Quick Guide: How To Clean A Chlorine Generator Cell
Note: An expired salt cell might be the problem. The average lifespan of a salt cell is three to five years in most SWCGs, after which you need to replace the old cell with a new one that will produce sufficient chlorine.
Test The Pool Water Again
Wait about an hour and then test your pH and alkalinity again. If theyre back in balance, then your job is done.
But if theyre still off, youll have to repeat the process, adding as much soda ash as you need in order to get it in normal range.
The water will be a little cloudy, but it should clear within a few hours or so.
> > Read: How to clear cloudy pool water
If youre still having problems getting the pH balanced, you could have other issues that are throwing it off.
Test all the levels to see if there is another problem. Correct chlorine and calcium hardness levels if needed and test the pH again.
Also, make sure your pool is as clean as you can get it, since leaves and debris will cause it to be unbalanced.
Monthly Salt Water Pool Maintenance
As a general rule you should ensure that the following levels are checked at least once a month. It’s common for them to fluctuate during times of high usage or extreme weather so you should keep that in mind throughout the year. You may find that these levels don’t fluctuate throughout an entire year while other pool owners will notice significant changes.
You might be interested in our pool maintenance cost page that provides some estimates for how much you can expect to spend monthly and yearly depending on whether you maintain your pool yourself or hire a professional pool service.
Recommended Reading: Vdara Pool Cabanas
Hydrogen Ions Are Key
With the help of Richard Falk of WaterGuru, aka chem geek of Trouble Free Pool, we have created a very accurate spreadsheet that takes into consideration all the sources of hydrogen ion change in pool and spa water. There are equilibrium shifts for CYA, borate, carbonate, ionic strength, calcium hardness and temperature plus the starting pH and alkalinity.
You probably already know that the percentage of HOCl and OCl_ are determined by the pH. At pH 7.5 there is about 50% HOCl and 50% OCl_. Raise the pH to 8.0 and the percentages are 22% HOCl and 78% OCl_. When HOCl converts to OCl_ a hydrogen ion is released according to this reaction:
HOCI OCI + H+ Hypochlorous acid is in equilibrium with hypochlorite ion and hydrogen ion
The H+ is either liberated or used depending on the pH of the water. When it is liberated, it is then counted as part of the total hydrogen ions in the water which we call pH. The more H+, the lower the pH and the less H+, the higher the pH. This is just one example of a hydrogen ion source in the water.
Another example is carbonate to bicarbonate:
HCO3 CO32 + H+ Bicarbonate ion is in equilibrium with carbonate ion and hydrogen ion
Calculating the amount of hydrogen ion released or used is quite complex and there are about 30 different equilibrium reactions to consider with each requiring a separate calculation.
It Can Make Your Sanitizer Weaker
Pool water sanitizer, like chlorine, becomes less effective at killing bacteria, pathogens and algae as your pH level rises.
What this means is, as you move towards the higher end of the pH scale, youll need to add double or even triple the amount of sanitizer in your pool in order to achieve the same level of sanitation.
Recommended Reading: Is Jones Beach Pool Open
How To Achieve The Perfect Saltwater Chemical Balance
Although you ultimately want to assess the overall levels of your poolyou dont have different test strips for each chemical for a reasonthe perfect chemical balance lies in checking in with your salt, cyanuric acid, free chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Remember, some of these chemicals influence each other, like pH and total alkalinity. So if youre seeing a general trend between these two, make sure youre treating them both in tandem.
Before we get leveling, make sure that you have mined salt thats at least 95% pure, cyanuric acid, a pH increaser, alkalinity increaser, and a calcium hardness increaser. Thats all you need.
How To Determine The Correct Swcg Percentage Setting
To know the right SWCG percentage setting to produce the ideal level of chlorine for your pool, you have to be aware of few things and they are:-
1). Determine the right FC level for your pool. FCL in your water goes hand in hand with the level of Cyanuric acid in your water.
2). Measure the actual FCL in your water and compare it with the appropriate FCL in your SWCG. Testing FC level should be done in the evening so that when it’s low, you adjust your chlorine generator percentage setting appropriately.
3). If the level of FC in your water is low, increase the percentage of your SWCG to produce more chlorine and reduce the percentage if the FCL is high.
4). If the FC level is not balanced within an hour, wait for 48 hours and repeat steps 2 and 3 until your FCL is balanced with the Cyanuric acid level in your water.
You May Like: Do It Yourself Fiberglass Inground Pools
What Is Swimming Pool Ph
pH stands for potential hydrogen, which represents the ability of a substance to attract hydrogen ions.
