Pool Chemistry, it’s not rocket science or brain surgery!
Pool chemistry does not require a degree, it does require following some common sense basics, and a quality test kit.
Every spring pool owners all over the world start the annual ritual of maintaining their pool, and with the exception of a few rocket scientists and brain surgeons, most are like you and I. Aquajoy Spa And Pool has been maintaining pool chemistry and pool chemicals for 30 years, and we have found that if one maintains and keeps in balance the: pH, Alkalinity, sanitizer (bromine, chlorine(powder, tablet or salt)) , calcium hardness and total dissolved solids water chemistry is a breeze.
Your most important tool is the water test kit. We highly suggest purchasing the best you can afford. Our choice is the Taylor K-2005 by Taylor Technologies. Why spend $70.00 on a test kit? It is how you measure the invisible particles that make up your pool water. Water wants to be balanced,when it is not strange things occur, like your pool turning emerald green or cloudy. Also Taylor has a little book that comes with each test kit ( Pool and Spa water Chemistry). It is one of the best resources on the market, one we refer to when unusual water conditions arise.
We found a great You Tube video on how to properly use a test kit. Our thanks to Dan Jiles for posting this.
What is balanced pool water?
Water that has the following readings on your test kit and is clear and odor free.
- Chlorine 2.0-3.0 ppm (parts per million)
- pH 7.4 -7.6 ppm your eyes like it right at 7.5 ppm
- Total Alkalinity 80-120 ppm the ideal will vary on the type of pool surface you have
- Calcium Hardness 200-400 ppm Vinyl liners and Fiberglass pools should be on the low end and plaster or concrete pools on the higher end.
- Cyanuric Acid 30-50 ppm also known as stabilizer or conditioner, should never exceed 80 ppm. To lower the level backwash or pump out 25% of the pool water and retest.
Now what to do if your numbers do not match the ones above!
- Chlorine below 2.0 shock the pool 1 lbs per 10,000 gallons ( pool volume calculator from Pentair here ), Above 5.0 ppm turn off your sanitizing system and it will drop naturally.
- pH above 7.8 ppm lower with Muriatic acid (use with caution) or Dry acid (pH down) to raise use soda ash (pH up) always in small doses over time (2-4 hours)
- Total alkalinity 80-120 ppm to lower dilution or muriatic acid to raise baking soda.
- Calcium hardness 200-400 ppm to lower drain the pool down and refill check and repeat as needed, to raise add calcium chloride (mainly concrete or plaster pools).
How much of a product do I add?
Most good test kits come with tables that give you the amounts you need depending on your water volume. But you can also go to The Pool Calculator.com and in put all your numbers and it will do the math for you. Always add small amounts and recheck. Just because you have an amount off of a table, from the pool store or from the pool calculator does not mean it is 100% accurate. There are many variables that come in to play, (weather, water temperature, user volume), so play it safe and add small amounts over time. Another reason to use smaller amounts is to avoid changing the balance to fast and causing the water to be come temporarily unbalanced. Remember to replace the reagents yearly. Keep them in a cool dark place. If you forget them on the deck in hot or cold days replace them they may no longer read properly.
What pool chemicals should you keep on hand?
Your sanitizer (or pool salt if you use a chlorine generator), pH up or down depending on what you use most, granular shock. That is all you need regularly, all other pool chemicals should be purchased as needed. If you get your water tested at a pool store, you may get a print out with suggestions of what you need and may need. Buy what you need only, we have customers that have a large inventory of chemical that has never been used. Save that money and invest it in some thing worth while like a salt unit, or an energy efficient pump.