At The Pool Boys we use a state of the art water lab from Lamotte – the WaterLink® Spin photometer. This lab is user friendly and greatly reduces the chance for user error when testing your pool/spa water. Water testing is a service that we provide for free to our store customers. When you test your pool water at The Pool Boys Pool Supply, you will be provided with a printout to keep in your water chemistry records.
Please remember that in order to produce accurate results we will need to test your water immediately after the sample is taken from your pool/spa. In most cases, water testing records are required in order to maintain the warranty on your pool/spa surface. We recommend testing once a month at our store and using Aquachek 4 in 1 test strips each week in between.
The Pool Boys are happy to help you find just the right chemicals to get your pool water in balance and ready for swimming. Stop by our store today!
Chemicals We Test For in Your Pool Water
Free Chlorine – The most widely used sanitizer for swimming pools and spas. Chlorine that is free and available to sanitize. All chlorine-based sanitizers when added to swimming pool/spa water form free available chlorine.
Total Chlorine – Total amount of chlorine in the pool.
Combined Chlorine – Formed when chlorine combines with nitrogen containing compounds known as chloramines. When chloramines form the free chlorine in the pool is consumed in the process, chloramines are not effective sanitizers, and can produce a strong “chlorine odor” in addition to the possibility of causing skin and eye irritation.
Bromine – Alternative sanitizer that produces hypobromus acid. Commonly used in above ground spas.
pH – Measure of how acidic or basic the swimming pool or spa water is. For most chlorine-based sanitizers to be effective at killing bacteria and algae, the water’s pH should be maintained ideally between 7.4-7.6, but no less than 7.2 and no higher than 7.8. If your pH level ends up outside of these levels it can affect the swimmer comfort and overall water balance. Additionally an unbalanced pH level can damage the pool surface and pool equipment.
Total Alkalinity (TA) –A measure of the buffering capacity of water, or its ability to resist rapid changes in pH. Total Alkalinity helps pool operators maintain pH more easily by making the water’s pH more resistant to change. Low total alkalinity can result in a widely fluctuating pH level and can cause the water to become corrosive. A high total alkalinity level will cause the pH to be too high and as a result scale will form on pools, walls, and equipment. Test and adjust the total alkalinity prior to adjusting the pH.
Calcium Hardness – Measure of the concentration of calcium in the water. A low level of calcium in the water will cause the water to be corrosive and will start dissolving calcium from the pool plaster surface and metal equipment. A high level of calcium in the water will cause the water to be “hard” and can result in cloudy water or a buildup of calcium carbonate scale on the pool surfaces and equipment. Removed by draining some of the pool water and adding fresh water. Be sure to always have your source water tested prior to draining and filling.
Cyanuric Acid – (Also called stabilizer or conditioner) Cyanuric acid protects or stabilizes chlorine from UV destruction, keeping chlorine in the water up to eight times longer. Low levels of Cyanuric acid in the pool will result in chlorine being used up at a fast rate. High levels of Cyanuric Acid in the pool will result in chlorine lock.
Metals – (Iron & Copper) Almost all water sources contain dissolved metals. Different areas and regions will have different levels of dissolved metals present in the water. Metals in the pool or spa water can cause staining of the surfaces and can change the color of the water. It is ideal to keep metals at a level of 0ppm. Small amounts of metals under 1.0ppm can be held in suspension and removed through filtration by adding a sequestering or chelating agent to the pool/spa water. When metals are present in amounts over 1.0ppm, a filter aid such as CU Lator, can be used in conjunction with a sequestering agent to remove them.
Phosphates – Food source for algae that can cause a high demand for chlorine. It is recommended to keep phosphate levels as close to 0 as possible. Some scale and stain products contain phosphonic acid which can increase the phosphate level in your pool/spa.
Borates – Chemical used to create more stable pH levels, has algaestatic properties, softer feel to water, better water clarity, and reduced chlorine usage. If you use Borates in your pool and would like us to test for them please notify the person testing your water to test for them.
Salt – Alternative to chlorine. Works be being converted to chlorine with a salt system through electrolysis. Only evaporated, non-iodized, granulated salt should be used with chlorine generating systems.
TDS – Amount of all of the dissolved matter in the water. A high TDS level can cause cloudy water, inhibit sanitation, and corrode fixtures. If TDS levels get too high they can be removed by draining some of the pool water and adding fresh water. Be sure to always have your source water tested prior to draining and filling.
NOTE: Many of the explanations used above are from the IPSSA Basic Training Workbook Part 1 – Chemicals and the APSP Retail Sales Associate Manual. Thanks to those organizations.