How To Test Swimming Pool Alkalinity

Testing the alkalinity of your swimming pool is a regular part of maintaining your pool equipment and mechanism’s safety. If your pool becomes murky or overly alkaline, this means the TA (Total Alkalinity) level has gone haywire and needs immediate attention.

Recommended procedure to do the TA twice a week is something that is within industry standards. If you want to take this job seriously, you can even be certified for the job, however, there is none better than hands-on experience and a bit of pool education to do your job correctly.

Pool and spa operators follow this method when testing for pool alkalinity. See if this works for you.

  1. Purchase an alkaline test kit. You can buy a Taylor test kit or Guardex pool test kit to check the alkalinity of your pool. After purchasing, make sure to read and understand the instructions completely as well as the proper handling of reagents that will come with the test kits.
  2. Take the plastic tester from the package and dip it into the pool. Approximately eighteen (18) inches from the surface is the ideal location to get accurate results. Stay safely within the pool parameters if you don’t know how to swim.
  3. Use the spot marked “FILL” as your catch measurement. See the line that reads exactly the word “FILL” printed on the plastic tester? That’s where you stop when filling it with water. That’s the spot right there.
  4. On the same “FILL” tester, add in the chlorine indicator. From the kit, you will first take the solution marked “No. 1” or the Ortho-Tolidin solution. Add approximately 5 drops into the water sample on the “FILL” tester. In this case, there will be two (2) “FILL” testers that you need to fill with solution No.1.
  5. Seal with the caps. Look inside the package of the test kit and fish for the caps to seal the water and solution mixture. Once the caps are secure, shake the tester slowly allowing for the mixture to swirl around properly distributing the mixture inside the tester.
  6. Pay attention to the color indicators. After following the procedure on step #5, you simply have to compare the resulting colors on the “FILL” tester to the Chlorine and Ph indicators located on the left and right of the plastic tester. Wait a few more minutes to make sure the colors that you are seeing are not because of any residual particles. After a few minutes, check the indicators again. You should be able to accurately determine the result of the Chlorine and Ph level in your pool.
  7. Fill another tester with pool water. After determining the Chlorine and Ph levels of your pool, you can use the information to arrive at alkalinity. Use a separate tester and fill it as usual with pool water from a depth of eighteen (18) inches. Again, use the “FILL “mark as your water level indicator.
  8. Add a single drop of the solution marked No. 4. Once a single drop has been added, swirl the solution around. Let it rest then proceed to step #8.
  9. Follow up with another drop of the solution marked No.5B. Just a single drop then swirl it again. Let it rest then proceed to step #9.
  10. Add succeeding drops of the solution marked No. 3. Add one drop initially and keep adding more drops until you see the solution turning a color of green. Stop when you see this color. Write down how many drops were added until achieving this color and then multiply this by 10. For example, 6 drops multiplied by 10 is 60. 60 is the TA of your pool that should match the Chlorine and PH level in the previous tester.

A reading of 60 as a TA level is low and will be corrosive for the pool’s equipment and machinery. Work the TA up to 80 so the water’s Chlorine, Ph, and TA levels are balanced.

If you are not well versed in testing your pool for alkaline, you should not perform this exercise. This is because the chemicals involved are volatile and may cause accidents when mixed improperly.


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