Which test to trust?

DJowers

Member
Aug 26, 2021
7
Blythewood, SC
Hello, there. I am a new pool owner. We have an Intex Easy Set 15'x48" pool. We've had the pool for about a month and everything has been fine. I'm probably borderline OCD about keeping the debris out and usually cover every night and so far our water has stayed nice and clear. My question is concerning pH testing. I started out using a basic HTH test kit but then realized it did not test for FC, so I've also started using Aquatech 7 Way test strips along with the kit. For all of the tests, except pH, the two test methods are agreement. However, when it comes to pH, the test kit always seems to read higher than the strip. For instance, my strips have consistently been showing a shade that's seems very close to 6.8, or at least in between 6.8 and 7.2. The kit has consistently shown a shade that matches the 7.5 color mark, or possibly a hair lighter, but definitely not as light as the next color mark down, which is 7.2. My alkalinity was dead on the first couple weeks but has started to rise and currently is testing at about 100. Since the recommendation is to lower pH and aerate, I'm not sure what to do since I don't know which test method is giving me the most accurate pH reading. So, I was wondering if some of you more experienced pool owners could chime in on which test method usually yields the most accurate results in regards to pH (kit vs strip)? At this point in the season, I don't really want to invest in a more expensive test kit. So far, I have just figured my pH was probably somewhere between the two and left it alone. I'm having to add about between 8-12oz daily of 10% bleach to keep my FC levels up...not sure if that is in line with what to expect or an indication that my pH levels are such that the chlorine is not working effectively. The pool is in full sun from about 11a-3p, so I would expect to have to add some chlorine daily. Any thoughts would be appreciated!!
 

cowboycasey

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Welcome to TFP :)

I suspect you already know what all of us are going to say.. We do not trust the guess strips at all, after you open the package the first time they are off from there on out.. trust the kit PH...

A 15 foot pool should be used as a permanent pool and not a seasonal pool, you could use it a seasonal pool and empty it once it gets out of control and turns green but that is a lot of water to be doing that...

How are you testing for chlorine and CYA now?


 
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Mdragger88

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Maintaining the fc according to the FC/CYA Chart is paramount.
I would trust a drop kit over test strips any day. I used the hth kit for a couple years when i had small pools before getting a full fas/dpd kit & it was quite accurate for other parameters even though its chlorine testing capability is only oto & is limited to 5ppm tc. I believe the cya test included in that kit uses Taylor cya regeant. Although i like to test my cya more than twice a season.
Just investing in the stand alone fas dpd would put u miles ahead so you could test above 5ppm fc
Also of note - the regeants in the tf100 & in the Taylor k2006 should have a shelf life of 2 years if stored properly so not a huge investment when compared to the cost of dumping lots of water or inaccurately dosing.
As far as TA goes if you’re not seeing unmanageable ph rise it’s fine. Just lower ph when it rises- total alk will lower over time unless your fill water has a very high ta.
 
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DJowers

Member
Aug 26, 2021
7
Blythewood, SC
I am using the test kit combined with the strips to measure everything. The main reason I purchased the strips was because the kit only tests TC and I wanted something to indicate FC as well. I do plan to invest in the recommended TF100 kit so often mentioned, I just figured I'd wait until next season in case some of the testing components may expire. However, if we do decide to keep it up during winter, I may go ahead and get it now since I'll need it even when it gets to cold to actually swim.

Regarding your other comment about treating it as a permanent pool, I would love to do that, especially since we had to pay to have it filled (we are on a well). Per the instructions, it is not recommended to keep it up during winter if you're in an area that experiences freezing weather, but I am tempted to try it anyway. We have fairly mild winter weather, but do usually have some nights with below freezing temps. If I took care to keep the pump protected from freezing, do you think it would be fine? I kind of figured that the worst thing that would happen is if something "failed", we'd just have to start over with a new pool or having this one refilled next summer, which is not that much more expensive than draining it, taking it down, storing it, and then having it refilled anyway.

Thanks for your help.
 

DJowers

Member
Aug 26, 2021
7
Blythewood, SC
Maintaining the fc according to the FC/CYA Chart is paramount.
I would trust a drop kit over test strips any day. I used the hth kit for a couple years when i had small pools before getting a full fas/dpd kit & it was quite accurate for other parameters even though its chlorine testing capability is only oto & is limited to 5ppm tc. I believe the cya test included in that kit uses Taylor cya regeant. Although i like to test my cya more than twice a season.
Just investing in the stand alone fas dpd would put u miles ahead so you could test above 5ppm fc
Also of note - the regeants in the tf100 & in the Taylor k2006 should have a shelf life of 2 years if stored properly so not a huge investment when compared to the cost of dumping lots of water or inaccurately dosing.
As far as TA goes if you’re not seeing unmanageable ph rise it’s fine. Just lower ph when it rises- total alk will lower over time unless your fill water has a very high ta.
Thanks for the input...that's helpful.
 

cowboycasey

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I would keep it up all year long.. Mine freezes in the winter, sometimes a foot of ice in it.. I close mine from Nov 15th or so to mar 1st or so... My Intex has been up for 8 years now and its fine.. :)
 
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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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NY
Welcome DJ !!!
I just figured I'd wait until next season in case some of the testing components may expire. However, if we do decide to keep it up during winter, I may go ahead and get it now since I'll need it even when it gets to cold to actually swim.
The kit from TF-100 from tftestkits has such turnaround from Rebecca that it’s all but guaranteed to be as fresh as can be. The widely available elsewhere K-2006C has no such known qualities. Lately they have been $100 more than they should be, pointing to them being resold a couple of times and more likely to be along in their 2 year lifespan. Especially if it sat on a shelf for an extra 6 months waiting for the higher priced sale.

But. If either kit was fresh you’d get two full years starting now, and when it was time to replace with just a little bit left in that season, it would almost certainly be good enough a few weeks past it’s ‘freshest by’ date to stretch it 2.2 (?) seasons.
 

Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
3,164
Hernando, Ms
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What She Said GIF by The Free Mama

Also remember you’ll be using the regeants as well & you can just purchase individual replacement regeants as needed- you don’t need to replace the whole kit - box , comparator, test tubes etc. I have never thrown a bottle of regeant away- just replenished them after i ran out. Its nice to be able to test often knowing i can get replacement regeant. Some i buy in larger sizes.
 
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jeffchap

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Jun 26, 2012
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I also had a 15' Intex. I found it easier on the pool to keep it up all winter than to take it down and store it. I'd just drain the water below the return and take all the hoses loose. Cover it with a tarp and you're good to go. BTW, I'm in central OK so our winters were probably similar to yours if not even colder.
 

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cowboycasey

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I believe the op mentioned they have an easy set pool which is the kind with the inflatable ring on top. Those don’t generally overwinter as well as one with a frame.
Great catch, I did not know they made the ring pools that big... You are right, they do not do winter well and probably should be taken down and put away... :)
 

DJowers

Member
Aug 26, 2021
7
Blythewood, SC
I also had a 15' Intex. I found it easier on the pool to keep it up all winter than to take it down and store it. I'd just drain the water below the return and take all the hoses loose. Cover it with a tarp and you're good to go. BTW, I'm in central OK so our winters were probably similar to yours if not even colder.
Just curious...was your 15' intex a model with a metal frame? Or easy set with the inflatable ring along the top? I will likely start a new thread since this isn't related to my original question, but I am interested to know if anyone has successfully kept an easy set up over winter, as that is what we have.
 
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