Proper Water Testing

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Basic Water Testing for Pools

Why Test the Pool Water?

Testing pool water is an essential part of maintenance. Checking the levels of chemicals in the pool helps promote cleanliness, health and prevent equipment failure, water testing helps to understand the chemical makeup of the pool.

When to Test the Pool Water?

Testing the pool water should be a regular practice, test the water at a minimum of once a month. Furthermore, testing the pH and sanitizer levels should be a weekly practice starting before the opening of the pool. In addition, proper water testing should be utilized when the environment of the pool is impacted. This includes but not limited to after rainstorms, after large groups use the pool, before algae treatment, changes in weather and adding water.

How to Properly Take a Water Sample

To collect a good water sample about 8 to 16oz of pool water is the standard amount, or enough to fill testing kit container. When gathering water sample, make sure to take a sample away from the skimmer opening or any return jets.

How to Take Water Sample

  • Use a clean bottle, cup or testing container to capture water
  • Hold container upside-down, so the opening is facing the pool floor
  • Submerge the container till it is elbow deep (about a foot and a half deep)
  • Flip container right-side-up (opening facing water surface) to gather sample.

Three Ways to Test Pool Water

Liquid Test Kits

Liquid test kits provide basic need for water testing; however, they can become inaccurate due to user error. Orthotolidine (OTO) and Phenol Red are needed in the test kit to test chlorine levels and pH levels. In addition, a sheet of clean white paper should be kept with the test kit to have a white background when observing the change of watercolor when applying reagents.

How to Use a Liquid Test Kit

  • Take water sample with testing container that comes with Kit. Filling to required amount of water required by test.
  • Add correct number of drops of reagent to corresponding tube on test kit.
    • Chlorine side uses Orthotolidine (OTO)
    • pH tube uses Phenol Red
  • Make sure reagents are completely mixed with water sample
  • Place white paper behind test container to see color change cleary for proper results.
  • Compare each tube to corresponding scale included with test kit.
    • The yellower the chlorine tube, the higher the chlorine
    • The redder the pH tube, the higher the pH

Test Strips

Test strips provide an easy solution to properly test water. They can test for a wide range of chemicals throughout pool water. Most of the basic test strips test for alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels, and some more specialty strips that test more specific chemicals.  Simple to use and easy to read, test strips are accurate.

How to use Test Strips

  • Take one test strip from test strip container, dip strip into water to collect sample.
  • Hold test strip in the air for correct number of seconds, referring to the manufacturer’s instructions with test strip kit.
  • Compare the test strip color to the guide listed on test strip container to find our chemical levels.

Take Water Sample into a Professional

Taking a water sample into a pool professional can help get a more exact reading. In addition, pool professionals can test more specific chemical balances. Simply, capture a proper water sample with at least and 8oz container with a lid (i.e., clean water bottle, clean plastic container). Most pool retailers and service professionals do water testing.

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