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Pool Chemistry: How to Maintain the Proper Chemical Balance

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 6, 2017 6:30:00 AM / by Aquaman

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Maintaining the proper chemical or pH balance is part of swimming pool maintenance. This balance is also important in hot tub spas for comfortable, clean water.

The pH balance refers to the acid to alkaline base. A metric of 0-15 is attached to the pH measurement. Water with less than 7 is very acidic and potentially corrosive. Over 7.5 indicates water that is alkaline, leading to scaling. The ideal is a pH balance of 7.4 or 7.5 with just the right amount of acid to balance the alkaline chemicals in the water. This balance allows the chlorine to work efficiently to destroy harmful bacteria.

Corrosion vs. Scaling

Acidic water is not comfortable for swimming. It can be harmful to the skin as well as to the pool's surface. It can lead to corrosion of metal attachments, vinyl, and gunite surfaces. It can even harm fiberglass.

Scaling results from too much alkaline substances such as sodium bicarbonates. This can cause calcium scaling along the sides of the pool surface and tiles. You will feel clumps of crystals along the surface.

Alkalinity should be 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm) in gunite pools and 124-170 in vinyl-lined and fiberglass pools. Chemicals are available for pool maintenance to provide the proper pH balance. The chemicals you use will depend on the hardness of the water and the pool's surface material.

Chemical Disinfectants

Chlorine (Cl) in the form of calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite will kill harmful bacteria and algae. It will oxidize waste. The chemicals work in the water to form hypochlorous acid that will keep the water clear. This is necessary for a healthy pool.

Bromide (Br) is another sanitizer that kills bacteria. Many pools have chlorinators that combine the chlorine or bromide with cyanuric acid to stabilize the substance. Chlorine and bromine can break up with continuous sun exposure. Bromine is used frequently in hot tub spas and indoor pools as a very efficient sanitizer.

Swimming pools have to be "shocked" occasionally if the chlorine level is low. This extra disinfectant will kill harmful pathogens that can cause infections. Indoor pools and hot tubs using bromine do not need to be shocked as frequently. Both chemicals can be added to the pool with automatic feeders.

Hot tub foam is another problem that results from skin oils, soaps, lotions and beauty products on bathers along with an overload of chemicals. The warm water and the air bubbles from the jets build up the foam in the tub. An oil-absorbent mixture should be used to break up the foam along with extra chlorine or bromine.

Saltwater Pools

Many people have installed salt water systems in their pools. This involves a special chlorinator cell that works with the softer salt water. The salinity level should be 2500 - 4500ppm. The salinity level will depend on the size of the pool and the manufacturer of the pump system.

The pH balance must be the same required in fresh water pools with 7.5 the optimal level. The chemical levels must be checked every two weeks for good pool maintenance. Chlorine does not have to be added as frequently since it is part of the generator cell system. A chlorine level of 2ppm is ideal for salt water pools.

Alkalinity levels should be 8-120ppm, and cyanuric acid should stay at 70-80ppm to stabilize the sanitizer.

Keep your pool leak-free. A leak in your pool can upset the chemical balance in the water. Contact Aquaman Leak Detection if you suspect a leak anywhere, including the pump system. We will locate and repair the leak immediately.

The Complete Guide to Swimming Pool Ownership

Topics: swimming pool

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Written by Aquaman

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