Extended Test Kit Directions

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JasonLion

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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.



Proper Storage

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.
 

JasonLion

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OTO Chlorine Test
TC - Total Chlorine


  1. Rinse the chlorine test cell with pool water.
  2. Fill the chlorine test cell with pool water to the mark.
  3. Add 5 drops of R-0600.
  4. Cap the test cell and invert to mix.
  5. Match the shade/saturation of yellow against the color chart.
  6. Dispose of the sample safely. It is best to pour it down the drain with the water running. Do not add it back to the pool.
  7. Rinse the chlorine test cell with tap water and store for next time.

Notes
  • This test is the most reliable way to check for the presence of chlorine. If chlorine is present, the sample will turn some color. If it remains clear, there is no chlorine.
  • This test measures TC, but if you watch closely it is possible to get a sense of the presence of CC. When you first add the drops of R-0600, the sample will immediately show the FC level. Then, over the next minute or so, it will drift up to the TC level. If you see the color changing, CC is present. Using the test in this way requires careful attention and a good ability to distinguish shades of yellow quickly.
  • You can use this test to get a vague idea of extremely high TC levels. If the sample turns a particularly vivid yellow the TC level is between 5 and 15, light orange is between 10 and 20, dark orange is between 15 and 30, and brown is 30 or higher.
  • If doing the OTO chlorine test and the pH test at the same time, read the pH color first and then chlorine.
  • R-0600 is Orthotolidine, a potential carcinogen when ingested.
  • The precision of the measurement varies depending on the level being read. At 0.5, or 1 the precision is around +-0.5. At 2 it is around +-1. Above 2 accurate readings become difficult and the precision is very low.
 

JasonLion

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DPD Chlorine Test
FC and TC - Free Chlorine and Total Chlorine


  1. Rinse the chlorine test cell with pool water.
  2. Fill the chlorine test cell with pool water to the 9 ml mark. The top of the sample will be curved. This curve is called a meniscus. The bottom of the meniscus should be level with the mark.
  3. Add 5 drops of R-0001.
  4. Add 5 drops of R-0002.
  5. Cap the test cell and invert to mix.
  6. Match the shade/saturation of red against the color chart to find the FC level.
  7. Add 5 drops of R-0003.
  8. Cap the test cell and invert to mix.
  9. Match the shade/saturation of red against the color chart to find the TC level.
  10. CC = TC - FC
  11. Dispose of the sample safely. It is best to pour it down the drain with the water running. Do not add it back to the pool.
  12. Rinse the test cell with tap water and store for next time.

Notes
  • This test normally reads from 0 to 5. You can test from 0 to 10 by using 4.5 ml of pool water and 4.5 ml of chlorine free water (typically distilled water) and multiplying the result by two. You can also test from 0 to 20 by using 1.8 ml of pool water and 7.2 ml of chlorine free water (typically distilled water) and multiplying the result by five.
  • FC levels somewhat above the upper limit of the test will read as zero. If the sample stays clear you can't really tell if the level is very high or zero.
  • Any MPS in the water will count towards the TC reading. Taylor R-0867 Deox Reagent can be used to eliminate this interference.
  • R-0001 is DPD Reagent #1.
  • R-0002 is DPD Reagent #2. It should be a clear colorless liquid. If it turns pink or brown, it has gone bad.
  • R-0003 is DPD Reagent #3. It should be a clear colorless liquid. If it turns yellow, it has gone bad.
  • The precision of the measurement varies depending on the level being read. At 0.5, or 1 the precision is around +-0.5. At 2 it is around +-1. At 3 or 5 it is around +-1.5. When used with dilution the precision numbers should be multiplied by 2 or 5 (the same number you multiply the result by).
 

JasonLion

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FAS-DPD Chlorine Test
FC and CC - Free Chlorine and Combined Chlorine


  1. Rinse the sample tube with pool water.
  2. Fill the sample tube with pool water to the 10 ml mark. The top of the sample will be curved. This curve is called a meniscus. The bottom of the meniscus should be level with the 10 ml mark.
  3. Using the small spoon shaped end of the dipper, add one heaping dipper, or two level dippers, of R-0870 and swirl to mix. If the sample turns pink for a moment and then turns clear again, or if it turns brown, add another dipper of R-0870. If the sample remains clear the entire time, your FC level is probably zero, however it is best to verify that with an OTO chlorine test, since the FAS-DPD test is prone to the occasional false zero.
  4. Swirling constantly and counting the number of drops as you go, add R-0871 one drop at a time. Continue adding drops until the color changes to clear. The pink color may become extremely faint before it goes away. Make sure that the sample goes completely clear.
  5. Multiply the number of drops by 0.5 to get your FC level.
  6. Add 5 drops of R-0003 and swirl to mix. If the sample remains clear, your CC level is zero.
  7. If the sample turns pink again, add R-0871 one drop at a time, swirling constantly and counting the number of drops as you go. Continue adding drops until the color changes to clear. The pink color may become extremely faint before it goes away. Make sure that the sample goes completely clear.
  8. Multiply the number of drops by 0.5 to get your CC level.
  9. Dispose of the sample safely. It is best to pour it down the drain with the water running. Do not add it back to the pool.
  10. Rinse the sample tube with tap water and store for next time.

