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How To Balance Your Pool

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Total Dissolved Solids: 0

How to Test and Balance Your Pool

Total Dissolved Solids are exactly what they sound like this is a measurement of all the solids dissolved in your pool. This includes minerals, salts, and metals, as well as other inorganic and organic materials suspended in the water. If this measurement is within range, youre good to go! The only time you need to worry about adjusting pool water balance here is if your TDS reading is higher than 2500 ppm. At this point, its best to consult with a Leslies pool professional about partially draining and refilling the pool. The best way to replace the water is to drain a foot of water, then add a foot of water, repeating this process until you reach desired TDS levels. As TDS levels get higher, it can get progressively harder to balance the water.

Keep in mind that salt water pools will have a higher TDS level because of the higher salt content. The rule of thumb is that TDS levels should not be higher than 1500 ppm above the salt level reading.

BONUS TIP: If you have to drain water from the pool, the chemistry will change once you add fresh water back in. Once you have reached the desired levels of Calcium Hardness, Cyanuric Acid, Total Dissolved Solids, and/or Salt, you’ll need to reassess the other aspects of water chemistry to ensure they’re within the ideal range. Let the pool recirculate for at least an hour at high speed, and collect a new water sample for testing.

Create A Maintenance Schedule

As you learn more about your pool and how to care for it, your to-do list might start to seem a little intimidating. Creating a pool maintenance schedule makes it easy to stay organized and make sure important tasks dont slip through the cracks.

Not only will you be able to stay on top of basic upkeep, but youll be able to plan ahead for more advanced pool maintenance tasks like closing your pool, caring for it during the off season, or getting your swimming pool ready to roll when pool season returns.

Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Pool Test Kits

Pool testing kits require users to collect small samples of pool water, which change color depending on their alkalinity, pH and chlorine levels when mixed with a reagent. To use one, follow these instructions:

  • Collect a water sample from at least 18 beneath the surface of your swimming pool
  • Measuring as precisely as possible, fill the test vials according to the kits instructions. Be sure to rinse out each test cell with pool water before using
  • Add the correct amount of reagent to each tube, following the kits directions carefully. You may need to gently shake the sample once it has been sealed shut
  • Compare the sample colors against the label on the testing kit, looking for the closest match
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    How To Lower Your Pools Ph

    If your pools pH is above the ideal 7.2 to 7.4 range, this means we must add something to bring that pH down. But does it really matter which chemical you choose to lower pH? Heres some helpful information on todays top three pH-lowering chemicals:

    • Muriatic acid: Muriatic acid is the most common pH lowering chemical, widely available and very effective but it is also the most hazardous to handle with both liquid and vapor forms being harmful to people and equipment. Muriatic acid also lowers alkalinity requiring remediation usually through manual additions of sodium bicarbonate.
    • Sodium bisulfate: Sodium bisulfate is very similar to muriatic acid except that it is in a dry form either in granules or more recently in puck form designed for specific erosion feeders. Sodium bisulfate also lowers alkalinity, much like muriatic acid.
    • Carbon dioxide: Another option for lowering pH is carbon dioxide or CO2. However, unlike the other two acids, CO2 will result in a gradual increase in alkalinity. One of the most efficient ways to balance pH and alkalinity is to set up a combo system of CO2 and either muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate and feed either in balanced unison or one at a time manually with a crossover switch. This can keep the alkalinity in the proper ranges without ever having to manually add chemicals to adjust the alkalinity.

    What Is The Best Way To Test Pool Water

    How to Balance Your Pool Water Chemicals

    No single method is right or the best its simply a matter of finding what works for you. Many pool owners prefer the speed and simplicity of test strips, while others prefer using test kits, which do not need to be replaced as frequently.

    Experts often recommend test strips for beginners, because they provide reliable results with minimal effort and cost. As you gain experience and become more comfortable with the water testing process, youll likely develop a preference of your own. In the meantime, the pool service experts at Latham are here to help answer all of your questions!

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    Like Everything In Nature Water Will Always Strive To Be In Balance

    If your pool water is correctly balanced, this means that the waters chemical demands have been met. However, if chemical levels are out of the ideal ranges, the pool water can affect other areas of your pool. For example, it could seek the missing elements it needs by attacking the pool’s surface and equipment or depositing additional elements onto the surface and equipment. This can lead to more expensive problems later if not corrected.

    Also, if not properly balanced, the pools sanitising process can be impaired.

    Sanitiser – Chlorine

    Chlorine is the common sanitiser for your pool. Having a sanitiser in the pool water at recommended levels will eliminate most of the bacteria in the water. The recommended Chlorine level in a standard outdoor pool is between 2.5 – 3.0ppm . Read more about chlorine and sanitising below.

