Understanding Water Chemistry for Your Pool

We’ve all heard about balancing your pool water, and we understand why you might be running from that responsibility as fast as you can. The fact is that pool water chemistry sounds more complex than it really is. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to keep the chemical levels in your water at the right amount. But that doesn’t mean you have to agonise over it.

Pool chemistry is really quite simple. And to show you just how simple it is, we’ve outlined the three main types of pool chemistry you’ll want to keep track of: pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

deep water

What is pH?

The pH of your water is the measure of its acidity. You probably vaguely remember alkaline and acid from your high school chemistry classes – well now that knowledge comes in handy! pH stands for ‘potenz of Hydrogen’ a German word that means power.

So, how do you know if the pH of your water is correct? pH is measured on a scale of 0 – 14 and you need a specific range to keep your pool balanced. A pH level above 7.0 is considered basic or alkaline while below 7 it’s acidic. You want your pool to fall between 7.2 and 7.8.

If pool water is too acidic, it can destroy your pool equipment. For example, the coil of your pool heater (which is usually copper-based) can corrode and eventually need replacing. That’s why it’s important to make sure the levels are correct; it will ensure the longevity of your pool and minimise future costs. Need more incentive? Acidic water can also dry out your skin, and that’s just unpleasant for you and your guests!

Alkalinity of Water

You also don’t want your water to fall below the recommended alkaline range. The alkaline level of your water (which should be between 80 and 120) will help to balance your pH and keep the numbers from fluctuating rapidly. So again, maintaining both these levels is important to both the equipment you’ve installed in your pool and to those guests you’ve invited into its tempting waters!

Calcium Hardness

A third measurement you’ll want to keep in check is the hardness of your water. Water tends to take from its environment those minerals and chemicals it lacks. So if your calcium levels are too low, the water will draw calcium from wherever it can find it. Unfortunately, that can mean directly from your pool’s surface.

Water can actually draw calcium from your pool’s concrete lining and the grouting between tiles. This can wear down and weaken the pool itself. Thankfully fibreglass pools don’t contain calcium, minimising damage if your pool lacks the mineral.

Hard water is water that has too much calcium and magnesium. If your water’s calcium levels are too high, you’ll probably find calcium deposits around your pool. This is because the water tries to rid itself of excess calcium.

While water is self-regulating, it’s still important to check your levels often and make adjustments to minimise damage to your pool. Try to keep your calcium levels between 200 and 400 parts per million (ppm).

Having the right equipment and expertise

Today, water test kits are available from outdoor living stores and pool shops, including AOL Pool Shop. At AOL pool shop you can also purchase all the proper products to restore balance to your water.

If you have any further questions, our AOL Pool Shop staff are here to help you out. They can also advise you on how to adjust these levels properly so that your pool (and its equipment) can be enjoyed by your family for years to come.

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