Pool maintenance can be a daunting task for new pool owners. To enjoy long, relaxing afternoons poolside by crystal-clear water, you need to make sure your pool is ready. Navigating the ins and outs of keeping a pristine pool can be tricky, but pool test kits keep your water balance where it should be.
Many owners know about testing for pH balance and chlorine levels. But what about alkalinity and phosphates? If you have a saltwater pool, you need to test these levels and test for different contaminants that can make their way into an outdoor pool.
Failing to account for all these details can put your pool – and those swimming in it – in a precarious situation. For that reason, we’ve developed a list of tips and tricks for using pool water test kits and keeping your swimming pool happy and healthy. If you are in Perth, W.A. and you need a professional pool service technician reach out to 1 Pool care today for all your pool care needs.
What Basics Should a Pool Test Kit Cover?
At the bare minimum, a pool test kit should include basic chemical tests for pH, chlorine or bromine, and alkalinity. A test kit with more indicators will give you a more accurate assessment of your pool’s overall health and equilibrium.
Getting familiar with these chemical levels is essential to keep your pool sanitary and prevent algae blooms and infestation.
How to Test Pool Water Accurately
Luckily, testing your pool water is a relatively straightforward process that includes a few options:
- Use a liquid test kit – a comprehensive and easy method.
- Use test strips – a fast and effective method.
- Let 1 Pool Care do an accurate assessment of the pool water chemistry, pool side with the latest photometer pool testing equipment.
How Much Do Pool Test Kits Cost?
Pool tests kits can cost as low as $20 and can range up to thousands of dollars. You can buy an entry level test kit without spending thousands of dollars, but you have to know what you’re looking for and which tests are essential to your pool.
Types of Pool Test Kits
Pool test kits fall into three main categories. Understanding what they offer will give you a better sense of their prices and individual value.
Pool Test Strips
This test kit is simple to use, widely known, and used in almost all residential pools. Simply take a strip out, swirl it in the pool water, and wait as the reagents on the strip change colour to indicate the status of your pool’s health.
After it has changed colour, compare the strip with the chart displayed on the test bottle and adjust your chemicals accordingly. Be careful to hold the strip still for 15 seconds as you wait for the results.
Test strips leave little margin for error. However, be careful not to let any moisture or too much air into the kit when you open it, as exposure will cause the strips to lose their function.
Typically, these strips come in packs of 50 or 100, making it easy to test often. On average, you can expect to pay between $35 and $60 for a solid pool test strip kit.
The only real disadvantage of these strips is that they are considerably less accurate than liquid and digital pool test kits. However, these kits are great entry-level packages for testing your pool water.
Liquid (Reagent) Test Kits
Using a reagent that creates a chemical reaction with your pool water, this test kit gives you similar colour-coded readings to a strip test kit. This method is far more accurate but requires more effort on the user’s end.
To use a liquid pool test kit:
- Collect a water sample (in the container provided in the kit).
- Add the recommended number of red phenol drops into the water on the pH testing side.
- Add the recommended reagent tablet into the water on the chlorine testing side and crush and stir.
- Hold the container up to the light and compare the water’s colours to the scales on the container.
Redder water indicates higher pH or a high chlorine level.
Liquid test kits require more patience and finesse than strip tests, as you have to apply each testing liquid drop by drop. The process is, overall, more mistake-prone for those with shaky hands. Additionally, when you need reagent refills, make sure you buy the same brand you started with, as each liquid test kit comes with its own specific formula that may result in inaccurate testing if mixed with another brand.
Digital Test Kits
These are the high-end test kits and one that a pool technician would use. Ideal for those running a community pool or someone who wants the best testing available.
- Collect a water sample in the test vial
- Slide a test tablet into the test vial, crush and stir
- Place the vial into the photometer
- Press the required test button
These kits will give you stunningly accurate readings, down to the last decimal point, and some provide LSI readings, saving you from calculating it freehand. Understandably, these kits are costly, yet they provide the best testing.
Taking Proper Pool Water Samples
Regardless of the method you choose, taking a clean and representative sample is vital to taking proper readings of your pool’s health. Experts recommend taking your selection from the very centre of your pool, if possible. The process is as follows:
- Use a clean cup, bottle, or another container, preferably with a lid.
- Hold the container upside down, facing the bottom of the pool.
- Put the container into the water, elbow-deep, and turn it back upwards to collect the water.
Be careful to avoid skimmer openings or return jets, as they will give you an inaccurate sample of the pool’s status.
1PoolCare – Your One-Stop-Shop for Pool Test Kits
If you need comprehensive water testing in Perth, Western Australia, reach out to 1PoolCare today at 0456 75 75 75 or check out the resources on our site. We’ll get your pool back to happy and healthy levels and educate you about how to maintain your pool in the future.