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What should I know about the chemistry of my pool water?

Pool water chemistry along with proper filtration is the key to clean healthy water. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 or 1,000,000 gallons of water, the same balance levels and chemical types are required (only the quantity will vary). Everything that enters the body of water affects water balance: swimmers, rain, pollution, animals and chemicals.

Every pool, each season, creates its own demand for different chemicals. The pool in your neighbor’s yard, with the same system and environment, may react totally different than your own. Every pool also develops a pattern each season. After observing how your pool reacts to different bather levels, rain, and the environment you will get a handle on your pools chemistry pattern and what is required to keep the water balanced. The accepted levels for balanced pool or spa water are listed below. Please consult with a local pool/spa professional or dealer for more details on maintaining a chemically balanced pool or spa.

Pool Spa
Total Alkalinity – Plaster 80-120 ppm 80-120 ppm
Total Alkalinity – Vinyl 100-150 ppm 100-150 ppm
pH 7.2 – 7.6 7.2 – 7.6
Bromine 2-4 ppm 3-5 ppm
Total Chlorine 1.0 – 3.0 ppm 2.0 – 4.0 ppm
Free Chlorine 1.0 – 3.0 ppm 2.0 – 4.0 ppm
Combined Chlorine < 0.2 ppm < 0.2 ppm
Cyanuric Acid 30 – 100 ppm 30 – 100 ppm
Calcium Hardness – Plaster 200 – 400 ppm 200 – 400 ppm
Calcium Hardness – Vinyl 175 – 300 ppm 175 – 300 ppm
TDS < 2000 ppm < 2000 ppm
Copper < 0.3 ppm < 0.1 ppm
Iron < 0.3 ppm < 0.1 ppm

If the water is not properly maintained and the pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness are allowed to fall below the recommended levels, the water will turn corrosive and can etch plaster, wrinkle vinyl liners, irritate the eyes and skin, as well as corrode any metal components in the filtration system. The effects of this are most noticeable when a heater begins to leak. The corrosive water will eat at the copper in the heater’s heat exchanger. The copper will dissolve into the water and blond hair will start turning green and you may begin to see stains on the pool walls.

If the levels are kept above the proper ranges, the water becomes scale forming. Scale will build up on the pool walls, the water will remain cloudy, eyes and skin irritation will develop and chlorine will not work as effectively.

If you are in doubt as to how to maintain your pool or spa, contact a local pool/spa professional or dealer.

Posted in: Water Chemistry & Chlorinators

Posted by: admin on June 23, 2011 @ 7:35 pm
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