8 Pool Test Kit Tips To Test Your Water Accurately

What pool test kit tips should I use when testing my pool water?

  1. Test at least once a week
  2. Use a test kit that is fresh and in date
  3. Sample deep
  4. Take samples away from pool pumps
  5. Make sure your pool has been running
  6. Check your vial levels
  7. Don’t touch your vials or the sample
  8. Always follow the instructions on your kit

You’ve turned on your pool pumps, and you’re looking forward to a long afternoon of relaxing in the cool, clear water — or maybe you’re prepping for a big pool party with your friends. But the question is: is your pool ready for swimmers? 

The answer comes from pool test kits. If you don’t use them, you’ll have no idea what your water’s chemical levels are, or what undesirable substances are in it. This is why it’s a must to learn how to use a test kit.

To help you get started, keep these pool test kit tips in mind:

Test at least once a week

Test at least once a week

Out of all the pool maintenance tasks you’ll take on, using a pool test kit is the one thing you’ll do more than anything else!

We recommend testing your pool water at least once a week. However, you should ramp it up to at least 2 to 3 times a week if your pool is used frequently, if the weather is exceptionally warm, if it’s the rainy season, or if you’re dealing with water clarity issues (like algae). 

You might also have to test frequently if you’re unfamiliar with your pool’s water balance trends. Certain chemical factors, like pH and chlorine levels, might need to be tested as often as each day until you learn how they fluctuate. 

Many basic test kits can cover these weekly testing needs — we recommend a robust kit like our HCT Pool & Spa 5 in 1 Test Strips, which provides results on Chlorine, pH, Hardness, Cyanuric Acid, and Alkalinity.

Use a test kit that is fresh and in date

Use a test kit that is fresh and in date

Pool test kits, while a stable product, can’t stay “fresh” forever. Most have a shelf life of only 12 months, especially when stored properly in a cool, dry area. 

If your pool test kit isn’t within its prescribed used-by date, you’ll need to order some to test your pool chemistry — try ordering one like our 3-way Test Kit here if you need a quick replacement!

Sample deep

When getting a water sample from your pool, dip a clean container (or your plastic tester) deep into your water. Make sure you’re drawing this sample from a depth of at least 18 inches — this is important for getting an accurate catch. 

Why? Because water chemistry at certain spots is not typical for the rest of your pool. For example, if you’re taking a sample near the surface, then you’ll get inaccuracies caused by direct UV light exposure. 

Take samples away from pool pumps

Additionally, make sure to take your water samples away from your pump return jets and outlet. This is because a higher concentration of pool chemicals can be found here — especially if you added pool chemicals via your pool skimmer. 

Make sure your pool has been running

Make sure your pool has been running

Another thing to remember is to make sure to test only when your pool has been running with its pump and filtration systems on for at least 15 minutes. Ideally, though, we recommend waiting for an hour to get the most accurate results of the water and chemical balance in your pool.

Check your vial levels

After getting your sample (and if you’re using a kit with testing vials), make sure each one is filled to the marked “fill” line on the column. This is key to getting the right ratio of pool water to the testing solution — which helps in producing the most accurate testing results. 

Don’t touch your vials or the sample

When collecting your pool samples, and later adding the testing solutions included in your kit, take care not to directly touch your vials or the sample. This could contaminate your water, and therefore change its readings. 

So, while testing, avoid shaking the strip, wiping off excess water from the vials, or any other actions that involve direct contact with the water sample or testing apparatus. 

Always follow the instructions on your kit

Lastly: always follow the instructions included in your test kits! These tools always come with thorough and specific instructions, and this is helpful for first-timers who are unfamiliar with this maintenance step. 

One particular thing to be mindful of is the testing time — don’t wait too little or too long to take your chemistry readings. For example, not waiting long enough for the water sample to change color will mean you’re seeing an inaccurate reading. 

Key Takeaway

Regularly testing your water is needed to help you maintain your pool’s chemistry. But, using a pool test kit is easier said than done — there are a lot of things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting an accurate reading, which in turn affects your chemical balancing efforts. 

With Oktakem’s top pool test kit tips and our easy-to-use products, you can take control of your pool water testing — and prevent a lot of errors in the process! If you need more help keeping your pool beautiful and clean all year round, contact us today (or visit our shop here).