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A Guide To Water Testing Your Pool

How to get your swimming pool water professional tested

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  • A Guide To Water Testing Your Pool

A Guide To Water Testing Your Pool

There can be quite a lot that goes into making sure your home pool is looking and feeling great year-round. However, one of the most important aspects of pool care has to be testing water chemistry, such as the chlorine, pH and total alkalinity levels of your pool!

There are many ways you can go about this, but the most important thing is ensuring that youre getting accurate results from your tests. Here, we take a look at the whole process and what you should be looking out for when water testing your home pool.

The Right Way To Take A Water Sample

Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to collect your water sample. A water sample is supposed to be a reflection of the water chemistry of your entire pool and staying on top of your readings is the foundation of your swimming pool season success. If a sample is contaminated or otherwise amiss, you can create big headaches and spend a bunch of money needlessly. Nobody wants that. Let’s make sure you’re collecting your water sample correctly for either your home test or for bringing a sample into our stores for analysis.

THE CONTAINERThe best container you can use to collect your water sample are the complimentary water bottles that we provide in our stores. These are great because our bottles have a label for you to write your name, contact information, and a place to give us detailed information about your pool. If you don’t have one of our complimentary bottles, use a water bottle. Do not use empty soda bottles, chemical bottles, or food jars. All we need is approximately 8 oz. of water, and make sure to rinse your bottle before each sample is collected.

WHEN TO COLLECT THE SAMPLEAn often overlooked aspect of water analysis is timing. If you’ve added chemicals to your pool, wait at least 24-48 hours before collecting your sample. It may seem like a long time to wait, but many factors play a part – like the size of your pool and the chemicals added.

Water And Wastewater Financial Plan 2019

Water service is regulated under the Ontario Regulation 453/07 Financial Plans on the Safe Drinking Water Act. It requires the City to apply for municipal drinking water license and renew every five years along with Financial Plans.

Richmond Hill’s Water and Wastewater Financial Plan 2019-2027 provides details on the financial self-sustainability of the water and wastewater systems.

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Testing For Copper: Getting Rid Of The Green

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.

Pool Care Basics Water Testing And Balancing

How Often Should I Test my Pool Water?

Want a great looking pool but don’t want to spend all your time looking after it?

The quick answer

It’s important to keep your pool clean and sanitized check out my last post for more information on that.

Testing and balancing your pool water should be done weekly or as needed after events like heavy use or windstorms. The main components you’ll be testing for and then balancing are sanitizer , total alkalinity and pH.

New pool owners are encouraged to have their water tested regularly by a pool professional. Most pool companies provide this as a free service.

Still here? Great! Read on to learn more about testing and balancing your pool water.

Before we test the pool water it’s important to know why we need to test and balance. Properly testing and balancing your pool water keeps your swimmers safe and protects your investment. It is essential for proper disinfection and overall water quality and also helps preserve your pool surfaces and equipment.

Water testing

Testing your pool water tells you what chemicals you need to add to properly balance it.


Remember to keep your test kit clean, tighten caps on reagents between tests, rinse out the sample comparator between tests, avoid leaving the kit in direct sunlight and protect it from freezing during the winter months.

So what should you test your pool water for?
Other tests:
Water balancing


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Pool Water Testing Faq

Testing your pool water regularly is the best thing you can do to ensure clean and healthy water that won’t make your swimmers sick. Water balance is when your pool has the correct levels of Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Stabilizer. In addition to sanitary water that looks beautiful, balanced pool water protects your pool surfaces from stain and scale formation.

Why & When Test Pool Water? Testing pool water several times per week, is the only way to achieve ‘water balance’, so important for healthy, sanitary water because it affects the potency of chlorine, and creates poor living conditions for algae and bacteria. Balanced pool water also protects your pool surfaces and equipment from corrosion, etching, staining and fading. Good for all the soft and shiny surfaces in your pool including the eyes, skin and hair of your swimmers.

Best Test Kit for Pool Owners? The best pool test kit will be one that you will use – regularly. For a complete pool water Test Kit, the Taylor K-2005 is the standard in the pool industry. If you really love pool chemistry, or happen to be color blind, look at the LaMotte ColorQ test kits with digital colorimeter. For Test Strips, we carry the entire line of AquaChek strips and also strips by LaMotte and Frog. For complete pool testing, the AquaChek Select 7-way and the Insta Test 6-in-1 test strips will run the full battery of pool water tests. See also our Commercial Pool Tests Kits& Meters page for more water testers.