Notes
  • Hold the dropper bottles vertically and squeeze gently, so that drops come out slowly and seem to hang on the tip of the dropper bottle for a moment before falling.
  • The exact amount of R-0870 powder used is not critical. The goal is to add more than you really need rather than using too little. Using too little R-0870 powder can throw off the results of the test. You need to use enough to bind to all of the chlorine that is present. Adding extra, within reason, has no effect. At very high FC levels it is likely that you will need to use more than the normal amount.
  • If left sitting on the counter, the sample will turn pink again one or two minutes after the test is completed. This is normal.
  • When measuring high FC levels, or measuring FC when the CC level is relatively high, it is important to move through the test quickly. Drops should be added about once per second, or slightly faster, swirling the entire time. You can slow down a little at the end of the test, to give you time to watch for the end point.
  • In rare cases the sample may turn cloudy. If this happens the test is still valid. You add drops until the sample turns cloudy white, i.e. the red/pink is completely gone, rather than waiting for it to turn clear.
  • Any MPS in the water will count towards the FC reading. Taylor R-0867 Deox Reagent can be used to eliminate this interference.
  • Over time, it is common for a cloudy residue to build up on sample tubes used for FAS-DPD chlorine testing. The residue can be removed by filling the sample tube with bleach, letting it sit for several minutes, rinsing, and then wiping throughly with a paper towel.
  • There isn't normally any reason to do this, but if you need more precision you can do this test with a 25 ml sample of pool water and multiply the number of drops by 0.2. In most situations the added precision is useless and simply wastes reagent.
  • R-0870 is DPD powder. The indicator in the powder turns pink when bound to chlorine. R-0870 powder gets darker over time and eventually starts to clump up. If it is clumped up, you should crush it back into a slightly lumpy powder before using it.
  • R-0871 is FAS-DPD titrating reagent. It should be a clear colorless liquid. If it turns a dark yellow color, it has gone bad.
  • R-0003 is DPD Reagent #3. It should be a clear colorless liquid. If it turns yellow, it has gone bad.
  • The precision of the measurement is plus or minus one drop when up to 10 drops of titrant are used, or plus or minus 10% of the final reading, when more than 10 drops of titrant are used.
 

JasonLion

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pH

  1. Rinse the pH test cell with pool water.
  2. Fill the pH test cell with pool water to the mark.
  3. Add 5 drops of R-0014 when using the smaller 6 ml square test cell or 5 drops of R-0004 when using the larger 44 ml round test cell.
  4. Cap the test cell and invert to mix.
  5. Match the color against the color chart.
  6. Dispose of the sample safely. It is best to pour it down the drain with the water running. Do not add it back to the pool.
  7. Rinse the pH test cell with tap water and store for next time.

Notes
  • It is easiest to read the color chart when the sample is brightly illuminated. Holding the sample cell up to a sun lit white surface (sheet of paper, white wall, etc) at arms length usually gives the best results. When testing indoors, it helps greatly to have a light box that provides simulated sunlight.
  • Some people find that adding an extra drop of reagent, or adjusting the color with either the acid demand or base demand reagents, helps them determine the color more precisely. When using the smaller 6 ml square test cell acid demand is R-0015 and base demand is R-0016. When using the larger 44 ml round test cell acid demand is R-0005 and basedemand is R-0006.
  • pH levels lower than 6.8 will read as 6.8. pH levels higher than 8.2 will read as 8.2.
  • High FC levels will throw off the test results. The Taylor pH reagent is compensated up to an FC level of 10. When FC is beween 10 and 20 the test will read higher than actual, the reading will be off by more at higher the FC levels. At FC levels somewhat above 20 the phenol red converts to chlorphenol red and will read as 8.2 at any plausible pH level. Chlorphenol red is sometimes used to measure pH levels between 5.2 and 6.6. Some other brands start having problems at much lower FC levels.
  • If doing the OTO chlorine test and the pH test at the same time, read the pH color first and then chlorine.
  • R-0004 and R-0014 are phenol red, an organic dye that changes color with pH. If the dye stains the plastic bottle it is stored in, it has gone bad.
  • The precision of the measurement varies with your skill at distinguishing colors. With practice it is possible to read the level to +-0.1 or better, though many people will get results that are +-0.2 or worse.
 

