Until a homeowner feels comfortable testing his or her own water, it's probably best to have it analyzed in a pool store.
This is where you want to be careful in your selection. As a rule, I recommend the 'Mom & Pop' stores; storefronts tied to a builder or service company where the owner or profit-sharing manager can actually be found on occasion. Water chemistry will vary with every municipal supplier and these small, local stores are attuned to water particular to their area.
If the use of an in- store water testing computer impresses you, notice that it's the clerk who is testing the water. The results are simply typed into the computer to give you a shopping list of needed remedies. As for the computer, it's as easily programmed as a Las Vegas slot machine; the 'one- armed bandit'.
For instance, the State's determined that a stabilizer level of 40 ppm will efficiently do everything that stabilizer is meant to do. Chemical companies have found that stabilizer can be pumped up to 140 ppm before it actually becomes hazardous and a possible legal liability.
At $5 a pound, (potentially $40 more per pool on a single item ) guess which end of the scale most computers are set to find 'acceptable'.
Keep it Simple.
The fewer chemicals you add to a pool, the less likely you'll have ' odd-ball ' chemical reactions.
The more chemicals you add, the less stable the overall mix and the more damage you can do to your pool surface, equipment and yourself.
I've often noticed that a good store owner wants you to understand why they're suggesting a certain chemical. Many stores treat your pool water like a witch's brew and glumly sell you everything you're naive enough to buy.
But, what best defines a GREAT pool store is a 'used parts' shelf !
Things break on a pool and it doesn't always take a whole new assembly to get it working again.
A used parts shelf indicates an owner who's familiar enough with pool equipment to know what's repairable and will work as well as a new part. A used parts shelf also demonstrates an owners willingness to give you a break on price and his or her time to explain how it's installed.
For the box stores, customers are less bothersome and employees can be far less knowledgeable when they deal only in cellophane wrapped or special ordered, new parts.
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