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A Simple Guide to Balancing Your Swimming Pool Water

· Chemicals,Pool Water,Water testing

If you’re new to swimming pool care, testing and balancing the chemicals can be a daunting process. There is a learning curve to water care, but it’s not steep.

Here’s a simple guide to testing – and then balancing – your swimming pool water so you avoid problems.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Before you test the water, make sure you have all of the supplies handy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Test kit.

  • Alkalinity balancer.

  • pH balancer.

  • Water-hardness balancer.

  • Stabilizer or conditioner.

Step 2: Calculate the volume

The next step involves knowing the volume of your pool water. If you don’t know it already, do this simple calculation:

Multiply the length of the pool by the width by the depth by the multiplier to get the total volume in gallons.

(Note: The multiple varies. A square pools multiplier is 7.5, while a round pool is 5.9. Ask your local pool professional for help if you don’t know your multiplier.)

Step 3: Test

Now, you can perform the test. Be sure the kit covers at least these components:

  • Free available chlorine.

  • Cyanuric acid.

  • pH.

  • Total alkalinity.

  • Calcium hardness.

Pool Water Testing

Photo source: Lee Joseph Inc.

Step 4: Balance

Your pump should be circulating before you add any chemicals to ensure proper integration into the pool water. Keep in mind that it’s not safe to add more chemicals than recommended at one time.

If your water test shows you need more than the recommended level, you’ll need to add the chemicals in stages. Wait at least six hours in between treatments.

Step 5: Alkalinity

Alkalinity is the total alkaline material in your pool water. You should test alkalinity first because it will buffer pH. Your reading should be in the range of 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm). If you need to increase the alkalinity, add an increaser. To lower it, you’ll add a sodium bisulfate.

Step 6: pH

This factor shows the water’s relative acidity rate. The pH scale starts at 1.0 and goes up to 14.0. The ideal range is between 7.4 and 7.6. The water is acidic (or has a low pH) if it’s below 7.0, and it’s alkaline if the pH level is high, or above 7.0. Sodium carbonate is a pH increaser, while sodium bisulfate is a pH decreaser.

Maintaining the proper pH level is really important, as an imbalance will eventually damage the structure of the pool or equipment.

pH pool water testing

Photo source: Tibum Piscinas

Step 7: Hardness

Water hardness also referred to as calcium hardness, indicates the amount of calcium that’s in the water. Ideally, your pool’s hardness should rest between 200 and 400 ppm.

If the test shows the water hardness is too low, add calcium chloride. If it’s too high, you’ll have to drain the pool partially or entirely.

Step 8: Cyanuric acid

This element helps to protect the chlorine in the pool from being destroyed by the ultraviolet rays from the sun. Without it, you’d have to continuously add chlorine to the pool water.

Options include a pool stabilizer or pool conditioner. The ideal cyanuric acid reading is between 30 to 50 ppm.

Step 9: Chlorine

The final step in balancing your pool’s water, chlorine acts as a disinfectant or sanitizer. It will kill off living organisms, bacteria, and other contaminants.

Chlorine comes in a variety of forms, including liquid, gas, tablet or granular. A safe range for your free available chlorine sits in the 2.0 to 4.0 range.

What’s next?

Balancing your pool water is an important part of being a swimming pool owner. Neglect these important duties and your water could turn green, algae could take over, the water may be cloudy, or your skin or eyes may become sensitive to the water.

If you need help caring for your pool or you’d like a professional to take it over, contact Family Pools and Spas today!

What’s the hardest part about balancing your pool water?