What goes on in the pool store!

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
So...I took a water sample to Leslie's today. Why you ask? I've run out of CYA reagent because when I first got the pool I was practicing my testing skills a lot. Now I only test it about once a month. But the last couple times I tested it, I noticed that my CYA kept going down to the point that I only had 10. I started with 50. It went down to 40 after 2-3 weeks, then down to 30 in another couple weeks, then was down to 20, and on the last test it was basically non existent. So about a week and half ago, I added a 4 lb. pack of CYA from Walmart via the sock method. It took about 4 days to get it all dissolved. I didn't have any more reagent, so I was curious about whether my add had worked. The 4 lbs. was intended to raise CYA by 30 taking me back up to 40 and according to the Leslie's test I am now back to 40. I have more reagent ordered. When my CYA started fading, I had a more noticeable chlorine odor in the water and the water felt more drying on my skin. Now it feels and smells back to normal. I know that CYA is not supposed to leave the water. I thought perhaps my testing was flawed. But I feel pretty confident with it. Anyway, that's what appeared to happen. I did back wash the sand filter 3 three times over the last two months. But not long enough to drain enough water to lower it that much. I can't explain it. Maybe it was just so old that it broke down. Or maybe I over chlorinated because I thought the CYA was higher than it was and that destroyed what was left of it.

Anyway...the other reason I went in there is because I have some light stains on my plaster and I wanted to know if I have any metal in the water. I tried putting a puck on the stains and they did not budge. I don't have any metal tests. According to Leslie's there is no metal in my water. The girl said the stains are probably from leaves and then directed me to the stain remover potions. I read the label, and the potion is for calcium scale and metal stains. LOL. Since she just told me I don't have any metal and my CH is 210...I just winked and left. She had another customer trying to buy a sand filter.

Overall, the test she ran seems accurate.

FC 4
pH 7.4
TA 90
CH 210
CYA 40
TDS 500
Copper/Iron 0
Phosphates 100

She actually told me the numbers were great and I didn't need a thing. Was just kinda funny about the stain remover.

If you have any stories to share about your pool store adventures...please post!

Crystal
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,195
Tucson, AZ
Here is the funny thing about metal in the pool ... first, I think the tests are iffy at best that they do in the pool store. Second, it is possible that there is no or little metal in the water ... because it has all precipitated out and is in the stain ;)

CYA does break down, but I was under the impression it was <5ppm per month in the summer.
Do you have an auto-fill that could be masking a leak and that is why the CYA is dropping?
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
609
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Considering the chlorine smell, I will say you had ammonia eating away your CYA! It's time for a slam and deep clean of sand filter! The stains are probably algae not sure.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,208
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Do you have a timeline of the CYA results? Loosing that much seems odd. I bring my CYA up to around 50 in the beginning of the season. It drifts down to about 30 by the end of the season. Pool is closed and when I open the pool, the CYA is back to about 30. A little bit of water that is added due to evaporation, but really none through back washing (backwash once a season).

I have some information in my notes from Chem Geek that may explain some of the loss. Will post tomorrow. Has to do with chlorine consumption and how CYA turns into ammonia and how much FC you need to keep pool clean.
 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
As far as the stain. Go to the local dollar store and get a bottle of vitamin C. Place a few in a sock and crush em up. Rub the sock on the stain. Let us know what that does.
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
Hi Jason,

I don't have auto fill. I have been observing for leakage but I don't think that's it. The pool loses water when it's sunny, but never when it's cloudy and never at night.

Interesting about all the metal perhaps being in the stain. I'll check into that.

Thanks!
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
It doesn't have a chlorine smell any more and I haven't had any CC since the third day I got the pool 2 months ago. But I have wondered about some kind of brown looking algea. It's just a light brown mottled look around the drain. It doesn't change over time as in growing bigger. I know the pool had a lot of leaves in the bottom at one time before I got it. I'd be willing to try a slam to see if the stains lighten up if for nothing else. I may consider it after I deep clean my sand filter next month.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,347
NW Ohio
Considering the chlorine smell, I will say you had ammonia eating away your CYA! It's time for a slam and deep clean of sand filter! The stains are probably algae not sure.
Unless there was chlorine there was no ammonia. Ammonia does not eat away CYA, bacteria does and converts it to ammonia, but chlorine kills bacteria so that does not happen to a chlorinated pool. Dunno what caused the CYA to drop, but it dropped extremely low and would not have buffered the chlorine well and that could have caused the problems described.

