A salt water test kit designed specifically for analyzing salt water pool chemistry will allow you to monitor and balance the salinity and chemistry of your pool. A good quality kit will take the guesswork out of maintaining your pool and prevent over treating that can be costly and dangerous. If your chlorine generator doesn't have an automated salinity sensor or chemistry controller we recommend testing and balancing on a weekly basis to ensure the health of your pool.
It's important to stay on top of the chemistry and salt concentration of your pool water to ensure the chlorine generator operates at maximum efficiency. The salt cell will create chlorine more efficiently and last significantly longer if the salinity is kept within the manufacturers recommended range between 2500-4500 ppm.
In addition to testing regularly for salinity it's important to ensure that the water chemistry is kept within recommended ranges. As you learn how your pool behaves over time it will become easier to maintain but in the beginning we recommend testing weekly for free chlorine, stabilizer and pH. If you would like more information about salt water pool chemistry, check out our salt water pool maintenance page for simple instructions including a maintenance checklist.
A salt water test kit comes in many different forms and the kit you choose should depend on how much of the chemical balancing you carry out on your own. A simple test strip will analyze the chemistry of your pool water in seconds while a more complex titration drop test kit will provide incredibly accurate readings for all of your pools chemistry including calcium hardness and total alkalinity.
We'll go over the different types of testers and kits available starting with the basic and easiest to use options. If you are up for the challenge of balancing your pool yourself we have some great recommendations for complete test kits that include instructional videos, pool chemistry apps for your smartphone or tablet and everything required to carry out your own testing.
Whether you are opening your pool in the spring or carrying out regular pool maintenance you or your pool service company will need to monitor the chemistry of your pool. If you have a salt water system you will also need to monitor the salt concentration even though it shouldn't fluctuate unless you experience heavy rainfall or add fresh water to your pool.
A basic kit with a salinity test or test strip that measures salt content is all that's required if you only want to test for salt levels in your pool. They are affordable and really easy to use while providing reasonably accurate results. If you are a handy pool owner and want to balance your entire pool's chemistry a complete kit will help you do this quite easily with a bit of patience and practice.
It's important to note that most drop test kits don't include a salinity test, and quite often pool owner's find out too late that they need to purchase a separate salinity test. Continue reading for our recommendation for a complete salt water test kit that includes a salinity test.
Salt water test strips are easy to use and will provide reasonably accurate salinity and other chemical readings within seconds. They are handy as a back up product to ensure that your salinity levels are within ideal operating range, even if your chlorine generator provides a salt reading. Most test strips will measure salinity levels between 500-7000 ppm and will work great as long as you are within that range.
The only disadvantage with test strips is that they do have a range of error of about 200-300 ppm and for that reason they aren't ideal if you want a really accurate reading. If you want a more precise reading you should consider a drop test or digital tester.
This type of test kit is a bit more complicated than strips and takes a bit longer to get results, but it's worth it. It will eliminate any doubt about the chemical levels and salinity and allow you to make an informed decision about adjusting chemical and salinity levels in your salt water pool, especially when a chemistry related issue arises.
A complete salt water test kit will measure the necessary chemicals in your pool including salinity by using silver nitrate in a handy dropper bottle. If you own a salt water hot tub they come with a bromine test so you don't have to purchase a separate test kit. An all-in-one kit like the Taylor Technologies K-2006-Salt will cover all of your salt water pool testing needs in one handy and reliable kit.
Whether you are a salt water pool owner or professional pool service technician you will find a complete kit worth every penny with accuracy you just can't find with test strips. The value of knowing free chlorine levels down to micro particles can't be overstated enough. It will provide valuable peace of mind knowing your pool is safe for anyone that enjoys your pool!
If you want instant and incredibly accurate testing results, a digital reader is a great option. These handheld units will replace strips and reagent bottles so you won't ever have to use them again when testing for salinity or other chemicals in your pool. If you plan on testing for many years or you're a pool professional these are a great investment because you won't need to purchase any more strips.
If you find this option appealing there are digital pool test kit and pH testers available. The upfront cost is higher for electronic devices but in the long run you will save money and be assured of years of fast and accurate results.
It's always important to keep safety in mind not only for yourself but for anyone else around you when working with the chemistry of your pool. If you are using a drop tester or reagents that requires the mixing and adding of chemicals always wear gloves and protective eyewear. It's also a good idea to keep children and pets away from the area you are working.
There is a wide range of salt water test kits available on the market today. The simple test strips are often sufficient for residential pool owners to keep an eye on salt and chemistry levels between servicing from a professional. If you carry out your own balancing and maintenance we recommend a quality drop test kit.
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