Quick Guide: Your Home Pool Chemistry

Regardless of the type of sanitation your pool uses, every pool needs regular maintenance to keep the water clean, clear and healthy.

Similar to car owners, pool owners must maintain it regularly to prevent expensive repairs in the future. Just like car owners shouldn’t ignore routine oil changes and tire rotations – pool owners shouldn’t neglect routine water care.

While it’s not the only regular maintenance task, checking and balancing can help prevent dirty water and keep your equipment in shape. Neglecting your pool water chemistry will only cost you time, money and hassle.

Let’s review some of the pool chemicals you should be regularly checking and balancing in your home pool.

pH

pH measures the acidity in water. Nearly everything that comes in contact with your pool affects the pH level. A low pH level indicates too acidic and a high pH level indicates your water too alkaline, which can lead to scale formation on your pool surface and equipment.

While Clear Comfort’s system is pH neutral, chlorine with other sanitation systems can easily tamper pH levels. The ideal measure is for pH is between 7.4 and 7.6 and you can balance with a pH increaser or decreaser accordingly. Understanding your pool’s pH level is crucial because as nearly every organic matter affects it.

Alkalinity

Alkalinity refers to the water’s ability to neutralize acid. In a Clear Comfort swimming pool, a bicarbonate alkalinity that is between 80 ppm and 120 ppm helps prevent rapid changes in pH levels. A low alkalinity level will corrode metal, stain pool walls and floors and mark plaster and marbelite walls. To increase the level, add sodium bicarbonate to your pool at a rate of 1 kg per 50,000 liters of water every four days.

A high alkalinity level makes it difficult for pH to adjust, turn water cloudy and make chlorine lose its efficiency. To lower it, add acid in either liquid or dry form to the deepest part of the pool with the filter off, waiting three days between applications to allow it to dilute before pouring it into the pool. This can take days or even weeks to adjust if the alkalinity level is very high and consulting a pool professional may be necessary. Adjusting alkalinity levels can be a time-consuming process, but important, practice.  

 

Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric acid (or CYA) is a chlorine stabilizer that is commonly used in outdoor pools. A chlorinated pool with CYA will remain chlorinated in direct sunlight, whereas no stabilizer will leave the pool unprotected within a matter of hours. To raise CYA levels, add a pool stabilizer directly to the pool following container instructions to add the proper amount.

High CYA levels cause cloudiness in pool water and reduce the effectiveness of chlorine. To reduce the level, drain the pool water to have very low, if any, levels of CYA. No chemical can remove CYA and it cannot deplete on its own, so rain, backwashing and lowering the water level for winter will help keep a balanced CYA level.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness is the sum of dissolved calcium in swimming pool water. High levels of calcium causes calcium to bond with carbonates to create calcium carbonate which leads to rough surfaces, cloudy water and less effective water circulation.

Low calcium water can attack metal fittings and heat exchanges that destroys pinhole leaks in heaters which lead to stains. A hardness increaser helps easily raise calcium levels, but the only way to reduce those levels is through dilution of water – so it’s important to drain your pool regularly to prevent calcium increase through evaporation over time.

Phosphates

Phosphates are natural compounds of salt, calcium and other minerals used in many everyday products like personal care items, water treatments and industrial and institutional cleaning. Too many phosphates in your pool will cause the water to turn cloudy or green and increases the rate of algae growth.

It’s important to keep in mind that stopping phosphates’ contact with pool water is nearly impossible but phosphate removers or algaecide work as a preventative tool to help maintain clean water.     

Total Dissolved Solids

Total dissolved solids is the combination of everything that disintegrated in your pool water such as dust, algae remains, swimmer waste, calcium and sodium. There is no consensus on appropriate TDS levels, but high levels can leave water feeling oily and salty. The best way to refresh your pool is to dilute it and keeping all other substances at appropriate measures.  

Pool Shock

A pool shock is adding chemicals to your pool to destroy algae and other contaminants your pool water. Chlorine shock raises high chlorine levels to around 10 ppm (parts per million) to kill bacteria and then waits for the levels to drop to approximately 3 to 4 ppm before the water is safe to swim in.  

Non-chlorine treatments usually use potassium monopersulfate, which does not kill bacteria but oxidizes contaminants. You can usually swim after 15 minutes of using this type of shock, but waiting overnight is recommended.

Algaecides

Algaecides are used to kill or prevent the growth of algae. Green algae is the most common form of algae. It grows from a lack of proper sanitation and filtration and clings to the walls or the bottom of your pool. Brushing the pool, adjusting the pH, a shock and an algaecide will effectively kill this type of algae. Yellow algae grows on the pool walls that are not exposed to a lot of sun and requires a pool shock to kill. Black algae is not as commons as green and yellow algae but shows up as small, dark spots on your pool wall. The roots are strong and grow deep into the wall that requires heavy-duty scrubbing with a pool brush, a shock and an algaecide.

Regularly checking and balancing your home pool water is essential to maintaining an enjoyable, clear and healthy pool that doesn’t cost you time and money in equipment repairs and bacteria growth. Whether you’re using chlorinated sanitation or Clear Comfort, the more you keep up with maintenance the easier it will be to preserve and enjoy your pool.

Here are the ideal pool water chemistry ranges for your Clear Comfort pool:

  • pH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Alkalinity: 80 ppm – 120 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid (CYA):  0 ppm – 20 ppm
  • Phosphates: Less than 200 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 200 ppm – 400 ppm
  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): Less than 1,500 ppm

 

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Just like Clear Comfort, Alondra grew up in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to a minor is Spanish, Alondra is studying Finance and Marketing in the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. To Clear Comfort, she brings leadership skills that she gained through her experience with multiple roles at the Leeds offices, which include Undergraduate and Graduate Services and the Diverse Scholars Program.