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How To Check Pool Chemical Levels

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Testing For Copper: Getting Rid Of The Green

How to check your swimming pool chlorine level like a pro expert

If your pool water is cloudy, or you have greenish or black stains on your liner, copper is a prime suspect. Copper buildup usually happens for one of two main reasons.

First, the tap water you use to fill your pool may contain trace amounts of copper. As water evaporates from your pool, it leaves the copper behind. The less water in the pool, the higher the copper levels.

To counter evaporation, youll add more water, which means you add more copper, and then more water evaporates, and that leavesyou guessed itmore copper in your pool.

Second, low pH levels can cause copper elements in your pool filter or plumbing to corrode. The corrosion will then make its way into your pool water. The longer the corrosion is left unaddressed, the more copper buildup youll have in your water.

Greenish stains on the pool walls and floors may be an indication of too much copper in your pool water.

Can You Get E Coli From A Swimming Pool

The E. coli is a marker for fecal contamination. Finding a high percentage of E. coli-positive filters indicates swimmers frequently contaminate pool water when they have a fecal incident in the water or when feces rinse off of their bodies because they do not shower thoroughly before getting into the water.

How To Fix High Iron Levels In Your Pool

We’re dealing with metals, so the same remedies that work for copper will also work for your high iron levels. Metal sequestrants are a life saver when you have high iron levels. Remember that sequestrants don’t remove metals. A sequestrant holds the metal in solution until the water can get filtered and backwashed. Maintaining the right pH level is also important.

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Testing For Salt In Your Pool Water

More people than ever are going to salt water pool systems. They’re easy, convenient, and makes the water feel better compared to a regular chlorine pool. But owning a salt pool means testing the salt on a regular basis to make sure it’s in the proper range set forth by the manufacturer. Too high or too low salt levels will cause issues with your chlorine generator and not give your pool the sanitizing it needs to kill the organic matter.

When Should I Test My Pool Water

Pool Tech Tips for Commonly Asked Pool Care Questions

You will want to test your pool water at minimum once per week, and your sanitizer level at least twice per week. If you trust your local pool store and they do a good job at testing your pool water, you can take a sample of water to them to test it for free, just to make sure you’re on the right track.

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Where Should You Store Pool Chemicals

Many pool cleaning products contain chemicals that can be hazardous or even deadly if stored improperly. As the Environmental Protection Agency points out, various pool chemicals can potentially be highly reactive and capable of generating high temperatures, as well as releasing toxic vapors if improperly handled or stored.

Avoid fumes, fires, chemical reactions, and other hazards by following the storage instructions on each cleaner carefully. The ideal storage space should be well ventilated, clearly organized, free of leaks or spills, and protected from excessive heat or sunlight.

Ideal Chemical Ranges For Your Swiming Pool

People often ask me, Whats the big deal with testing and balancing pool water? Does it really matter? I think sometimes people expect me to look around to see that theres no one within earshot, and slyly whisper, Nah, it doesnt matter. None of these chemicals really do anything important. But dont tell anyone. Wellnothing could be further from the truth! In this blog well discuss the importance of testing and adjusting these chemical levels and show how to balance within our recommended ideal chemical range.

Before we delve into the reasons for why these chemical levels are important lets take a brief look at the recommended ranges for some of the most important values. The following table shows E-Z Test Pool Supplies’ professional recommendations for chemical ranges:

0 0.2 ppm 0 0.2 ppm

As you can see, we recommend that vinyl liner and gunite pools be treated the same, with the exception of total alkalinity and calcium levels. Without getting deeply technical in this blog, lets just say that vinyl and gunite pools have different needs when it comes to these specific values.

Now lets explore WHY you want to test for and maintain these values. There are 3 main reasons for maintaining your pool chemicals in range. Although some chemicals will serve more than one of these reasons, they are the following:

  • Health and Safety Cleanliness and Clarity
  • Swimmer Comfort
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    Testing For Copper In Your Pool

    Clear emerald green water is one of the first indicators of high copper levels in a pool. The picture below was of a customer’s pool. He added 5 bottles of copper algaecide, then shocked his pool. Within an hour, his pool went from crystal clear to an emerald green. This can happen with an overdose of pool algaecide and from well water which is notorious for having high levels of copper and iron.

