A swimming pool is fun for everyone, but in order to keep that beautiful clarity we all love, maintenance is required. Testing kits for pools come in many varieties and prices, so what should you choose? Before you make a choice, it’s important to know how to use these tests to make the right decision. Here is a comprehensive list of test kit types, and general instructions on how to use them. Remember! For specific details on use please check the instructions on whatever you purchase.

Here are the two most common methods of testing:

Testing Strips

  1. Take a sample of water from your pool in a plastic or glass container.
    • Do not use a soda or pop bottle unless it has been thoroughly rinsed. The acidity from the soda pop willChecking Your Test Stripmess with the accuracy of the pH.
    • Water should be taken from at least 12-18 inches below the water’s surface, where it is best mixed.
  2. Remove a test strip from its holder.
    • The strip will have between 4 and 8 colored patches depending on the number of water quality aspects being tested
  3. Place the strip in the water sample for one second and pull out.
  4. Wait 10 to 20 seconds to check the color of the strip against the colors associated with the thing being tested.Waiting too long before checking the color change can lead to an inaccurate measurement, as the colors can keep changing.

NOTE: Test strips include no chlorine neutralizer like other methods. High levels of chlorine can skew results inaccurately, so drops are more appropriate if your pool tends to be high in chlorine.

 


 

Drops AKA Reagent Testing

  1. Take a sample of water from your pool in a plastic or glass container.
    • Do not use a soda or pop bottle unless it has been thoroughly rinsed. The acidity from the soda pop willColor-Checking-Water-For-Your-Test-Kit mess with the accuracy of the pH.
    • Water should be taken from at least 12-18 inches below the water’s surface, where it is best mixed.
  2. Fill the tubes in the included testing center to the levels indicated on each tube.
    • It is important to use the correct amount of water with the drops, or your results will be inaccurate.
  3. Add the chlorine neutralizer included in your kit to your sample in the tube(s) you are testing in.
    • The usual amount is two drops, but check your instructions for details.
  4. Take the particular reagent you are using to test and add it according to the instructions.Remember to use the correct reagent in the correct tube. Many problems with testing come from mixing up the dropper with another one.
  5. Cover the tubes and shake well to mix it evenly
  6. Check the color you see in the water solution with the color guide either on the device on in the instructions.
    • Put something white behind the water tube to see the color at its clearest.

LaMotte Insta-LINK® Advanced Smartscan Kit

Digital Testers

After these two pool testing methods there are other, less common methods. These are a lot more handy for the pool owner who doesn’t want the hassle of testing their water and trying. There are smartphone apps which measure the balance of your pool using test strips and tell you exactly what kind of chemicals you need to add, like the LaMotte Insta-LINK® Advanced Smartscan Kit. Products like these give you a treatment plan to fix any problems with your pool it diagnoses, and don’t require any looking at tiny print on an instruction booklet. If that is still too much work, and you don’t want to use any sort of test strips, there’s more options for automated pool testing.

Something like the ePool® Smart System Water Chemistry Monitoring ePool® Smart System monitors the pH, chlorine, and water temperature, sending you emails or even text messages when something goes out of whack. These systems are more expensive than simple strip or drop testing, but if you want that immediacy of knowing that your pool isn’t in balance as soon as it happens, this kind of electronic system is for you.

Testing your pool regularly is required to get that crystal clear water you want. There are many different ways to go about it, but don’t be intimidated! The most important thing is to read the instructions carefully. You’ll be an expert before you know it.