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Thread: Is the TF 100 essential

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    Is the TF 100 essential

    I'm wondering what's in it that is worth $68. Amazon sells a CYA test for less than $10, and we can get a basic kit for cheap from wherever. I get that the TF 100 has alot more reagent/tests in it- but don't they expire? I think this info is on the site somewhere but I couldn't find it.
    TIA

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    It's a good kit and good value. It also supports the forum.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    I buy a new set of refills every year whether I need them or not. Just to support the cause and make sure my tests are great. It is cheaper than a single trip to the pool store for most folks. And it assures me that my pool will be amazing every single day just as it has for the last three years.

    More here, Pool School - Test Kits Compared
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    You get what you pay for. Just take the pH test, for example. Many other inexpensive test kits use phenol red for the pH indicator dye but they don't have any chlorine neutralizers in them or they use sodium thiosulfate which itself affects the pH. The result is that the pH isn't accurate for a range of chlorine levels. That isn't true for the Taylor pH test (used in the K-2006 and the TF-100) because they use a proprietary blend of chlorine neutralizers that don't affect the pH much and handle an FC up to around 10 ppm or so.

    Then there's the FAS-DPD chlorine test. It's more expensive than the DPD test (using a visual comparator), but far more accurate "counting the drops" and with a much larger range. Because it is the active chlorine level that prevents algae growth, it is very important that the FC and CYA tests be as accurate as they can. Furthermore, if one needs to use an elevated chlorine level to kill off algae or for any other reason, the FAS-DPD test can measure chlorine up to 50 ppm while the DPD will bleach out not able to read accurately above 10 ppm (best case; in some kits it stops reading well at 5 ppm). When doing an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test, one needs accuracy and when measuring Combined Chlorine (CC) one wants to know if it's really <= 0.5 ppm and can use FAS-DPD to test within 0.2 ppm if desired.

    And don't even think about using test strips. Most don't even test for Calcium Hardness (CH) and instead test Total Hardness which is not relevant since it is calcium carbonate that protects plaster surfaces, not magnesium which is also counted in Total Hardness. The test strips are hard to read accurately and are dependent on technique. While some are better than others, it's not worth using them if there is a better drop-based test. See this post for a comparison of some test strips against the Taylor K-2006 and TFTestKits TF-100.

    As for the CYA test, the one in the TF-100 can measure down to 20 ppm and the separate CYA test for $17 has enough reagent for 16 tests. The roughly $10 CYA test on Amazon has a 4 ounce bottle for only 8 tests (if they are 1/2 ounce per test) while the 8 oz bottle test on Amazon costs $19. But that's not all -- the test uses melamine to precipitate melamine cyanurate and then visually measure the CYA via turbidity (black dot test), BUT melamine cyanurate is soluble in water at around 20 ppm. In order to get an accurate CYA number, one must use a low pH buffer solution, which of course the Taylor has built into their melamine reagent. Does the Blue Devil reagent do this? I can't tell.

    As for the amount of reagents in the TF-100, the indicator dyes are the most sensitive but if you store the kit in a cool place away from sunlight you should be able to keep the reagents for 2 years. Certainly all the acids/bases in the test will last forever. See this post for more details.

    If you just want to spend less money and don't want as many reagents, then the Taylor K-2006 will be $50 instead of $68 for the TF-100, but you will be paying for extra reagent volumes for tests you don't do as often and will have less reagent for tests you do more often. See Test Kits Compared. If you want to get the K-2006 that is still a fine kit and you can later get larger refills. This would also be a way of getting the K-2006 pH comparator which with 7.0,7.2,7.4,7.6,7.8,8.0 is different than the TF-100 which uses the K-1000 comparator with 6.8,7.2,7.5,7.8, 8.2.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    A really good test kit is the best investment you can make for your pool. Of course you have to be willing to learn how to use it. The TF 100 is just a few bucks more than a Taylor K2006 but you get larger bottles of some of the reagents. Either one will work but personally I would pay $50 bucks more knowing I am supporting a site that has saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Since they don't overcharge for the kit, I decided to become a paying member. I don't have the time to post and help users as much as some of the other members so that was the least I could do.
    Gunite/Plaster pool at 13k gallons. All Jandy with CL340 series cartridge filter, 1.5 HP Jandy Stealth pump. Jandy 1400 SWCG and PDA4 controller. Dual waterfalls. Polaris 280. Pool installed August 2012. Southern Louisiana. And lets not forget my trusty TF100 test kit!

