Man tests pool water

There are many different options to test your pool water and many different reasons to do so, in today’s post we’ll take a look at when to test your pool water, how to get the best sample, and the different types of testing methods for your Phoenix-area pool.

When You Should Test Your Pool Water

There are times where it’s obvious that something may be wrong with your pool water — things like algae build-up or discoloration are a dead giveaway — but to be sure your water is always at its healthiest, testing up to once a week is a good idea. This helps ensure that the pH and alkalinity remain balanced and that your sanitizer is at optimal levels.

Before you do any testing, it’s important to know the volume of your pool. To get an approximate volume for your pool, use this formula: width x length x average depth x the multiplier = volume in gallons. For round or oval pools, the multiplier would be about 5.9, for rectangular, square, or free-form pools, it would be about 7.5.

This will be crucial for knowing how much or how little pool chemicals to put in, should you find there’s a problem.

How to Take a Sample

Where you take the sample from and how are both important factors, and the middle of the pool is where you can expect the most accurate readings for the state of your entire pool. The water’s surface will not bring back an accurate reading. You’re going to want to use a clean cup and hold it upside down, with the opening facing the floor of your pool. Then, insert the cup into the water until you’re about elbow-deep. While still in the water, turn the cup right-side up and pull it out of the water. Now you have what should be an accurate sample of your pool’s water.

The Different Testing Methods and How It’s Done

  1. Liquid Test Kits — This test is a good one for regular maintenance testing, it won’t pick up heavier metals like copper, iron, or calcium, but it will help ensure that your pool is at the proper pH and alkaline levels. Here’s how you’ll go about it:
    1. Fill up the sample cup, preferably from the middle of the pool.
    2. For the pH testing side, drop in the number of phenol red droplets recommended by the testing kit.
    3. For the chlorine testing side, do the same but with OTO droplets.
    4. Look at the water in front of the whitest background you can find. The higher the chlorine, the more yellow the water will appear, the higher the pH level, the redder the water will be.
  2.  Test Strip Test Kits — These tests are super quick and easy, and can be more accurate than liquid tests because of the tendency for human error. Most of these tests are basic and only provide for pH levels, alkalinity, and chlorine, but some of them will come with strips for testing for minerals as well.
    Collect your sample, from the middle of the pool.

    1. Quickly dip the strip into the water and take it out, it doesn’t need to be submerged or soaked.
    2. Hold it in the air for 15 to 25 seconds, depending on the brand this could vary slightly. Do not shake the strip! It could interfere with your reading.
    3. Then compare the color of the strip with the kit’s guide for coloring
  3.  Identifying and Testing for Metals — When it comes to metal testing, there are really only two ways to do it, you either need to get a testing strip that tests for metals or to take the sample into a professional. That being said, here’s how to identify if you need to test for metals and other minerals.
    1. Copper should be a prime suspect if your water seems cloudy, or you have black or greenish stains along your pool liner.
    2. Iron produces a brown or rusty color that’s going to be near impossible to miss for most people.
    3. Calcium buildup is a little harder to notice but will become apparent when the surfaces of your pool start to have a rough feel and the water begins to cloud.

Using the Professionals

If you find you’re not up to do the regular testing that your pool needs in order to avoid costly repairs and unsightly water, then consider making Take Ten Pools your chosen pool maintenance provider. See what a difference we can make for your Phoenix Valley pool!