Y ou have heard people talking about balancing the pool water, and if you own a pool for some time now, you have probably applied it yourself. But have you done it the right way? Although it is not rocket science, getting the perfect levels of chemicals can be a bit tricky. It requires testing and adjusting, and then more testing and adjusting if you didn’t get it right the first time. Nevertheless, it is an important step in maintaining the water in the pool safe and free of germs and algae, so stay with us as we explore the steps of this procedure.
How Important It Is to Keep the Water Balanced
A pool that is not periodically cared for can quickly turn into a genuine health hazard. You don’t want your kids swimming into dirty waters, filled with algae, debris, and bacteria. Therefore, apart from the weekly skimming and cleaning, you need to test the water and check if the level of the chemicals needs to be adjusted. If you don’t perform this task on time, the water can react in different ways, depending on the unbalance that happens inside the pool.
Pool upkeep is time-consuming, there is no denying it. If you want to make your life easier, let a robotic pool cleaner perform the thorough routine cleaning chore while you sit back and relax to keep the pool safe to swim in without any actual effort.
Testing the Water
Four important variables need to be measured to make sure the water is safe: the pH, which will tell if the water is more acidic or basic, the alkalinity, which is closely connected to the way the pH value varies, the calcium hardness, responsible for hard water and in some cases for equipment corrosion, and last but not least, the levels of chlorine or other sanitizers you are using.
Use one of these digital pool water testers to receive accurate, immediate results regarding pH and other info of interest related to the water you swim in.
So, let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow when using a test kit to get pertinent results:
- Get the sample. Use the plastic recipient included in the kit to collect some water for the testing;
- Prepare the reaction. Transfer the water in a vial and add the reagent included in the kit. Carefully read the instructions and add the correct quantity;
- Cover the opening of the vial and gently mix the two substances by turning the vial upside down a few times.
- Check the results. Compare the colors in the guide that comes with the kit with the color of the mixture. They will tell you what variable needs to be adjusted.
If we were to use substances that exist around us to measure the pH, then bleach will be used as an extreme for base solutions while gastric acid would be the ultimate acidic solution. Of course, you don’t want any of these values in your pool water, that’s why you should try to maintain the pH as balanced as possible. It should range between 7.4 and 7.6. This means that the water should have more a base composition with a pH between that of distilled water and seawater.
What to use:
- To increase pH level: sodium carbonate
- To lower pH level: sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid
The steadiness of the pH is directly dependent on the alkalinity factor. The ideal value should remain somewhere between 80 and 120 ppm. However, if it a bit (or a lot) off here’s how you can correct it.
What to use:
- To increase alkalinity level: sodium bicarbonate
- To lower alkalinity level: sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid
As the water in the pool is static, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and spread. Unless you add chlorine or another sanitizer. If you maintain an optimal level, the water will be safe, and you will be able to enjoy it without any consequences for your health. However, if there isn’t enough chlorine in the water the bacteria will flourish, while if you add too much your skin will have to suffer the consequences, namely irritations and itchiness. The ideal level should be around 3 ppm.
Chlorine comes in different shapes and forms, all efficient. You just need to pick the one that is the most comfortable for you. Thus, you can go with tablets or liquid solution, or pick granular chlorine, which is, however, more difficult to spread.
Bacteria and algae can quickly develop in a pool if you don’t take proper care of it. Learn here how to deal with black algae if it ever becomes an issue as your safety while swimming is at stake in this situation.
What to use:
- To increase the chlorine level: more chlorine
- To lower the chlorine level: nothing. Just let it dissipate naturally
If there is too much calcium in the water, it will become hard and leave deposits on the pool’s filtering and draining systems. On the other hand, if the calcium is too low, the water will seek to complete it and will attack the equipment, making it to corrode over time. The proper level for concrete is 200 – 250 parts per million. Vinyl pools require 175 – 225 ppm.
What to use:
- To increase calcium level: calcium chloride
- To lower calcium level: a flocculant will collect the excess
Once you have managed to create a balance among the water and chemicals in your pool, it will be time for summer fun. However, you should never enter the water if some variables are off, especially if the level of chlorine is high. Be perseverant and try again and again until you get it right. And you will see that once you get the hang of it, this will become just another weekly task that needs to be performed for the health of your family.