One of the most important things that any hot tub or pool owner can do is to regularly test their water. If you don’t test the water properly, however, you can end up with inaccurate results that might end up making things worse. Today, we will give you some tips to help you get the most accurate results possible from your home tests, and keep your water as balanced as possible.
Why Should You Test Your Hot Tub Or Pool Water?
There are several benefits to regular water testing, including:
- Keeping the water safe to use. Regular testing allows you to ensure that you retain the recommended level of sanitizer in the water. Without enough sanitizer, bacteria will begin to grow, making your hot tub or pool unsafe to use.
- Improving your experience. Regular water testing helps you to keep the water balanced. Balanced water is designed to be feel “softer” by matching your body’s natural pH level. This leads to a better, more comfortable experience.
- Increasing the lifespan of your pool or hot tub components. Along with improving your experience, keeping your water balanced will also decrease the wear and tear on key components of your hot tub or pool, especially heaters, jets and pumps.
- Saving you money in the long term. Regular water testing will help save you money in two ways. Firstly, it extends the lifespan of the key (and costly) components of your hot tub or pool. Secondly, maintaining a consistent level of sanitizer will reduce water quality issues such as cloudy or green water; reducing the amount of chemicals that you will need to add to the water.
Pool & Hot Tub Water Testing Tips
Run Your Jets Before Taking Your Water Sample
Before taking your water sample we recommend that you run the hot tub’s jet pumps for a couple of minutes. This is because still water will actually develop areas with slightly different water balances than others. Taking your test at the surface of the water, for example, might yield different results than if the sample were taken from water at the bottom of the hot tub.
This is especially true of sanitizer levels. With the level of sanitizer being much higher near the dispenser. For this reason, it’s usually a good idea to mix the water up for a few minutes before taking your sample. By mixing up the water you remove the small differences in the water balance throughout the water; giving you a more accurate result.
Don’t Take Pool Water Samples Near Your Return Jets
When taking a water sample from your pool, avoid taking water from your return jets as this water will typically have much higher levels of sanitizer than the rest of the pool, which will skew your test results.
Take Your Pool Water Samples From Elbow Depth Water
Water near the surface of your pool will actually have a different balance than the rest of the pool due to it interacting with the outside air and the UV of the Sun. Taking a sample from the first 12″ or so of your water will therefore not give you an accurate representation of what the balance of the water as a whole is. To ensure that your results are as accurate as possible you should therefore take the sample from water that is approximately elbow depth.
Hold Your Test Strip Sideways When Reading Your Results
If you test your water using test strips it is very important to hold the strip sideways after dipping it in the water. Holding the strip vertically allows water from one test to bleed into another; causing unwanted colour changes in the test pads closer to the ground. By holding the strip sideways, you allow excess water to drip off the strip without affecting the other tests.
Test Your Water At Home Every 2-3 Days
We strongly recommend testing your hot tub water at home at least 2-3 times per week. This allows you to more accurately track the water balance of your hot tub and make small adjustments before any problems arise. When using home test kits you will want to pay close attention to your pH and chlorine/bromine levels as these tend to change the quickest.
Have Your Water Professionally Tested Once Per Month
If everything looks good on your home tests, we recommend getting your hot tub water professionally tested around once per month. If you encounter problems such as consistently low pH, cloudy water or green water, however, you should bring your water in to be professionally tested as soon as possible. Problems like these will only get worse with time and are much easier to treat if caught early.
Test Your Water Even If It Looks Clear
Most people look at crystal clear water and assume that their water balance must be perfect. Clear water doesn’t always mean good water, however. In fact, water that looks crystal clear can sometimes have serious problems.
Acidic water is able hold a lot of minerals in solution without the water turning cloudy. This means that acidic water is typically very clear. Even though the water looks good, the acidity of the water will drastically lifespan of your hot tub or pool equipment.
Without testing it, there is also no way to know if your hot tub has too much sanitizer (either chlorine or bromine). Maintaining a good sanitizer level keeps away algae and ensures that the water is safe to swim in. Too much sanitizer, however, can also cause a lot of wear and tear on the equipment (pump, heater, pool liner, etc).
Use Fresh Testing Kits
Both water testing strips and the reagents used in drop kits become less effective over time. For this reason you will want to periodically check the expiry date of your test strips or reagents. If you notice that they’re expired you should throw them out and purchase new ones. Expired testing equipment won’t fully change colour when exposed to water, which causes inaccurate or hard to read results.
Store Your Test Kits Properly
Water test strips are very sensitive to moisture. For that reason if you use test strips you’ll want to store them in a dry, room temperature environment with the lid closed. Test strips that are exposed to moisture simply don’t work properly and will return inaccurate results. Even if they’re not directly exposed to water, if test strips are left out in hot, humid weather, condensation can build up in the bottle; rendering the strips useless.
If you use drop kits to test your water storage is less crucial, though you will want to ensure that you bring in your test kit for the winter. Once frozen the reagents simply won’t work properly again.