How to Test your Swimming Pool Water

Testing your pool helps keep your water safe from viruses, bacteria, and algae, and ensures chemical levels are safe and comfortable.

Pool Calculator makes pool chemistry easy.  Also Available for iOS & Android

Regardless of where you live or what kind of pool you own, you’re going to have to test your swimming pool water chemistry. Testing your pool helps keep the water safe from viruses, bacteria, and algae and ensures chemical levels are safe and comfortable for swimmers.

Test Strips

Firstly, to test your pool water, you’re going to need pool water test strips. You can also use liquid test kits, but strips are typically more accurate and easier to use.

These strips determine chemical levels of substances in your pool such as chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, and cyanuric acid. Read about the basics of these pool water chemicals here.

To use the test strips, dip them into your pool water and remove immediately. Hold the test strip level for about 15 seconds, and then the colors should appear for each chemical value. You can then compare the colors with the included chart on the bottle of the strips. Generally, darker colors will mean a higher presence and lighter will mean a lesser presence of the chemical.

Liquid Test Kits

Liquid test kits provide a challenge due to the possibility for human error. When reviewing your results for a liquid test kit, use a white background in natural lighting for the most accurate readings.

We recommend testing at least once a week, but test more frequently if you’ve been recently adding chemicals to the water or are using the pool daily. You can always take water samples to a pool store to have it professionally tested.

Always ensure your test strips/kits are before the expiration date—after expiration, they will not give proper results.

Try using our pool calculator as you test and maintain your pool water.For more information on how to care for your pool, visit our blog on Pool Care.

Pool Calculator makes pool chemistry easy.  Also Available for iOS & Android

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How to Test, Raise, and Lower Swimming Pool Alkalinity

Total alkalinity is important to test and maintain. However, total alkalinity is largely similar and even correlated to cyanuric acid. Therefore, it is not as volatile as free chlorine or pH levels and does not require as frequent testing. A reliable rule of thumb is to test total alkalinity every other time you test pH levels.