Musings from the Tech Guy: Answering Tech Calls and E-mails

“How many mLs are there in a 25 mL test cell?”

“Is pink the new blue?”

“About 4 hours ago I added 40 lbs. of cal hypo to my 20,000-gallon above ground pool and I don’t have a chlorine reading. Should I add more?”

“My neighbor told me that a pH of greater than 8.0 is perfect for my pool. He’s right, right?”

“I stuck my finger in the water to get a pH reading. Was that wrong? My pool guy does it all the time.”

In my almost 27 years of answering tech calls and e-mails for Taylor Technologies, I’ve had the pleasure…no, wait…I’ve had the honor…no, that’s not quite right…I’ve had the opportunity (that’s it!) to hear some of the most outrageous, funny, frustrating, and mind-boggling statements from callers to Technical Support regarding water chemistry and testing. For years I have wanted to write a book about some of them, but I think this will do for now.

So, based on what I deal with every day, here are some “suggestions” when calling or contacting Technical Support for help:

1. State clearly and concisely what the problem is. A 20-minute description of how many years you’ve had the pool, what kind of dog or cat you have, and how your neighbor prances around in his birthday suit at night in front of his living room window is different. Interesting? Yes. Weird? Definitely. Helpful? Nope.

2. Have your test kit handy because I will be asking you some questions. I’ll need to know what test kit and reagents you are using and what tests you are performing to be sure your test results reflect what is actually going on with your pool or spa. I will probably also ask for the lot number and expiration date of the reagents you’re using to help me get to the bottom of the problem.

3. Do your homework before contacting Tech Support. Try to remember what you did (or didn’t do) to try and fix the problem over the last few days.

4. Check out our website ( Under the “Learn More” tab is a section called “Chemistry Topics” where you will find all sorts of information that is easy to understand and very helpful. Here, you just might find the answer to your question. Also, many of our test kits contain a booklet, Pool & Spa Water Chemistry: A Testing & Treatment Guide (includes a section called “Common Questions about Water Testing”) or I Never Liked Chemistry. Great resources!

5. Finally, be nice to the person trying to help you, and no profanity — please! Some of the words and phrases I’ve heard over the years would blister your ears and make even a seasoned pool technician blush. Like your kindergarten teacher said, “please” and “thank you” go a looooooong way!