Water Chemistry – Fifth Key to Good Pool Care
Last but not least it’s water chemistry. Pool water chemistry IS easy – just 4 simple steps: Before we look at these 4 steps, please remember that you don’t have to be a certified chemist to operate your home swimming pool! Many of the Pool water chemical programs available are pool owner & consumer friendly. These pool care programs, no matter which one you choose, was designed with your safety & enjoyment in mind. As long as you can “follow the program, ” pool water care is easy & shouldn’t take much more than 5 – 10 minutes (including clean up) each week to accomplish this task. Although similar, Water Chemistry & Water Testing go hand in hand & you can’t do one without the other.
Here are the 4 Steps to Pool Water Chemistry :
- Maintain a constant level of sanitizer in the pool. Slow dissolving chlorine sticks or tablets; proper level of biguanide (Soft Swim); bromine; salt level.
- Shock the pool weekly or at a minimum every 2 weeks (biguanides shock every 3 to 4 weeks). Shocking oxidizes un-filterable wastes & breaks up chloramines that lead to cloudy water, algae, smelly pools & red eyes.
- Add algicide weekly or at least every 2 weeks to prevent algae growth. A good quality algicide (concentrates sold in quart sizes) backs up the chlorine or sanitizer in case it is exhausted due to heavy bather load or heavy rain
- Maintain good water balance. Without good water balance, the sanitizer doesn’t work properly or efficiently. The water can become cloudy (high pH) or aggressive (low pH – water is often times really clear). You’ll also protect your friends & family who use your pool.
1. Maintain a constant level of Sanitizer in the Pool – What does that mean? It means to constantly keep a good, solid level or chlorine, bromine, biguanide or other sanitizer level in the pool water at all times. Chlorine: 1.0 – 2.0 ppm; Bromine: 2.0 – 6.0 ppm; Biguanide: 30 – 50 ppm; Pristine Blue: 0.5 – 1.0 ppm.
When maintained at those levels, bacteria & algae are kept under control. The water feels & smells clean. Higher levels of sanitizers is typically unnecessary unless recommended by your Pool Professional in certain circumstances such as pool parties. Slow-dissolving Chlorine such as BioGuard® Silk Tabs®, Silk Sticks® & Smart Sticks® can be applied to the pool through the skimmer or an automatic chlorinator. How about Granular chlorines? They work well, but you do have to add these products every day.
Chlorine floaters aren’t recommend because they can be tossed out of the pool or get stuck causing a concentration in one area of the pool. Bromine must always be dispensed using a brominator. Biguanides such as BioGuard® Soft Swim® or copper based products such as Pristine Blue® are both liquids that typically added only once every 2 weeks or so.
2. Shock the pool weekly or at a minimum every 2 weeks (biguanides shock every 3 to 4 weeks). Shocking oxidizes un-filterable wastes & breaks up chloramines that lead to cloudy water, algae, smelly pools & red eyes.
Pool owners who don’t regularly shock their pool (they think they’re saving money) always end up with bad, cloudy water & algae problems and they wonder why they use so much chlorine. Shocking puts the sparkle back in the pool water. Shocking breaks up the waste that attaches onto the sanitizer & prevents it from doing its job. Shocking is a good thing to do before a party to prevent icky water from developing while the party is going on AND after to eliminate all of the “stuff” that got left behind. In bromine pools, the shock recharges the bromine to make it last longer.
Use the appropriate type of shock for your pool. BioGuard® Burn Out Extreme® or Smart Shock® for chlorine & bromine pools – every 1 to 2 weeks. Soft Swim® “C” or formulated hydrogen peroxide for biguanide (Soft Swim® or Baquacil®) treated pools – typically shocking every 3 to 4 weeks. Pools that use ionizers such as Nature2® should use the chlorine shocks mentioned above or BioGuard® Easy Shock & Swim®. Shock the pool at start-up or opening (even if the chlorine or bromine level is good) to oxidize & neutralize contaminants that have hung in over the winter. After that follow a regular schedule.
3. Add algicide weekly or at least every 2 weeks to prevent algae growth. A good quality algicide (concentrates sold in quart sizes with active ingredients of at least 40% – plus look for the highest level of carbon 14 – at least 58%) backs up the chlorine or sanitizer in case it is exhausted due to heavy bather load or heavy rain.
Good quality algicides such as BioGuard® Back Up® or Algae All 60® are also good surfactants. Surfactants are chemicals that like to cling to or hang around surfaces. They help to make the water “wetter”. Because they like surfaces, they stay where algae likes to grow.
Not using an algaecide on a regular basis is asking for trouble somewhere down the line. You could have a beautiful clear, blue pool one day, then it rains & it has been transformed into a green monster – and you have a pool party in 3 hours! Regular shocking & algaecide would have prevented that sorry mess.
4. Maintain good water balance. Without good water balance, the sanitizer doesn’t work properly or efficiently. The water can become cloudy (high pH) or aggressive (low pH – water is often times really clear). You’ll also protect your friends & family who use your pool. Learn more about Good Water Balance with Key 4 – Water Testing.
As an option that will save you from a variety of pool care problems (algae, cloudy water, water balancing), consider using a borate or boric acid based product such as BioGuard® Optimizer Plus®. Optimizer Plus®, when used properly, suppresses algae growth, helps allow the sanitizer to do a better job at killing bacteria, acts an additional buffer for the pH & Total Alkalinity making water balance simpler. Optimizer Plus® is added at the start of the season & is topped up as needed. Optimizer Plus® is great to use in ANY pool, with any sanitizing system.
By following all 4 of these steps, from pool opening to pool closing, you will virtually guarantee you and your family a crystal clear, sparkling blue pool all season long. Not only that but you’ll add life to the pool and its equipment as well.
Remember to follow the other 5 Keys to Pool Care. They’re just as important.
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