Pools can be a beautiful addition to your backyard, but they don’t come without responsibility. Pool water testing is arguably the most important responsibility you’ll assume as a homeowner with a pool. A chlorine pool has a handful of chemicals you’ll need to monitor regularly:
- pH: 7.2-7.6
- Alkalinity: 80-120ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 180-220ppm
- Chlorine: 1-3ppm
- Bromine: 3-5ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 30-50ppm
When to Test Pool Water
When you first begin maintaining your pool, you’ll need to test your chlorine and pH daily until you begin to have a feel for how the levels fluctuate from day to day. The other chemical levels are fine to test once a week. However, if your pool gets frequent use, you will need to monitor the chemical levels more closely and more often. Also test pool water after rain.
Tools for Pool Water Testing
There are three common methods for pool water testing. The first and most common is by using test strips. These provide the most cost effective method way of testing your water while still providing fairly accurate results. You simply swirl the test strip in the sample of water and match the colors on your strip to the guide with your strip testing kit. This will tell you how much of each chemical you need to add.
Another option to test pool water is by using a liquid test kit. This kit is a little more reliable than the test strips. You will collect water samples directly in the test tubes provided and drop in the instructed amount of color coded liquid to each sample. The color the water turns will match up with the guide in your test kit to tell you what chemicals to add.
The most reliable option for testing your pool water is to invest in a digital pool tester. You’ll dip the probe into your pool water sample and electrodes will measure the chemical levels. These devices often have an LCD screen that will display the exact chemical levels in your water.
How to Collect the Water Sample
Pool water testing isn’t as simple as dipping a test strip directly into the pool. You have to collect an accurate sample. To do so, use your clean test tube or clean cup and hold it upside down so the opening is facing the water. Insert the tube or cup elbow deep into the water before turning it rightside up and collecting the sample. Do not collect pool water near the skimmer doors or return jets.
Keep an Eye on Your Pool Water
Get into the habit of testing your pool water. Familiarize yourself with your testing option of choice and pay attention to how the different chemical levels adjust between testing. Do not neglect this easy but important facet of pool maintenance.