Pool test strips these days are taking over from traditional drop or liquid pool water testing kits. And for good reason. They’re quick and easy to use.
Much easier than fiddling around testing your water by adding drops of chemicals to several water samples.
What do Pool Strips Test For?
Different products test different things and different combinations. Most strips test 3-6 things on the one test strip. Which saves time and money.
Here’s some of the things strips can test for:
- Free Chlorine
- Total Chlorine
- Total Alkalinity
- PH Level
- Cyanuric Acid (or Stabiliser)
- Total Hardness
The most common strips normally test for the essentials which are: Free Chlorine, Total Alkalinity, PH and Cyanuric Acid (or Stabiliser). If you only tested for these things, you’ll pool would be in pretty good shape.
I can find Water Testing Strips here.
How to Use Pool Water Test Strips
You should test your pool or spa water at least 2 to 3 times per week. You also should test after heavy use of the pool, if animals have been in it or heavy rain.
The strips are very easy to use. In general:
1) With clean dry hands, dip a strip into your pool water for about 5 seconds.
2) Take it out and wait 10 seconds. Then compare the strip colours against the chart on the pack of strips.
3) You can now adjust the levels of chemicals as indicated by the strips.
4) Run your filter pump to circulate the water. Wait 4-6 hours and test the water again. If the levels are correct, no further action is needed. If not, you’ll need to repeat the chemical balancing process again.
How do test strips work?
Pool water test strips are strips normally made from plastic. The end of the stick has pads on it which has been impregnated with special chemicals.
After dipping the strip in the water sample, the pads change colour. You then compare the strip to a printed colour chart that comes with the strips. Each colour has a label and gives you the chemical levels in the water.
Are Pool Test Strips Accurate?
Yes, they are. Although manufacturers of chemical drop testing kits will be unlikely to agree.
Test strips are based on technology from the medical industry and are used for tests such as urine and pregnancy. And for medical use, the results must be accurate.
Some pool industry experts believe that test strips are actually more accurate than liquid test kits. This is because there is room for human error with drop kits. If you haven’t put in the correct number of drops, then the results of the test will not be accurate.
Since test strips require very little skill or technique, there is little room for user error. Inaccuracies are most likely to come from using expired or contaminated strips.
Will my Pool be Better Balanced
I believe it will. You should test your water at least 2 to 3 times per week. A lot of people are unlikely to test their water anywhere near enough using a liquid kit. Since each test can take 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
But strips only take 20 seconds so you’re much more likely to test more regularly.
So my recommendation is to test regularly and use pool test strips.