How to Get the Test Kits You NEED for your Swimming Pool!

General Notes

The kits offered here are the ones I recommend. They enable you to use the treatment techniques I've mentioned in past PoolLetters, and on the Forum.

In most cases, we recommend test kits made by Taylor Technologies test chemicals. Our now defunct PS-234 was based on Taylor methods and reagents. But, that doesn't mean other kits won't work.

Please keep in mind that there are three serious problems in the use of pool testkits:

But, the best kit in the world won't help if you don't use it, or don't pay attention to the results. There's a bit of problem here, though, with answering the question, "How much should you test?". The problem is that there's no absolute answer, except maybe, "Enough, to do the job!". The simplest approach is to test a lot at first, and less as you get to know your pool and 'get the hang' of doing it right. You may have heard another pool owner say that they can tell what their pool needs, just by looking at it. And, sometimes they can. Often, their pools are a mess, though. But, it is quite true that if you begin with proper testing, you may eventually get down a pool routine that keeps everything in line with very, very little testing. But, for you own sake, don't try to start that way. And, remember, EVERY pool is different. So, just because you could run your OLD pool that way, please don't begin by trying to run your NEW one that way!

Of course, people vary. Consequently, there's an opposite error of over testing. Some people run out and do a complete series of tests on their pool 10x in the first week. This causes them to (1) have to order some expensive refills, (2) get totally confused by random variations in the results, caused by testing errors and normal fluctuations in pool chemicals levels, and worst of all, (3) mess up their pool's chemistry with constant chemical additions as they try to get every level just so.

As in so many other areas of life, intelligent moderation is the right approach: you can't run your pool properly without the numbers, but you can't run your pool solely by the numbers, either.

Expanded detail information about test kits and testing is available on a separate page.

Please read this information BEFORE ordering. Test kits can lead to a HUGE improvement in pool operation . . . but ONLY if you use them properly.

WHAT to order:

Everyone with a pool needs an OTO/phenol red kit, like the K-1000, even if you are using Baquacil, Softswim, or some other system. You can use the links here to order the K-1000 from Amazon, or you can buy a similar kit locally. These kits test pH levels in all pools, and chlorine levels in both chlorine pools AND in tap water (which you need to check, if you use Baquacil or Softswim). Please understand that OTO kits are NOT highly accurate, but they are highly 'goof' proof, at least for chlorine testing, and they provide an important backup function for the more complex FAS-DPD chlorine kits we recommend. And, they provide fast and cheap daily testing.

Most folks need a 'complete' testkit, as well

Unless you are lucky enough to have a local dealer who BOTH can provide accurate water testing, AND who does not use a computer to prescribe boatloads of chemicals you really don't need, you will need the K-2006 or its equivalent from LaMotte. And, if your dealer has begun using those accursed test strips . . . you DEFINITELY need the K-2006.

Test strips are easy, cheap, AND inaccurate! At best, they can give you a 'ballpark' estimate of chemical levels. At worst, you'll end up in the wrong 'ballpark'.

The K-2006  includes the test capabilities most homeowners will need, and contains tests for free, combined and total chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and stabilizer (cyanuric acid). It also offers much more accurate chlorine measurement than even most dealers can provide, with a range up to 50 ppm.

The ability to measure high levels of chlorine is much more important than I originally realized.

It turns out that the easiest and cheapest way deal with algae is to simply raise your chlorine level . . . and keep it there. Also, if your stabilizer is too high, you can drain your pool -- the conventional recommendation -- or you can just begin operating at higher chlorine levels. If your stabilizer is at 100 ppm, maintaining chlorine levels of 7 - 12 ppm works fine, and is both cheap and easy. (You'll also need to make sure your pH stays above 7.4)

Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible with regular testkits. The problem is that these kits can't distinguish 10 ppm, which is fatal to most algae, but fine for people, from 30 ppm which is uncomfortable for people and not so good for vinyl liners, either.

I no longer offer PHMB (Baquacil, SoftSwim) testkits for the simplest of reasons: no one bought any.

Finally, a few people may need a copper kit. If you have an ionizer, a Nature2 or Frog, use Pristine Blue or skimmer pills . . . or use copper algaecide more than once per year, you'd better consider a copper kit.

The copper K-1766 kit allows reasonable accurate measurements of low copper levels. There may be a better kit out there, but I haven't found it, and I have looked. Many of the copper kits I've seen do not discriminate copper levels in the ranges usually recommended (200 - 500 ppb). If you use copper algaecides, Nature2, "Frog's", ionizers, Pristine Blue, or whatever, and do not have a current, fresh copper kit and accurate kit, you need this kit. Excess copper levels can cause serious pool damage that is expensive to correct.

HOW to order

=> this page - testkit-order-links.html

PoolSolutions Test Kit List and Links

Test kit (general guide) Tests Use
TC/pH All
FC, TC, CC,pH, alk,
 calc, stab
DIY testing
Cu: 50, 150, 300, 500,
 700, 1000 ppb as Cu
Cu algicides,
Nature2, etc
Copper & Iron:
Cu: 50, 150, 300, 500,
 700, 1000 ppb as Cu
Cu & Fe in fill



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