Basic Pool Maintenance

There is nothing quite so beautiful as a well maintained swimming pool in the back yard. But since there are thousands of gallons of water involved, keeping it clean and safe requires some attention. If you know how, it’s easy to keep your pool looking like new.

To maintain your swimming pool water quality, there are two basic factors to consider; sanitation and balance.

By sanitation, we mean preventing the growth of algae and bacteria. This is best accomplished by using simple chlorine. And by “balance”, we mean to keep the chemical factors of the water within safe parameters. These factors are covered below.

pH Level
Keeping your pH levels within the proper range is not only important for your comfort, it’s also important for keeping your equipment and pool finish in good condition. pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of the water. Proper pH level is about 7.4 to 7.6 on a test kit’s scale. Zero to 7 means you have a low or acidic pH, where 8 to 14 means the water is more alkaline. Low pH readings will cause your chlorine to dissipate faster. High pH levels will deactivate chlorine, which translates into wasted money.

The total alkalinity, refers to how much alkaline material is in the water. But you can’t really know the importance of total alkalinity without referring to pH, because these things are closely related. High alkaline water leads to high pH. Low alkaline water leads to low pH. The average pool should have an alkalinity reading of 100 ppm.

Calcium Hardness
In your pool, just the right amount of calcium is very important. Not enough can erode the plaster walls of your pool. Too much can cause your water to be cloudy, and scale or stains could begin to form. The best range for calcium hardness is 200 to 400 ppm – while 300 ppm being ideal for the average pool.

Stabilizer helps keep your chlorine active longer. 40 to 100 ppm is the ideal range for Stabilizer. It is even added to some chlorine compounds to protect them from the effects of sunlight. Low levels of stabilizer can mean having to use a lot more chlorine. If it’s too high, you should add water to dilute your pool water to bring the stabilizer back down.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
You should keep the TDS level under 3000 ppm. Besides calcium, there are other dissolved elements in pool water. All water contains dissolved minerals, unless it is distilled. Due to evaporation, minerals become more concentrated over time. The more concentrated these minerals become, the harder it is for chemical additives to work and stains can form. If you have 3000 ppm or more of total dissolved solids or TDS, you may need to drain some water and add fresh water.

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