As a pool owner, it’s important to keep your water ‘balanced’. The best time of day to test your water is first thing in the morning, and after the filter has been running for an hour or so.
The correct chemical balance varies depending on your pool interior finish. For domestic purposes, for a vinyl-lined pool or Aqualux Pool finish, we recommend the following levels:
Total Alkalinity: 100 – 150ppm
Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400ppm
Free Chlorine 1 – 3ppm (Non-Heated Pool) or 2 – 4ppm (Heated Pools)
Stabiliser 30 – 50ppm
Saturation Index -0.1 – + 0.4
When collecting a water sample from your pool, take it from around the middle of your pool (rather than from one end), and as far as possible from any return jets or the skimmer. Using a clean container or bottle, hold it upside down so that the opening is facing the pool floor, and insert it into the water, about elbow deep. Turn it over and allow it to fill before bringing it back out of the pool.
If you’re taking it to your pool shop for testing, go straight there – don’t stop off at the shops on the way there, as your sample can degrade after a period of time – even 15 minutes in a hot car can skew your results.
If you’re using test strips, take care to follow the instructions from the manufacturer. A basic rule of thumb is to quickly dip the strip in and out of the sample container (not straight into the pool) and hold it still (don’t shake it or flick the water off) – just hold it still for 15-20 seconds. Immediately check the colours against the strip on the back of the test strips container – your most accurate results will be at 15-20 seconds, as the colours can continue to develop as time goes on. The most important readings you’re looking at are Free Chlorine and pH.
At home test strips are a convenient way to keep tabs on your water quality – most people will do these weekly, with a proper test with their pool shop once a month.
NOTE: If you have just put a pool cover on your pool, be aware that your chemical consumption will be reduced by about half. If you have an automatic dosing system, you should turn it down to around 50%, and monitor your chlorine levels daily, adjusting settings to suit until they have stabilised.