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Thanks for the information. It's been a crazy few weeks and I ordered the TF-1OO last night even though we have alot of other expenses right now. I figured it's going to save us money in the long run rather than spending tons of money on chemicals because we are guessing on what it needs or going by false information. Hopefully we get this pool under control!
    18,000 gallon in-ground chlorine fiberglass pool with a hayward super pump vs and hayward sand filter (approximately 10 years old with new sand and some DE added June 2015)

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    You will NOT be sorry. Your pool thanks you!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    It will be the best single investment you'll make in your pool.
    TFP Moderator
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    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    And you will look cool to your friends when you break out the speed stir option (which you really should get, it makes consistency easy) and begin your testing.

    How much is that worth!!!!!
    16 x 32 17500 gallons
    Vinyl in-ground
    Hayward 250# Sand Filter
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    Hayward SWG

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Let us know when it gets 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: Is the TF 100 essential

    YES. Best $68 I ever spent on the pool. Test results still working just fine and I'm on the 3rd year of most reagents. As much as I love amazon, they suck for pool products.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Not to be contrarion, but as a service to anyone else who may be in my shoes. Since I live in Canada, I can't get the TF100, and I refuse to pay $175 for the Talyor kit on principle (2 years ago price..wonder what it costs now with our dollar?!). And it's not that I can;t afford it. It just ****** me off! (lol)

    So I bought the K1000 for $20 and the CYA for $24. I function very well with these, and have not had a need to shock/Slam for the past three years since I started this method and found TFP. I measure FC pretty much every day, and use liquid CL. My PH is tested on average about twice a week. I keep my CYA in the 25-30 range, so that my target FC sits within the limits of the OTO test, and so I have some wiggle room for vacation pucks or small CYA additions depending on backwashing required. I am fortunate my TA and PH are very stable. Have never had to add acid, have never been outside of the 7.2-7.8 range, and will use a puck or two or some aeration to manage PH towards the 7.5 range, if I need to. maybe once or twice a year I do one of these things to tweak PH, but it's strictly optional for my own comfort, as my PH is remarkably stable.

    If I had to slam, I think I would manage, by diluting my test water and doing my best to hit target shock FC levels. I think I would manage fine "winging" it in that way, maybe erring a few FC over target. I Would have to use OTO for and OCULT as well. I will say on this point though, that since I use my solar cover a lot (Canada!) I keep an eye on my CL loss on these days, and it's like I'm constantly doing OCULTS in a half assed (lol) way. I do find that my CL loss is basically zero on these days, to the degree I can test with the OTO kit. It's something I monitor...that is to confirm my CL loss is next to nothing on covered pool days.

    So, it can be done, and I really at this point find it very easy. I do hit this site almost every day, just to read, so I have learned a lot and without that, I'd be lost, like I was when I bought this house 4 years ago.

    I fully endorse the TF100, and would have purchased one at the US price if you were able to sell me one. I have managed with what I think is a fine solution. I should add that my expereince in the 3-4 times I did get the PS to test my water is that they seem to be OK, better than most stories I read on here. I usually want to get an idea of my TA, and it's always been 70-90 (and of course they want me to increase it for some reason!), and always fits the story of what I expect it to be given my nice stable water. I might test it once a year (didn't bother this year) and my CH is always fairly consistent, CYA within range of what I measure, so I have SOME trust there, enough that it's a resource I think I could use if I needed to know TA close enough.

    I know this isn't text book TFP advice, but for my Canadian friends, it's fully manageable this way in my opinion.
    16x32 vinyl
    80,000L chlorine
    21" Hayward sand filter

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    It's not really that foreign from the advice on TFP since we pretty much give that advice in the Pool School article Guide for Seasonal/Temporary Pools where it just suggests a simple 2-way pH and (OTO) chlorine test kit. CH isn't needed to be measured since the pool is presumed to be vinyl. The TA is likewise not measured since fill water typically has some and if it has too much then there will just be ongoing pH adjustment which will lower the TA as well. The CYA starts from zero so is just added in the right amount.