    The main ‘variables’ that affect the sanitising process are :

    Balance Pool Water With A Pool Chemical Levels Chart

    Balancing your pool is easy when you know all the right steps. If you followed along with this post, then you should now have a perfectly balanced pool.

    But if youre more of a visual learner, or just want some reference material then youre in luck.

    Fill out the quick form below to download a free Pool Chemical Levels Chart to use for adjusting chemical levels. With all the information you need on one page, youll save a bunch of time and balance your pool twice as fast.

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    Can You Add All Of Your Chemicals At Once

    You should never add all of your chemicals at the same time. This needs to be done in a process and may actually be completed over the span of a day or two.

    There are two reasons why:

  • Adding all of your pool chemicals at once can cause dangerous chemical, even potentially causing an explosion from the chemicals. You should never mix chemicals together.
  • Its best to add chemicals slowly. By doing this you will avoid seesawing the chemical levels which can happen if you make large adjustments at once. What you want to do instead is add smaller amounts of chemicals, retest the water to see the impact of the adjustment, and add more chemicals if necessary.
  • Basic Sanitizers That Raise Ph How to use it to Balance your Pool Water

    High pH can cause cloudy water and create scale, which is a crystalline buildup of inorganic materials, like calcium, that creates a white film around your pools water lines.

    Higher pH can greatly diminish sanitizer and disinfectant performance in the water. It is important to understand that you get higher chlorine efficiency at a lower pH so it is advisable to operate on the low end of the range if your saturation index allows. For homeowners, the most common primary sanitizers that increase pH are:

    • Sodium hypochlorite: Commonly known as liquid chlorine or bleach, sodium hypochlorite has a natural pH of around 13 and is rarely used on pools alone because its very unstable.
    • Calcium hypochlorite: Calcium hypochlorite, or cal hypo, is both an oxidizer and sanitizer and is the most frequently used in the pool industry. With a pH around 11.8, depending on the concentration, cal hypo will require acid remediation to help lower the pH.

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    Understanding Water Balance In Swimming Pools

    H2Oh! – Understanding the chemical composition of a healthy pool

    A “balanced” swimming pool means keeping the five basic pool water components within their proper levels. These components work together to help the sanitizer work more effectively. For a visual representation, see the Pool House.

    That’s why sanitizing and balancing are equally important in having a healthy pool. This is especially important when you are opening your pool for the season after winter, when refilling or with a new pool. Remember, water balance is constantly changing – test your water weekly!

    Even with normal use, many unwanted items can be introduced to your pool. These items can prevent chemical treatments from doing their job, make the water unhealthy or unappealing, or all of the above. The two most important things to remember about healthy pools are that they must be sanitized and they must be balanced. Balancing your pool water and keeping pool chemicals in their ideal ranges will help ensure that your water will not harm your swimming pool or swimmers.

    Water Balance Components

    Total Alkalinity

    Total alkalinity refers to how much alkaline is in the water, but you can’t fully know the importance of total alkalinity without referring to pH because the two influence one another. Low alkaline water leads to low pH and high alkaline water leads to high pH. A pool should have a total alkalinity level of 100 ppm.

    pH Levels

    Calcium Hardness


    Total Dissolved Solids


    Start By Testing Your Water

    The first thing that you should do before you start adding chemicals is test the water. You also want to make sure youve got your pump on as that will help to circulate the chemicals throughout the pool.

    Most experts recommend testing pool water 1-2 times per week.

    As you test and wait for the results, you can get your supplies ready for adding chemicals. Youll also need to know your pool volume.

    The easiest way to calculate your volume is to use a pool volume calculator like this one.

    Your test kit should cover chlorine, cyanuric acid , pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

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    The Difference Between Blue And Balanced Pool Water

    Contrary to many assumptions, blue pool water is not always an indication of a healthy pool. A swimming pool that is healthy and fit for use by all needs to observe a crucial chemical measurement balance. There are several chemicals used in swimming pool maintenance to ensure the water is balanced for your swimmers. Failure to balance the water, along with having adequate disinfection, filtration, and circulation, can lead to a swimming pool that can be hazardous to personal health, as well as destructive to the pools condition.

    What affects pool water balance?

    Swimming pool water is prone to change in the time between service visits, and this leads to challenges in chemical balancing. Many factors, like changing weather and temperature, a high bather load, and contaminants are going to affect the balancing of your pool water. As such, filtration, circulation, and disinfection, as well as making sure the chemical measurements are in concert, is how you balance your water. Your pool technician has to add enough chemicals to not only balance the water for today but also to ensure the chemicals last for another 7 days until their return. This can be difficult especially with major changes in weather , a large rainfall, or extra swimmers in the pool .

