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Water Testing: 3 Tips to Jumpstart Maintenance

Water Testing: Tips & FAQs

Here are some tips and FAQs from the experts at Classic Pool Spa and Hearth when it comes to pool and spa water testing.


A pool and spa test kit is a diagnostic tool to help you keep your pool or spa’s water in top condition. By regularly water testing your water, you’ll be able to identify problems early and take action to keep your water clean and inviting. Here are some common problems to look out for, and some tips on how a good test kit can help you avoid them:

pH Bounce pH is a value that signifies how acidic or alkaline a solution is. The pH scale runs from 0, very acidic, to 14, very alkaline. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. The National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI) recommends an ideal range of 7.4 to 7.6 for pH.

Lower pH causes:
Plaster etching and pitting
Metal corrosion
Plaster stains
Eye and skin irritation

Higher pH causes:
Scaling (hard rough coating)
Cloudy water
Reduced circulation
Eye and skin irritation
Ineffective sanitation (if using chlorine)

Low total alkalinity causes pH to be unstable, that is, to “bounce”. As a result, adding even small amounts of treatment chemicals to water with low total alkalinity will cause pH to fluctuate rapidly. Because they have a test for monitoring total alkalinity, more complete test kits help eliminate pH bounce. Keeping total alkalinity in the NSPI recommended range of 80-120 PPM will save you money on pH treatment chemicals.


When metal pool fixtures such as pipes, fittings and ladders come in contact with unbalanced pool water, they can seriously corrode and cause rust and copper stains to appear on the vessel’s surface as well.

Corrosion can start when:
pH falls below 7.2
Total alkalinity falls below 80 PPM
Calcium hardness drops below 150 PPM
Pool water is not balanced

You can prevent corrosion by water testing routinely. All basic kits test pH; better residential kits also test total alkalinity. Professional-level kits used by do-it-yourself types will measure calcium hardness too. Classic Pool and Spa does complimentary in-store water testing on sanitizer, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, iron, copper and cyanuric acid.


Surprisingly enough, a strong chlorine odor is not an indicator of too much chlorine in your water, but rather too little. When chlorine is added to water, a powerful sanitize is formed called “free available chlorine.” This free available chlorine destroys algae, bacteria, swimmer wastes and other contaminants. In the process, its effectiveness is depleted and the free available chlorine converts to “combined chlorine” (also referred to as chlormines). It is the ineffective form of chlorine that causes strong odors and irritated eyes and skin.

If you smell chlorine, it’s time to test your sanitizer level. Use a “DPD” test (instead of “OT”) to distinguish between free available chlorine and combined chlorine.

If you’re in need of service from our team to get your hot tub or pool back in prime condition, or to simply ensure all parts and mechanics are working properly, you can also request service and our team will come to you. Regular maintenance of your hot tub is a key component to the longevity of your spa. Relax even more and let us do all the work! Our Service team is ready to keep your hot tub worry free and ready to use all year round.

To learn more and connect with our knowledgeable team about how we can help answer any questions or point you in the right direction to help maintain your pool or spa through regular water testing, visit us today in Clackamas or Beaverton or contact us online.