How to Look after you pool safely with pool chemicals
Keeping the right levels of chemicals for your pool water is not just about keeping it looking crystal clear, but more importantly it’s about keeping your family safe. Unhealthy pool water is the perfect feeding ground for bacteria, viruses, algae, cloudy water, scale build-up and equipment corrosion. In other words, if you want to protect not only your family from harmful bacteria, but also your pool surface and pool equipment from long-term damage of corrosion, then you need to be sure to maintain the correct levels of pool water chemicals on a regular basis.
When it comes to maintaining your pool water, there are two main aspects to consider, these are regular sanitation and water balance.
Pool Water Sanitation – Your pool needs chlorine
When anything enters your pool, from pets to people, tree leaves to water from the tap or water tank, you can be sure it’s bringing with it potential algae spores and/or bacteria. This is where pool sanitation comes in. To control this bacteria and algae so it doesn’t get out of hand, it is recommended that you use a sanitising chemical, such as chlorine, which kills algae and bacteria. There are several ways to get chlorine into your swimming pool such as:
- Manually Dose chlorine as required (usually required daily in smaller doses) after testing the water
- Automatic Chlorine Doser – These can be run by set point or can have smarts to test the water before dosing
- Salt Water Chlorinator – These automated chlorine production units have really taken off over the last decade and are a great way to consistently be adding chlorine to your pool in regular small doses. They also control your filtration and pump running times.
All the above methods still require you to test your pool water on a regular basis, go to a pool shop for water testing or engage a mobile pool shop professional to come on site each week, fortnight, month to electronically test for you.
It is then important to filter your water regularly to remove these dead organic particles. Filtration is usually either a Sand Filter or Cartridge filter, which should be cleaned on a regular basis. We would recommend to run your filtration at least 8 hours per day in summer.
The right level of chlorine will vary slightly depending on your pool specifics; however, the residual level of chlorine should be around 2.0 to 4.0 ppm (parts per million). Having this level of residual sanitiser will stop those unwanted contaminants from building up, without effecting the overall quality of the water.
Pool Water Balance
Water Balance is more to do with your overall water balance, not just sanitiser and includes pH, Alkalinity, Stabiliser, Calcium, Phosphate levels and if required Salt Levels. Having these levels in balance will provide better bather comfort, benefit chlorine effectiveness and potentially protect equipment and the swimming pool itself, which is why maintaining correct water balance will save you time and money in the long run.
If you want your equipment to last, then be sure to check your calcium, pH, Alkalinity and water levels regularly and adjust accordingly, otherwise your pool surface and pool equipment may suffer from corrosion and scale build-up, causing damage or preventing proper sanitisation.
Pool pH Level:
In a nutshell, pH levels in your pool determines how acidic the water is. Here are a few things to remember:
- The pH scale is a measurement from 0 to 14.
- A level of 7 is the middle or neutral ground. Anything under 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline. (Just remember, what you are actually testing for is how alkaline the water is, with a higher number for higher alkalinity).
- For majority of swimming pools, the recommended level of pH is 7.2 to 7.6, and usually around 7.0 to 7.4 for fibreglass pools (check with your pool builder)
Pool Total Alkalinity:
Checking your water for bicarbonates, carbonates and hydroxides is essential for healthy pool water. We test this through ‘total alkalinity’. Here are a few things to note:
- A low total alkalinity level can cause erosion of most types of pool surfaces, etching, such as concrete, tiled and painted pool surfaces. It will also impact/disturb your pH levels.
- The recommended range for total alkalinity is between 60 and 200 ppm, this will vary depending on the type of pool you have. We would usually recommend a target Alkalinity of around 120-140ppm. Consult with an expert to find out your perfect range so you can maintain it regularly.
- To raise total alkalinity levels, add buffer to the pool.
- To drop total alkalinity levels, add acid to the pool.
Pool Calcium Hardness:
Pool Calcium hardness measures the level of dissolved calcium in your pool water. Again, a few things to remember:
- High calcium hardness can often result in scale build-up and possible damage your pool equipment.
- Low calcium hardness will likely result in corrosion and will potentially damage your pool and pool equipment over the longer term.
- The recommended level of calcium hardness ranges between 80 to 500 ppm, again depending on your pool. We would recommend a target Calcium level of between 180-220ppm depending on pool surface but consult with an expert to find your perfect calcium hardness level for you pool type.
- We also recommend you test for calcium hardness each quarter by an accredited pool professional, such as your Local Jim’s Pool Care Expert or local pool shop.
Pool Chemical Safety
Many pool chemicals are safe if handling instructions are followed. Please ensure:
- You follow all chemical manufacturers safety and handling instructions on the labels
- Never mix any chemicals together (EVER!). This includes different chlorines and never mix acid and chlorine together.
- Always add chemicals to water (not the other way). This means get a large bucket of water, add some chemical then broadcast safely into the pool.
- Where required ensure you always where safety glasses, gloves and breathing mask if needed.
- If in doubt with any chemical, its application or how to handle it, contact a pool professional.
- Always store chemicals in a safe dry place, out of direct sunlight and away from children
We hope this helps give you a better idea of balancing your pool levels the right way, and why such a practice is important for not only your family’s health and safety, but also for cheaper pool maintenance costs.
Need Pool Help?
If you ever need advice or a hand in making sure your levels are correct, give us a call today and ask about our Water Test and Balance service via 131 546.