Is the pool company BS'ing about their chemicals?

citivasJune 17, 2011

We just finished a pool with Anthony & Sylvan. They use Jayson Pools to service the equipment and do the start-up. Jayson tried to hard sell me on paying $750 to buy 3 months-worth of chemicals. When I said I would consider it but wanted to check pricing against competitors they claimed that I am only supposed to use Anthony & Sylvan branded chemicals and that if I don't it could void my warranty. I challenged this and asked them if their chlorine, etc., is really different than others. They dodged a direct answer but again said I would be "risking" my warranty if I used other chemicals.

This sounds like BS too me but I am curious if anyone has experience with this.

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There is a differance in some chemicals like some shocks contain more stabilizer. But if you take it to a pool store for testing they will have a record of your water. So I don't see how they then could question any Warranty issues.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:59AM
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It is BS.

I use Dow Flake (Home Depot) for calcium hardness, A & H baking soda for alk (WalMart or Target). and A & H Washing Soda for pH (Shop Rite or PathMark). They cost homeowners about 40% less than at a pool store if you shop. Their 3" tabs are good though.

Get a testing kit that includes a DPD-FAS chlorine test. This is a powder & drops based test that can test for chlorine to 50 ppm. Strips, while convenient, don't cut it as they are often very inaccurate.

Taylor's K-2006, TFTestKit's TF-100, or Leslies Chlorine FAS-DPD Service Test Kit are three that fit the bill. You won't normally find them in stores but you can order them over the net.

Did they push you to buy an Anchor brand cover too? Look at other brands. While its a pretty good cover, it has a number of issues such as weight and bulkiness, increased number of holes drilled in the deck, and since it rests on the surface, any holes let pool water out on top for the cover pump to suck out, lowering the pool. They also use anchor that have a smaller hex key size than all they other brands, making it a bit of a PITA to raise and lower them. Most pool guys use a cordless drill with screw driver bit reversed in the chuck to perform this task. These bits are 5/16" but Anchor uses 1/4" size.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:25AM
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Total BS! Can't comment on whether Anthony & Sylvan would use that as a way of not honoring their warranty to you, but the notion is total baloney!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 4:59PM
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Yes, BS... Jayson pools is selling you a line, that will make them some cash.

The only way A and S could deny warranty coverage is if they can prove you were not taking care of the pool correctly.

Jayson pools has no special chemicals.

You actually should call the A and S corp office and let them know that an authorized reseller is pushing that on new pool owners, I would imagine they would not be happy to hear a pool start up service is pressuring their customers.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:05PM
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Thanks for the replies and advice. I do plan on taking it up with A&S, beyond just BS about the chemicals.

For one, when I refused to bite on the $750 for 3 months of chemicals they said I basically had to at least pay $150 for the chemicals needed for the first two weeks of start-up. They were specific that this was for chemicals only and would be everything I needed. But when they arrived what I got was:

-- 2 10 lb bags of DE (on top of the 1 I was owed with my new filter), which I have already burned through in 3 days � needing to backwash twice a day so far.
-- A small canister of chlorine tablets that sits in the skimmer. But my understanding is this is for chlorine "maintenance" and will end up being redundant with the Fusion 2 system canisters that already come with my pool equipment (which they haven�t activated yet). They did not bring any regular start-up chlorine other than a 2 lb container of their shock product which I took to Leslie�s and they said has less than 40% or whatever of the chlorine concentration. And Jayson�s said not to put this shock in until after the first week so the chlorine levels in the pool right now are off-the-scales low, basically none measurable.
-- A 12 lbs container of pH Down.
-- And, the real kicker, a box they called a "starter kit" that includes a super cheap thermometer, a container of test strips that only measures chlorine, alkalinity and pH, but nothing else and a couple other cheap accessories that are not chemicals and which I either already had or intended to get better versions of elsewhere. When I looked at the receipt this junk represented about $90 of the $150.

Total, total scam. I only agreed to this because they said their guys couldn�t do the warranty-required indoctrination without them and they wouldn�t work with anyone else�s products. So I basically had no choice.

Also, the guys who came out where supposed to teach me how to:

-- Backwash the DE filter and replace the DE. They sort of did this but missed a couple steps from reading the manual, like not mentioning to relieve pressure in the filter after the DE is done and they just dumped the powder straight into the skimmer versus the instructions saying to pre-mix it in a bucket of water to put it in lizquid form and to pour it in gradually.

-- Brush the pool. No complaints.