    Of course, your pool isn't seasonal so it is important to know your CYA level which is why adding that works.

    It's all about doing what is right for your pool and situation. We focus on the more complete test kit because there are times when it is important and it eliminates questions or issues for the more unusual water situations. Once you determine that for your pool you don't have something that would cause issues, such as fill water with very high TA or CH that you'd want to manage more explicitly and that you don't have a plaster pool, then you can focus on the three most important parameters of pH, FC and CYA.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Yeah, I agree. I appreciate your comment, and how much time you take to educate and respond to so many posts here, so thoroughly. It's truly remarkable. But here's what I notice. Unless you declare you own one of the "suggested test kits", I notice over and over that basically, you will be told you can't rely on your numbers until you confirm you tested with the right kit. I mean, it's all over the place. Yes, it's definitely the ideal practice, but I border's on cult-like, the insistence of owning a kit. As much as we know the pool stores have a goal of selling you their products, I also get this feeling like the test kit is pushed without exception, immediately, as mandatory. I read it over and over and honestly have started and deleted posts on my approach about 5 times , just because I don't need the backlash I know would come. That's my opinion anyway.

    No offense intended here. I know all of the TFP veterans could easily manage in the same manner I do. Maybe the story would be different if the kits were $200 plus, like they are for us in Canada. I would concede that for $50-60, it's basically a no brainer, but for $200, I think it changes the math such that the kit would be overkill. That's how I feel, and why I want to let people know it can be done this way (as you also point out - thank you). Anyway, don't want to beat a dead horse here.

    PS, my pool is seasonal (open in May, close in Oct), not sure if I understand your intended point there or not. CYA needs to be added every opening, to account for the fall winterizing (draining), which is pretty standard I assume, for us seasonal guys.
    16x32 vinyl
    80,000L chlorine
    21" Hayward sand filter

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    I notice over and over that basically, you will be told you can't rely on your numbers until you confirm you tested with the right kit. I mean, it's all over the place. Yes, it's definitely the ideal practice, but I border's on cult-like, the insistence of owning a kit.
    The advice that members give on this forum is predicated on precise test results.........period.

    Let's say you call me and want me to give you directions so you can come down to Florida. How can I do that if I don't know where you are to start with? What if you tell me, "Well, roughly, I am somewhere up in Canada" How can I give you good directions based on that information?

    Let's say you have something unfortunate happen in your pool and it gets quite cloudy. You post asking for help. The VERY first thing I need to help you is a set of test results that are trustworthy. The CH test results and the TA test results may give me some insight into your cloudiness issue but you would not be able to report those with your current testing.

    (You) Please respond to some of the calls for help on this forum without test results and I think you will soon find the advice you give is not very good.

    Don't be too quick to criticize the volunteer responders who REALLY want to help people clear their pools until you walk a mile in their shoes....."it ain't as easy as it might look"
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    I'm somewhat new here, but have had good results. I understand the concern that the "test kit push" may be "cultish," . I've looked at it in a different way - hundreds of thousands of people come to this site and want answers. It's hard to help someone via the Internet when you don't know what your working with. It's easier to help people when accurate pool water results are given. Since TFP is based on science, there isn't a quick fix such as throw in 3 bottles of bleach every day until algae is gone. It seems that a lot of people are wanting this type
    Of answer. It's easier for the moderators to help those who are willing to help themselves by providing accurate test results. That's my take anyway.


    Lisa P.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Quote Originally Posted by Pogueld View Post
    I'm somewhat new here, but have had good results. I understand the concern that the "test kit push" may be "cultish," . I've looked at it in a different way - hundreds of thousands of people come to this site and want answers. It's hard to help someone via the Internet when you don't know what your working with. It's easier to help people when accurate pool water results are given. Since TFP is based on science, there isn't a quick fix such as throw in 3 bottles of bleach every day until algae is gone. It seems that a lot of people are wanting this type
    Of answer. It's easier for the moderators to help those who are willing to help themselves by providing accurate test results. That's my take anyway.


    Lisa P.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    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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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    . Thanks.


