Your pool is the place that your family and friends spend quality time together, keeping cool and having some fun. Keeping it safe for swimming is important for everyone’s health and well being. Most people don’t really understand the proper procedures for pool maintenance, and that can be dangerous. Balancing your pool is not only important for your health but also to keep your pool equipment lasting for years to come. Here we explain why having the proper levels in your pool is one of the most important parts of pool ownership.
Recreational Water Illness (RWI) can be passed to you through contaminated water and make you sick. That is why it is important to measure the free chlorine (FC) levels in your pool, ideally every day. By adding chlorine, it forms a weak acid that kills bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, and also many viruses, in turn keeping you healthy. 1-3 parts per million (ppm) is the safe free chlorine range for a residential swimming pool.
pH tells you the acidity of water. If it’s too low, the water is corrosive (acidic) and will cause your pool liner, equipment, and surfaces to wear out and age prematurely. If pH is high it is scale-forming (basic), which is also problematic. That’s why you should always have a test kit on hand and test your water regularly for the proper levels. You’ll want to ensure you have a proper pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 on the numeric scale of 0 to 14. Proper pH is closer to the pH of our skin and thus cuts down on skin and eye irritation in the water.
The total alkalinity (TA) of your pool should also be properly balanced to ensure better swimming comfort. Aim to have a consistent alkalinity reading of approximately 80-120ppm. Having TA in the proper range will help pH levels balanced.
Balanced calcium hardness (CH) levels helps ensure your pool does not experience issues with corrosion and scaling. You will want to maintain a range of 150 to 250 ppm for calcium hardness. If you have too much calcium, your water will become cloudy and scale will start to form. On the other hand, if there is too little calcium the water can become corrosive.
Cyranuric Acid (CYA) is used as pool stabilizer to help protect chlorine from the deteriorating effects caused by sunlight. When the level is too low, you’ll need to use more chlorine costing you more money and running the risk of having zero chlorine in the pool on a hot and sunny afternoon. Always test for stabilizer before adding, as too much stabilizer can also cause problems. A level of 40 ppm is ideal.
TDS, or Total Dissolved Solids, also needs to be properly maintained to ensure proper chlorine levels to avoid skin and eye irritation, metal corrosion, and scaly deposits. TDS levels factor in concentrated minerals from everything that has entered the pool. You’ll want to have a reading lower than 2000-2500 ppm of TDS or you may need to drain your pool and add more fresh water. Regular backwashing will help keep TDS levels in check. Note that salt water pools will have a much higher TDS due to the presence of a lot of extra salt in the water.
Pool water balancing is not as complicated as you think, but talking to the pros at Purewater can help you better understand and maintain your pool. Bring in a sample of your pool wanted in a clean one-liter bottle and we’ll test it in Ottawa’s most accurate water testing lab for free! From there, we’ll provide you with personalized advice and a computerized printout to help you keep your pool water safe, clear, clean, and to maximize the life of your pool liner and equipment.