One good thing about saltwater pools is that they tend to easier to maintain than regular pools that need chemical chlorine added. A quality salt chlorinator can help to manage water chemistry and over time, we’re seeing newer models managing and adjusting various water levels to keep chemistry in check.
Part of saltwater pool management is manually testing important water chemistry levels. The good news is that there are several ways that are easy and quick. Disposable water testing strips is one option that can measure multiple water levels with a single test.
It’s not uncommon to find test strip products that can measure up to 7 important water levels in a single strip.
How accurate are these strips and what specifically do they measure? Let’s take a closer look below.
7 in 1 Test Strips Accuracy
The accuracy of 7 in 1 pool water test strips can vary depending on the brand and quality of the strips.
It’s important to note that test strips can be affected by factors such as exposure to sunlight, moisture, and temperature, which can cause the results to be less accurate.
Additionally, the accuracy of the results can be impacted by the age and storage conditions of the strips.
To get the most accurate results, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, store the strips in a cool, dry place, and ensure that they are not expired.
It’s also a good idea to periodically check the accuracy of the test strips by comparing the results with a more reliable testing method, such as a digital water tester or water test kit.
For a quick and easy test of pool water, a quality test strip is a good thing to have on hand to identify problems early before they become a larger problem.
What Do 7 in 1 Test Strips Test For?
Generally, 7 in 1 test strips can provide a reliable and quick indication of specific levels including:
- pH level
- Total alkalinity
- Free chlorine
- Total chlorine
- Cyanuric acid (stabilizer)
- Water hardness
Why are each of these factors important to saltwater pool owners? Let’s take a closer look at each below:
Salt – Should generally be kept between 2700 ppm and 3400 ppm. Salt is required in a saltwater pool to produce chlorine by way of the chlorinator.
pH level – Should be kept between 7.2 to 7.8. pH tends to go higher in a saltwater pool because the chlorinator produces byproducts that raise it. Additionally, chlorine helps to raise pH.
Total alkalinity – Total alkalinity (TA) should be kept between 80 ppm and 120 ppm. When it’s out of range, it can make chlorine levels difficult to maintain and pool equipment can be damaged.
Free chlorine – Should be kept between 1 ppm and 3 ppm to sanitize the water and keep it clear and clean. This is the amount of chlorine that is available (free) to sanitize water at that moment in time. Without proper chlorine, your pool water become cloudy and unsanitized which can lead to algae growth.
Total chlorine – Free chlorine + Combined chlorine = Total chlorine. Combined chlorine is the chlorine that has already been used up to neutralize organic materials and pool contaminants.
Cyanuric acid – Also known as stabilizer, it’s like sunscreen for your chlorine and helps to protect it against the hot sunny days where UV is high. The ideal range for a saltwater pool is 60 ppm – 80 ppm which is slightly higher that the ideal range for a regular chemically chlorinated pool.
Water hardness – This measures the amount of minerals in your water and should be in the 80 ppm – 120 ppm range. When hardness is out of line, you can make the water uncomfortable to swim in and damage pool equipment in the extreme.