Poolside lounging is a staple of summertime, but this long-cherished activity becomes decidedly less appealing when that pool looks cloudy or has green and black discolorations. To keep your pool looking ready to dive into during the summertime months, it is important to conduct regular water testings. Ensure proper pool safety by testing the pH, copper, and calcium levels routinely.

Monitoring the mineral and chemical levels in your pool can be done in three ways: using liquid test kits, testing with strips, and taking samples to a pool store or water testing facility. Liquid test kits tend to be more comprehensive than the strips, but the strips are often easier to use. Taking water samples to a professional water testing facility is the most thorough and accurate method, but it is not always necessary to go to those measures.

Testing for Water pH Pool Safety

pH indicates the amount of free hydrogen ions present in a substance, and the scale ranges from 0 to 14. Values less than 7 have more hydrogen ions and are acidic; those greater than 7 have fewer hydrogen ions and are basic/alkaline. Your pool should be at a pH of about 7.2 to 7.6, since this is around the same pH of human eyes.

pH can be altered by a number of factors. These factors include rainfall, how much the pool is being used, debris, and other pool chemicals. To keep pH in an optimal range, testing should be conducted at least once per week and more in unusual circumstances (heavy rains, pool parties, etc).


Reasons for Copper in Water

If you notice your pool has cloudy water or there are greenish black stains on the liner, these could be indications of excess copper. This can occur for two main reasons: Trace amounts of copper in the tap water used to fill the pool and low pH levels.

The amount of minerals in your water depends on the source. For those using well water, you will likely have more copper and iron in your water, so you might see more copper-related pool issues.

These pool water issues are exacerbated in the summertime. You fill your pool with water containing trace amounts of copper, that water evaporates in the summer heat leaving the copper behind, you fill the pool with more copper-infused water, and the cycle continues with the concentration of copper increasing.

The second main reason for copper in your pool comes from the interaction of acidic water and existing copper elements in your pool’s filter and plumbing. When the pH is too low, copper fixtures may corrode and leach into the pool water. The longer you go without cleaning the pool, the greater the impact will be.

Testing for Copper

Most general pool testing strip kits are not equipped to test for metals, so you will need to purchase kits specifically for metals, rather than ones for pH and chlorine. Tests should be conducted at least once a month. With routine testing, you may be able to avoid copper buildup altogether.

water test to ensure proper pool safety in the summertime months


Reason for Calcium in Water

Water can be soft or hard; the designation as one or the other defined by the amount of minerals in the water. Hard water contains dissolved minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and lime, while soft water’s only ion is sodium. Calcium and magnesium are the two primary minerals in hard water.

If you fill your pool with hard water, you will likely have higher calcium levels. If this is the case, your pool may have cloudy water and rough surfaces.

On the other hand, you can also have calcium levels that are too low. Low calcium levels result in pitted concrete surfaces; etched concrete, stone, and metal surfaces; and dissolved grout.

Testing for Calcium

To ensure proper pool safety and extend the life of your pool, you should test for calcium at least once per month; testing more frequently may be necessary if your water is harder or softer than average.

Much like testing for copper, you can buy calcium-specific tests to measure total hardness. This level should be between 200 and 500 parts per million.

While any of the three testing methods works, test strips and liquid test kits have a greater chance of being influenced by human error. Taking your samples to a professional testing service will provide the most accurate and comprehensive results. For more information on water testing services, take a look at what we do or fill out a Brelje and Race Inquiry Form.