When To Test Pool Water
There is no set guideline for when to conduct various tests on pool water chemistry. Some people test all components daily, and this is a perfectly acceptable, if slightly obsessive, schedule. However, many pool experts suggest the following schedule for testing:
- Chlorine levels: Two or three times each week
- pH: Two or three times each week
- Acid demand test: Whenever pH levels need adjustment
- Total alkalinity: Weekly, unless pH has changed, in which case you should always test the total alkalinity
- Calcium hardness: Monthly
- Four-way pool water test kit
- Sink to wash test kit
- Towel to dry test kit
Testing For Phosphates: Do You Really Need To
Harmless and so ubiquitous they can be found in everything from pharmaceuticals to cleaning products to fire extinguishers, phosphates are essential to our everyday life.
The truth is, phosphates are not a problem for your pool water.
You may hear that phosphates are a problem because they serve as a food source for algae, which can have a tremendously negative effect on your pool. But killing its food source is not an effective method of controlling algae.
Once its established itself, algae can be very tough to get rid of.
Briefly Dip The Strip Into Your Pool
While still pinching the white end of the strip, stand at the edge of your pool and submerge it in the water.
Ideally, this should be away from any stagnant areas of your pool, closer to an active return jet. The better circulated your water, the more reliable your results are going to be.
You dont need to go too deep here, but the entire strip should be submerged for a few seconds. As a general rule, if your hand isnt getting wet during this process, youre probably not doing it right.
Alternatively, if you prefer, you can grab a small sample of water from your pool and submerge the strip into that. Either way works.
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Frustrated By Continually Testing Adding Chemicals And Trying To Keep Your Pool Clear All The Time
We cut out all the fluff and confusion of pool maintenance and provide Gold Coast residents with pool servicing and advice
Using our computerised water testing equipment, well give you a fast, accurate diagnosis about the condition of your pool water and prescribe exactly what your pool needs to keep it in great condition.
Should I Test My Pool Water More Often
You will want to test your pool water if you have reoccurring issues like metals if you’re on well water. Even some city water municipalities can have metals, or higher than normal phosphates. Extra contaminants such as these can make it more difficult to maintain your pool water’s chemical balance. By testing more often, you’ll be keeping a closer eye on your pool water chemicals which means you’ll also be preventing damage and costly repairs down the road.
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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.
How To Read Chlorine Test Strips
Chlorine test strips can quickly tell you how much chlorine is in a sample of water, but sometimes, understanding these seemingly simple results can be tricky.
To better understand what test strip results mean, lets take a look at two types of chlorine testing often included on a chlorine test strip: Total Chlorine and Free Chlorine.
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How To Read Pool Test Strip Results
The number of colored squares on your test strips tells you how many different parameters your kit tests for.
In other words, a 5-way test strip will have 5 colored squares, a 7-way test strip will have 7 colored squares, and so on.
The same goes for the provided color chart.
This chart will give you a range of color shades for each of the parameters it tests for. Each color represents a different parameter, and the various shades of that color represent how concentrated it is in your pool.
For example, if a well-balanced pH is represented by the color orange:
- Very dark orange would indicate a high pH level
Placing the relevant colored square directly over the chart will help you pinpoint exactly where it sits in that range.
Aside from just low or high, most color charts also indicate a number and a suitable range to shoot for. This tells you what needs to be lowered or raised in your pool, and by roughly how much.
Do I Need To Test For Phosphates
Honestly, I’ve cleared up over 700 green and nasty pools, most times in under 5 days, and I’ve never tested for phosphates. In fact, I’ve never used a phosphate remover on any of my customer’s pools and they always come out perfectly balanced and crystal clear.
Phosphates are a food source for algae, but they’re not the only food source. Phosphates in your pool, unless they’re at extremely high levels, should pose no issues.
