There’s nothing better than jumping into your pool after a hot day, but many pool owners underestimate the amount of work involved in maintaining a pool. While pools can provide hours of relaxation and entertainment, the water’s chemistry is not to be taken lightly. It is always important to make sure your pool’s chemicals are balanced before anyone takes a dip. Pool chemistry is the ultimate balancing act. To maintain a pool properly, you must keep the water balanced with chemicals specifically for the pool and keep those chemicals at the correct levels. If Calcium Hardness levels are too high, or alkalinity or pH is too low, there could be problems – such as your water becoming corrosive or the formation of scale. Maintaining the proper calcium hardness, pH and alkalinity levels, prevents numerous problems, such as:
- Discolored or cloudy water
- Pool surface/equipment corrosion
- Algae formation
- Formation of stains and scale
Pool Chemistry & Water Balancing Chemicals
Maintaining your pool chemistry correctly is all about water balance and keeping elements out of your pool – such as oils and dirt. Although there are others, the most important levels to keep on top of are pH, total alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. But what are these and what do they mean? Here’s a brief explanation of each so you have a better understanding of the important role each one plays.
pH is the measurement of the acidity or basicity of the water. The scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, under 7 being acidic and over 7 being basic. The correct pH level for pool water should stay in the range 7.4-7.6. If your pH levels fall below 7.0, the water is too acidic, making the environment corrosive. When pH levels read above 7.8, the water is too basic, causing scaly deposits to form or the appearance of cloudy water. This high of a pH also reduces chlorine potency to only 50% active.
To balance these scenarios out to the correct pH, you’ll need to either add a base or an acid, depending upon your reading. If your water is too basic, add an acid to bring the pH down to prevent the formation of scale and build-up. If your water is too acidic, add a base to prevent corrosion.
Total Alkalinity is the measurement of the carbonates, hydroxides and alkaline substances in the water. Closely related to pH, Alkalinity is a buffer to the pH, keeping it stable. If your Total Alkalinity (TA) is too low, pH levels become erratic and unstable. Your pools TA levels should read between 80-120 ppm (parts per million). If your alkalinity comes in below 80, adding a base to the pool (Alkalinity Increasers) will bring the levels back up. If the levels are too high, you’ll need to add an acid to the water to lower the TA. However, this is where things can get tricky, as adding an acid to your pool water also lowers the pH.
Total Alkalinity directly affects the pH level, so if the pH is off, check the alkalinity. After that it may involve a process of lowering the TA, raising the pH, lowering the TA, etc., until you get the correct balance.
Calcium Hardness is the measurement of the softness or hardness of water. Calcium hardness should be kept below 400 ppm, but the desired range is between 180-200 ppm. If you have hard water, the calcium or magnesium content is higher. The calcium or magnesium particles can deposit themselves on your pool’s surfaces, ladders, lights and can make your water cloudy. To lower it, you may need to drain a portion of the water in your pool and replace it with soft water. If the calcium hardness is too low, your water is too soft causing pool surfaces to corrode. You will need to add a Calcium Increaser to increase the calcium hardness. The chemicals you use to balance the pH and Alkaline levels can directly affect your calcium hardness, so you must first properly balance the pH and Alkaline levels first.
Pool Water Balance Tips
- Test your water 2-3 times a week, adding chemicals to adjust as needed.
- Running your pump after adding chemicals will help distribute them
- Always add one chemical at a time, or add them to different areas of the pool
- Always test and adjust in this order:
Pools by Bradley is Here for YOU
After Pools by Bradley helps you build the pool of your dreams, it’s extremely important to protect your investment by always properly maintaining your pool! Maintaining your pool’s chemical balance may seem like a lot, but hopefully understanding the importance of pool chemistry makes the process easier for you. If you add pool maintenance to your weekly schedule, you’ll ensure yourself a long-lasting pool and happier swimmers. You can to do this on your own or hire a pool servicing company. When researching and choosing pool service companies to properly take care of your dream pool, make sure your hire a LICENSED professional pool service company.
Our motto is “take care of the customer and everything else will take care of itself”. We intend to inspire you to improve the recreational time you spend with your family and friends in your new outdoor environment. When you choose Pools by Bradley to help you build your dream pool, you can rest assured that you’re choosing the very best. As a local family owned and operated company founded in 1996, we have received numerous design awards and honors. Pools by Bradley is rated as one of the top 50 pool builders in the U.S., plus recognized as the “Best Pool Company” in Orlando by Orlando Magazine several years in a row! We offer custom built pools and spas with additions ranging from water features and lighting effects to rain curtains and water slides…the sky’s the limit! Contact us online or call us today at 407-323-7946 to see how we can help you build the pool of your dreams!