One of the most important thing you can do at the start of any pool season: TEST the WATER before you add chemicals!
Why? Because one of several things could happen if you don’t:
1. You may waste chemicals by adding them to water not properly balanced and the chemicals will not work properly.
2. You might not add enough of what you need and your water will take a lot longer to clear up and/or get properly balanced.
3. You may add too much of something and then need to add MORE chemicals and/or drain water to counteract what you added (unnecessarily) in the first place.
Ways to get water tested
The best way to get an accurate reading of your pool water’s chemistry involves taking a trip to your local pool store where you pick up your pool chemicals and having trained staff test your water. The staff will then expertly (we hope!) guide you through the pool chemicals aisle and give you detailed instructions on how to get your water in prime shape for the beginning of the swimming season.
Which pool testing method works best?
Each pool testing method mentioned above has its pros and cons as you will see below:
- Pool Testing Meters — By far the most accurate pool water testing method available, but also by far the most expensive due to the upfront cost of the meter itself. After that you will still need to buy replacement (and often proprietary) test reagents and/or testing strips that go into the meter.
- Wet Chemical Pool Test Kits — These relatively inexpensive test kits do a very good job of testing pool water but in the end the accuracy of their test results relies heavily on ambient lighting conditions as well as the testing party’s ability to discern between similar shades of colors. These types of pool test kits also require yearly replacement of the testing reagents and take about as much time (or more for the advanced tests like metals, cyanuric acid, etc.) as using a pool testing meter.
- Pool Water Test Strips — By far the least expensive option and an excellent choice for day-to-day pool water testing due to very short testing times. This method does require the testing party to discern between colors on color blocks and test strips generally should get replaced each year.
Which method do we prefer? Quite honestly most of here at the Pool Water Testing Blog grew up making the trip the pool store with our parents at the beginning of the season and then using either 2-way test kits for total chlorine & pH or 3-way, 4-way or 5-way test strips for daily testing…. and we seldom had too many problems unless someone neglected to take the solar cover off for a week and/or failed to add chlorine for a few days.
Oops. The silly mistakes we made as teenagers, right?