Karen's Korner

3 Easy Ways to Test Your Pool Water

There are 3 simple ways to test your swimming pool water: Test Strips, Liquid Test Kits and Digital Testers. You should test your water 2-3 times per week during the swimming pool season to ensure clean and safe water. Testing products do expire so be sure that your products are new to ensure an accurate reading.

Test Strips are considered to be one of the more popular methods as they are convenient and easy to use. Just dip your strip and compare the color on your strip to the color chart located on the test strip bottle to see your results. Test strips are available for a variety of sanitizers including, chlorine, bromine, salt and biguanide. Strips will vary but they can test for pH, alkalinity, water hardness and cyanuric acid (stabilizer) levels.

Liquid Test Kitscan be a bit more advanced as they test chemical levels individually. They are available to test a variety of chemical levels in your swimming pool. In order to use these kits, you would need to fill each vial with your pool water, and then add the appropriate reagents. The red chemical bottle is Phenol Red and is used to test pH. The yellow liquid is OTO and is used to test Chlorine levels. More liquid reagents are also available that will test alkalinity. It is best to use a white background when comparing colors, especially to see the low end of the colors.

Digital Testersare hand held testers that you dip the strip into the pool directly to sample the swimming pool water. After you dip the strip, the strip will be inserted into the digital reader. Use the results from the reader to determine the correct amount of chemicals needed to balance your pool water. The benefit of using a digital tester is that they provide more accurate results as the testers are reading the measurements instead of comparing colors.

When testing your pool water using any of the three methods, you should always take your water sample at the water depth of one foot. This will ensure you are not testing just the water’s surface. It is also good to take the sample in an area that has good water circulation such as downstream from where the water returns into your swimming pool.