This is an easy one. Yes, you need a test kit!
If I have said it once I have said it more than twice! Your swimming pool water chemistry is the most important thing to maintain for a successful swimming season. The last thing you need is to walk out to your backyard the morning of a graduation party, BBQ or just a perfect swimming day and find green or cloudy water. Get a test kit to help keep your pool clear and your friends and family happy.
You can buy a cheap bottle of test strips at the local hardware place or pool store for a quick easy reading. But that being said, the problem with test strips is that they are extremely inaccurate. The other thing they fall short on is telling you which adjustments you need to make for balanced safe water.
If you want to keep your water sparkling crystal clear all season long, you need a good test kit. This is a bit of an investment up front. However, the money you save in additional chemicals needed to clear up a cloudy or green pool will more than make up for the cost. And that doesn’t even take into account the time and frustration you expend on bringing your pool water back around once you have lost it to the dark side.
…test the chemicals in your pool water daily until you get the hang of it.
I recommend the Taylor k-2006 test kit with DPD powder. I have found this to be the most accurate and easy to use test kit. It will test alkalinity, pH, chlorine, stabilizer and calcium hardness. Yes, there is a learning curve here, and the first few times you use it you are going to spend 10 minutes testing your water. But as you grow more comfortable with the test kit, you will find you can test your water chemistry in just a few minutes. The other feature these kits have is a book that will tell you exactly how much balancer you need to add in order to have perfectly balanced water. With the test strips, you are only guessing. If I have learned anything from my 11th grade algebra test is that with guessing you are sure to fail.
When you first purchase the kit, test the chemicals in your pool water daily until you get the hang of it. Once you have memorized the steps and it becomes a quicker process, dial back to testing 3 days a week. Set yourself reminders in your phone or in your daily planner or heck, even tie a string around your finger so you don’t forget.
Not only will you have clear water and a great understanding of pool chemistry, you are also doing your equipment a favor. If you want your pump, heater, salt cell and other equipment to last more than a year, test and balance your water regularly. For ideal chemical ranges click here.