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How To Read A Water Care Test Strip
Have you ever looked at the testing strips you use test the water of your hot tub or pool? Does it make sense to you? If so, congratulations, but to many this is just a weird color coded and set of number basically information that does not translate to an action to be taken. Here we try to decode the water code and why.
FCL free chlorine. This is the sanitizer level of the pool. For pools, the safe level is 1ppm-3ppm for spas 3ppm-5ppm. You should test this weekly and add chlorine as needed to keep water clean, clear and free of algae.
How Often Should I Test For Salt
To maintain the right salt level and keep your chlorine at 2 – 4 ppm, you will want to maintain your salt level between 2500 – 4500 ppm. This is the industry average, but always follow the manufacturer’s suggested salt level. Salt test strips can be found online and at your local pool store. Your pool store can also test for salt levels when you take your water sample in. It’s quick and easy for them to do.
Test strips are the go-to for most pool owners, and salt water test strips are just like regular test strips. Get a sample of pool water, dip the salt test strip into the water, remove it, then wait for about 15 – 20 seconds for the results to show.
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When Should I Test My Pool Water
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.
How To Interpret Pool Chlorine Readings
Pool chlorine levels are easily measured by dipping a test strip in the pool for a few seconds and then matching the resulting color of the strip to a chart linked to parts per million chlorine levels. Heres the rub: Some pool test kits measure free chlorine, whereas others measure both free chlorine and total chlorine. There is a difference between free and total chlorine. That may be breaking news to an investigative reporter who recently confused the two in a news segment about possible contaminants in swimming pools.
Why Measure Chlorine?
This summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending the public check the chlorine level and pH of pool water before enjoying a refreshing swim. Why? A new CDC report finds that one in five pools in five states in 2013 had to be closed due to serious safety violations, including improper pH or chlorine readings. That prompted an investigative reporter for NBC News and the Today show, to measure pathogen and chlorine levels at several public aquatic facilities. At one pool, the reporter described a sky-high total chlorine reading of 10 parts per million. He compared the reading to the appropriate range of free chlorine levels , saying, Three is ideal, so it is way over. Needless to say, that created consternation in the news room, not to mention fear and confusion among the viewing public.
Theres Chlorine, and Then, Theres Chlorine!
Total Chlorine = Free Chlorine + Combined Chlorine.
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Repeat The Test At Least Every Week
Your pool chemistry is always on the move.
Like dominoes, when one chemical marker changes so eventually do another, so its important to stay on top of fluctuations through regular testing.
As per our pool maintenance checklist, we recommend testing twice weekly but you can get away with testing just once per week. You should also be testing after heavy contamination, such as storms or little accidents in the water.
Testing For Iron In Your Water
This was another customer’s pool. As you can clearly see, she had a bad case of brown algae and brown iron pool water. And just like copper, iron levels can become corrosive when your pool chemicals are out of balance. She got her water from a well, which normally has higher iron levels than your regular tap water
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How To Read A Pool Test Strip Color Chart
Pool test strips are an easy way to get instant and accurate pool water test results. Select a test strip product that is compatible with your water typechlorine or bromine pool, salt pool or spa.
Simply dip one test strip into pool or spa water at elbows depth and remove immediately. Shake once to remove excess water. Hold strip level and visually compare the strip to the color chart included on the bottle. Select the corresponding test result colors within 15 seconds of wetting.
For expert pool water analysis results and personalized product and dosage recommendations, . With the app, you can enter visual results manually or scan-to-test with Clorox® Pool& Spa Multi-Use Smart Strips.
For best results, never wipe or dry test strip after dipping. Read results in natural daylight. Keep wet fingers out of the bottle and store test strips in a cool, dry place. Test strips are not reusable.
Take Pool Water Testing To The Next Level
Swimming pool aren’t just about testing for chlorine and pH. There are other important parts to your pool water chemistry. You have your choice of great test kits, easy to use strips, the convenience of your local pool store, and if you feel lucky, digital pool water testing kits. Having the right pool water testing kit can offer you a season of great swimming fun.
