Pool Chemicals for Beginners (How to Test Chlorine with a Test Kit)


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Pool chemical levels fluctuate, so DIY pool owners need a good pool chemical test kit to test pool water weekly.

Over the years, I’ve tried several test kits, but I keep coming back to the basic 5-way kit.

It also seems to be the tester many pool services use.

How do you test pool water with the Basic 5 Test Kit?

How to Test Water Chlorine Video Transcript
My name is Jack I’m here to talk about Bay. In our testing today we’re going to test chlorine pH alkaline and acid the man this is your basic water test kit you can pick it up at any local pool store or online on our website what you’ll find inside is your testing vial and your reagents each reagent can be purchased individually they typically have a shelf life of about one year now I’ll show you how to test for each different chemical. So now we’re going to be testing the water first thing you want to do is take a sample you always want to get at least the elbows length down make sure the water is up to the fill line and that’s for the pH and the chlorine. So now that we have our water testing vial filled up to each fill line we can now start a basic water test. So the small test file we’re testing the chlorine all you need to do is simply add five drops into the little bow to save time I like to also add the pH drops as well first thing you want to do to the pH file is at the number 4 which is the chlorine neutralizer sometimes the coin can be too high and will affect your pH test. So you always want to neutralize the chlorine and your pH test otherwise you can get funky readings. So I’ve added five drops of the yellow five drops of the red and one drop of the core neutralizer. So now that I’ve added the testing agents you can put the caps on and shake it always use the caps never want to use your fingers there are oils on the hands which can cause the test to have irregular readings once you have your caps securely tightened give it a few shakes don’t need to get very crazy we’ve added the agents you want to want to match the color to the ideal range to do that it’s always good to use the white background which is located inside the kit it simply slides in the back. So now we have a white background in place we can easily read with chlorine and the pH level are on the left-hand side here we have our chlorine on the right we have the pH for the chlorine you want your chlorine level between one part per million and three parts from the lid for this pool we tested it and found that it was at one part per million on the pH should be between seven point four and seven-point six we found for this pool the pH was about a seven-point six maybe a seven-point eight.. So this pool, for instance, the chlorine is about a 1.0 which is a fairly safe level however if it does get any lower you have the chance of getting algae or bacterial or viral infections when it gets too high you can cause burning eyes itchy skin and other bleaching problems as far as the pH if it gets too low it becomes more like a lemon very acidic if it gets too high it becomes scale forming meaning it can cause scale or calcium buildup on your tile and will also cause irritating eyes and skin problems. So now we’re ready to do the alkalinity test I filled it up to the fill line which is located right here on the test kit. To start the test the first thing you want to do is add the chlorine neutralizer is going to neutralize any chlorine that might adjust the alkalinity test and give you off readings all you need is one to two drops. Now I’ve added that chlorine neutralizer next I’m going to add the number 5 blue agent you have to add 5 drops of the number 5. Give it a little bit of a swirl. So now we’ve added two drops to the solution number five you can now add the number three what you want to do is add each drop and count swirling in between each drop until the color makes a permanent color change you want to multiply the drops of solution three by ten and that will give you the parts per million of alkalinity… So it took us eight drops to change from blue to a clear yellow which means it’s a permanent color change. So eight drops if you multiply by ten will give us eighty parts from Al in the typical pool should have between 80 to 120 parts per million of alkalinity the alkalinity is a very important chemical to test it is the buffer for the pH. So when the alkalinity is low the pH tends to be low and when the alkalinity is high the pH tends to be high it’s very important to check your alkalinity because it could be a nightmare to try to adjust your pH without a proper ability to balance. So now we’re going to be showing you the aspect demand test using the water sample from the pH test you can see that the pH is rounding seven point eight points zero we want the pH around seven point four seven points six. To determine how much acid we need to add to the pool to lower the pH from seven-point eight 8.0 down to the ideal range of seven-point four seven-point six we need to dilute we need to do the acid demand test. So what we do with the acid demand test is we take the number three solution we add it one drop at a time swirling slowly with each drop you’ll notice the color change the color we’re looking for is in the seven-point four to seven point six color range you can notice that with each drop it starts to turn a little bit more yellow drop into the seven-point four seven-point six range… So it looks like it took me about three drops to lower that pH down to the ideal range we can then pull out the acid demand table which is located inside the test kit this pool is around ten thousand gallons as you can see it took us three drops and on the chart here it’s telling us that it’s going to take one and a half-pint of muriatic acid to lower the pH of the pool to the ideal range of seven point four to seven point six with the acid demand test it’s very important to note that when you’re adding the solution three if you add more than one drop or less and your pH goes from an 8.0 and drops rapidly down to a seven-point two you more than likely how problems or alkalinity it’s very important to stop and test your alkalinity before you go any further adding acid to lower your pH. So the acid demand test will allow you to know how much acid to add to your swimming pool to lower your pH to the perfect pH level… So today we’ve got the chlorine the pH the alkalinity and the result we’ve also performed the acid demand test we’ve learned that with the chlorine we need to keep it between a 1 and 3 parts per million drop below 1 part per million will typically have problems with algae also run susceptible to having viral and bacterial infections we have too much chlorine meaning we’re above 3 parts per million will typically have problem with bleaching of the eyes and the skin and it’ll be very irritating with the pH we typically want to keep the pH between 7.4 and 7.6. If the pH drops below 7.4 the pool will be very corrosive not only will it Road your plaster it will also corrode the heat exchanger all right be very irritable to your eyes and your skin as well when the pH rises above 7.6 it’ll be scale forming meaning you’ll get calcium buildup around your tile lines also in your heat exchanger and your plumbing and you’ll also have very irritated skin and eyes as well with the alkalinity you typically want the alkalinity between 80 to 100 parts 120 parts per million the alkalinity is a very important chemical to test it’s the buffer for your pH. So if your alkalinity is out of whack your pH is more than likely going to be out of whack and without a doubt it’s going to be impossible to get in balance if the pH is in line typically your alkalinity is in line if you’re having problems adjusting your pH first thing you want to check this your alkalinity is an easy test to do and it’s a very very common mistake for homeowners to never test output I hope we’ve made this easy for you to test your own water you can purchase this test kit online or any local pool store near you.

The important takeaway from the video is that you should monitor pool chemistry weekly to ensure proper levels.

Pool chemical levels.

The kit includes 5 bottles of solution that are used to test swimming pool chemistry for:

  • Chlorine
  • Bromine
  • pH
  • Acid Demand
  • Total Alkalinity

Pool test results.

Depending on the test results you will be instructed to follow the recommendation for adjusting pool chemistry.

This can include adding acid, ash, sodium carbonate, and chlorine.

In Arizona, the hot sun tens to burn off chlorine supplies pretty quickly so I’m always adding pool chlorine tabs. The water also tends to be high in phosphates from all the dust.

Pool Testing Kit Alternatives

Pool Chemical CalculatorI recently also started using pool chemistry test strips for quick checks but I still prefer the 5-way test.

7-Way Strips Measure: Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, Total Hardness, Total Alkalinity, pH, and Cyanuric Acid. Just dip and wait 15 seconds for the test strip to show the results.

Pool Pal Chemical Calculator App

how to test pool water

Once you have the pool water test result you can plug them into a cool Pool Chemical Calculator app that runs on most Android phones. Get Pool Pal App

As you see, there are many ways to Control your pool chemistry!

Best Test Kits

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