    Recommended Minimum Levels Of Sanitizer

    How To Test Your Pool Chemicals.

    The level of sanitizer in your pool or spa water is called “free available chlorine or bromine.

    The recommended minimums are:

    • 1-3 ppm for residential pools, including inflatable pools
    • 3-5 ppm for residential spas and hot tubs
    • for commercial pools and spas, follow provincial and/or municipal regulations

    Organic matter like tree leaves, grass, bugs and suntan lotion makes sanitizers less effective. In some cases, the label directions on swimming pool sanitizers and algicides may tell you to maintain a minimum chlorine level of 0.6 ppm. Reducing sanitizer levels from 1-3 ppm to 0.6 ppm should only be done when you control the organic matter in your water. Note that this applies to pool water only.

    Spa water must be maintained at 3-5 ppm.

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    How Often To Test For Copper

    While its ideal to conduct pool water testing for chlorine and pH levels weekly, its sufficient to test for copper once a month. Testing your water on a regular basis will keep copper levels at bay before you even see its effects. This will mean less work for you as you wont have to remove liner stains on top of addressing the copper in your water.

    In addition, because low pH levels can contribute to high copper levels, its essential to test them weekly. Keep them under control, and you may be able to avoid copper buildup altogether.

    Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Pool Test Kits

    Pool testing kits require users to collect small samples of pool water, which change color depending on their alkalinity, pH and chlorine levels when mixed with a reagent. To use one, follow these instructions:

  • Collect a water sample from at least 18 beneath the surface of your swimming pool
  • Measuring as precisely as possible, fill the test vials according to the kits instructions. Be sure to rinse out each test cell with pool water before using
  • Add the correct amount of reagent to each tube, following the kits directions carefully. You may need to gently shake the sample once it has been sealed shut
  • Compare the sample colors against the label on the testing kit, looking for the closest match
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    How Often Should You Test Your Water

    Pool water testing is important in order to achieve and maintain a sanitary and well-functioning pool. The timespan for testing your pool water depends on how heavily or how lightly your pool is being used along with the daily air and water temperature. It also depends on the specific test being done. As a pool owner, you should be testing for:

    • Chlorine
    • Chlorine sanitizes your pool water and should be checked between 2 to 3 times a week. Free chlorine is the most important test as this tells you available chlorine for sanitizing
  • pH
  • Check your pH just as frequent as you check your chlorine balance, 2 to 3 times a week. By keeping your pH balanced your chlorine will stay at its highest level of effectiveness
  • Total Alkalinity
  • This should be tested once a week as the stability of this test influences the stability of your pH levels
  • Calcium Hardness
  • Calcium harness should be tested once a month. This tends to fluctuate due to local water and chemicals added to your pool.
  • Total Dissolved Solids
  • If this level is too high, it can disturb the efficiency of your pool chemicals. This is why these levels should be checked on a monthly basis as well.
  • Metals
  • How To Test For Phosphates In Your Pool Water

    Pool Chemistry Cheat Sheet for Chlorine Pools

    There are many kits and test strips on the market that can easily test for phosphates in your pool water. We should know that phosphates will find their way into your pool, one way or another. If you have an outdoor pool, chances are you’re going to have some level of phosphates in your pool water, Call it “Occupational Hazard”.

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    How To Test Your Swimming Pool Water

    Pool Calculator makes pool chemistry easy. Also Available for iOS& Android

    Regardless of where you live or what kind of pool you own, youre going to have to test your swimming pool water chemistry. Testing your pool helps keep the water safe from viruses, bacteria, and algae and ensures chemical levels are safe and comfortable for swimmers.

