By Michele Norfleet

A sparkling swimming pool is a welcome sight on a hot summer day. In order to keep your backyard pool in good condition and safe for swimming, it is essential to test the pool chemicals on a regular basis. Hth test kits are available with six-way tests to give you a measure of your pool water's pH, free chlorine or bromine, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and cyanuric acid/stabilizer. Three-way test kits and strips measure only pH, total chlorine or total bromine.

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Pool water sparkles when the chemicals are maintained.

Three-Way Test Kits

Step 1

Test chlorine or bromine levels daily, depending on the chemical you use in your pool. Fill the chlorine/bromine compartment of the receptacle to the fill line.

Step 2

Place five drops of OTO liquid testing reagent into the indicated compartment. Hold the bottle vertically when adding the drops. Place the plastic cap over the compartment. Invert the receptacle several times to mix the testing drops into the water.

Step 3

Compare the color of the water with the color standard chart to determine your chlorine/bromine level. The ideal level is two to four parts per million for chlorine or four to six parts per million for bromine.

Step 4

Test the pH level of your water daily. Fill the compartment with pool water to the fill line.

Step 5

Add five drops of phenol red to the compartment. Replace the cap and invert the receptacle to mix.

Step 6

Compare the color of the water with the pH color chart. A pH level of 7.2 to 7.6 is the recommended level.

Six-Way Test Kits

Step 7

Test chlorine or bromine and pH as indicated for three-way test kits.

Step 8

Test total alkalinity weekly. Fill the receptacle with pool water to the 25 ml mark. Add five drops of the alkalinity test reagent to the water. Place the plastic cap over the compartment. Invert the receptacle to mix the contents. The water should turn green.

Step 9

Add the alkalinity reagent one drop at a time. Invert to mix after each addition. Continue to add the reagent until the water turns from green to red. Count the drops added. Multiply the number of drops added by 10 to determine the alkalinity in parts per million (PPM). The recommended level is between 60 and 120 PPM.

Step 10

Test for calcium hardness weekly. Fill the appropriate compartment with pool water to the 25 ml mark.

Step 11

Add five drops of the hardness test reagent. Place the plastic cap on the compartment and invert it to mix its contents.

Step 12

Observe the color of the mixture. The water will be red if hardness is present.

Step 13

Add the hardness titrant one drop at a time until the water turns from red to blue. Count the drops. Multiply the number of drops by 10 to determine the calcium hardness in parts per million. The ideal level is from 200 to 500 PPM.