    Balancing pool water:

    The difference between blue water and balanced water in swimming pools:

    Bryan Banta, President of B& B Pools, Inc. & a Certified Pool Operator

    Focus On The Essentials

    Water Balance for SWGs

    To avoid potential problems , it is best practice to regularly test and balance your pool water. When analyzing your pool water, consider the three most important factors water comfort, water clarity, and protection. These three elements focus on

    • Creating healthy and safe water
    • Promoting clean and transparent water
    • Striving for water that lacks particulate matter
    • Establishing disease prevention routines
    • Prolonging the life of your pool equipment

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    A Simple Guide To Balancing Your Swimming Pool Water

    If youre new to swimming pool care, testing and balancing the chemicals can be a daunting process. There is a learning curve to water care, but its not steep.

    Heres 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. Heres what youll need:

    • Test kit.

    • Stabilizer or conditioner.

    Step 2: Calculate the volume

    The next step involves knowing the volume of your pool water. If you dont 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.

    Step 3: Test

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

    • Free available chlorine.

    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 its not safe to add more chemicals than recommended at one time.

    If your water test shows you need more than the recommended level, youll 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 . If you need to increase the alkalinity, add an increaser. To lower it, youll add a sodium bisulfate.

    Step 6: pH

    Dont Forget To Balance Your Water Before Closing Your Pool

    If you havent yet closed your pool you are probably making plans to get the closing process underway. While you are thinking about cleaning out the debris, putting away your summer pool toys and accessories and getting the cover out, dont forget to balance your water chemistry before closing your pool. Preparing your water for the harsh winter weather is important to prevent your pool liner or surface from staining, protect pool equipment and makes for an easier spring opening.

    There are some considerations beyond adding chlorine and algaecide that help to prepare your water properly and provide many benefits for a long, cold winter. The following chemicals should be considered when closing your pool:

    • Chlorine shock add shock in either liquid or granules at a rate of 1 gallon or 1 pound respectively per every 5,000 gallons of water.
    • Algaecide a poly or copper based algaecide will prevent algae growth with long lasting effectiveness and should prevent algae growth until you open your pool next spring.
    • Stain prevention If you experience any problems with staining or metal in your water, stain and scale control products help to keep metals such as iron and copper in controllable limits to prevent water discoloration and staining.

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    Helpful Water And Chemical Balance Guidelines For Closing Your Swimming Pool

    By neavestaff

    Its about time to close the swimming pool, but try to hold back the tears the salt could throw off your pools chemical balance.

    Were kidding, of course, but if youre thinking, Who cares about the chemical balance? Im closing the pool anyway, its a good thing youre here.

    Even though your pool will be covered and quiet for the next few months, its important to maintain the water and chemical balance before you close it. Closing your pool properly can save you a lot of work and expense when it comes time to open it back up for the summer.

    Lets take a look at why chemical balance is important, and what you should do before you pack away your swimsuit.

    Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Pool Test Strips

    POOL CHEMISTRY 101: How to Keep Your Water Balanced | Swim University

    Pool testing strips can quickly measure pH, alkaline, and chlorine levels. You can also purchase specialty pool strips to measure total dissolved solids , salt or other substances. Heres how to use them:

  • Hold the strip underwater for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Remove the testing strip from the water, be careful to keep the padded side facing up
  • Wait 15 seconds. Do not shake any excess water from the strip, as this may interfere with accurate results
  • Compare your strip against the label on the package until you find the closest match. You may need to adjust pH or other levels, which we explain below
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    My Ph Is Too High But My Alkalinity Is Ok: Add Sodium Bisulfate

    Sodium bisulfate is our preferred way to lower pH, as opposed to muriatic acid. It is much safer to store and handle. It is also far easier to dose accurately, vs muriatic. A high pH is a by-product of salt chlorination systems or by over aeration of the water. If you have a water feature or bubbler jets that run a lot you may simply need to get into the habit of regularly lowering your pH.

    If all of this stuff about swimming pool chemistry is too ‘sciency’ for you. We’ve got your back. Just head on over to our POOL CHEMISTRY CALCULATOR. We use this tool ourselves. Not that we need it, but it’s faster than doing math in your head!

    Cyanuric Acid Or Stabilizer

    Most chlorine products you add to the water will be stabilized chlorine. However, if you start with fresh water, you might want to add some cyanuric acid as a stabilizer base so that the chlorine doesnt get burned off by the suns UV rays so quickly. This chemical will protect your chlorine from the sun.

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