    Test Regularly For A Healthy Swimming Pool And Spa

    HIGHLY PRECISION POOL TEST STRIPS for your swimming pool and spa. Tests for 7 parameters: total chlorine, free chlorine, bromine, pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid and total hardnessEXTREMELY EASY TO USE pool water test strips. Instant reliable results with simple and clear instructions. Simply dip and compare with large color chart on bottle. Ideal range marked on bottleSIMPLE, FAST, AND ACCURATE results in seconds, no assembly required, no water to collect, and by not having to count reagent drops, for technical and non technical users alike, works great50 STRIPS, 5 PACKAGES IN EVERY bottle, easy to store. Strips are sealed well with 5 individual moisture-proof packages, plus an individually packed desiccant for dual protection from moistureOVER 20 YEARS OF TRUSTED MANUFACTURE QUALITY dedicated to help maintain a healthy pool and spa, ensure the pool chemicals and water treatment system for the home domestic water are in spec

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    The Basics Of Testing Your Inground Pools Water Chemistry

    Testing your pool water for the first time? It can feel intimidating, especially if you never had a good chemistry teacher to build up your science confidence. But dont worry! At River Pools, we know pools, and were here to help.

    We manufacture and install fiberglass pools, and we want to use our experience to make your experience as stress-free as possible. Well explain these aspects of pool water chemistry:

    • What to test the pool water for
    • The ideal ranges for pool chemicals
    • How to test your pool water chemistry

    Hydrotools Deluxe Dual Chlorine & Ph Liquid Test Kit Ph Test

    How To Test Your Chemicals In Your Pool.
  • Fill large tube with pool water to the upper mark.
  • Add 5 drops of PHENOL RED pH Test Solution.
  • Cover test cell and mix solution.
  • Compare the color with the pH color standards. Matching colors indicate the pH of your pool water.
  • Two way test kit tests for pH and chlorine levels. Deluxe two vial design with color keyed indicator solutions. Includes instructions and storage case.

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    After Using Swimming Pool And Spa Chemicals

    • Read and follow storage instructions on the product label
    • Store chemicals:
    • in a cool, dry, well ventilated place, away from sunlight
    • away from food and beverages
    • away from gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, grease, paints, tile cleaners, turpentine, or other flammable materials, especially when pool chemicals are stored in sheds or small storage rooms
  • Store liquids below powders or solids
  • Throw out unused or partially used products at provincial or municipal household hazardous waste disposal sites
  • When Using Swimming Pool And Spa Chemicals

    • Keep all chemicals away from children and pets.
    • Keep chemicals away from food surfaces like counters, tables, and stovetops.
    • Wear proper protective equipment and clothing, like gloves, goggles, and footwear.
    • Use separate, clean metal or plastic measuring cups for each chemical when measuring.
    • Add the chemical to the pool water .
    • Avoid generating dust when cleaning up a powder or solid. The dust can react with moisture on your skin and cause injury.
    • Wash your hands with soapy water after handling any chemical.

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    Paying Attention To Visual Clues

    In addition to testing your pool regularly, you should pay attention to visual clues. How does your water look? If its green, cloudy, brown, or reddish, something is wrong with your pool water. Test your water immediately and add the necessary chemicals to stabilize your water before you swim again.

    Following are some common water colors and what they mean:

    Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Pool Test Strips

    Balanced Pool Water Guide

    Pool testing strips can quickly measure pH, alkaline, and chlorine levels. You can also purchase specialty pool strips to measure total dissolved solids , salt or other substances. Heres how to use them:

  • Hold the strip underwater for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Remove the testing strip from the water, be careful to keep the padded side facing up
  • Wait 15 seconds. Do not shake any excess water from the strip, as this may interfere with accurate results
  • Compare your strip against the label on the package until you find the closest match. You may need to adjust pH or other levels, which we explain below
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    How To Fix Low Salt Levels

    If you test your pool water and find that salt levels are too low, youre in luck. This is quite possibly the easiest problem to fix with a salt water pool. All you need to do is add more salt!

