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12 Tips for Water Analysts

  1. Be familiar with the instructions before beginning a test. Follow them exactly for accurate results.

  2. For meaningful test results, take a water sample representative of conditions in the whole system.

  3. Don't let the sample sit around before testing, or it will change its character. (Boiler water samples that should be at room temperature before testing can be promptly cooled in a cold water bath.)

  4. Be careful to get the proper sample volume—in chemistry, a little difference can mean a lot when working with small quantities.

  5. Similarly, hold dropper bottles straight up and down when adding reagent to the sample so you get the proper drop size. If static builds up at the dropper tip making the drop size smaller, eliminate it by wiping around the tip with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel.

  6. Swirl to mix reagents into the sample thoroughly. Do not shake to mix reagents unless the instructions specifically say to do so, and never use your finger…or palm… to cap the sample cell.

  7. Match colors in natural, northern light, or use a special lamp that simulates daylight for testing indoors. Incandescent and fluorescent lighting (and sunglasses) alter color perception.

  8. After a test, flush out the sample cell with fresh sample water several times to avoid having residual contaminate the next test.

  9. To prevent contaminating reagents, always replace bottle caps securely right after using, and don’t exchange bottle caps.

  10. Don't interchange one manufacturer's reagents with another's because they will not be equivalent strength.

  11. To keep reagents fresh, store them out of direct sunlight, away from treatment chemicals, and out of extreme heat or cold.

  12. Replace reagents that are more than a year old.