Maintaining the water in your pool or spa doesn’t require a degree in chemistry. Test strips can, and do, give accurate test results more quickly and easily than any other method. With AquaChek Test Strips, testing your water is easy, straight to the point and can give you all the information you need to maintain a healthy pool. All you have to do is dip the strip in your pool water, wait a few seconds and read the results. On the back of each bottle is an easy-to-read, color-coded chart that lets you easily determine which chemicals you need to add to your pool. This four part test includes: Free Chlorine pH Alkalinity Stabilizer Reading the Results pH: If the pH is too high, it could cause skin irritation and corrode metal parts on the pool. If the pH is too low, it could create a situation where the chlorine in the pool isn't as effective. To lower the pH you should add an appropriate amount of acid (usually 1-2 cups) and to raise the pH you can use alkalinity (sodium bicarbonate). Liquid chlorine and salt generated chlorine tend to increase pH levels, while chlorine tablets will lower them. FREE CHLORINE: Maintaining a chlorine level between 1.0 and 4.0 is important for keeping your water free from bacteria and preventing algae growth. Chlorine can also get eaten by an increase in nitrogen (from debris, sunscreen, or sweat) or if other organic matter gets in the pool. Sunlight and warm weather will also take a toll on your pool's chlorine consumption. TOTAL ALKALINITY (TA): This is the buffering capacity of water to resist pH changes. Total alkalinity and pH work together. The same treatment products (acid) that lower pH also lower TA; likewise, the same products (sodium bicarbonate) that raise TA also slightly raise pH. If TA and pH don’t work together, pool/spa water won’t be balanced, leading to a whole slew of problems. STABILIZER: Also known as pool conditioner, or cyanuric acid (CYA). Stabilizer acts as way to counter the sun's effect on your pool's chlorine levels, in turn helping you use less chlorine. If your pool stabilizer levels creep too high, it can actually reduce the effectiveness of your sanitizer. Keeping your Strips Working Store test strips in a low humidity environment at room temperature. Test strips will be most effective over a long period of time if they are stored properly. Suitable storage will give you confidence in your results until the product has reached the date of expiration. Keep the cap on tight between uses. Doing this will prevent moisture from entering the bottle of unused strips. It is important that moisture not be introduced to the test strips until you use them in your pool or spa. Keep wet fingers out of the bottle. The test strips won't know the difference between the water on your fingers and the pool or spa water! So, make sure that the only water your test strips are reacting with is the pool or spa water you intend to measure. Do not use expired test strips. Most containers of test strips will display an expiration date somewhere on the container. Always be aware of this date when using or purchasing test strips. Regardless of how the container has been stored or handled, test strips have a definite shelf life and should not be used after the product has expired. Using test strips after this date will likely lead to inaccurate results. Therefore, replace any bottles that have expired. For FREE Local Delivery, go to villagespapools.com/shop and have all your pool supplies delivered right to your door. If you have any questions about how to properly maintain your pool, feel free to call us at (305) 386-4831.