Water Test Sample

Water Testing

We offer free water tests to customers that use our water care products. In a hurry? Drop off your sample and we can email you the results. When getting a water sample remember these points:

Water Tests

We will test your water for the following:

Total Alkalinity (TA)

Ideal Range is 125 to 150ppm for chlorine and bromine pools and hot tubs
80 to 125ppm for salt pools

Alkalinity buffers pH helping to keep it in the stable range. It gets used up buffering the pH. A buffered pH means less balancing treatments are needed and chlorine and other chemicals are more effective when pH is in ideal range. When TA is low pH bounce uncontrollably, vinyl liners may wrinkle. When TA is high there is an increased potential for scale forming. Balance TA before pH.

pH Range is for Acid - Neutral - Alkali

Bather waste, compressed chlorine, heavy rain lowers pH, shock, algae, salt systems raise pH

pH is logarithmic measure like the Richter scale for earthquakes, so small out of balance readings can cause big problems. Out of balance pH can cause red eyes, irritated skin, bad hair, and waste your chlorine.

14Liquid drain cleaner
12Soapy water
8High pool water pH too alkaline, chlorine slows down and will not kill bacteria but will give a high chlorine reading. Alkaline, basic water allows algae to grow, scalling on pipes, equipment and surfaces, and cloudy water.
7Pure water, 7.4 eyes, balanced pool water
6Low pool water pH too acidic, chlorine gets hyperactive and used up before it can work killing bacteria. Acidic water will cause metal on pool equipment to corrode, will damage surfaces, and will cause seals to become brittle over time.
5Acid Rain, Black coffee
3Orange Juice
0Battery Acid

Free Chlorine

0 to 0.6ppmInsufficient sanitation - unsafe for swimmers. Bacteria could cause summer cold, swimmer's ear, or rashes.
1 to 3ppmIdeal range
3ppm and abovetoo high, waste money, will bleach bathing suits, pool toys, and pool surfaces, will wrinkle vinyl liner

Total Chlorine (Free Chlorine + Combined Chlorine)

Ideal range is for free chlorine = total chlorine, combined chlorine = 0ppm

Combined chlorine is spent chlorine molecules, they have killed the bacteria and are how combined with organic waste. The combined chlorine will smell and cloudy pool water. Shock will get rid of combined chlorine.

UV Stabilizer Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

Stabilizer helps keep a chlorine residue by protecting your chlorine from being burned off quickly by the sun’s ultra violet light. Stabilizer is only lost by draining, backwashing, or splashing, It does not break down.

0 to 30ppmToo low chlorine will be dissipated by sun light
30 to 50ppmIdeal range
Above 100ppmAbility of chlorine to sanitize water is affected. Can cloud water

Calcium Hardness or Total Hardness (CaH or TH)

Lower levelSoft water will try to harden itself by leaching from pool surfaces aging liners and synthetic materials.
100 to 200ppmIdeal level for hot tubs in the warmer temperature calcium is less soluble so more likely to become scale
175 to 225ppmIdeal range for pools
Higher levelHard water will try to soften itself by depositing extra calcium onto pool surfaces. Over 450ppm and you will need to partially drain and refill your pool.

Metals - Copper, Iron, Manganese

Ideal range is 0ppm

Treat if exceeds 0.2ppm, water changes colour, or pool surfaces stain.

CopperStains blue/green to black, will turn blonde hair green. May be mistaken for algae.From corrosion of heater elements, algaecides, fill water
IronStains green/brown to rust water yellow/greenFrom fill water, fittings, salt, low quality stabilizer or hardness
ManganeseStains violet to grey/blackFrom fill water


Salt levels below ideal level for your chlorine generator will not produces chlorine, salt levels above ideal levels increases the risk of corrosion and deterioration of pool equipment and surfaces. Chlorine generators do not work if water is below 60 degrees and do not work well below 70 degrees

0 to 600ppmGood drinking water, water with 600ppm will taste off
1,500ppmWill taste like weak alka-selter
2,700 to 3,400ppmHayward Chlorine generators
2,800 to 4,500ppmPentair IntelliChlor Chlorine generators
4,000ppmWill taste salty
4,000 to 7,000ppmZodiac Chlorine generators

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Measured in parts per million (ppm) it is the sum of the calcium, stabilizer, metals, chlorides, bicarbonates, magnesium, and sulfates in your pool water. Levels will get higher as pool water gets older, accumulating more stuff. Higher levels make it harder to maintain your pool water. Maximums are 2500ppm in chlorine pool, 1500ppm over ideal salt level in salt pool, and 1500 in a hot tub.


