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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.
Pool Test Kits or Test Strips? Pool test kits, those with liquid or tablet reagents are almost always more accurate or trustworthy than test strips, which may miss the mark by 10-20%, and can be more difficult to discern small changes in color. Pool test strips are fast and convenient however, and some pool owners use test strips several times per week, but also have a full test kit to run more complete pool water tests every week or two, or to verify and re-check test results from test strips. In addition to greater accuracy, test kits also have additional tests and charts to help in calculating the correct chemical amounts, when adjustments are needed.
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.
Ideal Pool Chemical Levels:
- pH: 7.2 - 7.6
- Free Chlorine: 1.0 - 3.0 ppm
- Combined Chlorine: 0.3 ppm or less
- Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 200 ppm or more
- Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer): 30 - 50 ppm
Pool Chemical Level Adjustments: Test strips will tell you what the current chemical levels are - but not how much chemical to add to raise or lower levels. A good pool test kit will also have acid demand/base demand tests, and chemical dosage charts, to help you better determine how much of what chemical, is needed to balance pool test levels.
Also important is to adjust each pool chemical individually. Allow a few hours for a chemical to take effect before adding other chemicals, or before testing and adjusting the same chemistry level again. For safety reasons, be sure to open only one chemical at a time, and never use the same scoop for different pool chemicals.
Pool Testing Pitfalls to Avoid:
- Store your test kit and test strips indoors, or in a cool and dry location.
- Completely rinse test vials before and after use
- Do not interchange test reagent bottle caps
- Hold test reagent bottle vertical when dispensing drops
- Do not test surface water, but draw sample water elbow-deep
- Test a new sample, before making large chemical adjustments
In The Swim has the most popular pool water test kits and test strips to make pool testing process easy and straightforward. Our pool water test kits also ensure accurate results so pool owners always know exactly what pool chemical adjustments are required to make their swimming pool a healthy and well balanced aquatic environment. If you have water testing questions or need help selecting the best test kit for your pool, give us a call at 1-800-288-7946.