Do you test other people's water?

Winger 03

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2009
197
Frederick County, MD
I am traveling next week to visit my wife's family. Two of them have pools, and I have the urge to bring my TF-100 along to see how well they keep up with their pool. I know both of the owners just dump based on pool store advice.

I think it would be interesting, but on the other hand, I may be horrified at what I find and have second thoughts about the kids getting in. Maybe at a minimum, I can convince them to get a good test kit.

So, do any of you test other's water?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
It all depends. Testing someone else's water can sometimes result in losing a friend, and other times it can be very rewarding. I've gotten cautious about it, after getting attacked for refusing to swim in someone else's pool. I've taken to showing up late for events at one friends house, so I "miss" the opportunity to go swimming in their pool and can blame it all on being busy with work.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,963
SouthWest Alabama
I test other peoples pools. Everybody I know knows that I do and I've een been told not to bring my "chemistry set" with me. I'm fine with that as long as they're fine with me telling everybody why we're not swimming. I'm not as evil as it sounds, I do warn everybody with a pool before they invite me that I have a test kit and ain't scared to use it! :-D
 

niceguymr

Well-known member
May 28, 2010
119
I tested a friend's pool recently with my new test kit. My buddy is one of those guys that doesn't do or know much about pool maintenance. He says he pretty much does everything by sight. He just 'knows' when it needs more chlorine and whatnot. He also just periodically just adds a little acid every so often. He has an automatic pool vacuum and he skims the pool for leaves with a net a few days. He doesn't have a test kit and only gets his pool water tested once in a blue moon. He has one of the large Hayward tablet feeders (offline hose setup) which he fills with tablets about once a month. So naturally, I was excited about testing his water figuring his values would be all over the charts. But they weren't. His pool was actually pretty near perfect even though his CYA was about 100. Everything else was right about where it should be (or within very close range) and there were no visible signs of algae and the water was sparkling clear. So after I concluded testing his water, I really didn't have any advice to give him other than to keep doing what he was doing and despite the fact that I was happy for him and his pool, I was deep down inside a little disappointed that my testing his water for him didn't yield any useful information for him.
 

NWMNMom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
1,582
Waaay NW MN
Bama Rambler said:
I test other peoples pools. Everybody I know knows that I do and I've een been told not to bring my "chemistry set" with me. I'm fine with that as long as they're fine with me telling everybody why we're not swimming. I'm not as evil as it sounds, I do warn everybody with a pool before they invite me that I have a test kit and ain't scared to use it! :-D

Ditto. They have taken to calling me the "pool goddess" and some things that aren't so nice too when I dispense advice on what they should do with their powders and pucks after I hear the usual "but I spent good money on those...."
 

niceguymr

Well-known member
May 28, 2010
119
Bama Rambler said:
I test other peoples pools. Everybody I know knows that I do and I've een been told not to bring my "chemistry set" with me. I'm fine with that as long as they're fine with me telling everybody why we're not swimming. I'm not as evil as it sounds, I do warn everybody with a pool before they invite me that I have a test kit and ain't scared to use it! :-D
No offense, but that to me is a little odd. I've been swimming in people's pools my entire life (and vice versa) and I've never thought about testing someone's water before swimming nor has anyone else asked to do the same. That would be like asking someone for a list of ingredients they use in their cooking before you'll eat their food. I think that if the pool looks or smells funny, then you simply shouldn't go in. And if you go in and it feels funny or burns your eyes a little and it bothers you, then you get out of the water. But to refuse to go into someone's pool unless you are allowed to test it just seems a little extreme. But hey, that's just me (maybe). I'm not trying to be critical of your choices. Everyone has their 'things'.

