How To Test Chemicals in Swimming Pool Water

There is nothing like a good, clean pool to get into, in the heat of summer. Indeed, if there are children around, keeping them away from a pool is near impossible. But how do we test to see whether the ‘clean water' that we can see is actually healthy and balanced? Follow the instructions listed below to test the ‘chemical' content of swimming pool water.

Step 1

Tests based on Regularity. Do a weekly test for chlorine (1-2 parts per million) and pH (7.2-7.8) levels. This can be done easily by using test strips designed for this purpose, available at home improvement stores or pool supply stores. A monthly test for total alkalinity, calcium hardness, dissolved solids and stabilizer is also recommended, though this should be ideally conducted by a technical specialist. An incidence-based test for iron or copper should be done in case there are stains on the wall or floor surface of the pool.

Step 2

Arm yourself with a good quality test kit. Always store the kit away from direct sunlight and away from children. Try to get a kit which uses tablets instead of drops. Throw away tablets which have expired as they could give incorrect readings and therefore lead you to add the wrong chemicals into your pool. Always rinse the test kit prior to use. Take water for testing from at least 30cms below the pool surface. Once the test is completed, do NOT empty the solution in the kit, back into the pool. Always read the instructions carefully before use.

Step 3

Tips for the weekly test. Do a trial run on the strips at home, before doing the test at the pool. For the chlorine test, you'll need 3 containers, normal tap water and 3 drops of liquid chlorine bleach. After letting the tap run for a couple of minutes, fill 1 cup of water into container 1 and 6 cups of water into containers 2 and 3 each. Into container 2, put 1 drop of the liquid chlorine bleach, into container 3, put 2 drops of liquid chlorine bleach. Now test the water from each container on the strips following the manufacturer's instructions. Check the reading on these strips against this chart:

  • Container 1 - 0to <1ppm
  • Container 2 - 2-3ppm
  • Container 3 - 4-5ppm

If the kit you have is a duo-test kit, then it will test for chlorine and pH levels as well. A DPD chlorine kit will also test for free, combined and total chlorine levels and is the preferred kit to use. The titration test on the pH sample, by counting the drops for determining (with the help of a chart which normally accompanies all test kits) accurately the acid and the base needed to adjust the pH levels. A 4-way kit will also test for alkalinity and acid in addition to chlorine and pH.

Balancing the pool will be based on these test results. A regular schedule of such testing and corrective action will ensure that your pool is a delight to all users and is kept that way. Have a good time, enjoy the summer!


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