-- How to test and add chemicals. Complete bust, and perhaps their most reckless abuse. They spent about 20 seconds on this basically telling us how to add the shock in a week and how to use the test strips which they then said to ignore and to just add the pH down in 3 days and the shock in 7 days and do nothing more. Yet from reading A&S�s manual it says I should have been concerned with hardness, Alkalinity and pH balance right away. I took my water to Leslie�s today and my hardness was off-the-charts low and my pH was off-the-charts high. I had to buy the stuff to help the hardness from them since the "starter chemicals I paid $150 for didn�t include anything. And I had to get another test kit from them since the one from the $150 kit didn�t measure for it or half the other stuff.

All this from A&S�s official vendor that does all their start-ups in this area and services the warranty on the equipment. It�s pretty troubling.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:39PM
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I would research that nature2 system.
It is a standard item on all A and S pools, and after you research it, you may decide against it.

Read up at and check the forums regarding nature2. Educate your self at that site, read the pool school and the chemical section, VERY HELPFUL to a pool noobie.

In my opinion, chlorine is the best way to sanitize a pool, regardless of what the sales guy, the pool company, or the startup company tells you. YMMV but ask around.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:24PM
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Check your contract. Usually, the hand tools and start up chemicals are included and somwhere it will refer to the PB being responsible for handing you a pool with the water chemistry balanced. This means correct PH, Calcium Hardess, Total Alkalinty, Stabilizer, and Chloine residual of at least 1ppm.

You will probably have a higher potential for warranty problems with low Calcium and bad chemistry than with off brand chemicals.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:34AM
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Anthony & Sylvan claim the chemicals are not included. They did provide the hand tools -- pool, net, brush, manual vac -- and one 10 lbs bag of DE that I went through in less than the first day. They don't even provide the initial chlorine tabets that go in the Fusion cannister they include.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 3:56PM
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It would be interesting to see what standard start up service is provided from the PB's on this forum.

I provide pool net, brush, test kit and 3lbs of tabs. (Manual vac is a waste because every pool has a cleaner. IMO) I turn the pool over to my customer after I've balanced the chemistry and provided an hour of instruction. This is minimum. I provide salt if it's a salt generator and any first cartridges for mineral systems included. I try to operate under the assumption that no customer can ask a stupid question. Some customers need more hand holding than others. I have less warranty calls from the customers I educate the best.
I keep water chemistry records from intial fill and start up to the day it's turned over to the customer.
This is minimum, minimum. If it takes 2 weeks to do the punch list and gave walk thru instructions, I might use 9lbs of tabs. That is just part of being in business.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:19PM
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You should have a contract from A and S that states everything included, including chemicals, check your contract.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Agreed with the above,

We received the typical maintenance kit (Vacuum, leaf, scrub, thermometer, strips, pole), plus 10 containers of water balancing chemicals, 8 lbs of shock, and ten 40-lb bags of Morton's pool salt for our start up.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:16AM
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I provide a pole, vac head, vac hose, net, brush, test kit and a case each of liquid chlorine and acid.
I also have a maintenance company do 4 start up visits. I then do "pool school" with the clients which typically takes about an hour. I too find that my best educated customers have the fewest problems.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 9:59AM
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And as to the original question, I think that if they are suggesting that using chemicals with the wrong labels on the pails would void your warranty that sounds like a scam to me.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 10:11AM
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I just reviewed the contract which is 2 11x17 double sided pages with 54 categories of items plus pages of legal disclaimers and an addendum and there is no reference to any responsibility for chemicals. It specifically calls out the suplies they did deliver -- the pole, brush, basic test strips, etc. -- but no where does it list chemicals. The suuplemental handbook makes reference to the need to chemically balance and that we will be instructed how to in the indoctorization but no reference to supplying the chemicals.

Looks like A&S doesn't do this.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 9:33AM
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They did in Texas.

Pool school guy came out and started the pool, trained the homeowner on the pump, heater, calibrated the remote, explained its operation, showed how to clean the salt cell, how to use the polaris, and left the poles, nets brushes, 250 lbs of pool salt, 10 lbs of 95% chlorine pucks for the 30 day startup, 4 bags of shock, 2 gallons of muriatic acid.

This was at a family members pool.
Might be a regional thing, or perhaps they changed their policy.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 9:44AM
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After 45 lbs of pH Down (put in gradually over the last 10 days) I finally have a reading on pH that is not off the charts high! Now I get to start working on the chlorine level which is off the charts low...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:43PM
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citivas use this site, it will help you bring the chemicals into line quickly.

It is very accurate.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:30PM
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