No idea what deep cleaning the sand has to do with anything.
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
Cat,

Those notes sound interesting! I'd sure love a look if you can find them.

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Bob,

That's my next move. I will report back.

Thanks!

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Thanks JD

I will keep these things in mind! The pool has always had chlorine level according to FC/CYA chart.
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
Following this Crystal. I've had unexplained Cya loss, but not in that time frame. When you had the lake, did the pool overflow?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,122
Franklin, NC
Anytime I hear of an unexplained CYA loss my first thought is testing error. Either now with the lower number or before with the higher number. I am also reticent to add CYA to the pool until I am absolutely sure it needed it. I watch FC usage, is it higher than normal indicating low CYA? Have I conducted an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test to see if some organic problem has raised my chlorine demand.

As to the pool store, I never ask them questions. There response is to try to sell you something, right or wrong. The only question I ask is where did you move the muratic acid to (the pool store near me is actually less expensive than the big box stores for full strength). I only take them a water sample when I'm bored and want some fun...... The last time I took water in the girl told me my "low" TA (60) was going to ruin my pool finish and I needed 50 pounds of their TA super booster. When I mentioned that I have plenty of baking soda she went into a long explanation why baking soda won't work and I need their special TA adjuster......
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Interesting discussion. I would also add that about a year ago, we saw a spike in unexplained stabilizer (CYA) drops. I experienced it as well, and it prompted us all to do some brand comparisons to see if there was any common factors that could explain the CYA drops. I don't think we ever nailed-down one specific brand of stabilizer at fault, but it was definitely prevalent for a while. After going through a couple different brands, my situation resolved itself. So perhaps the same happened to you? Just an odd situation where the product simply didn't retain its properties as we typically expect.

In agree with others in concept, CYA is perhaps the most significant test the pool store performs incorrectly, so it's always best to place faith in your own testing. Confirm your own CYA results through repeated testing's with the same solution (back & forth to the viewing tube) to draw an average number or firm conclusion. Have a spouse or friend look at the dot and compare readings. You'll have better peace of mind that way. Have a nice weekend. :swim:
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
Tim,

It definitely could be user error! I had 16 tests and used them all. I have 32 more on the way. Lol. I am gonna take the water to the two other local stores this weekend just for kicks. See what they come up with. I already added 4 lbs so I will have to roll with that. I did wait through about 5 tests before I decided to do the add. It seems back to normal for now. Will keep posting back here.

Crystal
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,122
Franklin, NC
Tim,

It definitely could be user error! I had 16 tests and used them all. I have 32 more on the way. Lol. I am gonna take the water to the two other local stores this weekend just for kicks. See what they come up with. I already added 4 lbs so I will have to roll with that. I did wait through about 5 tests before I decided to do the add. It seems back to normal for now. Will keep posting back here.

Crystal
Entirely possible that it was low.

Rather than use multiple tests, pour the CYA solution (reagent + pool water) back and forth between the mixing bottle and measuring tube. There is no time limit, you can pour it back and forth as many times as you need to feel comfortable with the number.
 

CaptainCannonball

Silver Supporter
May 18, 2016
240
Woodland, Ca
Entirely possible that it was low.

Rather than use multiple tests, pour the CYA solution (reagent + pool water) back and forth between the mixing bottle and measuring tube. There is no time limit, you can pour it back and forth as many times as you need to feel comfortable with the number.
That is a great tip, thank you!

pool IQ is + one point
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
I went to another local pool store yesterday afternoon. This one is a mom and pop shop just a mile from home. An older gentleman tested my water. I got the impression he was nervous about doing the tests. He was referring heavily to the instruction sheet and his hands were shaking. I observed that he held the bottle at an angle when adding drops rather than vertical. His results:

FC 2 Mine: FC 4
pH 7.4-7.6 pH 7.4
TA 60 TA 80
CH 50 CH 200
CYA 30

He had to call his son, who apparently owns the store to ask him what chems to recommend. He suggested:

8 tabs per week
25 lbs. Alkalinity Increaser
10 lbs. CYA
75 lbs Calcium Chloride

So...Leslie's said CYA 40..this place says 30...not too far apart. As I've mentioned, I'm expecting to have 40 with the 4 lb. add I did over a week ago. Still waiting on the refill of my CYA reagent. Meanwhile, I'm having fun comparing pool store test results. It's pretty entertaining.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,417
Evans, Georgia
I went to another local pool store yesterday afternoon. This one is a mom and pop shop just a mile from home. An older gentleman tested my water. I got the impression he was nervous about doing the tests. He was referring heavily to the instruction sheet and his hands were shaking. I observed that he held the bottle at an angle when adding drops rather than vertical. His results:
.

