Hot Tubs, Swim Spas, Service, and Maintenance

Test Strips

By

Test strips are so easy to use in your pool or spa and they come in a variety testing capabilities, so you are bound to find the right one for you.

​Some are really basic, just chlorine (bromine), pH, and alkalinity, while others test cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, free and total chlorine, copper, MPS (monopotassiumpersulfate), phosphate, and salt levels.

Which one you need depends on the sanitizer that you are using, so make sure you check the label before you buy it because they all look similar.  Usually each company color codes their tests strips with different colored bottles.  In addition to sanizer test strips many people need to know their calcium hardness, phosphate, or copper levels too.

Generally, you dip the strip in the water (between 3-15 seconds, depending on the test and manufacturer) and swirl it around (but read the directions to make sure). Then follow the directions carefullly to read the results.  Sometimes you need to wait a few seconds before reading the test, so make sure you are familiar with the procedure, as this can alter the results.

A good rule of thumb is to write down your results as soon as you read them, because the colors can change the longer the water sits on the test strip and can lead you to have a false result.  If you are not sure what the result is, recheck it and if it is still unclear because the color doesn't seem to match up, bring your water into a professional testing center to have it analyzed.  Tropical Pools and Spas tests water for free, so bring in some water to compare it to the results your tests strips are reading to make sure that you are reading them correctly.  This will give you a good idea of how close you are coming when you are reading the results.

One note of concern is that high levels of chlorine can bleach out the reagents that do the testing, so if you have too much sanitizer in your pool or hot tub, you need to lower that level first, before you try to adjust anything else.

Another important thing to know about test strips is that they can be very sensitive to cold and heat, so DO NOT leave them out with your pool or spa chemicals outside or in the garage.  Keep them inside in moderate temperatures.  If not, they can give you false readings.

Finally, one last thing to remember...the expiration dates on the test strips do matter.  If they have expired the readings may not be correct.