Your Guide to Testing and Balancing Your Pool Water
Let’s Get Started
Whether you’re a new pool owner of a seasoned professional, testing and balancing your pool can seem like a daunting task. But, with a handful of tools, proper knowledge and a little bit of patience anyone is capable of tackling this task and accomplishing it perfectly time and time again.
The Tools You’ll Need:
- Pool Water Testing Kit
- pH Balancer
- Alkalinity Balancer
- Chlorine Tablets
- Water Hardness Balancer
Once you have all of the needed tools for the job there is one more thing you’ll need to know, your pool volume. You can visit our post here that shows you how to calculate your pool volume but here is a quick reminder:
Length * Width * Average Depth * 7.5 (Square Pools)
Area * Average Depth * 5.9 (Oval Pools)
Once you know your pools volume and have all the needed tools, you’re ready to go!
Balancing The Water
Before you add any chemicals to the water it is vital to TURN YOUR PUMP ON so the chemicals have the ability to circulate around the pool. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that you can only add chemicals in for 10,000 gallon increments. Meaning if you have a 30,000 gallon pool then you’ll need to add in the chemicals in 3-10,000 gallon increments when need be. You should also remember to add them in overtime, preferably 6-8 hour increments. Don’t shock your pool!
The first thing we need to tackle is the Total Alkalinity of the pool. Total Alkalinity refers to the amount of alkaline in the water. The reason why we want to tackle this first is due to the fact that alkalinity will act as a buffer for the pH. The range we’re aiming for with this is between 80-120 PPM (parts per million). Depending on your readout you’ll either need to increase or decrease your alkalinity. To increase you’ll adding in Alkalinity Increaser and to decrease you’ll add in Sodium Bisulfate .
pH is the measure of acidity of the water. Using a pH meter you can test the pH of the water, you’ll then reference this readout to the pH scale. Your pH will range anywhere from 1.0 – 14.0 and the target we’re aiming for is 7.4 – 7.6. If your readout shows below 7.0 that means that your water is acidic (low pH), if your readout if above 7.0 then your water in alkaline (high pH). Depending on the readouts of your water you’ll either want to increase your pH or lower your pH. To increase your pH you’ll want to add in Sodium Carbonate (pH Up) and to decrease your pH you’ll want to add in Sodium Bisulfate (pH Down). Keeping an optimal pH level is vital because it will help with structural stability of the pool as well as ensure that your equipment isn’t damaged.
Testing the hardness of your water is the next step. You might be thinking, ‘How can water be hard? Ice?!?!’ So, to clarify, water hardness refers to the amount of minerals present in the water. When we’re testing our pools water hardness we’re looking at the calcium levels in the water. The ideal range for calcium in the water is between 200 – 400 PPM. If you’re calcium levels are low then you’ll want to add in Calcium Chloride but, if your calcium levels are to high then you’ll need to drain the water from your pool and refill your pool with clean/fresh water.
We can now take a look at Cyanuric Acid, also referred to as CYA. Cyanuric Acid can be found in your pool store labeled under pool stabilizer or pool conditioner. This chemical is primarily used in outdoor pools due to the UV rays from the sun. This chemical is responsible for protect the chlorine from UV burn off thus helping your pools chlorine stability levels allowing you to use less chlorine. The ideal range for this is between 30 – 50 PPM.
Last but not least, we have Chlorine. The purpose of chlorine is to sanitize the pool water by killing off and disinfecting the water from bacteria, ammonia, living organisms and other foreign contaminates in the water. There are several options to choose from when it comes to chlorine which include liquid, tablet and granular form. For a balanced pool you want to keep your Free Available Chlorine (chlorine level) between 2.0 – 4.0.
Now that you have successfully balanced your pool out and all the chemicals have been added it is imperative that you let your pool pump run to allow the chemicals to circulate around the pool.
You are more than capable of balancing your pool on your own and as long as you follow these step we know you’re on your way to being a master in no time. So give it a try, you’ll have a perfectly balanced pool in no time!