    Lisa P.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Quote Originally Posted by Tie Twist View Post
    Yeah, I agree. I appreciate your comment, and how much time you take to educate and respond to so many posts here, so thoroughly. It's truly remarkable. But here's what I notice. Unless you declare you own one of the "suggested test kits", I notice over and over that basically, you will be told you can't rely on your numbers until you confirm you tested with the right kit. I mean, it's all over the place. Yes, it's definitely the ideal practice, but I border's on cult-like, the insistence of owning a kit. As much as we know the pool stores have a goal of selling you their products, I also get this feeling like the test kit is pushed without exception, immediately, as mandatory. I read it over and over and honestly have started and deleted posts on my approach about 5 times , just because I don't need the backlash I know would come. That's my opinion anyway.
    :
    PS, my pool is seasonal (open in May, close in Oct), not sure if I understand your intended point there or not. CYA needs to be added every opening, to account for the fall winterizing (draining), which is pretty standard I assume, for us seasonal guys.
    By seasonal I meant a pool that is completely drained such as a pop-up or EasySet pool, not one that is just closed for the winter with only a partial drain due to freezing.

    Though I responded to your approach positively because you know what you are doing and aren't having any problems and have certain known parameters such as a vinyl pool and known fill water, take a look at my post in another thread to see more of what Dave is talking about. For a new user coming to the forum almost always with a problem to be solved we really need to know all the water parameters to be able to help them. About the only exception to that would be that very small seasonal pool where it just may be easier to dump it and start over. Both test strips and pool stores and even some non-Taylor test kits (including some electronic kits) have been proven time and time again to be unreliable. That doesn't mean that some of them don't sometimes work or work for some tests, but we can't know for sure the way we do with the Taylor kits.

    It's not just the pool water that can be tested, but the tap/fill water as well and both sets of readings are very important for determining what to do especially if we want to not only fix the current problem but prevent problems in the future. For example, if a pool is somewhat low in CH but their fill water is high in CH, we may not want to recommend using too much Cal-Hypo if they happen to have that around and we know there will be a lot of evaporation and refill in their future. There are lots of subtleties like that which we can only figure out with good test kit results.

    Also, we want people to take charge of their pools and that means getting the test results for themselves and not relying on a pool store for such results.

    Finally, once one is set up and they become more familiar with their situation, then they can decide to cut back wherever it makes sense to do so but the vast majority of people who first come to this forum really don't know what to do and there's no way they should be skipping certain tests at this point. However, not having a FAS-DPD test means that you pretty much can't do an OCLT at least catching any subtlety there and you can't easily do a SLAM though as you point out you can roughly measure via dilution of the water sample and you can't measure smaller amounts of CC reliably either. So long as everything is working well, that's OK, but if anything happens that's when the FAS-DPD becomes very useful.

    Now an argument can be made for having a test kit that is more balanced towards the simpler less expensive tests, but that wouldn't be something to give to someone first coming onto this forum when they usually have a problem that right away needs (or is certainly helped more by) the more expensive tests.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Is the TF 100 essential

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    The advice that members give on this forum is predicated on precise test results.........period.

    Let's say you call me and want me to give you directions so you can come down to Florida. How can I do that if I don't know where you are to start with? What if you tell me, "Well, roughly, I am somewhere up in Canada" How can I give you good directions based on that information?

    Let's say you have something unfortunate happen in your pool and it gets quite cloudy. You post asking for help. The VERY first thing I need to help you is a set of test results that are trustworthy. The CH test results and the TA test results may give me some insight into your cloudiness issue but you would not be able to report those with your current testing.

    (You) Please respond to some of the calls for help on this forum without test results and I think you will soon find the advice you give is not very good.

    Don't be too quick to criticize the volunteer responders who REALLY want to help people clear their pools until you walk a mile in their shoes....."it ain't as easy as it might look"


    Hey, I'm not criticizing volunteers, who in their right mind would? This site is great and I refer people here all the time. I was pointing out the frustrating position I am in, and how it might be that I would be inclined to declare I'm using the right kit, just to avoid the back and forth about getting the right kit (which I can't), that I have read on here probably 1000 times. I understand the obvious point that you need good info to give good direction. But if we declare PS tests are not valid, and you can't sell me a test kit, we are left with the position I am in. But to answer the OP's question, and to provide hope to others in my position, it can be done, an quite easily in my opinion.
    Last edited by tim5055; 07-10-2015 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Lnaguage
    16x32 vinyl
    80,000L chlorine
    21" Hayward sand filter

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