Nothing beats a soothing hot water spa treatment. On other days, we enjoy taking a dive into a silky smooth pool to swim our time away. But have we ever thought about what it takes to prepare spa and pool water? Many of us may not be of the maintenance measures of this water. Pool water tends to attract all kinds of occupants, from human veins to organic and inorganic debris. As a result, it is very necessary to ensure hygienic spa/pool water standards. For a sparkling clean and well-balanced pool, the levels of the chemicals in the spa and pool must be within the desired range.
An unbalanced pool can be bad for both users and the quality of the pool itself. These may lead to the following setbacks:
- Disease-causing microbes
- Eye problems
- Formation of algae on top of the pool
- Cloudy water
- Swimming discomfort
- Ineffective sanitization processes
- Damage to pumps, liners, filters, and other spa/pool equipment.
There are three ways through which spa/pool water balance levels can be tested. Let’s take a look.
● Liquid test kits
Liquid test kits make use of chemical reagents to trigger chemical reactions with spa/pool water so as to generate colour-coded readings. Unlike test strips that are simple to use, liquid kits are more complicated. This is because they require a precise determination of the number of drops to be added to the sample water and failure in using the exact number of drops can lead to inaccurate readings. Moreover, there is also the problem of compatibility in reagent refills. This arises because every reagent producer has a unique reagent formulation meaning a reagent from brand A may not work well with brand B. Like test strips, liquid test kits also have comparison charts whose readings can enable the user to determine the optimal levels of chemicals in the water.
● Digital pool testers
Digital pool testers are equipped with electrodes that measure the chemical levels in the spa/pool water. Some examples include lightweight and portable digital meters, photometers, and colourimeters. Digital pool testers make use of batteries and calibration and are thus the most expensive of the three testing methods. Because of their relatively higher costs, digital testers are not recommended for those that require to test and treat the spas and pools frequently, e.g., businesses.
● Pool test strips
Test strips are the most inexpensive and popular way of testing spa/pool water. They are popular because they are very simple to use and accurate. Application may depend on the particular test but basically, the user “activates” the paper or plastic strip by inserting it into the water sample and swirling it around. The user then has to wait for a few seconds so that the reagents on the test strips can change colour. Once the strip’s colours change, the water’s chemical concentration can then be read by comparing the new strip colours with an easy-to-read chart on the bottle. This comparison not only enables the user to read the chemical concentration but also to determine the proportion of chemicals that should be added to the pool.
Pool test strips are very reliable in terms of accuracy (provided instructions are followed appropriately). There’s a ton of brands when it comes to pool test strips. Knowing which one to use can be a nightmare, especially if it’s your first time. In our experience, you need to get a mix of affordability and effectiveness.
If you’re wondering where to start from, Bosike Pool Test Strips are a decent choice.
We’ve found that they deliver a punch of performance while not burning a hole in your pocket. But don’t take out word for it.
● Fast and accurate
Just dip one of the 125 strips into the spa/pool water for a couple of seconds and then bring it out from the water. Hold the strip in a horizontal position for half a minute and then compare the colour on the strip with that on the chart within half a minute.
● Affordable 7 in 1 pool testing kit
Each strip tests for essential water conditions such as total hardness, total chlorine, free chlorine, bromine, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and pH levels.
● High precision results
Bosike pool test kit is designed with high-quality fibre paper that guarantees quick and reliable results for either hot tub chemicals and other water testing needs. It has no colour bleeding pad.
● Wide usage
These pool water test strips have found extensive application in diverse forms of water testing such as in swimming pools, spas, baths, hot tubs, and others. This vast usage can be attributed to the demand by research that spas and pools be tested at least two times per week to ensure water chemical balance.
● Extended shelf life
The strips from Bosike have been packaged in a well-sealed bottle to ensure that they can be stored safely for their 2 years shelf life. The expiry dates can be found on the box of each box of test strips
BOSIKE Pool Test Strips parameters and their ranges
|Parameters||Test range||Ideal range|
|Total Hardness||0~1000ppm (parts-per-million)||250~500ppm|
For best results, pH must be between 7.0~8.4
Total Hardness is a measure of the levels of calcium and other minerals in spa/pool (or any other) water. If the hardness is too low, it can result in the degradation of metal components and unwanted foam. A hardness that is too high can equally lead to cloudiness in the water and the formation of scales on the surface.
Chlorine sanitizes the water through the chemical process of oxidation. Through this process, the microbes in the water are destroyed and problems like algae are avoided. Low chlorine levels can be a problem if you are trying to maintain a standard level of Ph and alkalinity. Total chlorine refers to the quantity of chlorine in the water to be tested and treated, including both free (unused) chlorine.
Free Chlorine is the quantity of unused or available chlorine to sanitize a spa or pool water. Chlorine levels can be raised by using chlorine tablets or shocking the pool. It can be lowered by simply not adding any chlorine to the spa/pool for some time.
For bromine, the other sanitiser, Bosike recommends a range of 2 to 6ppm.
pH measures how acidic or basic spa/pool water is. A pH measurement scale ranges from 0 to 14. 7 is the neutral level on the scale. Numbers lower than 7 denote acidity while numbers higher than 7 denote alkalinity levels. pH measurement is very important to the health of spa/pool water. An imbalanced pH can impact negatively on pool equipment, make bathers uncomfortable, and lead to inefficient sanitisers. As indicated by the table above, Bosike recommends a Ph range of between 7.2 and 7.8.
The total alkalinity test may seem similar to a pH test but is a bit different. For instance, while the latter is a scale measurement with no units, the unit for measuring the former is ppm. Alkalinity helps to neutralize the acid content of water and bring about stability in the pH level. Low alkalinity (below 80ppm) can result in problems like pH bounce, etching, corrosion, and others. High alkalinity (above 120ppm) can also lead to malfunctioning equipment such as pipes and pumps.
The Stabilizer is a measure of the level of cyanuric acid in spa/pool water. When chlorine is stabilized, it lasts longer under the impact of direct sunlight.
How to use Pool Test Strips
- Dip the strip into the sample water for a couple of seconds and then bring it out from the water
- Do not attempt to shake off the excess water on the strip. Just hold the strip in a horizontal position for half a minute
- Compare the colour on the strip with the colour on the chart and read the results within half a minute so as to ensure accuracy.
When to test a spa/pool
- After a rainstorm
- After the spa/pool have been used by a large number of people
- After weather changes
- After the water has been added to the spa/pool
- If there are cloudiness or colour changes in the spa/pool water
Even with continuous innovation in technology, test strips remain ever popular due to their simplicity of use as well as accuracy. You do not have to bother about adding the exact quantity of reagents like in liquid tests kits nor the higher costs that come with digital testers. Remember that testing a spa/pool water at least twice a week is essential not only to keep the water hygienic and user-friendly but also to prevent damage to spa/pool equipment.