Home Water Testing Tips

  • Test the water while it is circulating. There can be slight differences in the balance of still water. Circulating the water evens out these differences and gives you a better idea of the overall balance of the water.
  • Take your sample from water that is 12-18 below the surface . Water at the surface interacts with air, changing its balance.
  • Check the expiry date on your reagents. Reagents generally have a shelf life of around 1 year. The older a reagent gets, the less it will change colour. Expired reagents will therefore always display low level readings.

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How Do I Test Pool Water

There are several types of testing supplies available on the market varying in price and accuracy. Since I work for a company that sells pool supplies, it was fairly easy for me to get customer input via our amazing review program, and I was able to narrow down the bestselling water testing supplies to make it easier for you to make the selection to your liking.

Best For Homes: Simple Water Tap Score Professional Home Water Test

How to test your pool water the right way

Approved Use: Drinking, Cooking, Bathing, Laundry, and More | Tests For: Over100 Contaminants | Time Until Results: Within 5 Days

  • Screens for over 100 contaminants

  • Provides detailed results

  • Gives personalized water treatment recommendations

  • Expensive

If youre looking for a water testing kit for your home, the Tap Score Activated Home Water Test is a pricey but informative option. This mail-in water testing kit will screen your sample for more than 100 different contaminants utilizing a network of EPA laboratories. You receive results within about 5 days and contaminants are quantified so that you can have more insights into your homes water quality.

A major benefit of the Tap Score water testing kit is the fact that your analysis includes water treatment advice and the support of a team of water engineers and experts. The company states that it is not affiliated with any water treatment companies and provides objective advice on how to tackle troublesome contaminants or improve the general quality of your water for drinking, cooking, bathing, laundry, and more.

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Test The Pool’s Ph Levels

After rising the tester clean, fill the large tube to the top solid line with pool water taken from a depth of 18 inches. Add one drop of solution No. 4 and mix it by gently swirling the tube. This solution is sodium thiosulfate, a chlorine neutralizer. Add five drops of Solution 2, a phenol red indicator, and mix by gently swirling. Compare the color with the pH color standards on the plastic tester to determine the pH level of your pool water.

Note: Dont perform this test if the residual chlorine is above 3.0, as you will not get an accurate pH reading. The residual chlorine must first be adjusted to normal levels.

How To Test Pool Water Accurately

It doesnt seem like it should be a complicated endeavor, and its really not. You even have a few testing options:

  • Use test strips quick and easy
  • Take a water sample to your local pool store the most thorough and accurate

How hard can it be, right? Theres just one key to making sure youre testing pool water accurately: the water sample.

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Best For Lead: Health Metric Heavy Metals Test Kit

Approved Use: Drinking| Tests For: Lead, Mercury, Copper, and Iron | Time Until Results: Under 15 Minutes

  • Takes under 15 minutes to complete

  • Easy to use

  • Doesn’t provide detailed results

Lead is a concerning contaminant, especially because you can’t see, taste, or smell it in your glass. In addition, other heavy metals like mercury and copper raise their own health concerns. The Health Metrics Heavy Metals test is an informative way to rule out or confirm the presence of lead and other metals.

This water testing kit for lead, mercury, copper, and iron takes under 15 minutes to complete. While there is one lead test included in the kit, you can test for the other three metals twice and receive quantified results for the presence of these metals. For lead, the test is of a pass/fail nature, which is the case for virtually all at-home lead water testing kits. The EPA has set a limit of 15 ppb for lead in municipal water supplies and this testing kit will indicate whether your water contains lead above or below the 15 ppb threshold.

According to users, the test kit is easy to use and provides peace of mind if your lead is below the EPA limit. If not, its a small investment to make in order to know that you need to have a more in-depth analysis done and implement steps to improve your water quality and reduce exposure to lead.

  • Takes under five minutes to complete

  • Color-coded system can be confusing

How To Fix High Phosphate Levels

Why You Should Get Your Pool and Hot Tub Water Tested ...

Addressing this issueand more importantly, the problems it can lead toactually isnt a matter of reducing phosphates.

The key to controlling algae is prevention, usually in the form of algaecide. If you also have problems with copper in your water, be sure to choose a copper-free algaecide.

Youll also want to make sure your chlorine levels are stable, and that your pH and alkalinity levels are correct. Keeping those three things balanced will go a long way to preventing algae from taking over your pool and turning it into a black lagoon.

Its also important to note that adjusting your phosphate levels will not get rid of algae once its formed. Once you have algae in your pool, you must take steps to kill and remove it.

Again, its about addressing the algae directly, not the phosphates.