JasonLion

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TA - Total Alkalinity

  1. Rinse the sample tube with pool water.
  2. Fill the sample tube with pool water to the 25 ml mark. The top of the sample will be curved. This curve is called a meniscus. The bottom of the meniscus should be level with the 25 ml mark.
  3. Add 2 drops of R-0007 and swirl to mix.
  4. Add 5 drops of R-0008 and swirl to mix. The solution should turn green or blue. If the sample turns red, pink, or yellow, you are done, your TA is zero, and your PH is very very low (4.5 or lower).
  5. Counting the number of drops as you go, add R-0009 one drop at a time, swirling to mix after each drop.
    • Continue adding drops until the color changes to something more or less red, pink, yellow, or clear. The sample may switch between green, blue, and gray while you are adding drops. That is not the color change you are waiting for.
    • Continue adding drops as long as the color continues changing. The final drop, that does not change the color any further, does not count.
  6. Multiply the number of drops by 10 to get your TA level. Remember that the final drop, which didn't cause any further color change, doesn't count.
  7. Dispose of the sample safely. It is best to pour it down the drain with the water running. Do not add it back to the pool.
  8. Rinse the sample tube with tap water and store for next time.

Notes
  • Sometimes a static electric charge can build up on the R-0009 dropper bottle tip, causing the drops to be smaller than usual and making the test read higher than actual. You can prevent this by wipping the tip of the dropper bottle with a damp cloth or tissue before you start and after each drop.
  • Hold the dropper bottles vertically and squeeze gently, so that drops come out slowly and seem to hang on the tip of the dropper bottle for a moment before falling.
  • If you expect that your TA level is extremely high, you can do the test so that each drop is 25, instead of 10, to speed up the process and save on reagent usage. Use 10 ml of pool water, 1 drop of R-0007, 3 drops of R-0008, and multiply the number of drops of R-0009 by 25 to get your TA level.
  • R-0007 is thiosulfate, used to neutralize chlorine so it won't interfere with the test. Extra R-0007 can be added when the FC level is very high to help prevent the dye from bleaching out.
  • R-0008 is total alkalinity indicator, an organic dye used to provide the green/red color. It should be a dark green color. If the dye stains the plastic bottle it is stored in, it has gone bad.
  • R-0009 is sulfuric acid, used to titrate until the color changes.
  • The precision of the measurement is plus or minus one drop when up to 10 drops of titrant are used, or plus or minus 10% of the final reading, when more than 10 drops of titrant are used.
 

JasonLion

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CH - Calcium Hardness

  1. Rinse the sample tube with pool water.
  2. Fill the sample tube with pool water to the 10 ml mark. The top of the sample will be curved. This curve is called a meniscus. The bottom of the meniscus should be level with the 10 ml mark.
  3. Add 10 drops of R-0010 and swirl to mix.
  4. Add 3 drops of R-0011L and swirl to mix. The solution should turn red, pink, or blue. If the sample turns blue, you are done and your CH level is zero.
  5. Counting the number of drops as you go, add R-0012 one drop at a time, swirling to mix after each drop.
    • Continue adding drops until the color changes to something more or less blue. If the sample turns purple see the note on "fading endpoint" below.
    • Continue adding drops as long as the color continues changing. The final drop, that does not change the color any further, does not count.
    • If the sample starts to turn blue and then goes back to red/pink and stays there from several more drops this is also a "fading endpoint", see the note below.
  6. Multiply the number of drops by 25 to get your CH level. Remember that the final drop, which didn't cause any further color change, doesn't count.
  7. Dispose of the sample safely. It is best to pour it down the drain with the water running. Do not add it back to the pool.
  8. Rinse the sample tube with tap water and store for next time.

