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Testing The Waters Before Your Next Dip? Here's What You Need To Know

A sparkling blue pool is always an invitation for fun, but keeping your pool that way involves plenty of hard work. That includes regularly testing by a pool service and monitoring your water's quality to make sure it remains pristine. After all, the last thing you'd want is to take the plunge into a pool with algae growth or a highly imbalanced pH factor.

To prevent such nasty surprises, it's a good idea to regularly test your pool water. The following offers some helpful advice on how and when it's best to test, along with other information that can help keep your pool in the best possible shape.

How Often Should You Test?

How often you test your pool's pH levels usually depends on a variety of factors, including the age of the pool, local water quality, recent rainfall and other considerations. Most experts recommend water quality checks at least twice a week during the summer and only once a week during the winter. There may be circumstances that require more frequent testing, such as abnormal weather patterns and recent attempts to balance out pH and chlorine levels.

In the wake of rainfall or a windstorm, it's a good idea to wait 8 hours or more before testing your pool water. This natural phenomenon can dilute or spike pH levels, making it a prudent choice to wait until water conditions have turned back to normal.

When's the Best Time for Testing?

Believe it or not, there's an ideal time of day for when you should check your pool's pH levels. You'll want to wait until the evening or first thing in the early morning before cracking open your pH test kit. There are plenty of good reasons for the wait:

  • Your pool won't be exposed to direct sunlight during these times, making it easier to get accurate test results from your testing equipment.
  • Your neighbors are less likely to be doing activities that could possibly contaminate the water with debris and chemicals, among other things.
  • It's also the perfect time to "shock" your pool by adding chlorinated compounds to your pool water, if necessary. This helps kill off organic compounds commonly found in pool water, including algae and bacteria.

Don't Freak Out

Every once in a while, you'll see a sudden spike or dip in your pool water's pH after weeks of consistent test results. At this point, most people would rush to correct the problem ASAP – only to discover the hard way that there wasn't much of a problem to begin with.

If you get strange readings after long periods of consistency, simply wait another day or so before reading the same water source again. In most cases, the water will go back to its original reading the next day. If not, then you can take steps to improve your pool's chemical balance.

Carefully Store Your Testing Equipment

Testing kits can degrade over time, especially if they're exposed to direct sunlight and high temperatures. You'll want to keep your testing kits in a cool, dark place that's free of moisture.

Most testing kits are good for a year's worth of use. After a year, the kits tend to lose their accuracy. If it's been a while since you've last purchased a testing kit, follow your gut and buy a new one. Chances are that using an old kit can cause inaccurate readings, leading to inaccurate use of chemicals to regulate your pool water's alkalinity and calcium hardness.

Keeping your pool water in balance will definitely help your pool live a long life, plus it'll be more comfortable and safer for you and others to enjoy.