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Thread: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lincoln, Nebraska

    HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    I have a basic Taylor test kit which tests TA, chlorine, and pH. I'm coming up with the following readings...
    Chlorine: 1 (after double shocking yesterday - not surprised with other readings though)
    TA: 220
    pH: 8.4 maybe more?

    I added 1.5 cups of granulated pH decreaser - sodium bisulfate. The pH dropped to 7.6 after a few hours, but I tested yet again a few hours later and it was back up. Alkalinity stayed the same.

    We had to go to the pool store to get a new filter drain fitting, so I took a water sample in there, and they ran it through a computerized system.

    Question 1: TRUE OR FALSE...He (pool store owner) started by telling me he couldn't tell me my chlorine levels because I was not using their chlorine, and "cheap walmart" chlorine contains different additives which make it weaker.

    Question 2: Regardless of "weakness" or brand of chlorine, why would they not be able to tell me what level my chlorine was?

    Question 3: He told me I needed to add 20 POUNDS of pH decreaser to an 11,000 gallon pool, because my pH was "off the charts". When I asked what it was he said 8.4 or was off the charts. Coincidentally, the printer was broke to print out a report of the water test. Does 20 POUNDS seem majorly excessive?!?!?! I thought I read somewhere to not add more than 1.5 pounds at a time, but I'm no expert.... Just seems like a good way to get me back in to the store to have to add 19 pounds of pH increaser.

    Question 4: When I asked what my alkalinity was, he reported "fine"....interesting, because I've tested 3 times today all at or above 220....

    Question 5: Someone please just tell me what chemicals to use, how much to add, and how long to wait in between adding the chemicals.

    Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can give!!!
    15x30 oval above ground pool (~12,000 gallons), 2 speed millennium brand cartridge filter, AquaComfort heat pump, Dolphin S50

  2. Back To Top    #2

    TFP Guide
    Mr Bruce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Greenville, SC

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    Hi, welcome to TFP! Thank you for filling out your signature and location in advance, very nice

    1) Compete nonsense. Lots of us use regular old WalMart 8.25% bleach. It's fine.

    2) They do not have a very good test kit.

    3) We prefer to use muratic acid to lower our ph. It adds nothing "extra" to the pool.

    4) If your TA is 220 that's pretty dang high. You ph will continue to rise quickly if that is the case.

    5) Here are some good articles to get started:

    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    You will also need a good test kit. The TFT-100 is the best option IMO. Also acceptable is the Taylor2006C. Link in signature.

    Good job on taking control of your pool and getting away from the pool store
    32K gallon Plaster - CircuPool SJ-55 SWG - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL/K-1766
    Test Kits - Pool Math - Chlorine/CYA/Target/Slam Chart - Support TFP

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Hope Mills, NC

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    You are correct. They are trying to scam you. Its what they do.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Bedford, TX

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!


    Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all pool owners that are being Pool $tored...

    We don't ever recommend having your water tested by anyone that also sells chemicals...

    Sorry, but at this point, no one here can tell you what chemicals to add because we don't just start dumping stuff into pools without a reason.

    We rely on knowing the status of our pool, by testing our own pool water, and then using the results of our testing to determine exactly what is needed to maintain a clean, sanitized and crystal clear pool.

    As you have found out first-hand, pool store testing is less than accurate much of the time. We all use the TF-100 or the Taylor K-206C test kits and can't really use results from other test kits, because we need to be able to compare apples to apples.

    Question 1... False... chlorine is chlorine.. If your pool had chlorine in it, it would be impossible to tell the difference between his "good" chlorine and any other brand.

    Question 2. If your pool had chlorine in it.. it would show up on his test.. (not necessarily as accurate as we would like)

    Question 3. We use relatively inexpensive Muriatic Acid to lower pH and TA.. pH down is a way for pool stores to make money..

    Question 4. We would not consider a reading of 220 to be fine for TA. Again, how accurate is that reading???

    Question 5. We can provide you with better answers, but you need to be able to provide the following test results from one of the approved test kits...


    From everything you have said so far, I would have to assume you have been using 3" tabs to chlorinate your pool. If so, I would also have to assume that your CYA levels are so high, that you almost can't put enough chlorine in your pool to have it work correctly..

    Read this and see if you are interested in our approach to pool care...


