Frustrated beyond belief

jparke5

New member
Sep 30, 2016
3
Fort Worth,TX
#1
Good morning,
Our pool was finished up last September here in Fort Worth, TX. We have been trying to get everything ready for the summer and have been having a problem with our alkalinity being low. Plus differences in readings have left us feeling very perplexed.

04/03/17
FAC - 5
TAC - 5
CH - 140
CYA - 100
TA - 60
pH - 7.4
Acid demand - 1
TDS - 70
Pho - 300

Pool store told us we needed to drain the pool and start over because of the CYA. Pool builder told us we did not need to drain the pool - with the evaporation and the rain we just needed to raise the alkalinity so add 10lb of sodium Bicarb wait 4 hours and add 10lb of calcium. Which we did and then had retested. Based on what we added I would have expected the alkalinity to have raised yet it dropped to zero?

04/06/17
FAC - 5
TAC - 5
CH - 150
CYA - 125
TA - 0
pH - 6.8
base demand - 4
TDS - 850
Pho - 2500
Added another 10lbs of sodium bicarb (I believe) and retested:

04/07/17
FAC - 5
TAC - 5
CH - 250
CYA - 100
TA - 60
pH - 7.2
Acid demand - 2
TDS - 60
Pho - 500
Plus at this testing the guy at the pool store said oh by the way your algae reading is high at 1,000. When we explained that the pool was crystal clear and beautiful he said "oh, that's strange" rested the algae and then said the test showed we were at 500. All within a couple of minutes.

History - the pool builder told us to just keep the chlorine dispenser full of the tablets. Fusion2 dispenser/sanitizer and we would have no problems. So we have definitely probably over chlorinated. Who do we listen to now? Pool store - drain water? Pool builder - add bicarb - which obviously hasn't been working.
In the midst of this I have been trying to get the testing kit that was given to us by the builder but it doesn't seem to work. I can't get any of my readings to match any of the colors on the tube.
Frustrated beyond belief.
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,216
East Texas
#2
Scratch all of the above and listen to us! Help us to help you by ordering your own GREAT test kit (TF100) from TFTestkits.net so we can speak the same language and verify your results, and back it up with good advice as to how to proceed. Welcome to the forum.

(there is no "algae" test btw)--that should tell you something! he must have meant phosphates which are insignificant....and we DON'T recommend the Fusion2 system either. DON'T buy any phosphates remover! It just removes cash from your wallet.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,328
Sebring, Florida
#3
Welcome to the forum:wave:

You are being "pool stored"

Please keep reading and learning what we teach.

Armed with your OWN test kit and what we teach you, this will clear up and your pool management will become very easy.

As woody says, "there is NO algae test" ....the pool store is taking you for a ride.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#4
Welcome to TFP!

Yep, classic example of bad information from multiple sources costing you time and money and still having a bad pool experience. A little reading at TFP and testing your own water can solve all of those problems.

Start here,
And here, Pool School - Getting Started
And here, TFPC for Beginners

It is a little overwhelming at first but very easy once you get started.

How do you like that Aquabright? What color?
 

jparke5

New member
Sep 30, 2016
3
Fort Worth,TX
#5
My apologies - I tried to read through the forums in order to provide the correct information needed to get advice regarding the water chemistry. In one posting the poster was reprimanded for writing the full name of the tests and was told to use abbreviations so that it could be read better. Perhaps that wasn't the case for the entire site. Abbreviation explanations added below. Also in one of the other threads it said this: Thread: What we need to know to answer your questions
“ If you don't have a test kit with all of those tests, many pool stores offer water testing”. So that led me to believe I could use pool store test results.


FAC - Free available chlorine - Range - 1-4ppm
TAC - Total available chlorine - Range - 0.2 difference
CH - Calcium hardness - Range - 200-400 ppm
CYA - Cyanuric Acid - Range - 30-99 ppm
TA - Total Alkalinity - 80-120 ppm

Do the test kits sold on this site test for something different? Aren't the tests pretty standard in what they test for? I was under the impression that all pools should be tested for chlorine levels, alkalinity, ph, etc?

And yes, I am aware of the pool stores wanting to sell their product so I am wary of what they tell me, thus my reason for posting here as a new pool owner to get various thoughts.

And hence the frustration - three different sources - two answers and one non-answer because I have not received the correct test kit.

As for the Nature2 Fusion - it came with the pool and is already installed and from what I can see is just a method for adding the chlorine? Unfortunately at this point I doubt I am going to be able to talk the husband into removing it without reason. I will do more research to see why the Nature2 Fusion isn't recommended.

