We installed our pool in 2015. We were so excited!! I bought an entire package. It came with everything we needed. Pool pump, filter, and we even went with one of those mineral systems that are supposed to keep your water clean and leave your skin smooth.
We got everything installed and when it was time to turn the pump on and connect the mineral system, we realized we were missing the infuzer that is needed.
So off to the pool store I went to see what I could do to get us swimming asap!
To give a little background, I did know a thing or two about pool maintenance. I had been a lifeguard and worked as an aquatics director, so I understood pool chemicals but I didn’t think my knowledge of maintaining commercial pools would be the same for residential.
When I went to the pool store, nothing they were saying made sense. They were trying to sell me several different things…they told me I could bring my water to them and they would test it for “free” and then tell me what I needed to buy to get my pool up and running. Something just didn’t feel right so I left empty handed and started researching.
What I found was that I could use my knowledge that I had from life-guarding and my experience as an aquatics director with my own pool!! I did not need to take water samples to the pool store and I also found that I could purchase everything I needed either online or at our local grocery store or Walmart.
Here are 3 reasons why you should STOP taking water samples to the pool store!
1. You CAN test your own water. Why spend time driving back and forth to the pool store when you can just do it yourself? The best thing you can do for your pool, for your wallet and sanity is purchase the right test kit and learn how to use it (it’s not hard at all). The Taylor k2006 is the kit I would recommend. It has everything you need from chlorine, PH and CYA as well as total alkalinity and calcium hardness. If you have a salt water pool, I would recommend The Taylor Complete Kit + Salt Test . These kits will provide everything you need to maintain your pool. No more driving back and forth only to purchase even more products and still have pool problems! You will have full control and will be able to test your water anytime you want! We recommend daily testing for traditional chlorine pools and at least once per week for salt water pools. If you are battling algae you will be testing several times per day, so having your own kit is much more convenient!
2. Pool store testing is known to be unreliable. Don’t get me wrong, pool stores can be helpful and do have a purpose but I would not rely on them for water testing or water chemistry advice. I have read and have heard story after story from home owners who go to the pool store to get their water tested, the pool store sells them hundreds of dollars worth of products. Unfortunately the pool continues to have issues so they have to keep going back for multiple trips. When these same pool owners become fed up and start researching like I did, they start testing their own water and what they find is that the levels are significantly different from the pool store test. One example I read about was the pool store telling a customer that they needed to raise their CYA(stabilizer). The pool owner listened and did exactly as the pool store advised. Ended up, that the pool stores test was very different from the correct reading and now homeowner’s pool had too much CYA and had to drain a significant amount of water to get levels back to the recommended range. I could go on but I think you understand. The pool store is by no means an evil empire but in my experience, people usually find me when they are at their wits end with trying the advice from the pool store representative.
3. COST – Yes their test is “free” but 95% of the time you walk out with less money in your bank account. When you test your own water, you will know exactly what is needed and I promise you it’s not anymore pool potions (Clarifiers, PH Up/Down, Pucks, Algaecide) These are all unnecessary products that they will sell you after they do their “free” test. What I do recommend you can purchase from pool stores are accessories, liquid chlorine if on sale, replacement reagents, and they are usually very reliable when it comes to repairs.
It only makes sense to invest in a good test kit! They are very easy to use and will save you TONS of time and money! It all starts with testing.
If you have any questions, please comment below. We would love to help.