WATER BALANCING 101
Pool Care Basics
Pool water must be circulated for your pool care products to work their best. The more your water in motion, the harder it is for bacteria and algae to grow. And the more water that passes through the filter, the more debris is captured. The best time to circulate water is during the day, for 10 hours or more.
The filter is one of your most important pieces of equipment. It removes debris and keeps the water sparkling clear. A filter should be backwashed (the removal of material trapped on or in the filter media) when the water pressure in the filter reaches 10 PSI above normal. (Check manufacturer’s guidelines.) Because backwashing does not remove oils and deeply embedded debris, every filter also needs to be chemically cleaned regularly.
All swimming pools have areas of poor circulation. This is where algae and bacteria can begin to grow. Brush the walls and floors at least once a week then vacuum to remove debris that the filter misses. Even if you use an automatic pool cleaner or retain a weekly service, brushing is a must.
Testing your pool water regularly is the best way to keep your pool looking great. The tests for pH and active sanitizer (usually available chlorine or total bromine residuals) are the most important and should be checked several times per week.
Bring a sample of your pool water at pool opening, then every four to six weeks, and at closing. This will help you maintain proper balance and greatly reduce the potential for problems.
Maintaining Your Pool
Use a Water-Test Kit that tests for Sanitizer, Alkalinity, PH, Calcium Hardness, and Stabilizer. Test water samples twice to make sure that accurate readings were taken. Base your additions of balancing chemicals on the number of gallons of water in your pool.
Alkalinity is the first thing to check in proper water balance. Low Alkalinity will contribute to water being more corrosive and PH instability. Too high of an Alkalinity will make water cloudy, PH instability and will make it harder for your sanitizer to work properly. The recommended range for Total Alkalinity should be between 80 – 150 depending on what type of sanitizer you are using.
PH is the second level to check. Water with a low PH is very acidic and can cause damage to some pool equipment very quickly! In a Vinyl pool it may cause the liner to absorb an excess amount of water creating wrinkles in the liner. High PH will result in cloudy water, scaling and calcium build up, burning eyes. The range for PH should be between 7.2 – 7.8ppm
There are many different Sanitizers out there today which all have their advantages and disadvantages. The most popular is going to be Chlorine. Chlorine comes in many different shapes and forms, There are 3” pucks, 1” tabs, sticks, liquid, granular, ext ext. They all should be kept in the range of 1 – 3ppm and most require a stabilizer to prevent the sun from depleting them out of the pool water. Bromine is another popular sanitizer in West Michigan. Unlike Chlorine, Bromine is stabilized and does not require stabilizer. Bromine should be kept in the range of 3 – 6ppm. There are also Chlorine Free Sanitizers such as Baquacil. A hydrogen peroxide based Sanitizer. The best way to keeping Baquacil balanced is to know how many gallons of water you have and add the weekly recommended dosages.
The last step in proper water balancing is your Calcium. Water needs calcium, water with low Calcium will become very aggressive and attempt to balance itself by pulling the Calcium out of either the liner, which will shorten the life of the liner, or the concrete where it will make white like veins in the concrete surface. High Calcium can contribute to scale forming on the walls and floors, and can be very difficult to remove. The proper range for Calcium is 200 – 400ppm depending on what type of pool you have.
Shocking is another important step because it removes undesirable compounds – like suntan lotion, perspiration, make-up, body oil and urine – from the pool water. For super clear water, add Poolife Turbo Shock once a week or as needed. More frequent shocking is needed after rain storms, heavy bather load, or exceptionally hot weather.
An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure when it comes to algae. Applying algaecides once a week should eliminate outbreaks of these unwanted microscopic plants. Preventing algae before it starts is another great reason for regular maintenance.