It isn't so much that I'm really angry - I am that. It's more that I walked out of both places depressed and disillusioned by unhelpful, unknowledgeable and just plain rude pool store employees.
I use the TF-100 daily. My numbers are pH 7.5 (for the past 8 weeks), FC 5-6, CC 0, TA 80, CH 50, CYA 50. Steady numbers day in and day out and what variations there have been were expected and easily corrected. We had been talking here about CH in vinyl pools and I had been giving some thought to maybe raising mine to 100. I used borax early in the season to bring the pH in line but have no test strips for it, ditto for the salt I've added, so today I got the bright idea to have the water tested at the pool stores and maybe pick up some calcium chloride (I'm out of IceMelt).
PS1 is locally owned and operated. pools and spas in the summer, pellet stoves in the winter. I'm in line behind a couple who've apparently been in every other day with water. Bought and added this and that, water turned cloudy or green or brown and today's problem was ". . . but we never saw that pink stuff before." PS guy says, "Well, there you have it! Go on over to Mike there and he'll fix ya up with just the thing you need." Like what - a couple tankers of new water?
My turn. Kind of pool? Vinyl. Size? 12.5K. Didn't ask about method of sanitation. He poured my water into the exact same dish that had held the couple's pink water and that hadn't been rinsed out, and then he aspirated it with the exact same syringe, also unrinsed. Popped the syringe into a number of small, paper covered vials, tapped some keys on the computer, and handed me a printout:
FC 3.2 (HIGH); TC 4.0 (HIGH); CC 0.7 (HIGH); pH 7.6 (OK); CYA 20 (LOW); Cu and Fe 0 (OK) -no green hair here! -; TA 29 (no additional comment) - but 29????? Get real! -; Adjusted TA 29 (LOW); CH 14 (LOW).
I am to add 15.25 POUNDS (!) of Alkalinity Increaser and 29.25 POUNDS of Calcium Hardness Increaser and 2.5 POUNDS of Pool Breeze Stabilizer. I asked to how many ppm these things would raise the various values and he goes, "See here on the sheet. You need 120 alk and 250 hardness, and this'll do it for ya, little lady." "But," I said, "it's a vinyl pool. Why do I need that calcium stuff?" And he pats my arm and looks at me with pity and informs me, "Because it says so on the sheet right here." So much for the Pinpoint Water Analysis System, trusted by millions, I am so sure.
Onward. PS2, a Leslie's.
Type of pool? Vinyl. Volume? 12.5 K. Sanitation? Liquid chlorine. Uh, what? Liquid chlorine, around 11%. Fill water? Well. Heater? No. Filter? Sand. I now have to interject in my story that I'm profoundly hearing impaired and wear a highly visible hearing device. I had to ask him to repeat himself after each question because I simply could not understand him. We muddled on. Mumble mumble. I'm sorry, what? Mumble mumble. I'm sorry, I still couldn't get that. And he looks straight at me and asks, "What is the matter with you? Are you deaf or something?" It really didn't go all that well after that.
The question was, "How does your water look?"
"Fine," I said, "clear."
"Then why are you here?" he wants to know. I guess that's a fair question.
"Because you test water," I answered.
"Do you test at home?"
"Yes, I do. I have a Taylor K2006." I don't, actually, I have a TF 100, but I didn't think he'd know what that is.
That produced sort of a stunned look.
"I ask again, why are you here?"
I'm beginning to feel a little weird about this whole scene. "Um . . . ah . . . I'd like you to test for salt and borates. Do you do that?"
"Salt, no. Borates? What's that? Never heard of it."
It is definitely beginning to feel like a Monty Python flick.
"Well then, would you please just do your standard tests on my water?"
He starts slamming cylinders and comparison tubes and dropper bottles around and writes notes on his sheet.
TC 5.0; pH 7.4; TA 90; CH 60; TDS 2100.
Heaven help me but now I have to engage in yet another Q&A session with this freak.
"Um, the Total chlorine here, could you please split that out into FC and CC?"
"Why? You don't need to know those."
"Well, um, if all I know is TC, that could all be FC or it could all be CC or it could be some of each. Couldn't it?"
And here comes my education for the day, my moment of Great Enlightenment!
"What you do-it-yourselfers don't get and never will is, when you have total chlorine, you need to get some shock and clean up your pond."
There you have it, boys and girls. Clean up your dang ponds! buy Shock!
But I wasn't done punishing myself yet.
"Um, excuse me, but did you forget to write down the CYA?"
"The, uh . . . stabilizer, you know? See where it says on the sheet here 'cyanuric acid (CYA)? That CYA."
" Lady, you told me you use liquid chlorine. There ain't no stabilizer in it. You don't have any. Zero. Zilch!"
Well then. Gosh. Shoot me!
And on the very bottom of the sheet it says 'Salt (salinity) - test strip or meter', but I honestly was not going to push it any farther at that point.
He wants me to buy Shock (no, I am NOT paying a quarter to Sean, it's not my word) to get rid of the total chlorine and 22 pounds of Hardness Plus to get to 400 ppm Ch. In a vinyl pool. WHATever! But at least his tests were within acceptable ranges, more so than the PinPoint high tech thingie at the other place.
Know what? I feel a lot better. Thank you for letting me rant.