For your convenience, we’ve collected the important reference manuals you might choose to examine for your pool equipment. We’ve also included a quick reference guide, Pool Chemistry 101, and answers to some frequently asked questions to give you a quick introduction to the pool terminology and processes that you’ll hear a lot about when you own a pool.
We’re happy to help you stay informed about your pool. Anytime you have questions, please get in touch. Our expert service technicians are looking forward to helping you.
Pool Chemistry 101
Were you paying attention in those high school chemistry classes? If not, here’s a brief refresher course.
The most important factor for enhancing the life and appearance of your swimming pool is proper water balance. The major levels to check regularly are pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine. Making sure that these four elements are properly maintained will do a lot to increase the enjoyment you’ll get out of your swimming pool.
One of the most important things to check regularly is potential hydrogen, or pH. This is a measure of the water’s acidity and is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral (kind of like the Swiss, but without the Army Knife). Ideally, the pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8, with 7.4 to 7.6 being perfect. Proper pH levels are important because they allow the other chemicals in the water to work efficiently. Chlorine especially is much less effective at high pH levels: at a pH of 8.0, chlorine only works at 22%. Additionally, both low and high pH can damage a vinyl liner. At low levels, the liner can stretch and wrinkle. A high pH can shorten the life of the liner. There are any number of things that can cause fluctuations in the water’s pH, including rain, swimmer wastes, and refill water.
Alkalinity is a measurement of all of the alkaline materials that are dissolved in your water. You should maintain an alkalinity reading of 80-160 ppm to help the pH resist fluctuations. When the alkalinity is too low, pH is more likely to “bounce” in and out of range.
The amounts of dissolved minerals in water are what constitute calcium hardness. When the hardness level is too low, corrosion of the pool surface, filter, heater, ladder, etc., can occur. A hardness level that is too high will cause cloudy water and scaling, giving the water a white chalky appearance, which you’ll need more than an eraser to correct.
Chlorine Stabilizer (100% Cyanuric Acid)
Stabilizer acts as a sun shield to extend the life of chlorine up to 3 1/2 times. It actually holds the useful form of chlorine in the pool water until needed, giving longer protection against bacteria and algae. It leaves no residue (100% soluble). “Stabilized” chlorine products (sticks, tablets, or chlorine powder) contain some cyanuric acid, which helps to maintain the proper level throughout the season. Warning: a cyanuric acid level that is too high (70+) can be harmful or fatal if accidentally inhaled by infants or small children.
When water balance is not maintained properly, several problems can result. These include eye and skin irritation, staining and/or wrinkling of the liner, corrosion of metals, cloudy water, scale build-up on the pool surface as well as inside the filter and heater, and interference with the efficiency of your sanitizers.
Adding Water Balance Adjustment Chemicals
Unlike in cooking, it’s really not a good idea to just toss in amounts that you think sound right. It is usually best to add balancing chemicals to the deep end of the pool, or in front of a return with the pump running. The following are recommended methods for the most common adjustment chemicals.
pH Adjustment: Add the recommended dosage, wait several hours, and test the water again. Maximum dose is 1.5 pounds of pH lower per 10,000 gallons every hour. After adding, wait fifteen minutes, then proceed to next step.
Wait one hour after applying product to swim.
Alkalinity: If the amount suggested exceeds 4 pounds per 10,000 gallons and metals are present, divide into thirds, pre-dissolve, and apply every four to six hours. Otherwise, add directly to the pool water by broadcasting around the edge of the pool. Wait two hours, then proceed to the next step. Wait one hour after applying product before swimming in the pool.
Hardness: If the total amount of product recommended is greater than six pounds per 10,000 gallons, divide dosage into thirds and apply every six hours. Brush after each application to disperse any undissolved product.
When high calcium hardness is causing cloudy water, drain one inch and refill with fresh water. Retest the water and continue to cycle the water until the level is between 125 and 250 ppm.
Stabilizer: Start with a clean pool and backwash the filter. Make a slurry of stabilizer and water, and then add very slowly through the skimmer with the pump running continuously for at least 48 hours. Don’t backwash for 3 or 4 days after adding stabilizer.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Check to make sure the pH levels are in proper range.
- Check the pool filter. Clean or replace if needed.
- Check the pool sanitizer’s level. If it’s low, raise the level.
- Test frequently!
Depending on your usage, you should test the water frequently. Some users test the pH and chlorine every other day – others test once a week. During heavy usage and summer months, you can perform a daily test. Anytime you notice a change in water quality, get your test kit out and check the water quality.
Any other questions? Just let us know! We understand the unique needs of pools in our community because we’ve been Little Rock, Arkansas pool contractors and builders for decades. Give us a call at (501) 448-2053, send us an email, or fill out the quick form to schedule an appointment with a service technician.