How To Check Your Pool Chemistry And What The Numbers Mean

How To Check Your Pool Chemistry And What The Numbers Mean

Your pool chemistry refers to your pool water’s pH and the balance of chemicals. Getting everything just right ensures you have clean, safe water.

While it might seem intimidating at first, it’s actually much easier to check these numbers than you might think. 

When done regularly, your water stays clearer and more sanitary. Plus, you get a heads up on any contaminants before they have a chance to cause any problems.

How Often To Check

There are four rules to remember for how often to check your pool chemistry. As a general rule, check at least once a week. It doesn’t take long at all for your numbers to change. Between Mother Nature and people swimming in the pool, the water is easily contaminated. The chemicals you add to balance things out fade away over time.

The second rule is to check after heavy use. So, if you’re hosting a big pool party on the weekend, check the pool chemistry the next day.

The third rule is to check the pool chemistry within 24 hours after adding more chemicals to ensure everything is balanced the way it should be. Waiting a day gives the chemicals time to spread throughout the pool water.

Finally, check after any major rain shower or storm. Since rainwater is entering your pool, you’ll need to check the chemistry to re-balance the pool water.

Types Of Tests

There are four main types of tests you can use – liquid, test strips, digital and samples you take to your area pool store, if available. 

If you want to handle everything yourself, you’ll be using one of the first three. The fourth just involves taking a sample directly to your pool store to be tested professionally. 

The first step for any of these tests is to get a good sample to test. Simply testing the water closest to the edge you’re standing at won’t work. For the best results, you need to test the water in the center of the pool. However, if you can’t do the middle, reach out as far as possible.

Use a bottle or cup to collect a sample of the water. Dip it in as far as possible to ensure you’re getting a sample from inside the pool and not just on the top. Try to stay away from the skimmer and filter area as this can skew your results.

For a liquid test kit, you can use any kit that tests for both pH and chlorine. These usually come with a specific container for your sample. Follow the directions in the kit. Darker colors mean higher numbers and vice versa. 

Test strips are usually the easiest method and you don’t have to measure out drops like you do in liquid test kits. Simply dip your test strip into your sample quickly. Wait about 15 seconds after you take it out to see the results. The strips come with a color guide to let you what the colors mean.

Digital tests work much like test strips, but in a digital format. They are more expensive, but they’re usually more accurate.

These tests typically test for pH, chlorine and alkalinity. You can buy special tests for things like copper, iron and salt (for saltwater pools). 

Ideal Pool Chemistry Numbers

So, you’ve tested the pool chemistry, but what do those numbers and colors mean? Crystal clear pool water means getting your numbers as close to the following ideal numbers as possible:

  • pH – Between 7.2 and 7.8
  • Chlorine – 2.0 ppm to 3.0 ppm
  • Alkalinity – 80 ppm to 120 ppm
  • Calcium hardness – 200 ppm to 400 ppm

If your numbers fall outside these ideal ranges, you run the risk of dirty water and even damage to your pool. Testing your pool chemistry is one of the easiest ways to maintain your pool and it only takes a few minutes each week and that includes adding chemicals to balance the water.

If you’re not sure what all the numbers mean or how to balance the water for a clean, safe pool, let the experts help. Get a quote today for pool testing and cleaning services.

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