Extended Test Kit Directions
These directions are for use with test kits based on Taylor chemistry, such as the TF-100 from TFTestKits.net, the Taylor K-2006, and the Leslie's Chlorine FAS-DPD Service Test Kit, and also for a few other tests that are commonly recommended here at TFP. Over the years we have found the Taylor chemistry to be the most reliable and precise available (unless you spend a lot of money on fancy lab equipment).
For normal day to day use of the test kit, it is best to follow the directions that come with the test kit. These directions are much more detailed and attempt to list all of the possible special situations and complications that can arise. This extra information can be very helpful, it can also be overwhelming.
If you have never used a test kit before, start out with the directions that came with your kit. Then, if you are having problems, come here to find out all the details. These directions can also be handy if you are already familiar with the normal operation of the test kit and want to learn all of the details and special cases.
Test kit reagents should be stored in a cool dark place. It is important that you protect them from freezing, avoid extended periods in direct sunlight, avoid extended periods at high temperatures, and minimize the number of large temperature swings they are exposed to. You don't want to store reagents in the refrigerator and then take them out each time you want to test because that would be a large temperature swing. You also don't want to store them in a garden shed because it will heat up to too high a temperature during the day in the summer and can get too cold at night in the winter, early spring, and late fall. Storing reagents inside a cabinet in a heated and air conditioned house is ideal.
Taylor recommends replacing all reagents each year. We have found that when they are stored properly reagents will last several years. Using reagents over several years requires that you watch for the possibility that they have gone bad. There are comments below on each of the reagents that tend to go bad with age suggesting ways you can tell when they have spoiled.