The Importance of Water Chemistry
POOL CHEMISTRY FACTS
One of the most important steps of swimming pool maintenance is water balance. Generally, understanding water balance can also be one of the most confusing processes of pool maintenance. Because of its complexity, some new pool owners may not know everything they have to do to keep their pool water safe, comfortable and corrosion free.
If you are using either a salt based pool producing chlorine or a chlorine based tablet pool, then your pH needs to be correct. If pool water is not balanced correctly then the chlorine sanitizer won’t be working at full strength killing germs and bacteria.
Your water balance needs to be correct or it will affect your skin and eyes. The pH should be neither too acidic nor basic in order to feel comfortable.
An imbalanced pool can be corrosive to the liner, ladders and hand rail and other equipment such as the pump.
Total alkalinity refers to how much alkaline is in the water. TA and pH go hand-in-hand. High alkaline water leads to high pH. Low alkaline water leads to low pH. That the average swimming pool should have an alkalinity reading of 100 ppm.
Swimming Pool Water pH Levels
Keeping your pH levels within the proper range is important for keeping your equipment and pool finish intact. pH refers to the acidity or baseness of your pool water. A proper pH level is around 7.4 to 7.6 on a pH test kit’s numeric scale. 0 to 7 reflects a low or acidic pH. 8 to 14 means the pool has a base pH level. Your chlorine will dissolve quicker with a low pH level. High pH levels make chlorine inactive.
The right amount of calcium in your pool is essential. If there is too little, your plaster can erode. Too much calcium can make your water could become cloudy, scale could form and stains might start. 200 to 400 ppm is the general range for calcium hardness, while 300 ppm is ideal for the average pool.
Stabilizer helps retain your chlorine longer just as insulation helps retain heat or air conditioning. Stabilizer can be added to some chlorine compounds to protect them from the breakdown effects of sunlight. When your stabilizer level is low, you’ll use a lot more chlorine. When it’s high, you may need to dilute your pool water to bring it back into the 40 to 100 ppm ideal range.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
All water contains dissolved minerals. As pool water evaporates, minerals remain behind and become concentrated. The more concentrated these minerals become, the harder it is for chemical additives to work and stains can form. If you have 3000 ppm or more of total dissolved solids or TDS, you may need to drain some water and add fresh water.