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Thread: Trusting the pool store!

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    Trusting the pool store!

    I am a new pool owner and a new member to this forum.
    It has been VERY helpful. Lets see if someone can help with this.

    I have only four pool stores within reasonable driving distance of my home. The first few weeks of my new pool I frequented whichever store was closest to me on my errands for that week. I could not get the pool to balance.

    So for the last month or so I have embarked on a little test. I have added only three chlorine tabs a week and one bag of quality shock on Thursday nights. Saturdays I took four sample bottles and visited each store. I was surprised to see the variance in read outs and recommendations, for example:

    1] Add 2 1/2 lbs liquid chlorine-all else is good.
    2] All is good but add 1 cup muriatic acid.
    3] all is good - do nothing.
    4] all is good add four lbs soda ash.
    And this is all on the same day from the same water!

    Imagine my surprise and concern that after four weeks I can not even get TWO reports to be similar in any test period.

    But what really ticks me off is that this Thursday I did the rounds before I added any chem, I expected to see low readings in chlorine, and I did, from .02 to .07. BUT I ADDED nothing and went back today and the chlorine readings from the same places show levels of 1.3 to 2.2.

    It is evident that the science of pool water testing [at least in Jacksonville fl] is at best a turkey shoot. I assume there is too much of a opinion factor when by the person taking the readings as evident by two of the four stores being the same corporation [Pinch a Penny] but in different locations-so the procedures and equipment are the same. Oddly enough there's are the least consistent and also the ppl who always recommend the most quantity and variation of chem.

    The purpose of my experiment was to hopefully establish one of the four companies that had at least a consistent base line that I could trust and then adjust accordingly form there. But after a total of six comparisons I can honestly say i'm likely just as accurate by looking at and smelling the pool.

    So here is where I need help. What Shall I do - How can I test the pool and trust that I am maintaining a good safe pool and not a mixing ground for corporate Americas chemical companys?


    Uncovered 14,000 gal with spa.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    If you have read around here much you have probably seen that not much credence is given to pool store testing. While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. In my case two different pool stores told me my CYA was "fine", around 70 or 80. When I tested myself I found it over 200.

    To follow the pool care methods taught here you need to arm yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to care for your pool.

    The knowledge is condensed in the Pool School link at the top of every page. It is a great community here, but we do ask that you read and try to understand the information being taught. Questions are always welcome and folks will try to direct you and teach you the methods.

    The tools are not limited to the brushes, vacuum hoses and other stuff you use around the pool, but include the most important item - one of the recommended test kits. You can buy a kit at a pool store, but again the pool store kits generally won't cut it. To effectively practice the TFPC methods, the FAS/DPD chlorine test is essential. All these kits contain that test while very few other kits do. Think of it this way, do you see a doctor blindly prescribing drugs without seeing the patient or having tests run? Here at TFP we are going to ask for photos so we can see the condition of the water and are going to ask for a full set of test results.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Hi, welcome to TFP! You have discovered on your own what we have been saying here for years. Pool store testing is inconsistent and often unreliable. Following pool store test results often end up with poor water quality and empty wallets for all your time and effort. This is why we recommend that our members purchase a high quality FAS/DPD test kit, such as the Taylor k2006 or the TF100 . A high quality FAS/DPD kit will allow you to test higher levels of chlorine which is necessary if you have an algae outbreak. When you conduct your own testing you can be sure you are testing under similar conditions using the same protocol every time. This is how you get reliable, accurate results on a consistent basis. Pool stores offer free testing as a lead in to selling you product, even if it is just chlorine. When you conduct your own tests you only add what you need when you need it. Often what you need is available from your local grocery store, much less expensive than the pool store products.

    If you would like to read more about pool care we suggest:
    ABCs of pool water chemistry
    Pool School - What is TFPC?

    Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
    TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Step 1 never get another water test at a pool store again.
    Step 2 get a TF100 from tftestkits.net
    Step 3 click the big Pool School up top and do some reading
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Thank you all for such a prompt reply. Your stated views on this subject have convinced me that I am not crazy. At least not when it comes to this. Just so you know I have been reading other posts and the pool school as well. There is just so much to learn it is sometimes quicker just to ask.

    Like this: I have held off purchasing a test kit locally as I am sure that they are worthless. And I have not yet invested on one mentioned here in the forum because I am insure of what i should get. I have been given a Salt water chlorine generator and i plan to hook it up next month if I can. So as that will change the dynamics of my pool I had thought it best to deal with the local pros....bad call. Live and learn.

    As I am converting to salt, what is the preferred kit to purchase?

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    Task's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    You cant go wrong with the TF100. I do not have a salt pool, but I believe there is an option to add on some salt tests. I'd also highly recommend the speed stir option.
    16'x32' Inground Vinyl, 21,100 gallons, Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump, Hayward Pro Series S244T 3.1ft Sand Filter
    TFTestKits, Pool School, ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry, Chlorine/CYA Chart, PoolMath

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Just so you know.... this is how they make recommendations:




    And this is what will happen if you get your own test kit and persist in going in the pool store

    [IMG][/IMG]
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Welcome to TFP.
    You are not the first to get these types of results and are Exactly why us here on TFP refuse to believe pool store test results.

    What you need first, is not go back to any pool store.

    Then after that is to do is get your own reliable test kit, like the rest of us have. TFTestkits.net
    Next, learn just some basics. Start with this so you can learn what stuff does.
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    Next, learn how to use Pool Math
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    And keep these two links hand for quick reference
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    And ask any questions you might have. We are here to help.

