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Caring For Your Test Kit and Reagents

Whether using or stocking kits and reagents, it’s important to keep them in the right condition so they can do their part to maintain water quality.

To avoid contamination and preserve freshness, keep reagent containers tightly closed. Don’t interchange reagent caps. Wipe all equipment with a clean, dry cloth after use.

Make sure the color comparator is in good condition. Check for cracks, faded color standards, moisture between printed standards and the clear acrylic protector, or staining in the test cells that can’t be removed with diluted muriatic acid. These are signs for a comparator’s retirement.

Examine any other test vials. Are they clear and uncracked? They should be. Any missing caps and instructions can be easily replaced.

Keep all test kit components in their home—a properly labeled case. Make sure the lid securely fastens and the kit is kept out of children’s reach.

When in storage, test kits do best in a cool, dark place and away from drums and bags of treatment chemicals, especially chlorine and bromine. Direct sunlight, temperature extremes, and exposure to volatile treatment products will shorten their useful life.

If you must choose between a hot warehouse (or vehicle trunk) and the refrigerator, opt for the latter for longer-term storage. Keeping reagents in the refrigerator will prolong shelf life. However, once they are taken out, they should be used because subjecting them to constant fluctuations in temperature will cause them to degrade faster. Ideal storage temperatures are between 36°–85° F (2°–29° C), preferably in an environment without big temperature swings.

Because environmental influences can diminish a reagent’s effectiveness over time, it’s best to replace all the chemicals in your kit after one year. If your testing is seasonal, start each season with fresh reagents.