TFP--Why does it work so well?


Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
OK, I've been thinking about this question for awhile.

So I'm not looking for lots of rah rahs, and cheering from TFP fans. I'm more interested in the math, facts, chemistry, and data.

The TFP approach is really great. My pool is ridiculously crystal clear, and on it's worst day, it looks better than it's best day before I started the TFP approach. Again, this is not a "paid public announcement." This is a simple fact. My pool is so clean an clear that my Girlfriend jokes with the question: "Why did you empty the pool again?"

So my question is, Why? Why was it impossible, or improbable for my pool service to keep my water great?

Is it that FC never goes below the threshold? Is it CSI? Is it Borates? Is it a whole bunch of things that have a multiplicative effect on each other?

What is the math and science that makes TFP work so well?


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
Pacific NW
Very simple in my mind.

1. Maintaining a proper chlorine to cya ratio along with TA / PH / CH

2. a proper test kit that confirms #1


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
San Clemente, CA
Probably the biggest factors are that water chemistry levels are are frequently tested and chlorine levels are kept high enough and replenished often enough that nothing can get to growing.

Most pools are teetering on the edge of an algae bloom and cloudy pools with visible algae have become somewhat expected.

The bulk of the industry standards for pool water chemistry is based on speculation and myths with little science to back it up.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
FL panhandle
Yep, good testing and FC/CYA relationship.

I agree, we were talking about how ridiculously clear our water is last weekend. It is so clear that we could see the shadow on the bottom of a little bubble floating on the surface of the water. It was pretty cool.


Bronze Supporter
Dec 7, 2016
Luckily I know nothing but TFP method but I tribute my crystal clear pool to
proper testing
frequency of testing
chemicals used
combination of all proper levels


Gold Supporter
May 19, 2016
Caveat: I'm 100% all-in on TFP and its approach -- my pool has been crystal clear since I joined this site. But this is a great question! What is it that the TFP method brings that the professional pool installers and maintenance companies cannot? I get the profit motive... but is that really the only difference? That they're pushing chems we don't need and keeping our pools in perpetual imbalance to make a buck? Perhaps that's the case to my naive mind, but I am implicitly trusting of others, so it's hard for me to think they'd simply be selling us what we don't need in order to turn around and fix what that previous purchase wrought?


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
What is it that the TFP method brings that the professional pool installers and maintenance companies cannot?

- In the case of pool service techs, its a matter of needing to use stabilized products because they're not onsite frequently enough to manage the pool the way a homeowner could. I had a tech in the early days of my pool, right around the time I discovered TFP, admit this to me when I started asking questions.

If you're using a stabilized product, your cya is a moving target.

The second aspect is company culture. Pool services train and provision their employees, and the owner a) isn't likely a chemist and b) is communicated with via mfgs and distributors and c) has ready wholesale access to products that are "supposed" to shortcut maintenance, eg Pool RX, Enzymes, etc. They assume you don't want to test or manage your water.

Nor can they slam...again its a time-on-site issue. Which is why I suspect they're trained to shock/floc n drop ;)


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
Tucson, AZ
I think the biggest factor is that most of the pool industry still does not acknowledge the FC to CYA relationship

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
Longview, Texas
The water is so clear because it isn't contaminated with microscopic biological material, mainly very tiny algae plants which are waiting to explode in what we know as an algae bloom. The FC/CYA is the key factor in this and this relationship is based purely upon chemical science.

The pool industry does not recognize this and do not promote it even though it's been known since 1974. The fact is, if they did, they wouldn't be able to sell all of their potions and would go broke. So for this reason, your local pool maintenance tech isn't taught this in Certification training and so will never be able to maintain this level of clarity.
Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not taught

So you want the science behind it? The math, the facts, the chemistry and the data? Well OK then, why didn't you say so before now!?! Put your seatback in the upright position and fasten your seat belt! Here you go!! :)
Pool Water Chemistry

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Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 23, 2015
Brisbane, Australia.
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
There are pool companies and service services and some will be better than others, but even the very best cant come every day, or every second day, or even third. Us, the owner, the user, we are there every day, to look, feel, test... everyday. If empowered with the knowledge and a decent test kit we can keep it perfect all the time.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The best pool service is a SWCG! We leave for weeks at a time, in the middle of summer, and our SWCG chugs along. We have a low priced pool service that comes by weekly to clean the pool and add a cup of acid or so. Normally when we get home I have to adjust the TA as it has climbed (weekly acid adds do not combat our high TA water addition due to evaporation very well). The pool service does not even test for FC as they only use an OTO and I have ours at about 8. Usually there is line of minor scale on the water line tile I have to clean off too. We manage high CH/TA water but it is possible.

Another reason to consider a SWCG.


Well-known member
Oct 7, 2016
The biggest factor is YOU. No one will care for your pool like you do and that is what probably brought you here to TFP.


Well-known member
Mar 8, 2016
McGregor, Texas
I too was lucky to find this site just before starting our build. I did not "speak" pool at all; so this is the only method I know. I know a bunch of people that tell me to "just take a sample to the pool store and they'll tell you exactly what you need". And I could see how appealing that is to them. "Why learn something when the place that I have to go to get the stuff to clean my pool, will do all of the thinking for me?" all of you, am not wired that way. I want to know everything there is to know about how to protect my investment. My theory is this. The pool stores are in this business to make money. It is in their best interest to sell you products (be it stabilizer, pucks, or whatever) that RAISE your CYA and render your FC less effective over time. The less effective the FC, the more you need to bring them a sample of your water. The more you step foot in their stores, the more snake oil they get to push on you.


Active member
Jul 11, 2015
Biloxi MS
I think the TFP system works well because most of us refuse to pay a professional pool service person to come in every day, test the pool chemistry, make the correct adjustments, and do all the other work that's required to keep the pool in optimal condition. So we come here and are told to 'get a good test kit and learn how to use it' which many/most of us do ...

Then we actually begin to learn something about our own pools. And because we become personally invested we ask for help before making changes, we begin to understand that by testing frequently and keeping on top of things our pool maintenance work is not all that difficult to understand or to perform correctly.

And we might even take care of little things immediately, before they become much bigger problems!


Active member
Sep 25, 2016
Melville, NY
This site is awesome. The pool company that installed my pool turned over the pool to me and my parameters have been rock solid, that it seems almost to easy. The BBB Method is by far the best and I'm like a sponge on this site, absorbing all the education that is being provided.

Many thanks!
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