    Thats what you need to do to make sure you have a clean and safe water in your pool.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    The TF100 is great for any pool, saltwater or not.

    Here is more info, Pool School - Test Kits Compared
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Thanks to all for your replies. I have looked over the test kit comparison chart. In shopping for a kit I came across the Lamotte color-Q pro 7. Has anyone used this? Is it any good?







    • Free & Total Chlorine to 10ppm; Bromine to 22ppm, DPD Digital Photometer
    • pH - 6.5 - 8.5, Phenol Red colormetric visual comparator
    • Acid Demand and Base Demand Titration tests
    • Calcium Hardness 0-700ppm
    • Total Alkalinity 0-250ppm
    • Cyanuric Acid 0-125ppm

    The ColorQ-7 uses just 5 drops per test, and it does the rest. The photometer 'reads' the water, and displays the reading on its digital display. It has 144 tests with included reagents (50 for calcium and cyanuric acid test). Zipper soft case.
    14000 gal kidney shaped in ground with spa. Paramount V3 pop up cleaner with six zones.
    1 Hp 1 Speed Reliant Pump. Pentair cartridge filter. No heater yet. uncovered.
    Jacksonville Florida

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Several folks have purchased them and if you look around the site you will see that for every one who says it works great there are multiple folks who say it is unreliable.

    The TF100 is less expensive and more reliable.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Mixed reviews. Mostly because it needs to be calibrated regularly.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    I'd go with the TF-100. Never seen anyone that had problems with the regular drop based testing and I *have* seen people have problems with the Lamotte kit.

    Funny that in your original post you mentioned you could be just as accurate as the pool store by looking at and smelling the pool. To be honest, that approach would be more accurate! lol

    Glad you found us before spending $$$$$ at the pool stores unnecessarily!

    Welcome to TFP!
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Don't fight it!

    TF-100 w/ XL option and Speed Stir (absolute almost must) (as for the base kit, hardly anyone has issues with it - except for getting comfortable with the CYA test reading, which just takes a little practice). Salt kit is nice too though you will really rely on the reading from your SWCG to tell you what the salt level is (because the SWCG is the only one who needs to be happy with the salt level). But when the cell fails it's good to have a separate test to verify.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim View Post
    Don't fight it!

    TF-100 w/ XL option and Speed Stir (absolute almost must) (as for the base kit, hardly anyone has issues with it - except for getting comfortable with the CYA test reading, which just takes a little practice). Salt kit is nice too though you will really rely on the reading from your SWCG to tell you what the salt level is (because the SWCG is the only one who needs to be happy with the salt level). But when the cell fails it's good to have a separate test to verify.
    Hi and welcome OP.

    I lurked here for some time before registering, while trying to figure out my pool.

    But once I realized how informative and giving everyone on this site is...

    'I didn't fight it.' I drank the coolaid!

    There are only 2 choices. Pick 1 and enjoy all the help and friendship you will receive.
    Last edited by poolfool1961; 06-26-2015 at 03:05 PM. Reason: wrong quotr, kinds
    Intek 18' X 48" AG, filled to 36-42"(slope?), Intek sand filter/pump, Hayward skimmer

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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    I fired my pool guy just a few months ago, I started to spend more time in my Vegas vacation home, noticed that when I dropped in the pool guy clearly hadn't been stopping by weekly. (Later on, a lock on the gate confirmed this, despite his certainty that he came to service my pool.)

    With just some reading, I am now a chemistry genius, once a week breaking out my TF-100, laying tubes, chemicals and chemistry looking stuff all over the kitchen island, then leaving it there longer than necessary as testament to my brilliance, or until my wife tells me to get my junk cleaned up.

    Good luck, it's so easy, and if you goof something up, there are piles of folks here to solve your problem with you. My pool now looks like this!

    IMG_4703.jpg
    7,500 gallon, funky kidney shaped, Hayward Cartridge filter, no heater, partial sunshine

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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Quote Originally Posted by selkov View Post
    Thanks to all for your replies. I have looked over the test kit comparison chart. In shopping for a kit I came across the Lamotte color-Q pro 7. Has anyone used this? Is it any good?







    • Free & Total Chlorine to 10ppm; Bromine to 22ppm, DPD Digital Photometer
    • pH - 6.5 - 8.5, Phenol Red colormetric visual comparator
    • Acid Demand and Base Demand Titration tests
    • Calcium Hardness 0-700ppm
    • Total Alkalinity 0-250ppm
    • Cyanuric Acid 0-125ppm

    The ColorQ-7 uses just 5 drops per test, and it does the rest. The photometer 'reads' the water, and displays the reading on its digital display. It has 144 tests with included reagents (50 for calcium and cyanuric acid test). Zipper soft case.
    If that unit will only measure FC to 10ppm it is not a wise investment. If your CYA is the recommended 30-40ppm you need to be able to read well into the high teens for a proper slam.

    If if you have been using Pucks and/or Bags of shock your CYA could be much higher and that kit is not going to cut it.

    Dom
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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Thanks to all for making up my mind....
    14000 gal kidney shaped in ground with spa. Paramount V3 pop up cleaner with six zones.
    1 Hp 1 Speed Reliant Pump. Pentair cartridge filter. No heater yet. uncovered.
    Jacksonville Florida

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    Re: Trusting the pool store!

    Free chlorine readings up to 10 ppm may be insufficient if you, heaven forbid, ever need to conduct a SLAM.
    25000 gallon free-form gunite
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