How to Use a Pool Water Test Kit

Written by justin a. mann
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How to Use a Pool Water Test Kit
Test your pool water regularly to maintain proper water balance. (tropical pool water image by Pavel Losevsky from

Pool water should be constantly monitored and modified as needed to provide a safe environment for swimmers. Pool water test kits provide a way for pool owners to monitor their pool's water levels with the accuracy required for commercial pools. Pool water testing kits come in two primary types: liquid or test strips. The more accurate liquid kits are used to test the pH and chlorine levels, while the easier-to-use test strips check a wider variety of pool water levels such as salt, alkalinity and hardness.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pool water testing kit(s) -- either liquid or strip

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  1. 1

    Fill both sides of the container provided by the test kit with pool water to the line labelled "Fill." If possible, use water from elbow's depth in the pool to provide a better water sample.

  2. 2

    Apply five drops of testing chemical #1 (typically called reagent #1) to the chlorine or "Ch" side of the testing container. Apply five drops of the testing chemical #2 (typically called pH reagent) to the pH side of the container. Seal the containers with the provided lids, and shake the container to mix the reagents with the pool water samples.

  3. 3

    Observe the colouration of the water samples. Typically, the more vivid and bright the yellow tint of the chlorine side of the water, the higher the chlorine will be. The darker the purple colour of the pH side's water, the higher the pH level of the sample will be. Refer to the instructions in the test kit for the specifics of interpreting the results for your particular test kit model, as some kits may use a different colour scale. The chlorine level should be between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm), and the pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6.

  1. 1

    Fill the container with pool water. Take the sample from elbow's depth in the pool if possible.

  2. 2

    Dip a test strip into the sample completely. Wait one second and withdraw the strip. Allow the strip to sit for at least 30 seconds.

  3. 3

    Line up the strip's test fields with the levels chart on the kit itself or on the kit's documentation. Compare the colour of the strip's test areas to the same colour on the levels chart to determine the chemical levels of the water. Adjust the pool's chemical levels until the results match the test kit's recommended levels.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace your testing strips every few months. Using old strips to test water samples can give incorrect readings.

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