One of the most important factors in keeping your swimming pool up and running is keeping an eye on the chemical levels in the water. Carefully monitoring details like pH balance, alkalinity and chlorine levels is the key to ensuring a comfortable swimming environment, and you can easily accomplish this using a pool testing kit. Every kit is a bit different, but here are the basic steps involved with the testing process.
Step 1: Get a sample of swimming pool water.
Most kits will include a small vessel, like a cup or test tube, for this purpose—and some will even have numerous containers in one, to run multiple tests simultaneously. No matter your testing device, it’s important to dip it at least 18 inches below the surface of the water in order to avoid picking up any materials, like sunscreen oils, that may be floating on the surface.
Step 2: Add the proper amount of testing solution to the water.
Testing agents will vary depending on what you’re testing—pH level, alkalinity, etc. Follow the instructions in your kit explicitly.
Step 3: Shake the container to mix the water sample and testing agent together.
Make sure to cap the container before shaking; using your hand to cover the opening at the top can contaminate the water and affect the results of the test.
Step 4: Evaluate the color.
The instructions in your chosen testing kit will tell you what to look for, but generally you’ll need to compare the color of the water to a chart indicating a range of red or yellow shades.
Step 5: Record your results.
Maintaining a logbook of test results can help you keep an eye on changes in your pool water over time. Having such records on hand can also be helpful if you ever have to call in a pool maintenance professional, who may ask to see past water testing results.
Performing regular tests of your pool water is a fast and easy way to assess your water’s chemical makeup—and, by extension, its safety. Comprehensive test kits are readily available and should be a part of every home pool owner’s maintenance arsenal. Store yours in a cool, dry place, and use it once or twice a week for optimal upkeep.