Part of being a responsible pool owner is knowing how to use a pool test kit to check water quality. But what if you find yourself without a test kit? Can you still do pool water testing without a kit? Absolutely! The guide below on how to test pool water without a kit outlines the steps involved.
3 Easy Steps in Pool Water Testing without Kit
You may not know it, but your chemistry teacher has taught you an important skill for any pool owner: how to test pool water without a kit. Remember those experiments on acids and bases? Who knew that would come in handy when you run out of test kits, huh? The following method works whether you have an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool. That said, let’s get started.
1. Collect Your Materials
Pool test kits are composed of indicators or chemicals that indicate an imbalance in your water. So the objective here now is to create your indicator (a.k.a. “red cabbage juice indicator”) using the following items so that you can do pool water testing without a kit.
- Red cabbage
- Clear glass bowl and glasses
- Pot or kettle
- Kitchen knife
- Distilled water
- Wooden spoon or ladle
2. Prepare the Red Cabbage Juice Indicator
First, you’ll need to cut up or slice the red cabbage into small strips or pieces. After that, put the sliced cabbage into a clear glass bowl and put it aside.
In a pot or kettle, boil about two cups of distilled water. Once it boils, pour the water into the glass bowl with the cabbage until the cabbage is submerged.
Stir the solution with a wooden spoon or ladle occasionally then set it aside. After about 30 minutes, get at the strainer and separate the liquid from the red cabbage. You will see that the water has now turned into a purplish red color.
3. Test Your Pool Water
Get a small amount of water from the pool using a clear container. Then, get your red cabbage juice indicator and put a few drops into the water to be tested. At this point, you will either see the color change or not.
Based on basic pool chemistry, if it changes into a red or pink color, it means that your pool water is acidic. On the other hand, if it changes into a greenish-yellow or bluish-green color then that means your pool water is too basic or alkaline. If there is no color change, then the water is balanced or neutral.
To make things easier, you can use a color chart that came with your old pool test kit. Simply match the color of the water to the color chart and you should be able to determine the pH levels of your pool water right away.
Making a Test Strip
You can also make your pH testing strips to do pool water testing without a kit. The materials you’ll need are pretty much the same as the ones mentioned above, with the addition of a filter paper for making the strip.
1. Prepare the Red Cabbage Juice Indicator
Follow the steps above in making a red cabbage juice indicator.
2. Making the Test Strips
You can use just about any type of filter paper here. You can use coffee filters or an acid-free art paper if you happen to have one.
Dip the filter paper into the bowl with the red cabbage juice indicator. Let the filter paper soak as much juice as it can or until it is thoroughly wet. After that, remove the filter paper from the solution and leave it to dry.
When the filter paper is completely dry, cut them into small strips with a scissor,
3. Using the Test Strips to Test Pool Water
Get a sample of your pool water using a clean, clear container. Then get a cotton swab, soak the tip into the container with the water being tested, and smear a sample on the test strip. The color should change immediately afterward.
Again, you’ll need a color chart here and all you have to do is to compare the color of the test strip with the color chart to determine your pool water’s pH levels.
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The Science behind this Simple Trick
As mentioned earlier, pool testing kits generally include indicators, which is typically a chemical that changes colors when it comes into contact with an acid or base. In the case of red cabbages, these would be anthocyanin. This is what changes color when mixed with an acid or a base, and makes it an interesting idea on how to test pool water without a kit.
Q: How do I test my pool pH without a kit?
To those wondering how to test pool water without kit, you can make a homemade pH indicator using red cabbage. Put a few drops of red cabbage juice into the water you are testing and see if it changes color. You can also make pH test strips using red cabbage juice and some filter paper.
Q: How can I test my water without a kit?
That depends on what type of pool water test you want to conduct. For example, you can do the red cabbage juice test to determine pH levels. You can also test for calcium hardness using pure liquid soap and a clear, plastic bottle.
Q: How can I test my pool water at home?
You can buy a pool water testing kit and use it to test the pool water at your home. These kits will usually include tests for chlorine, pH levels, and alkalinity. Some test kits also include tests for calcium hardness and cyanuric acid. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using such products.
Q: How much pool water do I need for testing?
In general, you'll need at least 8 ounces of pool water for testing. However, if you bought a pool water test kit, you'll see that it has it's own test bottles. Fill the test bottles with pool water according to the manufacturer's instructions, and that should be enough.
Q: How do you check pH at home?
To check your pool's pH levels at home, you can buy a test kit that includes a pH level indicator. Be sure to read the label and follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding how to use the indicator to get accurate results. Once checked, you can adjust the pH levels accordingly.
Q: How often should I test my pool water?
That depends on what you are testing. As part of your pool maintenance, check chlorine and pH levels at least twice a week, and calcium and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) at least once a month. Set a reminder on your calendar or phone to ensure that you don't miss out on your pool testing schedule.
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And that’s basically how to test pool water without a kit. There may be one or two other ways to do pool water testing without a kit out there, but this one is the more popular method. Keep in mind that this does not replace real pool test kits, and should only be used when the need arises.
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