testing with strips

thecanuck22

In The Industry
Jun 11, 2010
58
Vernon BC
Fastsporty77 said:
Thanks. Really I opened the box the kits came in and went "Holy J's" as I hate complicated stuff.
I'll figure it out and ask here when I cannot. Never realised how hard a pool can be to keep stable.
You see, complicated. Complicated things are not fun and often dont get done. Compilcation is a relative term I will give that. But here is a classic case. If fastsporty could find a PS with an educated enough employee and a reliable test kit he could use strips and his store for the more accurate and complicated tests, CH CYA and such. KISS, keeping it simple.....

But instead he comes to a site like this where the first thing he gets told is to get his own $200+ test kit and to spend hours and hours reading and learning how to test and balance his own water. Something that is not easy but is certainly worth it. What if he doesnt want to. What if he just wants to understand his pools chemistry and the operation and leave the serious testing to his store? Does that make him unprofessional? Would you think less of him? Not me, his time might better be invested elsewhere like a profitable business or his family.....

So the actual problem is finding a good enough PS that you trust and that gives good information and accurate testing, again something that is not too easy to find but worth it.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
thecanuck22 said:
If fastsporty could find a PS with an educated enough employee and a reliable test kit he could use strips and his store for the more accurate and complicated tests, CH CYA and such. KISS, keeping it simple.....
:
So the actual problem is finding a good enough PS that you trust and that gives good information and accurate testing, again something that is not too easy to find but worth it.
If pool stores tested more reliably, then we wouldn't be having this discussion since then using the pool store for the less frequent testing would be just fine. Unfortunately, this isn't the case for many pool stores as evidenced by all of the people reporting on this forum with results that were just plain wrong, most especially for the CYA test, but often for other items including CH and TA.

thecanuck22 said:
dude you love to complicate things eh? I wish i had the energy to read that post. Do you just cut and paste from a word file or do you actually spend that much time writing out a very complicated response? i see long replies like this one all the time from you, just wondering.
I gave you and everyone else factual details I write myself (sometimes I copy and paste from other posts I have written if they are relevant -- I took parts of that table from another post I wrote and then updated it). Given what I wrote, are you saying that you wouldn't dare to use test strips for CH (because you can't) nor for CYA (because it's not accurate enough) and probably not for TA either (also not very much resolution)? So are you only saying to use test strips for quick pH and FC tests?
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I took in a water sample to two pool stores close to me and got the exact same results at both which matched with my Taylor 2005 kit, I hear of poor results at some pool stores on this site all the time but never had that experience here in Canuck land so far. I am perfectly satisfied with the test results and accuracy of my Taylor kit and its a breeze to use (the instructions are in the lid and even color coded!), I taught my 9 year old daughter to do the PH and FC tests this weekend and she figured it out in 5 minutes once I told her to read the instructions!

Guess who is doing my testing this week with a little supervision! :-D

Going by my preferred PS tomorrow and seeing if they have the strips I want, I want to see for myself and do back to back comparisons. Might even buy a couple of different brands to compare results...compared to my combined NG and electric bill this stuff is cheeeeaaaap!

So what do you guys want, RGB corrected photos of the test strip results/comparisons to DPD testing posted in this thread? I got the fancy camera and lenses for the job, I'll even take them outside in direct sunlight if you want! I think we need a "consumer report" on test strips to dispel myths and old wives tales on this site!
 

teapot

In The Industry
Jul 25, 2009
574
London and France
I tested three different companies test strips (AquaChek, Pool ID and the other one I have forgotten) against my photometer (palintest pooltest 9) and colourimeter (Lovibond checkit). I found the PH and Chlor to be just about ok although in all of three test stips the PH was actually showing lower than it was 7.2-7.4 rather than 7.8.

The chlor gives a reasonable result but the range isn't that great but you can dilute the sample (unless that's too complicated) :lol:

CYA on the other hand was useless, 20-30ppm on test strips 140-190 in the three pools tested (vanishing dot method).

I found the TA to show low on test strips 70ppm reality 140ppm (I discovered my water supply is 220ppm)

The worst test strips were Pool ID, all the test reagents ran into one another so accuracy was very hit and miss.

