Pool Thermometer vs. Pool Thermometer

April 8, 2013 2:22pm
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poolwars

Who knew that it was so hard to be super lazy at telling how warm the water in one’s pool is?!

I’ve been meaning to pickup a pool thermometer for a while now because eventually we’d like to add a solar heater to our pool and before we can figure out how much it will cost, we kind of need to know where we are now and where we’d like to get to temperature-wise. Plus, it’d be nice to have a better way to tell just how warm the water is besides the classic dip a toe in, which historically hasn’t proven to be super accurate when I’ve wanted to take a midnight dip!

So after procrastinating long enough, I eventually ordered this one from Amazon because it appeared to have the best features and wasn’t too expensive, though I was admittedly a little nervous about all of the negative reviews that it had received over the years. Still, online reviews can be tricky because I’m sure a lot more people log on to rant about how terrible a product is than those who wish to sing its praise, so I gave it a try and after a couple of weeks demoing, I can safely say … all of the negative reviews were absolutely spot-on.

Which was a bummer, too, because aside from it not actually working, I really liked the design of the first one that I picked – it had an air thermometer as well as the one that went in the water, so I could see both side by side, as well as some other random weather stuff and also a clock because hey, who doesn’t like a nice clock?!

But still, almost right out of the box we started having problems – within maybe an hour of putting the sensor in the pool, I noticed that it had dropped signal … so I’d go out, fish the thing out of the water and reset it, and it’d work for a while longer until dying once again. After doing a little more thorough reading of the reviews, I came to find that a common problem is that the batteries aren’t seated firmly inside the sensor, meaning that whenever it bumped up against the side of the pool … as something floating in water is bound to do eventually … the batteries would shift and lose connection for a split second, thus resetting the device.

Fortunately, this issue was solved fairly easily by taking a small piece of aluminum foil, folding it into a tiny rectangle, and inserting it across the connection points in the sensor to help maintain a more stable connection as the inevitable bouncing occurred.

That kept it working for a couple more hours, and then it lost signal again.

I tried just letting it sit for a while, but a big problem with the design of this thing is that it doesn’t sync on its own – you have to have the sensor and receiver side by side and press a button – meaning whenever signal gets lost, you’re going fishing to pull the stupid sensor out of the pool. And ultimately this became the final straw for me because it got really inconvenient to walk by the receiver and see that it almost never had a signal. And distance to the was no excuse because it was literally on the other side of a glass door maybe 15 feet from the pool … a far cry from the 100 feet that the packaging bragged.

For most of the time that we kept it, we left the sensor in the hot tub and just looked at the display on top to see when it was warm enough to jump in … but that’s not really the lazy reason that I bought it for! 🙁

So anyways, I ended up mailing the thing back to Amazon as defective and instead of choosing the other model that they carry, on a whim over the weekend I tried this one from Home Depot and after about 3 days I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I haven’t had to reset the damn thing once! Granted, it doesn’t tell me air temperature or anything – it’s pretty much a one-trick pony, but at least the pony doesn’t just wander off and forget that it’s even a pony until you chase after it and club it over the head with a carrot!

Also, I’m a little disappointed that the sensor is considerably bigger than the last one, but then again it seems to be a lot more durable, too.

Plus, the nice thing is that if it does happen to float out of range and lose signal, it just picks it back up automatically when it comes back into range. I noticed that right out of the package – no buttons to sync, just put the batteries in both and BAM!

Also also, the little graph showing historical temperatures over time is kinda neat, too.

Here’s hoping that this one continues to serve its purpose because not for nothing but there are only a couple of companies that even make wireless versions of these things, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk out and look at a regular thermometer floating in the water like a chump when everything else that I interact with in this house is wireless! 😉

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