    Add a little salt, wait a few hours for it to dissipate, then retest your pool water. If salt levels are back to normal, youre done. If theyre still too low, repeat the process until you get the result you need.

    Testing For Calcium: Softening The Hardness

    Whether water is hard or soft is determined by the levels of calcium and magnesium in it. Depending on where you live, you may have to deal with the problems created by hard water.

    If you get calcium buildup in your faucets and showerheads, imagine what its doing to your pool filter and pump. Not only that, too much calcium in your pool can cause cloudy water, rough pool surfaces, and heater inefficiency.

    But unlike copper and iron, its also possible for calcium levels to be too low. With that comes a host of other problems including pitted concrete pool surfaces , dissolved concrete and grout, and etched plaster. Over time, these can become expensive problems to fix.

    Keeping calcium levels balanced is essential to prevent damage to your pool and its surroundings, and to save you money.

    A calcium imbalance can cause deposits, dissolved grout, and other expensive damage.

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    How To Test Your Pool Water For Calcium

    The total hardness level in your pool should be somewhere between 200 and 500 parts per million . A professional-grade water testing kit is going to be your best friend. The best pro pool water testing kits will test for calcium levels along with chlorine, pH, copper, iron, and other substances.

    Youll simply add a chemical indicator to a small sample of pool water and compare the water color to the included color-coded chart to determine whether your pool waters calcium is too high or too low.

    What To Measure & How Often To Test

    Pool Water Chemical Testing

    For balanced pool water levels, heres what you need to measure and often you should do the tests:

    Free Chlorine

    • Helps prevent the growth of bacteria and algae.
    • Test 2 to 3 times a week.
    • Ideal range: 1 to 4 parts per million .
    • Helps prevent swimmer discomfort, improves chlorine effectiveness and protects equipment.
    • Test 2 to 3 times a week.
    • Ideal range: 7.2 to 7.6.
    • When a pool’s pH falls outside the acceptable range, you may need to use pH adjuster.

    Total Alkalinity

    • Helps prevent pH from swinging in and out of range.
    • Test weekly.
    • Ideal range: 80 to 150 ppm.

    Calcium Hardness

    • Helps prevent surface damage such as scale and corrosion.
    • Test monthly.
    • Ideal range: 175 to 275 ppm.


    • Stablizer extends the life of chlorine by preventing chlorine burn-off due to sunlight.
    • Test 2 to 3 times per season.
    • Ideal Range: 30 to150 ppm.

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    How To Fix High Salt Levels

    To prevent your chlorinator from having to work too hard to assimilate an overabundance of salt, its a good idea to reduce too-high salt levels. You can easily accomplish this by draining a few inches of water from your pool, and adding fresh water to bring the level back up.

    Retest, and continue the process until salt levels are back in the optimal range.

    How To Fix High Copper Levels

    After testing your pool water, if you do find it contains a high level of copper, you have a couple of options to remedy it.

    Metal Sequestrant

    This is a substance that forms chelate complexes with polyvalent metal ions, especially copper, iron and nickel, to prevent oxidation.

    In plain English? A metal sequestrant binds with certain metals in your pool water and keeps them from rusting, which is the cause of those greenish or black stains on your liner. Its usually a liquid you add to your pool water.

    Be aware that a sequestrant does not remove copper from your waterit simply keeps the copper from staining your liner. Also note that sequestrant breaks down over time.

    If high copper levels are due to the element being present in your tap water, youll need to add sequestrant on a regular basis to prevent stains. Its best to follow the instructions on whatever sequestrant you choose. You may also want to find out what chemicals and minerals are present in the water where you live.

    Metal Trap Filter

    This is exactly what its name sounds like. Much the way your regular filter removes debris and other undesirable substances from your pool, a metal trap filter grabs hold of metal in your pool water, thereby removing it.

    Note that metal trap filters are sized by the number of gallons they need to filter, so be sure to choose one that can accommodate the volume of your pool.

    Hose Filter

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