Basically, its the measure of how acidic or alkaline your water is or in this case, your swimming pool water.
This is measured on the pH scale from 1 to 14, with 1 being extremely acidic and 14 being extremely alkaline. A pH level of 7 is considered neutral, as in neither acidic nor alkaline.
To put this in perspective:
- Lemon juice has a pH level of 2
- Urine has a pH level of 6
- Tap water has a pH level of 7
- Seawater has a pH level of 8
- Bleach has a pH level of 13
The ideal pH level for your pool water is 7.4 to 7.6, or slightly alkaline.
Why Should You Lower Your Pool’s Ph Balance
If your pool has a pH balance that constantly gets a little too high, you could start to notice some pretty significant problems.
It can even be dangerous for swimmers, killing the chlorine benefits and posing some serious health concerns.
Here are some things you might see:
- Skin and eye irritation
- High chlorine demand
- Cloudy water
Clogged filters and scaling may not sound like a big deal, but when you consider that it can affect circulation and put a strain on your pool equipment, you might start seeing dollar signs.
Imagine, for example, that you get some severe scaling in a pipe, which causes your water not to be able to move through it at the same speed.
In this case, your pump is still pushing water through your pipes just as fast as it was before, but now your system cant quite handle it.
This can cause pipes to burst or your motor to burn out, both of which can result in some pretty expensive repair bills.
Recommended Reading: Keep Wasps Out Of My Pool
Guide To Raise The Ph Level In Your Pool Safely
If you have a swimming pool at home, youll need a pool testing kit to ensure that the water levels are all properly balanced.
If the water in your pool is too acidic, this will corrode your equipment, and its likely to bring about etching on surface materials. Beyond this, acidic water will irritate your eyes, nose, and skin.
If, on the other hand, your pool water is too alkaline, this can cause scale to develop on the surface as well as all over your pool plumbing gear.
Neither of these scenarios is ideal. Excessive acidity or alkalinity both impact the efficiency of the chlorine in your pool, and resultantly impede the process of disinfection.
When youre checking the pH level in your pool, you should aim for somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8. On the pH scale, 0 is extreme acidity, with 14 representing extreme alkalinity. 7 is neutral, so youre shooting for just the alkaline side of neutral.
Now, before we show you how to raise the pH level in your pool, a few more basics so you can proceed better informed
The Secret Of Saltwater: How It Works
Lets shatter this myth once and for all: saltwater pools dont technically sanitize with salt . I know, the name makes it a little more confusing. But actually, saltwater pools use good old chlorine just like traditional poolsexcept it generates chlorine on-site, and keeps the levels so low that you hardly know its there. That means that even though your pool is sanitized, you wont have your hair turning colors, your skin burning, or your floaties and swimsuits getting slowly eaten away. Believe it or not, exposure to high concentrations of chlorine can make that happen.
Its not difficult to understand how your saltwater pool works. The salt cell, or generator, draws in the dissolved salt in your water, and then converts it to chlorine using a process called electrolysis. Through this process, it is able to circumvent oxidation, which is what usually produces common chlorine byproducts called chloramines. Its not technically chlorine that wreaks havoc on swimmers. Its chloramines, their noxious, uncomfortable spawns. Without those, its as if youre shocking your pool every single daywithout the work.
In order for your saltwater pool to stay efficientand that means cost-effective, as wellyoull need to make sure you have a powerful, dependable saltwater generator. Otherwise, youre just waiting for maintenance mishaps to happen.
Recommended Reading: Intex Pool Warmer
What Causes Low Pool Alkalinity
The following points are to be considered as culprits for pool alkalinity
- Use of dry acid or muriatic acid. These chemicals, although useful in treating swimming pool water, are notorious for reducing pH concentration in water. A way of fixing this is by applying only a prescribed dose of the chemical in case there is a need to lower your pools pH. Then you can test your pools alkalinity level after 6 hours.
- It probably rained hard. Rainwater might be low in alkaline levels, and when it rains hard, your pool may become flooded, and this will affect the average alkalinity of your pool.
- If you drain or backwash your pool, adding freshwater with a low alkalinity level is bound to deplete the overall pH of your pool.
Use A Bucket To Lower Alkalinity More Than Ph
You cant lower Alkalinity without lowering pH, just as you cant raise Alkalinity without raising pH, but there is a method to favor one over the other. Use a bucket to raise or lower Alkalinity more than pH.
The pool Alkalinity Bucket Trick is really just a play on the maxim, to lower pH more walk your acid, to lower alkalinity more pool your acid, and it results in a more rapid exchange of hydro-carbons, in a smaller area with low circulation.