Microscopic plants that grow in or around water. Types are green, black, and mustard
Products that prevent or control algae growth
Microscopic organisms, some of which are harmful to bathers, can combine to form pink slime or biofilm
Balanced Water
Water that contains the proper level of mineral content and pH, unbalanced water is corrosive or scale forming which is hard on your equipment and swimmers.
protective coating that forms around bacteria in a pool
Bromine, great sanitizer, not as good oxidizer, It acts as an algicide at 0.2ppm, effective wider pH range than chlorine, but can't be stabilized. Great for use indoors.
Breakpoint Oxidation
An oxidizer is added to then point where Combined Cl breaks down to Free Cl, if using Cl as oxidizer Breakpoint Chlorination is 10ppm free Cl to 1ppm Combined Cl. Nitrogen gas is produced and must be ventilated.
Equipment that dispenses Br in controlled gradual manner
Bromamines, bromine combined with organic compounds, it will sanitize, no odor, won't increase CaH,
Bicarbonate molecules that can release hydrogen ions or combine with released hydrogen ions and remove them from solution
Calcium Hardness amount of dissolved Ca, Ideal range is 175 to 225ppm, low will etch surfaces protect surfaces & high corrosion, cloudy water. Raise by adding Ca lower by dilution
Chlorine are formed by the reaction of free chlorine with organic substances, also know as Combined Cl. They are responsible for chlorine smell, and eye irritation
Equipment that dispenses Cl in controlled gradual manner
Water is pumped into the pool through returns in the pool walls and is removed from the pool via a skimmer and drains. The skimmer removes debris from the pool and the filter will trap fine particles. pump must run 10 to 12 hours a day. Circulation is critical to Sanitizer effectiveness, the motion makes it harder for algae and bacteria to take hold and moves debris into the filter.
Chlorine is a sanitizer & oxidizer, sanitizers must be present as a constant low dose, that will take care of most organic contaminant, unstabilized chlorine has high pH and 1/2 life of 35 minutes in sunlight
Cl Generator
Equipment that converts salt (NaCl) into free chlorine through electrolysis
Cl Residual
Amount of Cl left after demand satisfied
Combined Cl
Spent Cl combined with nitrogenous compounds aka Chloramine (Chlorine Cl -ammonia NH₃) compounds, poor sanitizer causes odor and eye irritation
Can't see bottom of shallow end, also see Hazy
Destruction of metals by chemical reaction
Cyanuric Acid is a Cl stabilizer, forms weak bond with Free Cl protecting it from UV rays to reduce Cl loss, but also reduces Cl effectiveness, if using Free Cl should be 2ppm
Diatomaceous Earth used as filter medium, note most pool clarifier chemicals can not be used on it
Dead spot
Area in pool with poor circulation
Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione, stabilized Cl, Fast dissolving, pH neutral
Removing some of the pool water and adding fresh, will lower TDS and Ca Hardness
Iron (Ferrum)
Filters remove both visible debris and most microscopic matter. Generally, a filter should be backwashed when the water pressure reaches 8 to 10 psi above normal.
Different filter media trap different sizes of contaminates:
  • Sand 25-40microns
  • Cartridge 10-15microns
  • D.E. 3-4microns
Moving water through a material that prevents passage of certain molecules, particles, or substances that would cloud water
Free Cl
Hydrochlorous acid, Cl not combined with organic matter so it is available to kill bacteria and algae, proper range is 1-3ppm, low free Cl can cause swimmer irritation, cloudy water, and algae growth
Can see bottom of shallow end but not deep end, also see cloudy
or Oxychloride strong oxidizing agent
Hypochlorous acid
HOCl weak acid formed when Cl dissolved in water
Chlorinated isocyanurates are leading dry sanitizers for residential pools and spas.
Kilolitre = 1000 litre
Manganese stains pools
Nitrogenous compounds
Introduced by plant debris and bather waste (urine, perspiration, cosmetics, sunscreen, etc.)
Products can be used with attached spas or water features that unlike their counterparts will not cause foaming
chemically changes components so they can be filtered, do weekly, Cl (good), Br (not as good as Cl), and Ozone (great)
or Hypochlorite strong oxidizing agent
Great oxidizer but does not hold residual
Logarithmic measure of acidity pH<7 (more hydrogen ions H+) or alkalinity pH>7 (more hydroxyl ions OH-) Ideal range for a pool is 7.4 to 7.6
Long chain polymer Quaternary Ammoisum Algacide, non-foaming algicide
parts per million
Quaternary Ammoisum Algacide, broad spectrum
Material used for testing water, can be tablets, powder or liquid
Kills algae and bacteria, Cl & Br, must be constantly introduced or have a residual level
Saturation Index = pH + Temperature (f) + CaH factor + TA factor - TDS factor
Is balanced between -0.3 and 0.3, > 0.3 scale forms, <0.3 corrosion
Coarse Ca deposits on pool wall, floor, and plumbing
Chemically alters waste like combined Cl in water so in can be filtered out.
Skimmer basket
Stops debris from getting into pump, prevents damage to impeller
Skimmer weir
Stops debris from moving back into pool
Stabilized Cl
contains cyanuric acid has a half life of 6 hours in sunlight, unstablized has a half life of 35 minutes
Super Chlorination
Free Cl of 10ppm
Total Alkalinity, measure of bicarbonate buffer in solution, TA between 125 to 150ppm or 80 to 125ppm for salt pool will help prevent pH from fluctuating, preven corrosion, scale formation, & cloudy water
Total Hardness, see CaH
Total Cl
= Free Cl + Combined Cl
Total Disolved Solids < 1,500 ppm above source water, solids that don't filter out, lower by dilution
trichloro-s-trazinetrione Stabilized Cl, low pH, slow dissolving