Digital Water Test Devices
A key element to keeping a crystal clear pool or spa is routine water testing. It’s always much easier to test and to stay ahead of things before you have a problem, not to mention less expensive. Test strips, which are sold just about everywhere that sells pool supplies, serve the purpose for a lot of pool and spa owners today and make it possible to get quick and uncomplicated results. However, like many people testing at home you may find yourself comparing the strip to the colors on a chart unsure of the reading. Worse yet, for people with color blindness it’s worthless!
Most professional pool and spa stores now carry reliable, automatic digital readers for home use. The technology is now available that allows you to have a small hand-held photometric (or light measuring) device that is fast, affordable and takes the guesswork out of testing at home. Although it is no substitute for bringing your water periodically to a professional who can provide thorough results using high-end equipment, these readers help you to monitor the most essential levels without having to make a trip to the pool store every day.
Most of these readers fit in the palm of your hand, are battery powered and will test for the most critical day to day levels – chlorine or bromine, pH and total alkalinity. They are generally compatible with salt systems as well. Better models have easy-to-read digital LCD screens and give exact numbers for the readings. Just dip the strip, shake to remove the excess water and place on the reader according to directions and you have results in 30 seconds or less! A good digital reader will allow you to store a small number of past tests in its memory allowing you to see if there is a trend that needs particular attention.
And if you’re a “butterfingers” like I am, I recommend buying a unit that is water resistant (and floats!) in case it ends up in the pool. This is not something you want to be finding out is not the case after this has happened.
Most units are under $60, come with a small amount of strips and have replacement strips available – only use those designed for the unit you have. Replacement strip are under $10 for 50 strips. For your family’s safety and your sanity this is well worth the money. So go test your water with confidence, stop scratching your head and above all…keep swimming!