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Pool Water Guide
FIVE INDICATIONS YOUR POOL WATER COULD USE SOME LOVE
The term "pool chemistry" may give you high school flashbacks, but don't worry, you don't have to be a science wiz to understand the basics. To keep your pool water crystal clear and sparkling clean this season, here are five hints your pool water needs attention.
1. PEE-YEW SMELLY POOL.
When you walk into the pool area, you will occasionally find a pool with the classic "pool smell," but it's not the chlorine you smell. It results from chloramines, a chemical compound that occurs when chlorine and other pathogens are combined, making chlorine less active.
CHLORINE ISN'T ALWAYS A ONE SIZE FITS ALL SOLUTION.
Chlorine is the most common and well-known pool chemical and is an excellent sanitizer if the conditions are right. However, an imbalance in pool water could make chlorine less effective, which can cause murky water, algae bloom, or an unappealing "pool smell.
LET YOUR CHLORINE DO THE TALKING.
If your pool smells strongly of chlorine, take a sample of your pool water to your local pool store. They have several different testing methods to detect what is causing your pool chemistry to be out of whack.
2. WHITE SCALES ON MY POOL WALLS AND EQUIPMENT.
Calcium is the white, chalky buildup you sometimes see around your pool, especially on tiles and equipment. That pesky calcium buildup is known as "scaling," giving clues to your pool water's pH levels.
PH ISN'T ALWAYS A BASIC SCIENCE.
When water is too acidic (below 7 pH), it can cause damage to the pool surface and equipment.
However, if the water is too alkaline (above 7.8 pH), otherwise known as "basic," it can cause skin rashes, cloudy pool water, and scaling. When scaling builds up in your pool, water flow can also become restricted, reducing chlorine's effectiveness at keeping your water sanitized and clean.
A neutral pH balance between 7.4 and 7.6 is key to a safe and enjoyable pool.
3. MY POOL DEALER JUST SAID THE ALKALINITY OF MY POOL IS OFF.
If your alkalinity level is too low, your pool's pH can fluctuate, causing potential damage to pool walls, equipment, and swimmers.
However, if your alkalinity is too high, you may experience unsightly cloudy water and scaling, and your chlorine may not be sanitizing appropriately, either.
ALKALINE AND FEELIN' FINE.
Having the appropriate alkalinity level in your pool water will help keep your pool chemistry stable and will help prevent pH fluctuations.
To find out the alkalinity of your pool water, you need to use an at-home test kit. A more accurate option is to bring a sample of your pool water to your local pool store. Pool stores have high-quality water testing tools to give you a step-by-step process to improve your pool water.
4. TOO SOFT OR TOO HARD POOL WATER.
Soft water will seek minerals from other sources, like your pool walls or the soil behind your pool's plaster, fiberglass, or vinyl liners.
IT'S ALL A BALANCING ACT.
Like in the shower in your home, pool water can be hard or soft.
When water is too soft, it can become corrosive, potentially causing damage to tiles, plaster, and metal in your pool.
On the flip side, too hard water can become cloudy, which looks unappealing and can cause water to scale. If not taken care of, scaling can even block water flow.
The ideal calcium hardness range to achieve "just right" pool water is 150-400 ppm.
5. UNSTABILIZED POOL WATER.
When chlorine is exposed to the sun, it can destabilize within 45 minutes. Cyanuric acid, or chlorine stabilizer or conditioner, prevents the sun from neutralizing chlorine immediately. Many pool owners lean on chlorine tablets, including cyanuric acid, to maintain a chlorine residual.
CHLORINE TABLETS AREN'T ALWAYS THE END-ALL-BE-ALL.
Over time, when these tablets are incorporated too frequently into your pool water, your pool's overall cyanuric acid levels may become too high, rendering chlorine ineffective and leading to chlorine-related problems.
ALTERNATIVE TO TABLETS.
Consider an alternative to chlorine tablets, like a salt-chlorine generator, to make chlorine within your pool. Another alternative is to add an Ultraviolet (UV) system to help your chlorine be more effective and control chloramines.