When the weather starts turning warm, this means that the pool season is on the way. Before you can use your fibreglass pool during the new pool season, you’ll need to check the water quality first. What you’ll specifically be checking for, when it comes to fibreglass pools installed in homes, includes:
- pH levels
- Acid demand
- Total alkalinity
Even if you aren’t good at chemistry, using a pool testing kit shouldn’t be too hard. They usually come with easy-to-follow directions, designed to help you every step of the way.
Using a pool water testing kit
There are various types of pool water testing kits that you can buy. Common test kits check what the pH, acid-base demand, chlorine and total alkalinity of the pool are. You can also get a pool water testing kit that tests just the chlorine and pH levels of the pool water. There are also testing kits that help you check the chlorine levels, the bromine levels, the alkalinity, the acid demand, and the pH levels of the water.
You can even get a pool water testing kit that tests for the chlorine and bromine levels in the pool water, its pH, total hardness, total alkalinity, and levels of cyanuric acid. Some kits come with test strips. Some use an online calculator, an app, or the website of the manufacturer, to provide you with analyses. If you’re unsure of how to check the reading, your nearest pool supply shop should be able to help you.
Getting specialized pool water testing kits
When you get a standard pool testing kit, you’ll usually get four to five tests that cover everything a homeowner needs to test in their pool. But there are specialized tests that you can opt for as well. These include:
- Biguanide test strips can test the pool’s sanitiser levels, pH, calcium hardness and alkalinity levels.
- For saltwater pools, salt test strips can be useful. Should your pool have a salt-chlorine generator, then the chlorine levels will need to be tested as well.
- A phosphate testing kit helps in testing the phosphate levels in the pool. Phosphates can enter the pool in various ways, such as from fertilizers used on the lawn. Algae can enter the pool water, which then feeds on the phosphates that are present.
- Test strips that test the amount of iron or copper in the fibreglass pool are also available. This is needed if you find that the pool’s surface appears stained.
- There are special tests that help measure the amount of total dissolved solids in the pool water.
- There are tests available to check the chloramine levels in the pool water as well.
When should the pool water be tested?
There isn’t a fixed guideline in place regarding when and how often you should test the water in your fibreglass swimming pool in newcastle. There are people who test their water chemistry on a daily basis. But this may not be necessary. According to pool experts, this is how often you should be testing the water in your fibreglass pool:
- The chlorine levels should be checked at least twice or thrice every week.
- The pH level of the water should also be tested twice or thrice each week.
- Anytime you find that you need to adjust the pH level of the water, do a test for acid demand as well.
- You should test the total alkalinity of the pool on a weekly basis. If the pH levels of the pool water change, then test the total alkalinity as well.
- The calcium hardness of the pool water should be checked on a monthly basis.
- The cyanuric acid levels of the pool water should be checked on a monthly basis.
- The total dissolved solids in the pool water should be checked on a monthly basis.
What are the ideal levels for chemicals in the pool?
These are the ideal levels for chemicals in your pool. Note that the ranges in certain pool test kits could be different, but these are generally accepted as the ideal ranges.
- Chlorine: 1.0-2.0 ppm
- pH: 7.2-7.8
- Total alkalinity levels: 80-120 ppm
- Bromine: 3.0-6.0 ppm
- Cyanuric acid: 40-80 ppm
- Calcium hardness: 180-220 ppm
- Total dissolved solids: Should be under 5000 ppm
How to use a pool test kit
You’ll find that the exact steps you need to follow to test the water in your fibreglass pool will vary depending on the pool kit. When using a pool test kit, you should always follow the instructions that come with that specific test kit.
These are the steps that are generally involved in testing pool water chemistry:
- The water sample that you take should be from water that’s at least 18 inches below the pool’s surface. You don’t want to accidentally test surface material.
- Then, you’ll need to add the indicator solution or the reagent to the water sample you’ve collected. How much you need to add will be provided in the instructions that come with your pool water testing kit.
- If you need to use vials or test tubes, then these should be shaken well, so that the reagent can mix with your water sample. The cap should be tightly in place when you’re shaking the mixture. If you use your hand to cover the top of the vial or test tube, then this could affect your reading.
- Depending on the pool testing kit you choose, the water and reagent mixture will turn red in colour, or yellow. Compare the colour it turns to the colour on the testing chart that you’ve been provided with. This way, you can better understand the level of chemicals in your pool water.
If you want to prevent pool conditions that are unsafe from developing in your pool water, then you’ll need to test the level of chemicals in the pool water regularly. Remember that for each test you perform, the water sample should be new. Usually, different tests require different amounts of reagents, and the resulting colours are different as well. Since each pool testing kit is different, you’ll need to pore over the instructions that come with your pool testing kit carefully.
You can also keep a logbook where you record the chemical levels in your pool water, every time you run a test. This way, you can track the chemical levels in your pool water on a regular basis.