Summer is almost here and some folks around Marlborough and Framingham are begging to think about opening the pool for the season. It’s important to learn how to test pool water, and do it at least once a week to make sure the pH and alkalinity are balanced, and to keep your sanitizer level in check (i.e. chlorine at 3 ppm).
The Water Sample
There are 3 ways to test pool water:
- Liquid test kit
- Test strips
- Taking your sample to Monnick Supply in Marlborough or Framingham to have it professionally checked.
To take a proper water sample, use a clean cup or bottle (with cap if you’re taking it to the pool store) and hold it upside down so that the opening is facing the floor. Insert into the water elbow-deep and turn it right side up to collect the sample. Do not take the sample near any return jets or skimmer opening. If possible, take the sample from the absolute middle of your pool.
Now you can take this sample to Monnick Supply or check it yourself.
Using Test Strips
For home testing, this is a personal favorite. It’s easy to do and very accurate – much more accurate than using a liquid test kit because of human error when it comes to matching up the colors and using chemical droplets.
Take your water sample and quickly drip one, dry strip into the water. Hold it still in the air for about 15 seconds (do not shake off the excess water). Then match up the colors of the strip to the back of the bottle to get your readings.
There are all different kinds of test strips you can buy that check for all sorts of things, but you really only need to check for pH, alkalinity and free chlorine. Use test strips at least once a week. And bring a sample to Monnick Supply in Marlborough or Framingham once a month to have it professionally checked – also when opening and closing your pool.
Using a Liquid Test Kit
There are very advanced liquid test kits, but for home use, just stick with pH and chlorine or phenol red and OTO. Phenol red is a red chemical you add to a small sample of water to check the pH. The redder the water, the higher the pH.
OTO is the chemical that tests for total chlorine. It’s a yellow liquid you add to your sample. The more yellow, the more chlorine.
With a liquid test kit, it’s hard to see the low end of the colors. Make sure you use a white background to examine the colors to be accurate.
For more information, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough or Framingham.