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Taylor Test Kits - Money Pit?


seligman
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Do you think Taylor Test Kits are a bad use of your money and time, compared to an electronic device?

If you're good about testing, the cost for new reagents (or a new test kit) could run you $75-100 per year. Consider the time it takes to test your water. For me, it takes about 10 minutes. I *try* to test 2-3 times per week.

I don't know about you, but I would rather spend that time with family or friends, or even working. In one year, 20 to 30 minutes per week comes to 17-26 hours!

Taylor test kits, while accurate, seem awfully expensive both in time and money. I don't know about their accuracy, but those electronic testers seem like a better deal, despite their price tag.

What do you think?

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How many things are you testing each time? $75-100 per year seems high.

Really the only thing that should happen frequently (every day or two) is chlorine and pH. If you have an OTO (yellow-drop) for chlorine, that's a good enough check to make sure your chlorine is up where you want it, unless your minimum is higher than 5. The OTO and pH bottles are what, $5 each? And they last a reasonable while.

I also have the FAS-DPD top-of-the-line test but once you get to know your pool you don't really need it more than once a week, maybe twice, just to double-check the OTO results.

CYA basically doesn't change over time, unless you're using dichlor or trichlor or adding it on purpose. If you're using some other form of chlorine then this one can be like twice a year.

CH basically doesn't change either unless you're using cal-hypo or adding it on purpose, or maybe in a new plaster pool. I test it once a month, just to be conscientious. Hasn't budged.

TA probably wants to be monitored every couple of weeks, or when you're having pH trouble. But I think it doesn't change much either, unless you're having to add acid to keep the pH down, or have an acidic chlorine source like trichlor or an SWG.

You can shop around for refills, tftestkits.net seems to have reasonable prices and very good customer service.

--paulr

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As Paul notes, tftestkits.net has a good deal with their complete refill set here for only $36, but in practice you mostly use the FAS-DPD chlorine test components which would be $15.40 (plus shipping) or even less (per number of tests) if you got two. I usually only test my CH about once or twice a year. The CYA perhaps 3 times (but I don't use stabilized chlorine). Even TA isn't checked that often. It's pH and chlorine that are checked enough to use up the reagents over a year's time or so.

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About to stick my nose where it don't know...

Richard,

Reading this thread, It would seem to me that a simple Guardex 4in1 would be a good fit for a pool owner. He could do his Cl and Ph and take a water sample to his pool store for the 4 or so tests that you would do 4 to 6 times a year. Providing he has a pool store to go to, I suppose there's the catch. If you don't have a "guy" thats close, yer stuck.

I dunno, those Taylor kits seem expensive. Some of the posters seem to really push the new pool owners to get them. I was just wondering if they (the owners), really need em. I mean, do you need to know exactly what your'e Cl or other level is? Compared to what a Guardex test kit says the level is?

I'm not trying to be a jack ass here, I'm just askin.

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There are two problems with not getting the better test kit. First, is that most pool stores do NOT do the other tests correctly or accurately, especially the CYA test, though the CH and TA are also sometimes way off. Some of this has to do with the specific testing system they are using and some of this has to do with their lack of proper training or lack of calibrating their equipment.

The other problem with the simple inexpensive test kit is that it typically uses a DPD chlorine test where you compare the intensity of pink/red against a standard. This usually only measures up to 5 ppm FC (it bleaches out, especially above 10 ppm FC, so you may have a lot of chlorine in the pool and not even know it) and isn't that accurate, usually measuring too low especially as the FC level gets closer to 5 ppm. You can try dilution of the water, but then that's even less accurate. Accuracy is important if one is trying to minimize their FC relative to their CYA level. The FAS-DPD chlorine test has a precision of 0.2 ppm for both FC and CC when using a 25 ml sample and a precision of 0.5 ppm when using a 10 ml sample. Also, the test can measure up to 50 ppm which is useful not only when one has a pool high in CYA and therefore in FC, but also when shocking the pool, especially if one is fighting an algae bloom. It is critically important to MAINTAIN a high FC level when shocking to kill algae and the only way you can know if you are doing this correctly is with a FAS-DPD test (unless you just want to risk overshooting with chlorine or using an OTO chlorine test to roughly gauge the high chlorine levels that turn the test orange).

