After several years of using the test strips from the pool store, and several years of battling algae, I am now the proud owner of a TF-100 test kit. I live in the Chicago area, and I am trying to get a head start on opening our pool even though it's a little cold (pool temp is about 54 degrees). I have several questions about my new test kit though. I am color blind so my wife does all the testing for me.
1. The CYA test says the water temp should be over 70 degrees. Does the temp matter for any of the other tests? Also, is it ok to heat the water by setting it in front of a space heater or putting it in the microwave? We usually keep our indoor temp at around 68, so letting it sit on the counter will not work.
2. Just out of curiosity, why does the temp need to be above 70 degrees?
3. As I said, I am color blind, but my wife is having a real hard time with some of these tests also. For example, on the pH test, the colors range from Yellow(6.8) to Orange(7.2) to light pink(7.5) to darker pink(7.8) to darkest pink(8.2). Our pH reading shows a very very light pink...even a lighter shade than the orange. What is more important, the color or the shade? If the shade is more important, I would say the pH is probably about 6.9, but if it's the color I would put it at about 7.4. I understand that's not a huge range, but it is the difference between adding a little borax to keep me in the ideal range.
4. I've searched around looking for the answers to my questions, and I've read several opinions on lighting. It sounds like a white background is fairly well agreed upon, but I've seen a lot of opinions on the distance behind the test tube to keep the white background. It seems most people say a shady spot outside is the best place to test, but then there are a lot of people that bring their water samples inside to test. I even saw one mention of the speed stirrer from tftestkits.net which stirs the samples and has bottom lit LED's to illuminate the water sample and make reading the colors easier. (Anyone have opinions on this?) I have an LED flashlight, would setting the water samples on the flashlight help us read the color better? We've gotten different results holding the tubes up against our white cabinets vs. taking it outside in indirect light with a white background like a piece of paper 2-3 inches away.
5. How important is constant stirring? My wife finds it a bit challenging to keep the water rotating, while adding one drop at a time, while holding it against a white background AND finding the *exact* drop that causes the color to change. She says it's kind of like patting her head and rubbing her stomach at the same time.