Understanding Basic Water Chemistry
1/25/2016 | Expert Tips
Basic pool chemistry is made up of a few components: pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and free chlorine. Understanding why each one plays a role in your pool’s function is vital to maintaining great water chemistry.
The pH level is the measure of the relative acid or base of the pool water, and it should be maintained within 7.2 and 7.8. Too high pH readings will lead to cloudy water, staining, scale deposits, filtration issues and chlorine will become less efficient. Too low pH readings could cause corrosion to pipework, etched plaster and loss of chlorine. Some recommend testing the pH level daily so you can maintain a level that keeps the water clear.
Total alkalinity measures the pool water’s ability to resist change in the pH level, so if you maintained a good total alkalinity level you’d most likely maintain a good pH level. The perfect total alkalinity level stays within 75 and 120 ppm (parts per million).
Calcium hardness is measured in the amount of dissolved calcium in your pool water, and it should stay between 100 and 500 ppm. Readings on the high side will cause cloudy water and scale deposits, while low readings can cause corrosion.
Chlorine is used to sanitize and disinfect the pool water by releasing free chlorine to control germs, microorganisms and algae. Your free chlorine reading should be between 1 and 2 ppm each time you check, which should be daily because of how often that level can fluctuate.