This is definitely one situation where "you get what you pay for". If you don't want to take control of your pool and want to be in the hands of a pool store, then that's fine and a simple test kit will work. But then you have to follow the advice of the pool store since you won't really know what is really going on accurately. If the pool store is competent, then this may be OK, but take a look at the multiple pool forums and the number of problems people have following the advice of pool stores and the varying measurements from store to store.

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I agree re: compulsive water testing, I'm guessing it's something that pool owners grow away from with experience.

Stopped by a local store today for a pack of Skim-Mor skimmer socks. They're pricey but I truly believe they capture much of the sunblock at the waterline. I had to wait about 20 mins for a $9 purchase while the lone employee was offering somewhat unintelligible advice to another pool owner, who ended up spending ~$120 on 2 cases of liquid chlorine and a bottle of Banish. I added Banish when I opened my pool for the first time, and will always remember Richard's advice - use a sequestrant because you just added copper to your pool.

I suppose pool stores would go out of business if all pool owners read this forum.

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Well as a new user of the Taylor test kit K-2006 (but not a new pool owner) the only one that bugs me is that the cya test uses a lot more reagent than the other tests. It'll be gone way before anything else is even partially used. Considering that my cya levels were too low last year-and non existent at the start of this season, it's what I need to watch. And as I'm just getting it up past 30ppm, I do want to watch it so I don't add too much stabilizer.

I did take in a couple samples to a local pool store so I wouldn't use all my cya reagents right off the bat, and considering the price they overcharged charged me for stabilizer, I should get a few tests out of them. Their tests did seem accurate though.

The problem with ordering the reagents is that I'm in Canada and PoolCenter wants more for shipping than the reagents, so I'll have to do a little searching for a domestic supplier, or wait to order several things at once.

But I am happy with the Taylor kit though and knowing my chemistry better. Just wish I'd have known to order extra cya 0013 with the kit.

JL

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You can also buy just the CYA test that measures down to 20 ppm (instead of 30 ppm in the K-2006) and that has extra reagent here from tftestkits.net, but they can't ship to Canada.

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Yes thanks for the comments guys, the 16oz cya reagent is just over $9 but $20 to ship. Adding a second bottle barely changes the shipping by a couple bucks max , so I think I'll wait til I know if there's another thing or two I might need. And the comment about the FAS-dpd powder is a good one as that might be one I need as well. I sure like the accuracy though of that kit. That and being introduced to the BBB thing this season really is an eye opener.

JL

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks...

I was the guy who made the claim that reagents can run a person $75 to 100 per year. Let me elaborate on this a bit. I have a spa (no pool) without a permanent cover. It has an automatic fill valve. During the summer, it's extremely difficult to estimate the water loss from evaporation. Between uses, I keep it covered with a pool tarp cut to size, but that's not very effective.

Our tap water is pretty nasty...pH averages 8.2 and the TA is usually 230-250.

I prefer to keep my TA on the low side. If as little as 3 inches of water is replaced with fresh tap water, the pH and TA are way too high again. Today I manually added water and tested the pH and TA three times until I got it right. I don't usually test three times but sometimes it's necessary. (I don't want to add too much acid at once)

Also, because of aeration in the spa, severe (upward) pH fluctuations are common. So that's more testing.

People say I need to get a permanent spa cover to stop the evaporation. I agree 100% but the size and location of the deck is a problem. Got a couple estimates but I didn't like the prices or the types they proposed. One guy wanted to drill holes into the brand new Mexican paver tiles I put down to attach hooks of some sort. The other suggested the "mattress" type of cover which I'm not too fond of. Yes I know, excuses, excuses...=D

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A solar cover (bubble wrap) or blanket (closed-cell foam) floating on top would be better than nothing. Would help with evaporation, chlorine loss, maybe even the pH problem (less CO2 outgassing). I have one of those big 4" covers that sits on top of the sides of the tub, and I've still considered adding a blanket.

--paulr

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