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Thread: Best and Least favorite pool test

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    Best and Least favorite pool test

    While I'm on the subject, which tests do you find the most conclusive?

    The best by far is the DPD-FAS chlorine test. My least favorite is the CYA. My second least favorite is the PH tests, whether it's liquid or by test strip. I find it somewhat difficult distinguishing the shades of orange and pink sometimes.

    The Taylor or TF Total Alkalinity and CH tests are pretty cut and dry for me.

    This last Saturday, I bought an inexpensive 50-pack of HTH Test Strips which test for FC, TC, TA, CYA and PH. I think I prefer reading the CYA on this to my Taylor kit, and the two numbers do agree with each other. The chlorine readings seem to be pretty accurate too. If you want to do 6-tests in 15 seconds, these test-strips really aren't bad to have.

    Having some experience with the liquid kits, I can read the test strips pretty accurately. For a cheap, everyday test when things are normal with your pool, they aren't too bad.

    BTW, I paid $12 for what you can get on eBay for $7.99

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    Differentiating between colors on a scale such as with your pH readings just takes a little getting used to. In the beginning, I had my wife tell me what she saw versus what I saw. Using a consistent background (a white lamp), I got used to seeing things consistently and it has improved my accuracy quite a bit.

    The CYA test probably gives people more problems when it comes to interpretation than just about any other test based on the posts that I have seen here on TFP. Instead of a color change or color comparison, a determination is made on the turbidity of the sample. This can really be affected depending on the source and direction of the light on the sample. I tend to get the best results when I read the CYA sample in a shady spot, outside, on a sunny day.

    The fact that you got comparable test strip results to your drop test results are probably an exception to the rule. They may work fine for you day to day, but if you are having water balance problems of any sort, I would rely on the drop based test results over those on the strips without question. Drop based tests, except when dealing with salt levels or borates, have proven to be the most reliable standard.
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
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    "It depends."- JohnT

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    Test strips are not as precise as the drop based tests, and occasionally they are just wildly wrong. A test strip might tell you that TA is between 70 and 90, but a drop based test will tell you if it is 70 or 80 or 90.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest

    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    FYI, the HTH strip is a rebranded Taylor test strip.

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    I can read the test strips pretty accurately. For a cheap, everyday test when things are normal with your pool, they aren't too bad.
    Year after year, folks log onto the forum with wildly innaccurate results from test strips......frequently involving CYA. It is a significant contributor to people's struggle with their pool water. A prime tenant of BBB is accurate testing. I can't think of a circumstance where I would prefer them over drops based testing.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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  6. Back To Top    #6
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    After having pool problems and needing the most accurate testing there is, I would never rely on pool test strips, not even when the water is balanced.

    However, I've gotten used to them enough to find them convenient when I don't have time on a daily basis. I can compare the two to know roughly where my chlorine and PH are, and the CYA is very consistent with my turbidity results.

    Test strips can give you a quick idea if your FC or PH is drastically out of line.

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    Quote Originally Posted by rbdeli
    After having pool problems and needing the most accurate testing there is, I would never rely on pool test strips, not even when the water is balanced.

    However, I've gotten used to them enough to find them convenient when I don't have time on a daily basis. I can compare the two to know roughly where my chlorine and PH are, and the CYA is very consistent with my turbidity results.

    Test strips can give you a quick idea if your FC or PH is drastically out of line.
    But an OTO/pH tester such as the K-1000 included in the TF100 can do it easier and much more accurately than strips can (especially the pH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by rbdeli
    BTW, I paid $12 for what you can get on eBay for $7.99
    Also, the danger of buying testing supplies from Ebay is often they are old and out of date. I saw an Aquachem 6 way test kit for sale on Ebay just today (all the sellers other items were woman's clothes) linked from the pool test kit site you keep referring to and linking to in all of your posts. Chemtura (Aquachem's parent company) discontinued this kit about 2 years ago!
    Test strips have an even shorter shelf life than liquid kits and the first symptom of an old kit is inaccurate results but you would not really have a way to know unless you were comparing them to another test kit.

  8. Back To Top    #8
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    That's a good point about aging test kits.
    ..and it's not just eBay. In fact, most of those eBay stores are realling just the same swimming pool online stores that we can choose to buy from directly. Ebay is just one of their selling mediums.

    My local pool store sold me an old measuring pitcher that was so old it cracked the second I put chlorine in it.
    It really made me wonder if I wanted to buy test kits stuff from them.

    Another good reason to buy TF test kits and reagents.
    Good pricing too. The 0871 is way cheaper than what I paid at the pool store last year.

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    Not to change the subject , but our least favorite is the CYA also, with pH coming in a close 2nd!
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

  10. Back To Top    #10
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    Yea!.. I'm glad I'm not th only one who feels that way about the CYA and PH..

    I will say one thing about the TF or Taylor Liquid Test Kits. The manufacturers of the test strips claim how subject they are to error, but i don't buy that at all. As long as you're paying attention to what you're doing, counting drops and swirling is an error-proof process. I get the same results every time.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Guest

    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    You should find the same repeatability of results with the pH and CYA tests also in terms of the color or cloudiness produced. The only problem is leaning how to read them consistently which will come with a bit of practice.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Guest

    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    agreed, and I've already gotten quite a bit better at it. what seems to work best for me with the PH is holding it up against the clear sky away from the sun. What I really need though is a white backdrop.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Guest

    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    I find it's easiest to read by holding it up against a blue nothern sky.
    Indoors I use a daylight light source and hold the comparato up to a piece of white paper.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Least favorite pool test

    When I don't get around to testing until dark, I use the fridge light. "Someone" needs to invent a really thin, compact light source for those of us who don't get time to test until dark! The ones they use at the pool stores are big and bulky.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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