Pool water testing can be performed with liquid test kits or test strips. Whether you are using a liquid test kit or test strips be sure to read the directions provided. You should also have your water professionally tested at least one to two times every season A professional water analysis will provide a wider range of tests and a detailed analysis of your pool water.
You should test your pool water a minimum of two to three times a week using your test kit or test strips. When testing your pool water take a sample from approximately 12” to 18” below the water surface and away from the return inlet.
Test Strips –provide quick and accurate results for a variety of water tests. A typical 3-way test strip will provide chlorine (Free chlorine), pH and Total Alkalinity readings. As with any test kit, there are several factors that can be controlled to ensure the validity of the test results. Following are some guidelines for using test strips to obtain accurate water analysis results.
Follow the directions that came with the kit. Most inaccurate test results occur when individuals do not follow directions or follow the wrong directions! Test strips are continually improving and becoming more accurate, and you should never assume that the directions on one container are going to apply to another container's strips. In addition, not all manufacturers' test strips are the same, so it is essential to read and follow the directions on each container.
Store test strips in a low humidity environment at room temperature. Test strips will be most effective over a long period of time if they are stored properly. Suitable storage will give you confidence in your results until the product has reached the date of expiration.
Keep the cap on tight between uses. Doing this will prevent moisture from entering the bottle of unused strips. It is important that moisture not be introduced to the test strips until you use them in your pool or spa.
Keep wet fingers out of the bottle. The test strips won't know the difference between the water on your fingers and the pool or spa water! So, make sure that the only water your test strips are reacting with is the pool or spa water you intend to measure.
Do not use expired test strips. Most containers of test strips will display an expiration date somewhere on the container. Always be aware of this date when using or purchasing test strips. Regardless of how the container has been stored or handled, test strips have a definite shelf life and should not be used after the product has expired. Using test strips after this date will likely lead to inaccurate results. Therefore, replace any bottles that have expired.
Liquid Test Kits- There are several liquid test kits available from a simple 2-way test kit, to professional liquid test kits that perform a wide range of water tests. When using a 2-way liquid kit for chlorine and pH you should fill the pH tube with pool water (12” to 18” below the surface and away from the return inlet), add the recommended number of drops of pH reagent (phenol red) and hold against a white background to match the color results within ten seconds. A darker color indicates a high pH, lighter indicates low pH. If the pH is not within the normal range of 7.2-7.6 make the necessary adjustments before testing for chlorine. For the chlorine test, fill the chlorine tube with pool water (12” to 18” below surface and away from return inlet) add the orthotolodine reagent and match the colors within 10 seconds. This test is providing a Total Chlorine reading-NOT a free chlorine reading. If you are using a liquid test kit be sure to replace your liquid reagents every year.