I guess if the test kit is too complicated for someone in the industry and therefore boring, then the pool industry will not move forward for some years to come and that is where the power of the internet will take over and force change.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
thecanuck22 said:
But instead he comes to a site like this where the first thing he gets told is to get his own $200+ test kit and to spend hours and hours reading and learning how to test and balance his own water. Something that is not easy but is certainly worth it. What if he doesnt want to. What if he just wants to understand his pools chemistry and the operation and leave the serious testing to his store? Does that make him unprofessional? Would you think less of him? Not me, his time might better be invested elsewhere like a profitable business or his family.....
A decent kit might be $200 in Canuckistan, eh?, but not in the US.

And if someone can't follow the directions and count drops, it makes me wonder how someone so simpleminded can earn enough money to afford a pool. It's probably easier than making cookies from scratch.

And as an aside, I think the huge majority of people on this site are here because they realized that the pool store and their tests weren't helping. Meaning, they tried to invest their time elsewhere and the "professionals" weren't. I have seen posted here, prescriptions to add pH up and pH down at the same time. Even if I knew nothing about pool chemistry, that would set off an internal alarm.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
thecanuck22 said:
If fastsporty could find a PS with an educated enough employee and a reliable test kit he could use strips and his store for the more accurate and complicated tests, CH CYA and such. KISS, keeping it simple.....

.
But thats the point of testing with a good kit yourself. You never need the pool store ever again.
 
G

Guest

I have a TF100, a Taylor K-2005 and a Taylor K-2006. Sal has a fishing box with every reagent Taylor makes (well, maybe a slight exaggeration!), and we have several stirrers. I have yet to have spent even close to $100.00 for a test kit, but I would sure like to see one!

Accurate testing creates accurate results, which allows for accurate dosing. "Down and dirty" and guessing creates inferior (and maybe even unsafe) pool water. I prefer to do it right and be accurate. Others may be fine with guessing, but that is not really what this site is all about.

I'm thinking about starting a new 'page. I'm going to call it "Test Strip Pool" and everyone can provide occasionally accurate information. We'll add some metals for sanitizing, a little ozone and U/V, and I think I like CYA to be-never mind, we won't bother with CYA! I hope you all will come to my new page :hammer: :lol:
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
My Taylor CK2005 kit (the "C" means its for Canada) was $180+taxes which came out too $214 or so, this was bought locally from the PS I frequent which has the best pricing on everything I have checked.

Shipping a dangerous goods labelled test kit from the US would have been slightly more, anything with chemicals would qualify as a dangerous good.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
Yes, you guys in Canada have a very different economic situation with regard to the Taylor test kits and that is very unfortunate. The same kit in the U.S. runs from $46 to $63/$68 (not including shipping) depending on source and exact kit contents.
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
Just back from a 2 week trip.

Test strip says.... TC 2.0, FC. 0.5, therefore CC 1.5 So I need to shock the pool until CC is 0.
Test strip says.... CYA is 10 (barely above 0). So I need to shock the pool to FC 10 and raise CYA to 40 by adding 96 oz of stabilizer.
Test strip says.... pH is 7.2. So I need to add 30 oz of washing soda to get to 7.5
Test strip says.... TH is 250, I have seen that in my pool CH ~ 2/3 of TH so I guess that CH is 165, so to shock the pool I can use 30 oz of cal-hypo which adds 5 ppm of CH, then when all is well I can add something like 14 lbs of calcium chloride.
Test strip says.... TA is 90. So I need to watch that some, may need to lower over time.

But Wait.... Let's check that with the TF100 kit.

TC is 3.0, CC is 0, pH is 7.9, TA is 90, CH is 250 and CYA is ~ 55. So, I do not need to shock the pool, I do not need to add any stabilizer, I do not need to add any calcium, and I do not need to add any washing soda, in fact I need to add 3 cups of MA.

I just saved $25 on calcium alone, more on the rest. Makes the $68 kit seem a bargain.

EDIT -- To be fair, were I relying on the test strips, the values indicated would have prompted me to add some chlorine and raise CYA so I'd have turned up the automatic chlorinator some and shocked with cal-hypo and felt that all was well (see post below) which would drive CYA up above 60 and but for cool water now would have led me to algae before long.