:cheers:
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
All the time - I even get paid to do it :p

Seriously, though - I recently bought a TF 100XL kit for work, and the magnetic stirrer - love it!, and also ordered a 2006 - C for my personal use when working on friends pools or going to a hotel with a pool. Not wanting to be overly obnoxious at a hotel, I just dip a sample then test the water in my room (you could discretely do similarly by taking the sample to your car to test :wink: )
 

JeffJeff

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2010
45
Don't go testing someone's pool unless they explicitly ask you to do so to help them out. That is quite disrespectful. If you must test the water before you get in, do it discretely as the above poster suggests.

My rule is if I can see the drain, no visible algae, and it smells OK I will get in.

I have tested a friends pool who bought a new house and is a new pool owner. I told him what he needed to do and he never did anything. He kept with the pool service despite having algae as he was too confused to take it on himself.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,082
San Rafael, CA USA
niceguymr said:
He also just periodically just adds a little acid every so often. ... He has one of the large Hayward tablet feeders (offline hose setup) which he fills with tablets about once a month. ... His pool was actually pretty near perfect even though his CYA was about 100.
His pH and TA would not be in good shape if he was using only Trichlor tablets/pucks and just adding a little acid every so often. Adding some pH Up every so often I could understand. So something about this doesn't make sense; his periodic checks with the pool store probably have him adding pH Up now and then, but not acid. His CYA at 100 ppm is certainly plausible depending on the amount of dilution of his water or over-the-winter CYA loss.
 

Lana537

LifeTime Supporter
May 16, 2009
242
The Triangle, NC
To the OP:

I don't test other friends' water because I have no friends with swimming pools. :shock: If I did have friends with pools, I'd probably sneak a water sample, but I'd never openly test, I don't think.

Before we bought our pool with a house, we used to travel a lot. If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken that test kit to every hotel and resort. I plan on taking my test kit to the family reunion summer beach house rental that has a pool on the property!

Lana
 

MomUv5

LifeTime Supporter
May 28, 2010
49
Memphis, TN area
niceguymr said:
That would be like asking someone for a list of ingredients they use in their cooking before you'll eat their food.
For me, that's not a good analogy. I actually DO ask people what ingredients they use in their cooking because I am gluten intolerant and two of my children have food allergies. One of them has severe, life-threatening allergic reactions to certain foods.

niceguymr said:
I think that if the pool looks or smells funny, then you simply shouldn't go in. And if you go in and it feels funny or burns your eyes a little and it bothers you, then you get out of the water. But to refuse to go into someone's pool unless you are allowed to test it just seems a little extreme. But hey, that's just me (maybe). I'm not trying to be critical of your choices. Everyone has their 'things'.

:cheers:
Since I'm new to all this, I haven't decided how I'll react. I suspect that people who have sensitive skin (or are very uptight) are more likely to test someone else's pool. Almost all of my kids have environmental allergies and very sensitive skin. So we'll see how it goes.

I suspect that I WILL be more likely to test the water at a hotel pool. A pool that gets used by a ton of strangers from all over the country/world is more likely to have scary stuff in it than a pool owned by a friend.
 

kenmar

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 13, 2009
288
Schnecksville, PA
Knowing that I have a fancy pool water test kit, my sister asked me to test her water pool water a few days ago.
Results, (CYA High and PH very low.)
Her husband commented that he just put some "PH Up" in their pool. I asked how he knew how much to put in... he just gussed.
So, I gave them my suggestions, the address of this site, as well as telling them I would not be offended if they did not take my advice
 

skydiva44

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 18, 2009
200
Houston, Texas
I WISH I would have had my test kit at the Hotel in Galveston last week.....not green water BUT I could not see any of the feet of the children that were playing in the pool...these were not my children, but if they were I would not have let them get in! As for myself, I just sun-bathed and people watched... :wink:
 

jt100

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2008
51
Rochester, NY
I too think it is a bit presumptuous, disrespectful and tacky. I would be somewhat offended if someone said they wanted to test my pool water before swimming in my pool. If i (or they) had any concerns about water quality, then i would probably bring up pool chemistry in a tactful way. I would only test their water unless i was asked to do so. JMHO.
 
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