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    8 Common Pool Water Testing Mistakes

    June 21, 2017

    water testing mistakes

    Big mistakes can come in very small drops. A cheap pool water testing kit may save you a few bucks but can ultimately lead to unnecessary pool chemical purchases which can really add-up.

    Repeatedly and unknowingly making the same mistakes when testing your water can lead to a domino effect endless chemistry adjustments,  while still ending up with poor looking water.

    By avoiding these 8 Common Pool Water Testing Mistakes, you can save yourself money, time, and frustration.

    1. Don’t Be Cheap

    best test kit for poolsCheap test kits and strips, well let's just say you get what you pay for. Before you begin testing avoid the biggest mistake of using low accuracy test kits that don't test for everything you need.

    We recommend the Taylor K-2005 test kit (and K-2006), as precision is king over the convenience of test strips. When you have the same test kit that they use in stores, there's no need to take a water sample to the pool store, ever again! Performs 9 different chlorine and water balance tests, and you can trust your own results.

    2. Expired Test Kit Reagents

    Pool Water Test Kit Reagents only have a shelf life of about a year before they expire and become inaccurate. That’s a tough one to hear because you will probably still have fluid in the reagent bottles. Begin every pool season with a fresh test kit. This is a perfect example of when spending more will save more money in the long run.

    How you store your pool water test kit is also crucial to its accuracy. Do not store in extreme heat and do not store in freezing temperatures. Both temperature extremes can alter the chemical properties of the reagents.

    3. Good Sampling Techniques

    pool water tester

    It’s always best to pull your water sample in the middle of the shallow and deep ends from a depth of about an elbow deep. This is the universal pool professional sweet spot, and considered the most accurate representation of your pool chemistry as a whole.

    Pull a sample from too shallow a depth or too deep a depth you will have too many outside factors affecting the accuracy of your results. The surface has the most interaction with the air and is also the location of the highest concentration of oils and other pollutants.

    The same can be said for sampling too close to the return jets, too near a ladder or the steps or from the far corners of your pool. These locations contain too many outside variables.

    4. No Time Like the Present

    You really took step #2 to heart and pulled from the perfect depth and location of your pool. You nailed it. But then your phone rang, the dog needed to be let out, you had the sudden urge to discover the origins of the pool noodle and got lost on Google for 20 minutes. You blew it!

    Always be sure to test your sample immediately. Letting your water sample sit too long gives it too much time to have its chemistry altered by the air. If you found that you were not able to test the water after a minute or two after pulling your sample, go back to that sweet spot and pull another sample. No biggie!

    5. Tilt-A-Swirl

    This pool water testing mistake dynamic duo can throw off your test and is perhaps the most common mistake one can make when testing: tilting your test reagents and not thoroughly swirling the solutions where instructed.

    pool water testing errorsI still find myself tilting the reagent bottles when testing, and when I do, I make sure to start all over again. Tilting the dropper, as opposed to holding it straight vertical, will result in an inconsistent drop amount. It’s fractions of error like this that can send you to poolproducts.com to hastily purchase reducers and increasers. And as much as we value your business, we certainly do not want you to have to buy more than you need.

    The latter half of this 2-part pool water testing mistake is not taking the time to swirl your drops thoroughly. Hold the comparator on the top between thumb and forefinger, and rotate your wrist to swirl the sample within the test vial, being careful not to splash any of the solution out of the test vial.

    6. Mixing Reagent Caps

    Just because the cap is green doesn’t mean it’s okay to put the R-0007 bottle cap on the R-009 bottle! Mixing-up reagent caps transfers residue inside the cap as well as on the tip of the reagent bottle. Even the tiniest traces of test reagents on the tip of another reagent bottle could be enough to throw off your water test results.

    7. Cleanliness is Next to Accurateness

    Always rinse your comparator, test vial, and sample bottle as thoroughly as possible as not to leave any lingering traces of reagents behind. This may be obvious but I admit there are times where I get my results and am ready to spring into action after realizing I need to add this or that and in my haste I simply fling the results into the pool and close up the Test Kit case.

    Another handling mistake to be aware of is touching the tip of a reagent bottle with your fingers or hands. Lingering pool chemicals, potato chip grease, tequila, or just natural oils from your fingers can open up a whole new world of chemistry when mixed with a reagent solution turning your Taylor Test Kit into a new type of chemistry that has nothing to do with your pool.

    8. Please Remove Your Sunglasses, Sir

    pool water testing problems Rounding our list of water testing mistakes is inaccurately reading your accurate results. You may be precise as a master chemist with steps 1-7, but you held up your comparator against the bright blue sky, used the brickwall of your garage as a backdrop, or the green of your lawn. Be sure to use a white background (most test kits come with a one) to compare your results to the color chart.

    It’s easy to forget you are wearing sunglasses after being out in the sun all afternoon as well so be sure to take your shades off otherwise that perfect pH hue could look a shade darker (or rosier) and that creates the dreaded domino effect!


    Blog Author
    Sheryl Somers
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