What Chemicals and Tests Does a California Pool Need?

Swimming season is here and maintaining your pool with the right amount of chemical agents can ensure that everyone can swim safely and keep your water sparkling and inviting, too. Learning about maintaining safe levels and testing regularly can help keep your pool clear and clean all summer long.


Swimming Pool Test Strips
Swimming Pool Test Strips

Pool Chemicals and Testing in Riverside


Several tests should be done regularly to maintain a clear and healthy pool. Checking your pool’s pH levels, chlorine and Alkalinity should be done regularly. For large public pools, hourly chlorine testing is usually required for health reasons; home pool owners can test once a day to ensure the water stays clear and swim-ready. Other tests can be performed less frequently, since levels do not fluctuate as much as chlorine does.


Most pool chemicals and tests are designed to support balance – between soft and hard water, too much chlorine (which can harm skin and eyes) and too little chlorine (which can allow your pool to get dirty or allow bacteria to grow). Pool testing kits often contain more than one type of test; the tests detailed below are ideal for home pool safety and cleanliness.

Recommended levels for pool chemicals and alkalinity include:

  • 7.2 – 7.8: This drip test ensures your water has a safe balance and is ready for swimmers.

  • Cyanuric Acid: 20 - 50 ppm This stabilizer supports water balance and chlorine levels.

  • Total Alkalinity: 80 - 120 ppm: A measure of how much alkaline is in your pool water.

  • 1.0 - 2.0 ppm: Essential for proper balance and keeping bacteria and algae away.

  • Calcium Hardness: 200 - 400 ppm tests for hard water and corrosion risk.

Pool testing kits that contain the reagents and strips or chemicals for each type of test can last an entire season; use these regularly to safely maintain your pool’s balance. When you test your pool’s chemicals and balance, you should only use the reagents and materials that come with a specific testing kit – mixing brands or manufacturers could produce inaccurate results and result in cloudy or overtreated water.


Being aware that your pool needs regular testing and adjustments ensures it is always in great shape and ready for swimming. Over time, you’ll begin to spot trends and know what chemicals you should have on hand and what you use most often. Committing to regular testing ensures your pool is safe and that you don’t get overrun by bacteria or algae growth.


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