Why do you need to think about pool water testing? If you are buying a house with a pool or installing an amazing pool-centred entertainment area, the basics of pool water testing come with the job. The task requires some equipment, such as a liquid test kit or test strips, but it is a small investment compared to the long-term safety, your health and the aesthetic appeal of your pool water year-round.
The Importance of Swimming Pool Testing
Swimming pool water testing is a crucial part of your maintenance plan. It allows you to detect whether the chemical balance of your pool water needs attention, like when certain chemicals clog the pool’s filtration system or risk the health of anyone using the pool. A low concentration of other chemicals even permits the growth of bacteria and algae, so regular testing is important.
The idea of having to balance your pool may seem daunting, but convenient test kits make the pool water testing process straightforward. If you follow the instructions carefully, it goes quickly. Let’s go over some of the chemicals you might find in your pool to explore why there are so many different types of test kits.
Types of Swimming Pool Water Testing
Chemicals dissolve in pool water; testing tells you which ones are there and whether the levels are anything to worry about for health or aesthetics. If these chemicals have not formed deposits on the pool’s surface, they are in a solution. The purpose of testing is to find out whether this is a balanced solution of chemicals (or whether one chemical is diluted or concentrated beyond its ideal level).
In swimming pool water testing, services like 1 Pool Care typically describe the concentration of a solution in terms of “parts per million.” For example, if we say that a chemical is present at ten parts per million, we mean there are ten molecules of that chemical for every one million water molecules. Each test presents a normal range of concentration, so if the value is outside that range, it indicates a problem with your pool’s water.
It is also best to know about the pH level, sanitisation, metals, and cyanuric acid before delving into your test kit apparatus. Here is a quick guide:
The potential hydrogen level (pH level) indicates the water’s concentration of hydrogen ions, with a scale from 0 to 14.
- A neutral pH is 7. Distilled water with no other chemicals in it has a pH of 7.
- High pH (alkalinity) means a LOW concentration of hydrogen ions.
- Low pH (acidity) indicates a HIGH concentration of hydrogen ions.
The typical swimming pool should be slightly alkaline or basic (a pH of between 7.2 and 7.8).
Residential swimming pools usually rely on added chemicals to prevent bacteria and algae growth, including chlorine and bromine:
- Chlorine is commonly used by municipalities and pool owners to sanitise water. The ideal concentration for chlorine in a pool is between 1 and 3 ppm.
- Bromine is a common alternative to chlorine, with an ideal concentration of between 3 and 5 ppm.
It is important to test the pH and sanitiser levels of your pool every time you swim.
A Salt Chlorinator Alternative
One way to add chlorine to your pool without having to work with liquid chlorine in its chemical form is to use a salt chlorinator system.. Salt, with the process of electrolysis converts salt into chlorine through a salt cell. The salt level should be between 2000 and 6000 ppm or the required level as set out by your manufacturer instructions.
Ideally, there should be only traces of metals in pool water. If iron and copper levels exceed one part per million, it could affect the colour of the water and the health of swimmers. One source of metals in pools is the presence of sediments in water, particularly bore water.
Copper can give pool water a green colour. In high concentrations, it can cause vomiting and give hair a greenish tint.
Iron can give pool water a rusty colour. It can also leave rust stains on the pool structure.
Cyanuric Acid (CYA)
CYA is a chemical that holds onto chlorine and controls its release, keeping chlorine levels stable. If CYA levels are too low, chlorine levels drop rapidly. If CYA levels are too high, it will hold on to too much chlorine and prevent the chlorine from sanitising the water.
How To Test Pool Water
A pool water testing kit is easy to use if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you would rather save time, feel free to use 1 Pool Care for this affordable service.
- Immerse the cup into the middle of the pool (upside down) until it is around 50cm or arm’s length. Collect the water.
- Dip the test strip in the water and compare the colour of the strip with the manufacturer’s chart.
- Make sure the test container is clean.
- Use an area of calm water for the test
- Test water at 50cm below the water (as for above). Holding the container upside down when you put it into the water traps an air bubble, keeping water out until the desired depth.
- Add the liquid reagent to the container, as directed on the bottle
- Mix the reagent and the water by shaking the container. During this process, try not to let your hands touch the lid’s interior to avoid contaminating the pool water sample.
- Check the resulting colour.
Professional Pool Testing With 1PoolCare
If you are worried about testing accuracy or would prefer to let a professional pool company handle the chemicals, 1 Pool Care provides masterful water testing services in Perth, Australia.