When it comes to keeping your swimming pool water fresh and clean, regular water testing, along with a good cleaning regimen are of utmost importance. There are many different ways of testing your water chemistry, but test strips are probably the most popular. Cheap, quick and efficient, these tiny pieces of paper are familiar to every swimming pool owner. But are pool water test strips accurate? In this article we’ll go over the steps you need to take to test your pool water and how to best use pool water test strips.
Pool Water Test Strip Advantages
As mentioned, pool water test strips are cheap, quick and efficient. A pack of 50 will cost you less than $10. But just because they‘re cheap doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. Some people even say they’re more accurate than liquid test kits. The strips are simple to use and as long as you have no problem differentiating between colors and have decent eyesight (or at least reading glasses), they’re very easy to read. The packaging comes with a color chart that you compare to the strip you dipped in your water sample. This will tell you what levels, if any, in your pool water need adjusting. Most strips will test for several things at the same time. 5 in 1 strips will give you readings for chlorine, bromine, pH balance, total alkalinity, and total hardness. 6 in 1 strips will also test for cyanuric acid. You can also find strips that test for other things such as phosphates, bacteria, salt and total dissolved solids.
Pool Water Test Strip Disadvantages
Pool water test strips do have a few disadvantages. They have an expiry date, so if you have leftovers from one season, they may not be usable the next. They are also prone to spoilage if exposed to moisture or intense sunlight. There are more than a few pool owners who have had to throw away a supply of pool water test strips because they dropped them in the pool or left them lying about. And although some people believe the test strips are more accurate than liquid test kits, they’re probably not as accurate as taking your water sample to your local pool store.
How to Use Pool Water Test Strips?
As mentioned, using pool water test strips is quite easy. Without touching the test pads, remove a test strip from its container and dip it in the water sample. Remove from the water and hold it face up without shaking off the excess. Wait for 10 to 15 seconds and then compare the strip to the color chart on the test strip packaging. Add chemicals to your pool as recommended by the test results.
If you’re looking for a cheap and simple, yet accurate way to test your pool water, test strips are probably the best method available to you.
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