    TA - 130
    CH - 450
    FC - 0 - No original color cahnge
    CC - 0


    Basic
    Cl - < .5
    Br - < 1
    pH - < 6.8

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    Re: Pool Store scam or truth?

    actully CYA was just a bit below 80

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