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How Often You Should Test Pool Water
While there is no standard timeframe to perform different tests, some perform the tests daily, while others do it after two weeks. All these are acceptable. But if you want to be on the safer side, you can use the following recommended schedule:
Testing for chlorine: Two to three times a week
pH: two to three times each week
Acidity: anytime the pH level needs adjustment
Alkalinity: every week, unless the pH has changed recently.
Calcium hardness: at least once a month
Cyanuric acid levels: at least once every month
Total dissolved solids: at least once every month.
How To Fix High Calcium Levels
You have three options here.
Replace Some of the Water
If your water source isnt hard, and your pools calcium level has risen due to other factors, you can drain a few inches of water from your pool, and replace it with softer water.
Use a Flocculant
When added to your pool water, a flocculant will attract the excess calcium and cause it to clump, making it easier to remove. Once the flocculant has worked its magic, clean your pools floors and walls to remove the calcium. Then backwash your pump filter, and clean it.
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Pool Chemical Test Kit Care
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Pool Chemical Testing Using A Test Strip
Pool chemical testing is one of the most important steps in the care of your swimming pool. Pool chemical testing is essential in pool maintenance. Proper pool chemical testing will help to ensure you always have clean, chemically balanced swimming pool water.
You should perform pool chemical testing to determine what chemicals are needed to balance the water at least weekly. One week you may have to add just chlorine. Other weeks you may have to add pH or Muriatic aciddue to the results of your pool chemical testing.Properly balanced water will keep your pools surface and equipment from being damaged. It will also help to prevent eye and skin irritation. Pool water test strips make pool chemical testing easy to perform. Accurate results on the strip will tell you which pool chemicals are out of balance. Errors in pool chemical testing of pool water can lead to unsafe pool water conditions and damage to the pool equipment. It is very important that you take the following steps to make sure the pool chemical testing is done accurately.
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How To Fix High Iron Levels
Again, because theyre both metal elements, the same remedies to fix high copper levels will also work for high iron levels.
You can use a metal sequestrant, which wont remove the iron, but will keep it from rusting and staining your pool. Just remember sequestrant will dissipate, so adding it must become part of your regular pool maintenance.
Also, controlling pH levels can help control iron levels, so keep a good handle on those.
Finally, a metal trap filter or a hose filter works just as well for iron as it does for copper. So if your water has turned a yucky brown color due to high iron levels, dont worry. Its fixable.
What Should You Do After Testing
If you detect imbalances, follow treatment recommendations that may accompany test kits or pool chemicals, or consult your pool and spa dealer. Its also a good idea to maintain a log of your test results to understand how the chemical balance of your pool or spa changes and identify recurring problems. A written record also provides an excellent reference for your local pool and spa dealer when you need professional advice.
Tools & Resources
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How To Use A Liquid Test Kit
For regular maintenance testing, you really only need a basic liquid test kit. Just make sure it includes phenol red and orthotolidine to test pH and chlorine, respectively.
Important: If the levels are low, the water colors will be fainter, and can be difficult to see. For higher accuracy, be sure to hold the collector up to a white background. Just a sheet of printer paper will do.
How To Use Test Strips
In addition to being super quick and easy to use, test strips can also sometimes be more accurate than liquid test kits because human error can make it difficult to match up the colors using the chemical drops.
Test strips are also usually less expensive than liquid kits, but youll go through them more quickly, so it just about balances out.
To use them:
The type of strips youll use most often are general ones that check for the primary components of ideal pool water: pH, alkalinity, and chlorine. But youll also find specialty strips that test for things like copper, iron and salt.
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Will My Pool Be Better Balanced
I believe it will. You should test your water at least 2 to 3 times per week. A lot of people are unlikely to test their water anywhere near enough using a liquid kit. Since each test can take 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
But strips only take 20 seconds so youre much more likely to test more regularly.
So my recommendation is to test regularly and use pool test strips.