How to get your water tested by a dealer.

What you should test.
Both pool and tap or well water should be tested 1x year.
Well water should be tested 2x year, if a test has revealed nitrates or metals
Almost all water company utilities will furnish chemical analyses on their water on request; however, it is still necessary to test tap water for iron and copper, since these are often picked up from the water pipes between the treatment plant and your house.

Why you should test.
Test data, especially on your tap or fill water determines what pool treatment program is needed. Many common problems with pools result from failing to consider the chemistry of the fill water. Continued testing assures that water has not changed or is OK. We've learned the hard way that it can, sometimes without warning. Recent trends in water treatment can result in manganese in the tap water: though not toxic, manganese is a nightmare pool water contaminant, resulting in black or brown stains that are very difficult to remove.

Use a sample collection bottle
The ideal sample is at least one pint of water in a clean plastic dark colored bottle. A brown used hydrogen peroxide bottle makes a perfect sample bottle!

Cleaning a sample bottle
If your bottle is not clean, or is questionable, or hasn't been used since last year, clean it first.

Using a sample bottle.

Getting the sample tested

Common problems

Collecting Collect your water sample after the pool pump has been running for at least one hour. Submerge the bottle at least 8" deep in front of your skimmer, invert, and allow it to fill with pool water. (Remember to rinse the bottle with pool water first!)

Test Guide (use the associated testform to take to your dealer)

Pool Chemistry Chlorine1 PHMB2 Copper3
Source Tap Pool Tap Pool Tap Pool
Free Chlorine All All - - All All
Total Chlorine All All All All All All
pH All All All All All All
PHMB - - - All - -
Peroxide - - - All - -
Alkalinity Mnth Mnth Mnth Mnth Mnth Mnth
Calcium 4 Mnth Mnth Mnth Mnth Mnth Mnth
Stabilizer - Mnth - - - -
Copper Year Year All Mnth - All
Iron (Fe) Year Year All Mnth Year Year
Manganese (Mn) Year Only Year Only Year Only
Nitrates5 Year Year Year Year Year Year
Phosphates5 Year Year Year Year Year Year
Ammonia6 - Prob - Prob - Prob
Bromide6 - Prob - Prob - Prob
Yr = test yearly   Mn = test Mnth when open   All = at each test performed   Only = test only when tap or well water indicated problem   Prob = test if you have problems after using Yellow Out, Yello Free, Yellow Treat, or any product from United Chemical Company


  1. Tests for bromine are the same, except it is not necessary to test for stabilizer. The test for bromine is IDENTICAL to the chlorine test.
  2. PHMB is the active ingredient in Baquacil and Softswim
  3. Copper pools include those operated with ionizers or with liquids such as Pristine Blue. IMPORTANT: a chlorine residual MUST be maintained for safety. The FTC has issued restraining orders against companies which claim to be 'chlorine-free' and has successfully sued companies which have claimed otherwise. A clear pool is NOT always a safe pool.
  4. On vinyl pools,calcium only needs to be tested annually, unless your pool has a tendency for the calcium to be to HIGH. Calcium cannot be too low on a vinyl pool, contrary to most published data.
  5. Phosphates and nitrates are are algae food. They primarily enter the pool multiple sources, including the use of non-chloramine shocks to destroy chloramines, lawn fertilizer overspray, and some well waters. Often, the only solution is to drain, if they are high, and algae is uncontrollable.
  6. Bromide or ammonia in pools are common causes of the "I have no chlorine complaints". A common source is the repetitive use of the chlorine supplements for yellow algae.

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