Have you ever come out of the pool and felt like a dry sponge? Maybe that feeling is a little too common in what’s supposed to be your backyard oasis. The reason for the uncomfortable residue, clothes discoloration, eye irritation, staining, cloudy water, and even scale buildup is that your water is off balance.
Get your water right on the scale by balancing your water. This simple procedure will lengthen the life of your water, pump, heater, filter, and other equipment. Balancing and testing your water will also make your pool care a breeze.
pH is the most important factor in water balance. The pH range is used to measure the relative acid or base of the water. This you probably learned in your basic chemistry class in high school.
Here are the exact fields in which you should see your water:
The range runs from 0 to 14, with a pH of 7 being a neutral. Readings between 7.2 and 7.6 are considered acceptable, or in the comfort zone, for swimming pool water. Balanced water must be held safely between two harmful extremes.
If your water comes on the low side of the scale, it becomes corrosive and starts to attack pool surfaces and equipment. We call this your corrosion zone. Ha! Now you know why your water heater is corroding.
On the other hand, if your pool water tips the scale on the high side you will start to notice scale buildup, and this is your scaling zone that will leave unwanted deposits in your pool.
Unbalanced water not only brings bad news but also may put a hole in your pocket. How’s that? Your sanitizer’s effectiveness will be hindered if your water is off balance. So this is probably your answer if you start seeing an increasing amount of chlorine to keep your pool clear.
The second factor you must look at is at the Total Alkalinity of your pool. Total Alkalinity measures the alkaline materials dissolved in the water, and the acceptable range is between 80 and 150 ppm. Expressed in parts per million (ppm), total alkalinity results from alkaline materials including carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides – mostly bicarbonates in your pool. Alkaline water is acid neutralizing, meaning that it helps prevent wide variations in pH.
In a few words, Total alkalinity is a measure of water’s resistance to change in pH.
Same as pH, if the Total Alkalinity is low, the result is “pH bounce”, meaning that the pH will tend to “bounce” in and out of range. If the Total Alkalinity is too high, yes you also have problems. This will make your water to become very difficult to adjust to a normal pH.
Not to worry, any alkalinity problem can be fixed. See chart for exact information.
The third factor in balanced water is measuring Calcium Hardness. The normal range for Calcium Hardness is between 175 and 275 ppm. This is referring to the amount of dissolved minerals, mostly calcium carbonate, in water.
Although under normal conditions this is not a problem in a properly operated pool, this chemical imbalance also heads up problems. For example, a low Calcium Hardness can lead to corrosion of equipment or the etching of a plaster finish. Like everything else we have discussed, the other side of the scale says that a high Calcium Hardness level causes cloudy water and scaling.
Calcium Hardness is also a very controllable element in your pool. See chart to adjust your Calcium Hardness levels.
Lastly, Stabilizer is an important factor in your pool water’s “health”. Without this factor the sun’s rays would quickly destroy the chlorine in your pool. Stabilizer is Cyanuric Acid that acts as a “sun shield” to make the chlorine last longer. This means that your chlorine could last up to 3 ½ times longer!! Imagine the savings!
Proper stabilization requires 30 to 50 ppm of Cyanuric Acid, and outdoor pools should start by raising it to a minimum level of 40 ppm Cyanuric Acid. Afterwards, you can simply use stabilized chlorine to maintain the proper Stabilizer levels.