Testing Your Pool Water
Keeping tabs on your water chemistry can help ensure that your pool stays balanced and healthy -- and free of maintenance headaches like green pool water, cloudy water, or stubborn algae blooms.
Pool water testing can help you address imbalances before they get out of control. That’s why a good testing kit is one of the most important items to have in your “pool owner toolkit[PL2] .” New to water testing? No worries. Most pool water test kits will give you everything you need to measure important pool chemicals such as:
- Chlorine: Maintaining a proper chlorine level is critical for keeping your swimming pool water safe, sanitized, and healthy.
- pH: If your pool’s pH is too high or too low, you could end up battling other maintenance issues like algae, corrosion, or bacteria growth.
- Calcium hardness: Low calcium hardness levels can be harmful to your pool’s finish. High levels can lead to annoying (and difficult to remove) calcium deposits.
- Alkalinity: When alkalinity is off balance, your pool water can become cloudy and your pool’s surfaces can stain more easily.
Saltwater pool test kit
If you have a saltwater pool, make sure you look for a water testing product designed specifically for saltwater systems. In addition to measuring things like chlorine and alkalinity, saltwater test kits measure -- you guessed it -- the salt levels in your pool water.
How to Test Pool Water
The great thing about pool water test kits is that they are easy to use: You simply dip the strip into your swimming pool water, wait a few minutes, then match the color on the strip to the reference chart that came with your test kit.For a comprehensive guide on how to test and read water testing kits, check out our water testing maintenance guide.
Most swimming pool water test strips measure pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. Many test strips also measure levels of commonly found metals such as copper, lead, and magnesium.
Did You Know?
It’s a myth that chlorine turns blonde hair green. If you’re rocking green locks after a dip in the pool, it means that your swimming pool has high copper levels (too much copper will also stain your pool’s surfaces a greenish-teal color).
Reading Pool Water Test Strips
Every swimming pool water test kit is a little different, but most swimming pool test strips look something like this:
Here are a few tips to help you get the best, most accurate results from your pool water test strips:
- Make sure that you’ve had your pool pump running for at least an hour before you test.
- Always follow the directions that came with your pool chemistry test kit.
- Store your swimming pool water test kit somewhere away from heat, light, and water.
- Avoid using expired water testing kits -- they may not be accurate.
How Often Should You Test Pool Water?
For general maintenance, we recommend a swimming pool water testing schedule of at least once a week. Of course, there will be times when you might want to test more often, such as after a rainstorm, after heavy use (like a pool party), before and after you add chemicals like pool shock, and before you open or close your pool for the season.
Need a second opinion? Hit up your local pool retailer.
Many swimming pool retailers offer free water testing -- all you have to do is bring in a sample of your swimming pool water. Getting a professional opinion is always helpful! Find a pro near you today!
When to Test Pool Water
While there’s no “exact” time to test your pool water, most pool owners and professionals will tell you that for routine testing it’s best to test your pool water in the early morning or late evening. Sunlight can affect your pool’s water chemistry quite a bit, especially where chlorine is concerned (sunlight burns off chlorine), so it’s best to test your water either before or after peak daylight hours.
For best results when testing your pool water, pick a time that works for you and stick to it. Consistency is key!
Looking for more info about pool maintenance?
Testing is just one component of a proper pool maintenance routine. To learn more about how to keep your pool clean, healthy, and looking its best, start here.
AquaChek offers a full line of high quality pool and spa test strips and meters to keep your pool and spa water clean and balanced. Trusted by home-owners, professionals, and service technicians, AquaChek test strips are the fast, easy, and accurate way to test your pool and spa.