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How to Read Pool Water Test Strips?

Maintaining clean, clear and fresh water in your above ground swimming pool is an absolute must.  Without maintaining properly balanced water you may end up with skin and eye irritations, algae growth, murky water and possibly do damage to your pool.  Luckily, keeping an eye on the various levels are made cheap and easy with pool water testing strips.  In this article, we’ll go over how to read pool water test strips as well as the main levels you’ll be checking.

Test Frequency

You should expect to test your pool water at least once a week.  If you experience heavy rainfall or the pool is getting used by a lot of people, you’ll want to test the water more often.  At least you won’t have to test the water as much as public swimming pools – most are required to do it every hour!

Fresh Strips

Keeping your test strips stored in a cool dry place is very important.  If they become damp or bleached out by the sun, they may produce inaccurate results.  Test strips also have an expiration date, so make sure they’re not too old.

Strip Dip

When it’s time to test your water, run the pool pump for at least an hour to get an accurate reading.  Dip a single test strip into about six inches of water and shake off any excess when you remove it from the pool.  After about 10 to 20 seconds compare the test strip to the color legend on the back of the container to get your results.  Don’t wait too long to compare as the test strip color will continue to change with time.

Chlorine

One of the main levels you’ll be checking is for chlorine.  Chlorine inhibits algae growth while keeping the water clean and clear.  If you’re required to add chlorine you should wear eye protection, gloves and old clothes.  Also, be careful about breathing in the fumes or spilling it on your pool deck.  If it’s very windy you may want to wait until the wind dies down to add powered chlorine.

pH

Having the correct pH levels will ensure your eyes and skin aren’t irritated by your pool water.  Most people think it’s the chlorine that causes your eyes to turn red after swimming, but it’s actually the pH level.  The ideal levels are between 7.2 and 7.6.  Rainwater can significantly affect your pH level, so test your water if you’ve experienced heavy storms.  If you need to raise or lower the level, choose the appropriate chemical to add to the water.

Calcium Hardness

The levels of calcium hardness are typically quite stable, and you may only need to adjust it when you open your pool for the season.  After that, you can check it once a month.  If your calcium hardness is out of balance it can cause your pool liner to become brittle and susceptible to ripping and tearing.

Now that you know how to use water test strips, learn more about our above ground pool models by downloading a brochure.