One more tip for correct pH and alkalinity testing, a titrant test is much more accurate than test strips. I always recommend the Taylor K-2005, but if the $75 price tag is too much, take a look at the $20 Taylor Troubleshooter, for a very reliable titrant pool pH and Alkalinity test kit.
If you have any other questions about pool pH or alkalinity chemicals that we didnt cover, or need to see our pH and alkalinity dosage charts or for any specific pH and alkalinity problems you are having, please leave me a comment below! I answer them personally!
Also Check: Should I Run My Pool Pump All The Time
Regularly Test Your Water
The best way to know whats going on with your pH and the rest of your swimming pool chemistry is to test it.
Not just at the start of the pool season. Not every once in a while. And not when something goes wrong. You need to be testing your pool water regularly and consistently.
When one aspect of your pool chemistry falls out of line, it creates a ripple effect that eventually impacts other aspects of your chemistry and ultimately upsets your pH level.
Heres what you should be testing and aiming for:
- Water pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6.
- Total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 parts per million .
- Sanitizing agents should be between 1 and 3 ppm.
- Pool stabilizer should be around 50 ppm if using chlorine products to sanitize.
- Calcium hardness should be between 200 and 400 ppm. Ideally 300 ppm.
Can I Use Baking Soda To Raise The Ph
Yes you can. But there are a couple of drawbacks.
- Baking soda is only about half as efficient at raising pH.
- Baking soda not only raises the pH, it also raises the total alkalinity. What that means in practice is that you should only use baking soda to raise pH when the total alkalinity is significantly below its desired range of 80-120 ppm. If the total alkalinity is close to or within the 80-120 ppm range, the danger is that baking soda will over-raise the total alkalinity: and then you will suddenly be two chemical levels out of whack instead of just one.
Why Is The Ph Low
When the tendency of the pool runs toward a low pH, it is usually the consequence of more than one factor. First, water in the pool from municipal water supplies may be naturally acidic. This most commonly occurs in areas where the water is very soft and mineral content is low. Exposure to sunlight also makes chlorinated water more acidic, as does heavy rainfall where the pH of rain is typically low. Aggressive treatment for high alkalinity in the pool by adding excessive amounts of muriatic acid can also result in a low pH pool.
What Causes A High Ph In A Swimming Pool
It happens all the time. Swimming pool pH climbs, or sometimes spikes, and all sorts of problems like calcium dust and carbonate scale can occur. But what causes high pH in pools? Why does the pH sometimes climb, and other times stay relatively steady? In this article, we will discuss pH and how it shifts, and offer some remedies to correct the pH, based on each situation.
Key points in this article:
Don’t Miss: Can You Heat An Above Ground Pool
How Do You Know If The Water Balance App Or Calculator Is Right
Water balance calculators whether on-line or an app have limited ability, and most are created by using the acid and alkalinity tables that have been around for years that are seriously wrong or inadequate. Here is an easy test to figure out if the recommendations you are getting from your water balance app is correct or helpful.
Enter gallons of 10,000, a pH of 8.0. TA of 140 ppm, CYA of 100 ppm, borate 0, a temp of 80°, a calcium of 350 ppm and TDS of 800 ppm. You should also input a goal or target pH of 7.5 and 100 ppm alkalinity.
Your program will hopefully recommend an amount of acid that is near 100 fl oz. which will lower the alkalinity to 100 ppm. If not, then it should recommend an amount of acid near 31 fl oz which should lower pH to 7.5.
If your program has an acid dose of near 100 fl oz, then did it give you the new pH? If not, your pH will now be between 6.6 and 6.8 as you can see from table 6. So if you now input the new pH of 6.6 and an alkalinity of 100 ppm into your program, what is the recommendation? It will probably tell you to add soda ash to raise pH. The amount will be about 100 oz. This will make the pH 7.5 but your new alkalinity will be 170 ppm! Is this the right advice? Did your program balance your water?
If your program had an acid dose of near 30 fl oz it means that it is lowering the pH to 7.5 from 8.0. The pH is now okay but what will the alkalinity be? Did your program tell you the new alkalinity? If not, the new alkalinity will be 130 ppm.
Simple Science Goes A Long Way
Maintaining the proper balance of chemicals in your pool is a continuous process. Any new material that enters your pool , will influence the waters chemistry. In addition to pH, it is important to monitor total alkalinity, calcium hardness and total dissolved solids. Pool health is also your health, your time and your money. With the proper professional products and weekly testing, maintaining balanced water chemistry will become an efficient, simple process.
Also Check: How To Raise Chlorine Level In Pool