Awwwwww... Bless his heart! He sounds like he was trying soooooo hard....:oops:

Yet this is a perfect example of what we mean when we say pool stores are not the place to get your water tested.

Maddie :flower:
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
Poor old guy. I know what it's like being nervous in front of customers like that. If I could, I would buy things in a place like that to support a local SBO. Too bad not that many of them can sell small bulk Chlorine and make money on it. Id sure go there for that.

And Oh, I have done this before, never at a local place but LPS, and have had some decent results. The last time though I remember the TA was off, so I asked for a repeat. Watched closely and she was running it with a 20ml sample and using the same multiplier. Of COURSE I pointed it out, and she got dead on mine third time around. But if you watch, they do things that makes anyone who ever got proper wet test training just cringe. Cross contamination is one I always noticed.
 

Paul & Crystal

Silver Supporter
May 25, 2014
539
Oklahoma City, OK
Yesterday morning I went to the third local pool store. This one is a large outfit that does a lot of pool building around here. It’s about two miles from home. The young man who did the water test was probably about 18-20 years old. He came back with:

FC 3
pH 7.6
TA 120
CYA 0
CH 100
Ammonia 1
Phosphate 0

When he said CYA 0, I asked him how that could be when I just added 4 lbs of CYA 10 days ago. He said he would recheck it. I watched as he went back over to the tube and just lifted it up to take another look, and he said..."oh yeah, it's 60. It just took a few minutes to register.“ He also said that the water is great and I don't need to add anything...and that was when he said the CYA is 0. I'm pretty sure their stance is to just let you run with whatever until you have major problems and then they swoop in to save the day with chems and services.

I've gotta say...this is the best laugh yet!

I hope this pool store adventure has been informative as to why we do not trust pool store testing.

Thank goodness I got my new 16 oz. bottle of Taylor CYA reagent this morning and it’s a beautiful 85* sunny day! I will be testing soon and will post my own CYA result…for now it’s off to float!

Crystal :cool:

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Patrick,

I actually am going to buy a few things there. I like them a lot and they have some bulk calcium that I've got my eye on. I just could never trust their water test. Thanks to TFP I don't have to!

:cool:

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Maddie,

+1

:cool:
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,122
Franklin, NC
Yesterday morning I went to the third local pool store. This one is a large outfit that does a lot of pool building around here. It’s about two miles from home. The young man who did the water test was probably about 18-20 years old. He came back with:

FC 3
pH 7.6
TA 120
CYA 0
CH 100
Ammonia 1
Phosphate 0

When he said CYA 0, I asked him how that could be when I just added 4 lbs of CYA 10 days ago. He said he would recheck it. I watched as he went back over to the tube and just lifted it up to take another look, and he said..."oh yeah, it's 60. It just took a few minutes to register.“ He also said that the water is great and I don't need to add anything...and that was when he said the CYA is 0. I'm pretty sure their stance is to just let you run with whatever until you have major problems and then they swoop in to save the day with chems and services.

I've gotta say...this is the best laugh yet!

I hope this pool store adventure has been informative as to why we do not trust pool store testing.

Thank goodness I got my new 16 oz. bottle of Taylor CYA reagent this morning and it’s a beautiful 85* sunny day! I will be testing soon and will post my own CYA result…for now it’s off to float!

Crystal :cool:

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Patrick,

I actually am going to buy a few things there. I like them a lot and they have some bulk calcium that I've got my eye on. I just could never trust their water test. Thanks to TFP I don't have to!

:cool:

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Maddie,

+1

:cool:
So, I have a question, does it snow in OK? Do you have a couple of bags of it melt in the garage? Does the store down the road have ice met on clearance because it's summer, not winter?

While the calcium at the pool store looks nice, many ice melt products are usable in your pool to raise the CH level at a quarter of the cost......
 

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