However, the biggest error would have been to try to fine tune the chemicals based on estimates from strips. Not wise to mix wide range estimates of values from strips with the accuracy of the Pool Calculator.
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
4JawChuck said:
This was with a four way strip? Which brand?
That was HACH Aquacheck 7 test strips.

Strips are about 16 months old. Down to the last 3 now, I rarely use them, but when I am away our daughter uses them to check the pool. Cost was $29 per 100 strips plus tax. I really need to consider if I have any use for replacing them.... not very useful for even pH really.

To be fair, were I relying on these strips, according to the chart on the bottle it says the TC at 2.0 is OK, the pH at 7.2 is OK, and the CYA and FC is low and needs attention. So were I relying on these strips I would have added some trichlor pucks and shocked the pool with a pound or two of cal-hypo and figured all was well.

As it is, I will add some MA and remove the (vacation use only) pucks from the feeder and resume using bleach or cal-hypo for chlorination.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
I updated the table in my post for the AquaChek test strips. That table is about resolution, not accuracy. To be fair, test strips should be fresh and not old when comparing accuracy, but what you have seen is consistent with what many others have seen even using new test strips. It probably varies somewhat by manufacturer.
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
4JawChuck said:
My Taylor CK2005 kit (the "C" means its for Canada) was $180+taxes which came out too $214 or so, this was bought locally from the PS I frequent which has the best pricing on everything I have checked.
That sucks, but even at $200+ a reliable test kit(along with the information on this forum) will pay for itself. The alternative is to be at the mercy of someone else, with a clear incentive to sell product, to tell you when & what & how much of this or that overpriced product to put into your pool, this time. Then next time you come in they will kindly give you another list of products to buy...
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
chem geek said:
I updated the table in my post for the AquaChek test strips. That table is about resolution, not accuracy. To be fair, test strips should be fresh and not old when comparing accuracy, but what you have seen is consistent with what many others have seen even using new test strips. It probably varies somewhat by manufacturer.

Thank you for the update, I have enjoyed reading this thread. I bought the Aquachem 6-way test strips last night to test my pool along side my 3-way test kit. For the strip I found most of the readings to be in-line with the 3-way kit, but did find it somewhat difficult to read the colors on the strip, because they were in-between the colors on the bottle.

When I went to the aquachem website, logged in and posted the results, it told me my TH was too high and I needed to add some metal/scale remover. Problem is, on the same page they try to tell me to add other crud weekly, giving you the tried & true sales pitch. I did find the strip test interesting, but I'd rather have precise numbers to work with. The OCD in me does not like rounding off... :mrgreen:
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Its nice to know what works and what doesn't, any product is suspect in my opinion until proven otherwise.

The reason why I would like to get a test strip that is reasonably accurate is I travel a lot and work 70+hr weeks away from home, I trust the kids and wife to do a good job when and if they remember to do the testing but to be honest a strip test would be preferable and simpler for them to interpret especially if it did just FC and PH.

I posted earlier about automation and have much of the materials on hand to do this, but writing the custom software for the Rockwell controller and testing etc.etc. not to mention getting a licensed copy of the compiler is going to take some time...I don't have the funds available to outright purchase an injection system but I would if I could.

In the meantime a good performing test strip that has given excellent results would be ideal for them and give me piece of mind while I am travelling. If anyone has had good experiences with a specific model of strip that they have checked. it would be greatly appreciated. I have heard through this thread LaMotte strips are worth a try so I will try them out even if I have to store them in a dessicated cabinet to keep them dry and fresh.

I just don't buy the idea that they are all junk, they can't all be.
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I thought about the medical strips but I would have to order and our pricing would never be anywhere close to that up here...but if I have no luck with consumer level stuff I will go there

I did however stop by the PS today and picked up some GLB 4 way strips after a conversation with the staff there, they didn't have any other mfg to choose from but they said they are good quality and made in the US. The old guy behind the counter said the will be close but not as exact as I am used to, he wouldn't comment on how close is close...LOL!

It was $11 for 50 strips, I'm game and have nothing to lose.



http://glbpoolspa.com/TechDataInfo.asp?authID=886235727&ProductID=237

I will post results after first test tomorrow with DPD comparisons, wish me luck! :lol: