Expert advice from Pool Boss, makers of our high quality pool water treatment products, on keeping your swimming pool water perfectly balanced at all times.
Chemical Balance is a key aspect to looking after your pool or hot tub. No pools are exactly alike and neither is their water. Controlling your water to keep it safe involves balancing pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. Here is some useful advice from Pool Boss, the makers of high quality chemical balancing products carried by Swim Blue.
Simply, pH is a scale indicating whether the pool water is basic, neutral or acidic. This is a very important test for the pool owner.
Swimming pool water should be kept slightly basic; 7.2-7.6. If the pH is within this range, the chlorine will work at full strength and the pool willnot be damaged by overly acidic or alkaline water.
A low pH leads to corrosion of pool parts and damage to the pool surface. Swimming is uncomfortable, causing skin and eye irritation.
A high pH reduces the chlorine’s sanitizing strength and invites algae and bacteria growth. Possible scale formation and cloudy water can exist.
The pH of the water is determined by a simple colour test. It is adjusted by adding products such as pH Up or pH Down (from Pool Boss) as required.
Total Alkalinity is a measurement of the alkalines in the water. They act as a pH Buffer or a pH Stabilizer, preventing large changes in the pH and avoiding corrosion and staining. The ideal range for plaster pools is 80-125ppm. Vinyl or fibre-glass pools should be 125-150 ppm. Tablet chlorines and bromine tend to gradually lower the alkalinity level. Regular alkalinity testing is necessary by a pool professional. Total Alkalinity should be adjusted before adjusting the pH.
To prevent corrosion of metal equipment and etching of plaster, make sure calcium hardness is within the desired range of 150-280ppm. If the hardness tests low, add Cal-Plus as directed. There is only one practical remedy to lower calcium hardness: you must partially drain the pool and refill it with softer water. Usually hard water contains metals. If hardness exceeds 280ppm add a sequestrian agent. Staining, scaling and corrosion can occur if minerals are out of balance.
Chlorine is added to the water for two reasons:
- Killing of bacteria (disinfection).
- “Burning-out” or oxidizing contaminants that come into a pool by perspiration, urine, pollen, dust, leaves and exhaust fumes.
Stabilized Chlorine Concentrate is the modern chlorine able to perform 24 hours a day. It has a buil in sun screen preventing chlorine from evaporation by ultra violet rays. With this improvement, products like Stabilized Chlorine by Pool Boss work effectively around the clock destroying bacteria and maintaining water quality.
Chlorine must be added regularly to maintain a “free-chlorine” reading of at least 1 ppm. Chlorine can be added semi-automatically by placing stabilized tablets in a skimmer basket, automatically by using stabilized tablets in a chlorinator, or manually by hand feeding stabilized granular chlorine directly into the pool for instant results. Never drop tablets directly into the pool.
Bromine, like chlorine,is a disinfectant used to kill bacteria and oxidize contaminants. The bromine reading in your pool should be 3-5 ppm. Bromine tablets should be placed in an automatic feeder for continual disinfection. Like chlorine tablets, bromine lowers the total alkalinity and pH of pool water. Bromine has less odour than chlorine and will not cause irritation to the eyes.
Do we need to stabilize?
Chlorine is burned off very quickly from the water by the ultra violet rays of the sun. Therefore, to help maintain a “free chlorine” reading of 1.0 to 1.5 ppm, Pool Water Stabilizer or cyanuric acid is added to your water until the desired range of 30-40 ppm. is met.
The stabilizer remains in the water at all times and does not evaporate. An outdoor pool that isn’t stabilized wastes chlorine. To add Stabilizer, make sure the filter is clean, then add the Stabilizer slowly into the skimmer with the pump running. Since Stabilizer dissolves slowly, do not backwash or clean the filter for two to three days. Because bromine cannot be stabilized there is no need to add Pool Water Stabilizer.
Organic matter from swimmers’ waste such as perspiration, urine, hair sprays and suntan oil are not filtered out and can build up in the pool water. This waste reacts with chlorine and creates combined chlorine. This will cloud water, encourage algae, cause eye irritation, and create an unpleasant chlorine odour. It is necessary to “burn-out” or oxidize these components. This is done by a super-chlorination or non-chlorine shock treatment. Both are effective. Super-chlorinated shock treatment raises the chlorine up to ten times its normal level and should be carried out at night or when the pool is not in use. It is wise to remove any pool blankets for 8 hours until the shock treatment has been completed.
The non-chlorine shock treatment dissolves instantly and allows the use of the pool immediately after the application. Shock treatments should be done regularly every seven to ten days. During periods of excessive heat, heavy bathing, or heavy rain, it may become necessary to shock your pool every week.
Dealing with algae
Algae are microscopic forms of plant life found in the air, soil and water which grow rapidly if there is sufficient “free-chlorine.”
The regular use of an algaecide will help prevent algae from forming. If due to neglect your pool becomes algae infected, we have algae destroyers that will turn your water crystal clear again.