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Balancing Your Swimming Pool Water

Is you swimming pool water balanced? What happens if it's not? These are both great questions for any pool owner to ask. Water balance simply refers to the the ratios of important chemical components of you pool water's profile. But wait, what are the components of my pool water's profile?
Today we will discuss the three most important components of your pools water. Although there are other components to consider, let these five be the pillars for your pool water balance, alkalinity, pH, chlorine. These are the chemical components that need to be balanced in order for your pool sanitizer to work properly. Outside of these three components, there are other important factors in pool health. But it is very important to get these three pillars right. 

Swimming Pool Alkalinity

Pool alkalinity is just a measure of alkaline compounds in your pool water. We start with pool alkalinity because it can have a negative ripple effect upon the other two components Ph and chlorine. If your alkalinity is off it is highly likely that the other two will be as well. 

To simplify the concept of alkalinity, let's take three states of alkalinity, too high, too low, and just perfect.

Pool Alkalinity Is Too High

If your swimming pool alkalinity is too high, your pool pH is likely to high as well. This combination for factors can result in cloudy pool water. If you notice you water clouding up, make sure and start by testing your alkalinity. 

Pool Alkalinity Is Too Low

Low pool alkalinity can be associated with swings in your pools pH. The most

green swimming pool

important problem with this combination is chlorine inefficiency. That's a fancy way to say that your chlorine is not sanitizing your pool properly. And, no matter how much you add, you will be unable to maximize the action of your chlorine. 

Impeding your chlorines activity can trigger algae growth and pool staining. If your pool's alkalinity stays low, long term effects can be scale and equipment corrosion. And, low alkalinity can cause swimmers eyes and skin to burn. 

Pool Alkalinity Is Just Perfect

When your pool's alkalinity is just perfect, you will be able to get an accurate pH reading and your chlorine will sanitize your water. Perfect pool alkalinity should read between 80 and 120 ppm. So, shoot for 100ppm. 

Perfect pool alkalinity is the chemical foundation of perfect water balance. Good things happen when your alkalinity is just perfect. 

Swimming Pool pH

The second pillar of your pool water balance is pH. As you may remember from chemistry class, the pH of a solution can range from 0 to 14. A pH reading of 0 would represent a pure acid and a pH reading of 14 represents a pure base. Both are hypothetical. The important number for us to remember is 7.2 - 7.6. This is the ideal pH range for a swimming pool. 

As it turns out pH is an important indicator for chlorine effectiveness. If your pH is too low your chlorine will dissipate quickly causing your chlorine levels to swing dramatically. However, as mentioned above, if your pH is too high your chlorine will lose its sanitizing power. Remember, chlorine activity equals a clean and healthy pool. 

Swimming Pool Chlorine Levels

The third pillar in the water balance formula is your pool's chlorine level. If your pool's alkalinity and pH are correct, your chlorine levels need to be between 1 and 3 ppm. Most test kits will provide a color chart for you to compare your water or test strip to. 

girl swimming in pool

If you are using liquid chlorine, you will need to check your chlorine levels several times a week. This is because liquid chlorine does not contain any added stabilizers. Liquid chlorine will initially spike chlorine levels but they will level out and then fall quickly.

If you are using chlorine tablets in a feeder or in-line system, the solid tablets are formulated with a stabilizer (usually muriatic acid) making them resistant to dissipation. In this case, chlorine will dissolve and be released at regular intervals keeping concentration stable.

In Conclusion

If you start your water balancing journey with these three pillars (in this order), the difficulties you encounter will be minimal. Depending on your water source, you may need to keep an eye on calcium hardness and metal concentration which can cause some less severe issues. 

The important rule of thumb when it comes to water balance is always start with alkalinity. This is the foundation. Once you get alkalinity in line, you will fine the rest of the balancing act will fall into place. 

You May Also Enjoy

Solving the Pool Chlorination Mystery

Using Baking Soda to Raise Alkalinity in a Pool

The Most Efficient Way to Chlorinate Your Pool





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