For starters, your pool water should be tested 2-3 times a week. Ideally, everyday is best. That is unrealistic for many people, so 2-3 times per week is sufficient. While test strips do exist and are a bit more cost-efficient, the best results will come from digital pool testers. This increases the accuracy of the results, as well. Also, digital test strip readers are a helpful addition if you choose to go with strip testing.
Best option -- is to get a testing kit with all of the complete testing requirements, for pH, alkalinity, hardness, and chlorine. These come w/ instructions and sometimes even come with added chemicals to help with adjusting the levels. Choose whichever package is best for you.
Ideal pH range is 7.4 -7.6 (slightly above neutral)
Keep pH increasers on hand in case the pH drops.
Also pH reducer (hydrochloric acid) which can decrease both pH and alkalinity at the same time when added. This kills two birds with one stone 🙂
pH increaser – Add 6 oz soda ash per 0.1 desired increase, per 10000 gals
pH decreaser – Add 6 oz dry acid per 0.1 desired decrease, per 10000 gals
For the above numbers ^^^, it is best to go with the measurements outlined on the package
Ideal alkalinity is 100 ppm to 150 ppm
These levels fluctuate a lot, so keep alkalinity increaser on hand
Alkalinity increase can also increase pH so you can kill two birds with one stone (again)
Alkalinity Increaser – Add 20 oz sodium bicarb per 10 ppm desired increase, per 10000 gals (check package for specific instructions)
Calcium Hardness Levels
Ideal Calcium Hardness Level ranges from 175 ppm to 300 ppm
You can get calcium to add to your pool if it is too low, but never over do it because it could lead to issues.
Hardness Increaser – Add 12 oz calcium chloride per 10 ppm desired increase, per 10000 gals (check package for instructions)
Chlorine is used to sanitize the pool
Should be between 1 ppm to 3 ppm
Can be added as chlorine tablets, powder, or you can get a chlorine generator which turns table salt into chlorine.
Check the product to check how much should be added in order to reach the desired level of chlorine