Testing your pool water is important for keeping your pool functioning properly. Without proper water chemistry, pools can quickly develop cloudy water and bacteria buildup, causing damage to the equipment. Because testing your water is a critical part of pool maintenance, it’s important to understand how often pool water should be tested.
Generally, you should test your pool’s chlorine and pH levels at least once a week. During warm weather, you may need to test the water 2 to 3 times a week to ensure it is well-balanced. Additionally, if your pool experiences high usage, it may need testing more frequently.
If you’re unsure how to test your pool water, you have come to the right place. Read on to learn how to test pool water and how often pools should be tested.
How Often Should I Get My Pool Water Tested?
Maintaining proper pool water chemistry is important for keeping pool water sanitized and safe to swim in. When pool water becomes unbalanced, bacteria and algae may grow, leading to green, cloudy water. Additionally, the filtration system won’t be able to process the water properly, which may lead to damage to the pool’s equipment. Thus, it is important to understand how often pool water should be tested and, most importantly, what the ideal range is.
In general, pool water should be tested at least once a week. During the swimming season, it is recommended to check water chemistry 2 to 3 times a week. If your pool receives high usage, it may need testing more frequently.
The weather greatly impacts the water chemistry of your pool. During the peak of summer, pools are at greater risk of experiencing algae and bacteria growth. For this reason, pools need to be tested more often during the swimming season.
During the cooler months, pool water needs testing only once or twice a week. It is still important to test pool water during cold weather since cool temperatures can decrease the chlorine demand your pool requires to function.
After a rainstorm, pool water should be tested immediately to prevent an outbreak of algae growth. Similarly, pool water should be tested on a regular basis during extremely hot weather. Because water will evaporate during hot temperatures, your pool water may become unbalanced. Thus, it is important to test the water frequently during hot weather.
How to Test Pool Water
Learning how to test your pool water is an essential part of pool maintenance. Regularly testing your pool water ensures your pool is sanitized and functioning properly. To get an accurate reading, you’ll need to use a pool water test kit or test strip. If you are unsure how to test your pool water, you may also consider taking a water sample to a pool professional.
Before testing your pool water, make sure to read the instructions included with the test kit or test strips. Most water tests are designed to measure free and total chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. If you own a saltwater pool, you’ll need a test kit to measure the salt levels.
The ideal time to test pool water is in the morning, particularly if you’re testing chlorine levels. Because the sun can burn away chlorine, it’s important to take your water sample in the early morning. In addition to avoiding UV rays, testing water in the morning ensures the pump has circulated the water throughout the night.
How to Test Pool Water with a Test Kit
When using a test kit, it is recommended to take your water sample 12 to 18 inches below the water’s surface. This measurement is typically about elbow deep. To ensure the water is circulated, it is best to take a sample after the pump’s been running for at least an hour.
Make sure the sample is taken in an area away from jets and skimmers. Once you’ve received the sample, add liquid reagents in droplets to the container. From here, seal the container and gently shake. The kit should then tell you the levels of your pool water.
How to Test Pool Water with a Test Strip
Another way to test water is to use test strips. Although test strips are for one-time use only, they are quite accurate when it comes to testing pool water levels.
To test your pool water using test strips, use a clean, empty cup to dip in the water. Similar to using a test kit, it is recommended to test the water in the middle of the pool away from jets and skimmers. It is also recommended to take your sample about elbow deep in the water.
Once you’ve filled your cup with pool water, the final step is testing it. Using your test strip, test the water to determine the levels of chlorine, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and much more.
How to Test Pool Water with a Pool Professional
Although testing pool water is a fairly easy process, there may be times you need the help and advice of a professional. In this case, you will need to bring a pool water sample to a local pool store.
To take a pool water sample, use a 12-ounce or a 16-ounce water bottle to dip in the water. Water should be taken from about elbow deep in the middle of the pool. Make sure the pump has been circulating water for at least one hour.
Once you’ve filled the water bottle with pool water, take your sample to your local pool store. A pool professional will be able to tell you the levels of your pool water, as well as solutions for balancing the water.
What to Test for In Pools
When using a test kit or test strips, determining the chemistry of your pool is as simple as taking a sample of the water and testing it. From here, you’ll be able to identify what levels need increased or decreased to make the water balanced. Although pool test kits will tell you exactly what needs adjusting, it is still important for pool owners to learn what needs testing in swimming pools.
If you’re new to pool maintenance, it may be intimidating to test pool water. However, becoming familiar with the chemistry of your pool is an essential part of pool ownership. Below, we’ll explain what needs testing in pools and their ideal levels. If you’re unsure how to determine a balanced pool, it may be best to visit a local pool store.
The ideal range for Free Available Chlorine is 1.0 to 3.0 parts per million (ppm). For accurate testing, it is best to test the pool water in the morning before UV rays eat away the chlorine. Although there are two main types of chlorine levels (free chlorine and total chlorine), free chlorine is the most important since it tells you the available chlorine for sanitizing. During the swimming season, chlorine levels should be tested 2 to 3 times a week.
A pool’s ideal pH range is 7.4 to 7.6 ppm. Because a proper pH level helps balance the chlorine levels, it’s important to test the pH as often as you test the chlorine.
The ideal range for total alkalinity in pools is 80 to 120 ppm. Total alkalinity levels should be tested once a week, as it influences the stability of your pool’s pH levels.
Calcium hardness in pools only needs testing about once a month. The ideal range is 200 to 400 ppm. By testing the calcium hardness every month, you can ensure there isn’t any buildup that will cause damage to the pool equipment.
The ideal range for cyanuric acid in pools is 30 to 50 ppm. Generally, cyanuric acid should be tested whenever you test your pool’s pH and chemical levels. This ensures the cyanuric acid is balanced.
Total Dissolved Solids
Total dissolved solids in pools include chemical reactions, pollen, dust, and wastes. Because too high of total dissolved solids levels can negatively impact the efficiency of your pool chemicals, it’s important to test the water on a monthly basis. The ideal range for total dissolved wastes is 1,500 to 2,000 ppm.
Pools should be tested for metals every 3 to 4 months. When pool water has high levels of metal, the water and equipment may become stained. If your pool’s metal level is above 0 ppm, it’s important to determine the source of the metal. Once the source is found, remove it immediately to prevent damage to the equipment.
Finally, if you own a saltwater pool, it’s important to test your pool water for salt. Testing a pool for salt requires a salt test strip specifically designed for saltwater pools. Although salt does not evaporate, it can become diluted over time by rainwater and fill water. The ideal range for salt in saltwater pools is 2700 to 3400 ppm.