How to Read Pool Test Strips

Having a pool in your backyard is a great way to beat the heat in the summer. But owning a pool is a big responsibility. One of the most important things to do to maintain your pool is to regularly test the water to ensure it’s safe to swim in.

Testing the water is easy to do with pool test strips. All you need to do is dip the strip in the water and compare the colors on the strip to the chart that comes with it. But what do those colors mean?

If you are a pool owner, it is important to know how to read pool test strips properly. This will help you maintain your pool and keep the water clean and safe for swimming. In this article, I will explain how to read pool test strips properly, so that you can keep your water clean and safe.


Main Takeaways

  • It is essential to have a properly maintained pool.
  • Reading a pool test strip is easy, and you should test your pool once to twice a week.
  • To read pool test strips, compare the colors according to the color chart easily found on the bottle or the plastic chart sheet that comes with the pool test strips.

Why Use Pool Test Strips?

Pool test strips measure chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and other chemical levels in your pool water. Knowing how to read these strips ensures that your pool is properly balanced and safe for swimming.

Pool test strips are strips of paper that you dip in your pool water. The strip will change color depending on the level of each chemical in the water. You can then compare these colors to the chart that comes with the strips to determine the levels of each chemical in your pool water.

Knowing the levels of these chemicals in your pool water is extremely important because it will help you avoid issues such as skin irritation, eye irritation, and algae growth. You can also use pool test strips to determine when you need to add chemicals to your pool. If you feel like testing strips aren’t the way for you, check out my article on the best pool testing kits, or my article on how to test your pool without a kit.

How to Use Pool Test Strips

Pool test strips are easy to use. You can easily find them at your local pool supply store or online. To use the strips, simply dip them in your pool water. Make sure to remove the strip after a few seconds to avoid getting an inaccurate reading. Submerging the strip for too long can result in the strip absorbing too much water and giving you a false reading.

After you have removed the strip from the water, give it a little shake, and then compare the colors on the strip to the color chart that comes with it. By comparing the colors, you can determine the levels of each chemical in your pool water.

It is important to note that pool test strips only provide a snapshot of the chemical levels in your pool at the time they are taken. The chemical levels can change throughout the day depending on factors like the number of people swimming in the pool, the weather, and how often the pool is used. For this reason, it is important to test the pool water regularly. For more on testing strips, check out my article on how long pool testing strips last.

Also, remember that pool test strips are not 100% accurate. If you are concerned about the accuracy of your readings, you can always send a sample of your pool water to a lab for testing. If you want a variety of options and different kits, feel free to check out my article on how to test your pool water!

How to Read Pool Test Strips

Now that you know how to use pool test strips, let’s look at how to read them.

Chlorine

The colors on the strip indicate the levels of chlorine in your pool water. The colors range from 0 (no chlorine) to 6 (high chlorine). The ideal chlorine level in your pool water is between 2 and 4 ppm (parts per million). If the level of chlorine in your pool water is below 2 ppm, your water is not safe for swimming. It has not been properly sanitized, and you will need to add more chlorine.

If the chlorine level in your pool water is above 4 ppm, your water has too much chlorine and could cause skin and eye irritation. Too much chlorine can also damage pool equipment. You will need to adjust the chlorine level in your pool water if it is not within the ideal range. You can do this by adding chlorine tablets or granules to your pool.

pH

The ideal pH level for your pool water is between 7.2 and 7.6. If the pH level of your pool water is below 7.2, the water is too acidic. This can corrode the pool surfaces and damage your pool equipment. If the pH level is above 7.6, the water is too alkaline. This can cause skin and eye irritation.

You will need to adjust the pH level of your pool water if it is not within the ideal range. You can do this by adding pH increasers or decreasers to your pool.

Alkalinity

The ideal alkalinity level for your pool water is between 80 and 120 ppm. If the alkalinity level of your pool water is below 80 ppm, the water is too acidic. This can cause the pool water to be corrosive and damage the pool surfaces and equipment.

If the alkalinity level of your pool water is above 120 ppm, the water is too alkaline. This can cause the pool water to be scale forming and cause the formation of calcium deposits and scaling on the pool surfaces and equipment.

Bromine (Bromine pools only)

The ideal bromine level in your bromine pool is between 3 and 5 ppm. If the bromine level in your pool is too low, it can lead to bacteria and algae growth. If the bromine level in your pool is too high, it can cause discomfort and irritation in your skin and eyes.

Calcium Hardness

The ideal calcium hardness level in your pool water is between 200 and 400 ppm. If the hardness level in your pool is too low, it can lead to bacteria and algae growth. If the level of hardness in your pool is too high, it can cause scaling on pool surfaces and equipment. Here is how to maintain your calcium hardness level in your pool for more help.

It is important to note that different pool test strips will have different color charts. Be sure to use the chart that comes with your pool test strips.

How Often Should You Test the Pool Water?

Pool water testing is essential to keeping your pool clean and safe for swimming. It is recommended that you test your pool water at least once a week, but you should test it more often if you have a lot of swimmers using the pool.

If your pool is not in use, you should still test the pool water at least once every two weeks. This will ensure that chlorine and other chemicals are maintained and that your pool is ready to use when you need it.

You should also test the pool water after heavy rain or after a storm. For more on testing strips, visit my article on pool testing strip instructions!

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Bottom Line

Testing your pool water is essential to keeping it clean and safe for swimming. Pool test strips are the most common testing method, but you can also have your pool water professionally tested or use a liquid test kit or digital tester. Be sure to follow the instructions with your pool test strips and test your pool water at least once a week. For more on liquid test kits and how they compare, feel free to check out my article on liquid testing vs testing strips.

By ensuring your pool has the correct chlorine and pH levels, you can avoid expensive repairs and keep your swimming pool looking its best.

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