    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lincoln, Nebraska

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    The pool was installed last August, however the liner had to be redone at the end of the season, so we filled it (mostly) up in October and immediately closed it for the year. We were told not to bother putting any chemicals in before closing it, so I would assume my CYA is at or near zero. We just opened the pool up yesterday and I added some tabs in the floater and 2 pounds of shock....which I see now was a waste of time / money since my pH and TA is so elevated. From what I'm gathering my first step is to add muriatic acid and get a more advanced test kit. 3 more questions lol...I just sent my husband to Walmart for muriatic acid and bleach.
    1. What will keep the bleach from being sucked out by the sun if there is no stabilizer in the pool....what do you add for stabilizer? I have some from the pool stood would that work?
    2. Walmart sells Klean Strip Green Muriatic Acid, which is labeled as "safer". I was unable to find any other kinds (at least online) from Walmart. Will this work / be as effective?
    3. Do you have a recommendation for a store to purchase a more advanced / recommended test kit such as the TFT-100?
    Thank you all for the help and advice you have provided so far!

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    'burbs of Augusta, Georgia

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    1) Stabilizer is CYA... CYA is what holds your chlorine longer in the water so the sun's UV rays don't burn it up. Just buy singluar product CYA. NO pucks.

    2) Go to Lowes or the paint section for full strength MA.....or use aprox double the amount of half strength and pay the same as full strength.

    3) or Pool Supplies, Spa Supplies and Parts

    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Houston, Texas

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    The TF 100 may be purchased online at TF testkits has pretty quick shipping and excellent customer service if there is a problem with your order. There are several online retailers that sell the Taylor 2006C, Amazon being one of them. Can't vouch for the shipping speed or customer service from them as far as test kits go. You will have a difficult time finding this level of test kit in a retail store. Pool stores rarely sell them as they want to test your water for free so they can use the results to recommend chemicals for you to buy. You could order the test kit online and use your current kit to test the ph until the new kit arrives.

    You have some CYA from the tabs in the floater. If the Walmart chlorine was bags of HtH then you did not add any CYA there. Most of the HtH granular shock is calcium hypochlorite and does not contain CYA. If it was another brand and you still have some left look at the active ingredients. If it contains trichlor or dichlor then it also contains CYA. If you know how many bags you may have used you can get a ballpark estimate of how much CYA you may have added so far.

    I would skip the green muriatic acid. It costs more than regular MA and you need twice as much since it is lower strength. If there is a hardware store nearby they would be a better source for muriatic acid. I would buy 2 gallons of baume 31.45% as you will probably use quite a bit to lower your pH. Run your pH test, use PoolMath to determine how much MA you need to lower the pH to 7.2 Since your pH is off the charts you may have to lower it several times before you get a result below 8.0 Once it is stable below 8.0 you can determine if you need to lower it further or not.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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  8. Back To Top    #8

    RonsPlc's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Gaylesville, AL

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    OK... to answer SOME of your questions...

    The "Green" Muriatic acid is a joke... you can get REAL Muriatic acid from Lowes or the home depot... it is in the paint aisle.
    The stabilizer you have from the pool store should be fine... but make sure you have tested before assuming that you are at a "0" level, and go from there.
    The TFT-100 can be purchased here...
    If you don't feel comfortable buying from them, you can search for a Taylor 2006 test kit on your own. They will both give the results that we depend on having to get to where you want to be.
    14600 gal Intex 24' Round 52" deep AG Pool (Heavily Modified)
    200lb sand filter w/2 speed 1.5/0.5hp pump
    Stenner 45MHP10 Liquid Chlorine (well... bleach) Injector. Borates added.
    K-2006 test kit w/Speedstir
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Waterford, MI

    Re: HELP! I think the pool store is trying to scam me!

    I've actually had trouble finding full strength MA at either of the hardware stores. This is the one thing I buy from the local pool store - and its very reasonably priced there. For some reason, Lowes and HD around here only seem to carry the diluted version that is used for pavement cleaning and stripping. Maybe different if your local stores have pool sections, but mine don't.
    35,000 IG plaster pool, built ~1975 (owner since August, 2016)
    Harris 152716 pump, installed 2016 | Aquatech High Rate Sand Filter, installed ??? | Raypak RP 2100 heater (connected, unused)
    Traditional Chlorine | Municipal Water

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