Thanks for your help anyway - I appreciate the time taken to issue the warnings.
 

jparke5

New member
Sep 30, 2016
3
Fort Worth,TX
#6
@ pooldv - So far we have enjoyed the Aquabright with what little use we have had with it. Easy on the feet. I believe we went with the Mediterranean Blue which is actually lighter than it appears in the brochure.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#7
TFP does not sell test kits. Pool store testing is notoriously inaccurate as you have seen. Which set of test results would you like me to use to offer advice? They are wildly different and all 3 are likely inaccurate. I will be happy to provide guidance for whichever set of results you want me to.

Here is a comparison of test kits we recommend, Pool School - Test Kits Compared

I personally use the TF100 because it is the best value. I buy mine from TFTestkits.net.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
#8
JP, no worries. As pooldv has stated, we'll help as much as we can. Let's recap a few of your latest questions:
- The test kits we recommend (TF-100 or Taylor K-2006) have proven to be a great value for the $$, and provide all the tests you typically need for the season - or more. The tests you will need to perform, like the results you posted above, are best performed at home because in some cases, the best results are achieved with natural sunlight. Indoor incandescent lighting can skew some of the tests. Of course a pool store can produce a printout of recommendations, but if the tests results are skewed by lighting, rushing with lots of customers, or a new/seasonal employee, the printout will push recommendation that aren't best for you. Plus, at home you can test any time of day and save gas. :)
- The Nature2 system is often installed by the builder who gets endorsements or monetary refunds for pushing their product. It uses a mineral-based product to try and achieve proper sanitation. Problem is that it also adds copper to the water that can stain your pool. Once metal is in the water, you have a whole different mess on your hands and either have to use a sequestrant to keep the metal suspended, or replace the water. We highly discourage the use of mineral-based sanitizers.
- Yes, we always look for those standardized tests as noted above (FC, CC, CYA, pH, TA, and CH). They are the cornerstone of good pool chemistry. The whole concept may seem tricky or difficult when first starting (it was to us as well), but once you run through the tests and see the results for yourself, you'll wonder why you never tested your water before. Much like many services today, you'll be guaranteed to do a better job yourself than to rely on someone who is a hurry or not doing it right.

I got my first "proper" test kit about 4 years ago after battling algae for months and hitting the pool store everyday. I use the TF-100 because it is stocked with Taylor reagents and a few others used to produce those 6 testing results you need. It's a fantastic value, and you can obtain it from more than one source. One link is below in my sig. The Taylor K-2006C is also a good product, but if you get that one, make sure to order the "C" (commercial) for more reagents. I however still love and recommend the TF-100 kit.

Take your time please and review those basic links provided above and in my sig. Ask all the questions you need. We don't make a profit from anything here. It's all about helping folks enjoy their investment and trying to avoid the pitfalls of outdated pool industry recommendations or local business gains. It's nice to have you with us at TFP.
 

Sunnymosmile

Bronze Supporter
Oct 6, 2016
146
Raleigh, NC
#9
I am a new pool owner as well. I can assure you the information you will get from this forum is invaluable. We also purchased the TF100 in addition to the Taylor test kit our pool builder provided to us. As I balance my water to the recommendations from this website, my pool is looking better and better and it was already looking good so we are quite pleased. Testing on your own is simple once you get the hang of it.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,288
NW Ohio
#10
Welcome to TFP! I want to be direct, please don't mistake that for any rudeness as it is most certainly not intended as such.

You came here because you are frustrated by the unreliability of the pool store testing, which is pretty obvious by the numbers you posted (your TA did not drop from 60 to zero in 3 days). With that in mind why would we trust those results either? And if we can't trust results then we can't give you helpful advice. So you have the pool builder telling you one thing that isn't helping, you have the pool store giving you inconsistent information based on their terrible testing, and you have us who is asking you to do what you need to do to get us the information we need to give you good advice rather than guessing.

So far everything you have done has left you, and I quote, "Frustrated beyond belief." I don't know how continuing to rely on the builder and pool store is going to change this. But, what you do now is up to you. I know that the information and methods at TFP work and have saved me a lot of frustration over the years, but if you are not convinced that it is worth a shot then I do wish you the best and hope that you find an end to your pool frustration.
 

peterdaly

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2013
188
Fayetteville, NY
#11
The key thing is that you need an accurate test kit. TF100 is the best value for that, as it is basically a lower cost alternative to the professional grade Taylor kits...using the same chemicals. These are the types of tests used by professionals who maintain pools...some of whom are on this site.

Without accurate water testing, people are either guessing, have an agenda to sell you something, or both. That includes the people here, as without trustworthy numbers, recommendations are guesses at best, and may do more harm than good.

With accurate testing, you (and we) become an informed decision maker about what your pool actually needs, and why.

There is a bit of an attitude here that it is hard to help a newcomer unless they have a TF100 or equivalent, but that is founded in the fact that it is hard to manage chemical balance without accurate readings. Sometimes that comes across a bit harsh.

Once you know how to get accurate reading for your pool, and use that knowledge to manage your pool chemistry, an empowered feeling will replace the frustration.

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