Notes
  • Hold the dropper bottles vertically and squeeze gently, so that drops come out slowly and seem to hang on the tip of the dropper bottle for a moment before falling.
  • If you expect that your CH level is very low, you can do the test so that each drop is 10, instead of 25, to get some extra precision. Use 25 ml of pool water, 20 drops of R-0010, 5 drops of R-0011L, and multiply the number of drops of R-0012 by 10 to get your CH level.
  • Measuring high CH levels is much easier and more precise if you use a magnetic stirrer.
  • The sample may turn purple during the test, or go to blue for a moment and then turn back to red/pink. This is called a "fading endpoint" and is caused by interference from metal ions. If this happens, do the test again, but this time add five drops of R-0012 before adding any R-0010 or R-0011L. Remember to count the initial five drops in the total.
    In extreme cases, a fading endpoint may occur even when adding five drops of R-0012 at the start. If that happens, mix pool water with an equal quantity of distilled water, test that, and then multiply the result by two.
  • R-0010 is calcium buffer, a strong base which prevents interference from magnesium.
  • R-0011L is calcium indicator, an organic dye used to provide the red/blue color. It should be a deep blue color. If the dye stains the plastic bottle it is stored in, it has gone bad.
  • R-0012 is hardness reagent, used to titrate until the color changes.
  • The precision of the measurement is plus or minus one drop when up to 10 drops of titrant are used, or plus or minus 10% of the final reading, when more than 10 drops of titrant are used.
 

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CYA - Cyanuric Acid

  1. Fill the mixing bottle to the lower mark with pool water. The lower mark may be labeled as 7 ml, 15 ml, or not labeled.
  2. If the pool water is below 70 degrees, allow the water sample to warm up to room temperature before continuing.
  3. Continue filling to the upper mark with R-0013. The upper mark may be labeled as 14 ml, or not labeled, or there may not be a mark and you fill to the base of the neck of the bottle.
  4. Cap and then shake the mixing bottle for 30 seconds.
  5. Stand outdoors with your back to the sun and hold the view tube at about waist level. If sunlight is not available, find the brightest artificial light you can.
  6. Looking down into the view tube, slowly pour the mixture from the mixing bottle into the view tube.
  7. Continue pouring until all traces of the black dot at the bottom of the view tube completely disappear, even after you stare at it for several seconds, or you fill the view tube.
  8. Reading the result:
    • If the view tube is completely full, and you can still see the black dot clearly, your CYA level is zero.
    • If the view tube is completely full and the black dot is only partially obscured, your CYA level is above zero but lower than the lowest level your test kit can measure (20 or 30 ppm).
    • If the tube is not completely full, look at the scale on the side of the view tube. The labeled mark closest to the liquid level indicates your CYA level.
  9. If your CYA level is 90 or higher, repeat the test adjusting the procedure as follows:
    • Fill the mixing bottle to the lower mark with pool water.
    • Continue filling the mixing bottle to the upper mark with tap water.
    • Shake briefly to mix.
    • Pour off half of the contents of the mixing bottle, so it is again filled to the lower mark.
    • Continue the test normally from step 3, but multiply the final result by two.

Notes
  • If you are not confident in your reading, you can pour the solution from the view tube back into the mixing bottle and then try filling the view tube again. You can repeat this portion of the test over and over again for several minutes without affecting the test results.
  • This page at Taylor Technologies has photographs which show what the view tube looks like when the test is complete.
  • Very rarely, cloudy or murky water can affect the CYA test. To check for this, fill the view tube with straight pool water. If you can still see the black dot clearly, the cloudy/murky water is not affecting the test result.
  • View tubes and mixing bottles come in two common sizes. One set requires 7 ml each of pool water and reagent, and reads CYA levels down to 30. The other set uses 15 ml each of pool water and reagent, and reads CYA levels down to 20.
  • It is also possible to get a tube with a sliding black dot, Taylor 4088, so that you move the black dot up and down in the sample, instead of pouring the sample into the view tube.
  • If you are using the large view tube and know that your CYA level is at least 50, you can use half as much pool water and half as much R-0013 to save on reagent.
  • R-0013 contains melamine, which binds to cyanuric acid, forming the white precipitate which turns the sample cloudy.
  • The precision of the test, when done correctly, is around plus or minus 15 for levels up to 90 and plus or minus 30 for levels between 100 and 200. Novices often have problems reading the test correctly, and tend to get higher than actual readings.
 

brian987

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I was just about to ask some detailed questions about these tests...i.e. what is difference between red and pink, etc. But then I found this...and you have answered every one of the questions I had. Thanks for this and everything you do for us.
 

tim_pool_newbie

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Thank you so much for creating this document Jason. You just saved me on 2 critical issues. I shocked my pool via the BBB method for the first time last night, and was puzzled this morning when doing the FAS/DPD chlroine test and my sample went slightly pink after adding a scoop of R-0870 powder, but then quickly turned clear again. Luckily I found this post which explained the need for extra powder in the sample when FC levels are that high. Then I tested the pH and almost fell over when it read 8.2. But yet again, your post nicely explained how a high FC level can throw off the pH reading.

Thanks again for all the great info you help provide on this forum!!
 
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