Pool Care: Chemical Maintenance
It is extremely important to maintain the chemical balance of the water in your pool. Unbalanced water can lead to various health problems such as skin rashes, respiratory allergies, etc. Chemical imbalances can also cause equipment failures, such as a heat exchanger error in your heater. For those who have a vinyl liner in their pool, unbalanced water can reduce the life of the liner. As you can see, chemically unbalanced water can adversely affect both your health and your pocket!

How do you know if everything is OK with the water in your pool? Check these three parameters carefully:

a)      pH level

b)      Total Alkalinity

c)       Water Hardness

What is the pH level?

PH is a measure of hydrogen ions in water. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 and pH of pool water should always be kept between 7.2 - 7.8. There are two products that can adjust high or low pH levels: pH  Plus & pH Minus. If the pH of your water is too high, such as 8.0, you will need to reduce the alkalinity of the water by adding pH minus. If your pH is too low, then you will need to add pH Plus. Amount of chemicals that you will need to add will depend on the concentration on the volume of your pool and the deviation of pH from desired range.

High pH increases water hardness and makes the pool water less clear, increases algae growth and consequently the chance of clogging your filter. It may also cause redness, dry and itchy skin.

Low pH (usually a result of acid rain) can damage the plaster or grout, corrode metallic parts of your pool (steps, heater, pump, filter , etc.), damage  your swimwear and accessories and stain water yellow. Health hazards include burning eyes and nose as well as dry and itchy skin.

What is Total Alkalinity ( TA ) ?

TA shows the level of carbonates and bicarbonates in the water that control the stability of pH.

Low TA leads to erosion of the metal in the pool, staining the walls and floor. The pool water will turn green and health-wise low TA has detrimental effect on the mucous membrane of the eye.

High TA will make the water murky and added chlorine will be less effective.

TA can be adjusted using pH Plus and pH Minus. To increase alkalinity, pH Plus must be added and conversely, pH Minus to reduce it. Reducing the amount of chlorine used to disinfect the pool will help keep TA levels stable.

Before using chemicals to balance Total Alkalinity, carefully read the instructions on the label. Different products will have varying potency and will need to be added in different proportions. Remember that you should measure TA  levels at least monthly.

What is Calcium Hardness?

Calcium hardness references the total mineralization of water, including the levels of magnesium, iron, manganese and other elements, not just the concentration of calcium. Sometimes it is also known as "water hardness"  and ideally it should be between 250-350 ppm.

Low calcium hardness leads to corrosion and staining of the surface of the pool, whereas high calcium hardness will have a detrimental effect on pool equipment, fittings and pump connections, causes the formation of limescale around the edges of the pool . Your filter and pipes may get clogged , thereby reducing the water flow and filtration efficiency. Water can become cloudy and cause eye irritation.

To balance water with low calcium, you need to add calcium chloride to your pool. It can be purchased at any store selling pool supplies. When adding calcium chloride, carefully read the instructions on the label.

The simplest way to balance water with a high content of calcium is to partially drain the pool and then refill it with fresh water. There are other ways to reduce water hardness, but they should be performed only by professionals servicing the pool.

Take care of your swimming pool chemistry and stay healthy!

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