Does Your Pool Water Pass the Test?

Does Your Pool Water Pass the Test?

by Mark Zalewski

Testing your pool water is vital to maintaining a healthy chemical balance.  Algae and bacteria can form if you aren't taking good care of your pool, which will cause numerous problems.  If algae starts forming you will be able to visibly tell that maintenance is needed.  However, bacteria can slip under the visual radar as it can begin to form without a noticeable sign.  Regular testing is necessary to determine if your levels are out of balance.

One way you can test your water is by taking samples you've collected to your swimming pool dealer.  Often they offer this as a free service for purchasing your pool from them.  However, they may charge a fee each time depending on their policy.  They will analyze your water and provide a computer-generated printout for you to review, along with offering solutions for any problems that are detected.  Taking samples to them on a regular basis for testing can be time consuming.

Another option that is more convenient is to get a home bacteria test kit.  You're able to fit it into your schedule and it is a more cost effective solution in the long run.  Saving money wherever you can with your pool maintenance is a smart choice.

Testing your pH level is done by dipping chemically-treated strips into the water.  Then you compare the color that is generated with the key on the chart provided.  The results determine what various products you would need to add.  Your ideal range for your pH should be between 7.0-7.6.

There are various levels that need to be checked.  Your chlorine and pH level should be tested weekly, along with the conditioners in your pool.  The calcium and the amount of dissolved solids in the water should be checked monthly.  It's important to know what your levels should be and then adjust accordingly.  The CDC provides some good information on testing and disinfecting that you may find helpful.

If you're uncertain about the proper range for a test, do not guess.  Don't start adding some of this and some of that hoping that it will balance out.  Things could get so out of balance that you'll end up having to drain your water and start all over.  This is both time consuming and an added cost.

Maintaining your pool is easy with regular water testing.  If you get a sudden drastic change in your test results, repeat your test again.  If your second test maintains that same reading then this could be a result of an issue with your pump or filter.  For more information on recognizing pump problems refer to our recent blog, Diagnosing Your Sick Pool Pump.