Newer Owner -- Did Leslie's over-sell me on chemicals or do I need all this?

LokiDucks

Member
Sep 10, 2021
11
Oceanside, CA
New pool owner here in San Diego. Construction finished last October on a 16k gallon pebble finish salt water pool. I maintained a pretty healthy balance of Chlorine via the SWG, PH via muriatic acid, and Alkalinity throughout the winter but when it warmed up, I found it was harder to maintain chlorine, my PH spiked up, and I was getting algae.

I went to Leslie's a little over a week ago, and the guy there ran my water and sold me some blue algae stuff, 2 bags of shock, and said my salt was low and to put in another bag (which I had on hand). Said to use the blue stuff and the shock and then come test again. Seemed reasonable and it worked. Algae gone, chlorine back up to where it should be.

This week I went back and a different guy ran the water test (results below). This guy seemed surprised that the other guy "only" sold me 2 bags of shock. He also made a big deal about the copper level. Being new and naïve, I walked out of there with $275 worth of Perfect Weekly, NoPhos, Muriatic Acid, 4 bags of Power Powder Plus 73, and a box of Fresh N Clear. I didn't feel good about it, knowing my dad maintained a pool when I was a kid, basically just watching chlorine and PH levels, and taking care of algae if it ever popped up. This guy sold me all these chems saying I needed to follow a weekly routine using them all, which sounds like it will cost a small fortune over a relatively short period of time. I also realized when I started typing this message, that the Perfect Weekly and NoPhos are both listed as phosphate removers, and Power Powder and Fresh & Clear are both listed as shocks, so...have I been sold redundant products?

So, I'm here for advice from folks not trying to hit a sales goal -- If we're basically just 2 people swimming on the weekends, is all this really necessary? Should I go back and return some of this? Or should I follow the directions of the guy?


Test Results:
Free Chlorine = .52
Total Chlorine = .79
PH = 8.2
Alkalinity = 134
Calc. Hardness = 347
Cyanuric Acid = 50
Iron = 0
Copper = 0.1
Phosphates = 115
Salt = 3160
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
39,247
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Ducks, I'm afraid you are another notch on the pool store accounting belt. :( Your gut is right to be concerned, and the best way to remedy that is to get your own TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C test kit. It's easy and accurate! No over-priced or redundant products. You only buy or add what you KNOW needs to go in there. Please consider getting a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C test kit, then post a full set of your own results. I recommend the TF-100 in my signature.

As you have seen, the same store contradicted itself with two different techs. Then they sold you what appeared to be a copper-based product (Blue) then later warned you the copper level was getting high. :hammer: Copper is never good for your water or pool, and if you start getting copper stains you'll be upset. Stick to liquid chlorine only to feed your pool. If you can return those products and get store credit - do it. Trade it for liquid chlorine or muriatic acid. That's about all you need from them.

Be sure to bookmark our Pool Care Basics page and let us know any other questions you may have.
 

Sunnydaze

Silver Supporter
Mar 8, 2021
463
AZ
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Sorry, you got pool stored. They sold you not only one but TWO phosphate removers? They slap these fancy names on bottles and sell them to people without explaining what they do or why they need it. It's quite the scam.

Only thing you will need on a regular basis is muriatic acid and maybe baking soda if your fill water doesn't have much alkalinity. Consistent testing with your own, reliable test kit will tell you what you need.

Liquid chlorine will be good to have on hand in case you need to raise your FC level quickly or SLAM.

Salt and CYA, as needed, to maintain levels.

I don't have a SWG so i need liquid chlorine daily but all i ever use on a regular basis is liquid chlorine and muriatic acid. Nothing else is ever needed except a little cya monthly to keep that level up. My fill water keeps the alkalinity and calcium up.
 

LokiDucks

Member
Sep 10, 2021
11
Oceanside, CA
Ducks, I'm afraid you are another notch on the pool store accounting belt. :( Your gut is right to be concerned, and the best way to remedy that is to get your own TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C test kit. It's easy and accurate! No over-priced or redundant products. You only buy or add what you KNOW needs to go in there. Please consider getting a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C test kit, then post a full set of your own results. I recommend the TF-100 in my signature.

Be sure to bookmark our Pool Care Basics page and let us know any other questions you may have.

Gah! I felt like it in the moment, but it's hard to resist when you don't know much. Figured worst case scenario, I get some better advice from you guys and can return the products. Probably the biggest red flag was when he was surprised the other guy sold me so few things... A couple clarifying questions for you & @Sunnydaze :

I have a K-1004 test kit that tests FC, CC, PH, and TA. Is that just too basic and why folks recommend the other kits? My results from my kit today are:
  • FC = 1
  • CC = 0
  • TA = 135 (test kit says this is just outside rec, but PoolMath says it should be between 50-90)
  • PH = 8.2

I have 2 jugs of Muriatic Acid -- does that do the same thing as CYA? I'd been using Muriatic to address high PH during the winter.

Is it worth keeping either of the two shock products or just get some liquid chlorine?

Appreciate the help here :)
 
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PoolStored

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 24, 2021
2,402
Ashtabula, OH
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Somebody called me? hmmm...looks like it!

Take it ALL back. Even the muriatic. You can likely buy cheaper at Home Depot.

Salt, Muriatic Acid and maybe some CYA (cyanuric acid) stabilizer is likely the only things you will LIKELY need. Maybe some liquid chlorine in a pinch.

As @Texas Splash said, the best place to to start here --> (click this link) Pool Care Basics

You will want to get a better kit, it also allows you to test CYA. Test Kits Compared
 

Katygreys

Gold Supporter
Mar 5, 2022
218
Katy, TX
Pool Size
18000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I read the title of this post, then scrolled down without reading. Below is my answer to the questions in the post title.

Yes, they oversold you. No, you don’t need any of that junk.

Listen to the folks here. You will get equally useful pool advice from the guy at the In n Out Burger drive-thru as you will from Leslie’s. Sad. But true. At least you’ll get a burger from in n out
 
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dfwnoob

Gold Supporter
Feb 27, 2022
295
DFW
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I have a K-1004 test kit that tests FC, CC, PH, and TA. Is that just too basic and why folks recommend the other kits? My results from my kit today are:

I have 2 jugs of Muriatic Acid -- does that do the same thing as CYA? I'd been using Muriatic to address high PH during the winter.

Is it worth keeping either of the two shock products or just get some liquid chlorine?

Welcome to TFP!

You need a kit that has both the FAS-DPD (not just DPD or OTO) chlorine test and the CYA test. This narrows you down to either the Taylor K2006-C or the TFTestKits.net TF100/TFPro. Both kits use the same Taylor reagents, but the TFTestKits setups are a better bang for the buck. While optional, most of us here strongly recommend the SmartStir (as sold by TFTestKits)/SpeedStir (as listed on Amazon and other retailers).

Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid is used to lower pH. CYA or cyanuric acid is also referred to as "stabilizer", which in the most simplistic terms "protects" and buffers chlorine, slowing it's derogation due to UV among other positive properties. Follow the pool care basics guide linked above to better understand the FC/CYA relationship and why this ratio is critical to TFP methods.

No harm in keeping a little LC on hand, but it does degrade over time, especially if exposed to heat or sunlight.

Phosphates are irrelevant and are not considered or controlled with the TFP method. However, you now see why pool stores love them.. they can sell you snake oil to remove them. Algae does feed on phosphates - however - when your FC/CYA ratio is incongruent with algae growth, it doesn't matter if you've got phosphates or not.