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What Should You Test

You need to keep close tabs on the chlorine/bromine levels and your pool water’s pH. Those are the essential tests you must perform regularly. There are a number of other tests that you can perform to better understand your pool water chemistry. These tests can help you save a great deal of money if you need to troubleshoot certain conditions. Not all kits offer all tests. The following are your options.

Free chlorine: This is what keeps your pool sanitized. You want to keep the level between 1 and 3 parts per million .

Total chlorine: After chlorine has done its job of sanitizing, it is still in the water, but it is essentially ineffective. This type of chlorine is called combined chlorine. Total chlorine is both the active and the non active chlorine in your pool water. When the pool starts to smell or your eyes get irritated, it usually means there is too much combined chlorine and you will need to shock it/super chlorinate it to get rid of the combined chlorine.

Bromine: This is an alternative to chlorine. It holds up better in warmer water, making it more effective for spas. You want to keep the level between 3 and 5 ppm.

pH: This number tells you how acidic your pool water is. The typical level for the human body is around 7.4. The lower the number, the higher the acidity. The pH of swimming pool water should be between 7.4 to 7.6 to provide the most comfort .

Test For Total Alkalinity

After rinsing the tester clean, fill the large tube to the lower dash line. Add one drop of No. 4 solution and swirl. Next, add one drop of solution No. 5B, a total alkalinity indicator, and swirl. Add No. 3 solution, drop by drop until the color changes to clear, light yellow, or light green.

Finally, multiply the number of drops of solution No. 3 you used by 10 to determine the total alkalinity.

Note: Don’t perform this test if the residual chlorine is above 3.0. Chlorine must be in normal ranges before testing for TA .

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Working With Test Kits

Standard kits for testing water chemistry come in several different types. The particular kit used in this demonstration, the 4-in-1 by Biolab Guardex, tests your pool water’s pH, chlorine, acid demand, and total alkalinity. Other available kits are 2-in-1 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 .

Other types of kits include test strips or provide analysis through the manufacturer’s website or an app or online calculator. You can also get a reading by taking the kit to your pool supply store. Be aware that the bottle numbers, vial sizes, and chemicals in this project are unique to this particular brand of test kit. Follow the instructions for your kit usually, you can find them online.

Disgusting Water And Damage To Your Pool

Testing Pool Water: Every Week Test for These 4 Things

At the Rio Olympics, the pools turned bright green. Due to the wrong chemicals being added, algae was able to grow overnight. There are signs when your pool is out of balance. Your water will become cloudy and discolored. Pink slime will begin to grow. Finally, the poor chemistry can cause the pump to break. Also, this imbalance of water can cause stains on pool surfaces and corroding ladders, handrails, and other integral parts of your pool. These damages can lead to costly repairs. However, the health risks can be just as severe.

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When And How Often To Test Your Pool

You can test pool water yourself, but if you dont feel super comfortable doing that, you can also take a sample in for professional testing when you open and close your pool. A second set of eyes keeps it safe and clean. On the whole, you should be testing your pool at least once a month in addition to when you open and close it for the season.

Regular testing is essential for your chlorine, alkalinity, and pH levels. Its so significant, the CDC calls chlorine and pH your disinfecting team. The minimum testing schedule for pH and chlorine is weekly, starting before you open your pool.

There are other times that you should test for balanced levels though, including:

  • After a rainstorm
  • Before you close your pool
  • If you notice any issues with your water, like cloudiness or color changes

Some other necessary testing you need to do to maintain excellent pool water is for cyanuric acid and calcium hardness. You also test for copper, iron, and calcium. Well also cover testing for phosphates and salt. Well give a schedule for these tests in the instructions below.

Taking The Water Sample

The most accurate test will require a good sample. Whether youre testing the water yourself or having someone else do it, you will want to pull the sample in the same way.

Test the water on the deepest side of your pool

The deep end is the ideal place to take the sample because it is generally a better-circulated area of the swimming pool. The deep end is where the skimmer intake, main drain, and majority of the jets are.

Take the sample 8-10 inches below the surface

The surface water will not provide the most accurate sample because it is most affected by the elements. Sun, wind, and rain will affect the surface waters balance first and skew the results. Therefore, a deeper sample will be more accurate to the state of the entire body of water

Make sure newly added chemicals have had time to circulate

Allow 4-6 hours of run time after adding chemicals before you take your sample for testing. This time allows adequate time for the chemicals to circulate throughout the pool.

Dont wait to test after the sample is taken

This especially applies if you are bringing a water sample into a pool store for testing. Leaving the test water in a bottle on the dashboard of your car for a few hours will change the chemical balance of the sample, leaving the test null and void. Take the test as soon as possible after pulling the water for the most accurate dosing.

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