Should I Test My Pool Water More Often
You will want to test your pool water if you have reoccurring issues like metals if you’re on well water. Even some city water municipalities can have metals, or higher than normal phosphates. Extra contaminants such as these can make it more difficult to maintain your pool water’s chemical balance. By testing more often, you’ll be keeping a closer eye on your pool water chemicals which means you’ll also be preventing damage and costly repairs down the road.
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.
Testing Your Pool Water Chemistry For Ph Levels
pH levels stand for the total acidity of pool water and are measured on a scale of 1 to 14. Your pool should be in the middle, around 7.3 to 7.7 ppmanything under 6 indicates acidity, and anything over 8 represents alkalinity. The in-between zone is considered neutral and ideal.
Low pH levels lead to:
- Irritation of the eyes and skin
- Pool equipment is more likely to become damaged
- Increased risk of corrosion of ladders, rails, and other metal pool accessories
- Parts of the pool heater are more prone to corrosion
High pH levels lead to:
- Reduced effectiveness of free chlorine
- Unsanitary pool conditions
- Irritation of the eyes and skin
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Swimming Pool Chemical Testing: Methods And Techniques
Checking pool and spa chemical levels is an important practice that pool owners and operators often overlook. Swimming pool chemical testing is critical because it validates water quality and determines the necessary dosages for correcting water chemistry issues.
If your water chemistry is out of balance, you can end up with corrosive or scale-forming conditions that can be very costly to correct if left unchecked for too long. In addition, accurate chemical testing is critical for the calibration of automatic pool chemical control systems.
How Often Should I Test For Salt
To maintain the right salt level and keep your chlorine at 2 – 4 ppm, you will want to maintain your salt level between 2500 – 4500 ppm. This is the industry average, but always follow the manufacturer’s suggested salt level. Salt test strips can be found online and at your local pool store. Your pool store can also test for salt levels when you take your water sample in. It’s quick and easy for them to do.
Test strips are the go-to for most pool owners, and salt water test strips are just like regular test strips. Get a sample of pool water, dip the salt test strip into the water, remove it, then wait for about 15 – 20 seconds for the results to show.
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How To Test For Phosphates In Your Pool Water
There are many kits and test strips on the market that can easily test for phosphates in your pool water. We should know that phosphates will find their way into your pool, one way or another. If you have an outdoor pool, chances are you’re going to have some level of phosphates in your pool water, Call it “Occupational Hazard”.
How To Add Chemicals Safely
- Always read and follow the chemicals instructions to ensure safe use of chemicals.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment and clothing including gloves, footwear and eyewear.
- Handle chemicals in a well-ventilated area.
- Use separate, clean metal or plastic measuring cups for each chemical to transfer or measure chemicals. Never use wood scoops.
- Protect chemicals from moisture and watersuch as a cup of water or coffee. Even putting the wet scoop back in the pail may cause a reaction.
- When applicable, always dilute chemicals by adding to water, never the other way around unless the containers label instructs you to do so.
- Do not mix different chemicals together.
- Do not put spilled chemicals back into their containers.
- Do not smoke when handling chemicals.
- Do not expose to heat or flames.
Where Should You Store Pool Chemicals
Many pool cleaning products contain chemicals that can be hazardous or even deadly if stored improperly. As the Environmental Protection Agency points out, various pool chemicals can potentially be highly reactive and capable of generating high temperatures, as well as releasing toxic vapors if improperly handled or stored.
Avoid fumes, fires, chemical reactions, and other hazards by following the storage instructions on each cleaner carefully. The ideal storage space should be well ventilated, clearly organized, free of leaks or spills, and protected from excessive heat or sunlight.
Above Ground Pool Chemical Tests
To test and balance the water in your above ground pool:
- Take a water sample from about a foot below the surface. Elbow deep is a good reference point.
- Check the alkalinity first.
- Range: 80 to 140 ppm.
- If alkalinity is too low, add an Alkalinity increaser.
- If alkalinity is too high, add an Alkalinity decreaser.
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Measure Cyanuric Acid Levels
CYA is a stabilizer that gets added to certain pool shocking chemicals, such as di-chlor. Its purpose is to prevent ultraviolet rays from burning off free chlorine, making sanitization more efficient especially on hot, sunny days. The ideal CYA measurement for your swimming pool is between 35 and 60 ppm, unless you have a saltwater pool. In that case, aim for 60 to 80 ppm.
How To Test Your Pool Water For Salt
To keep your chlorinator running well, and your chlorine at optimal levels, you want to shoot for a salt level of approximately 3,200 ppm. Once again, specialty test strips are the fast and easy method to determine pool water salt levels.
Using them is a simple matter of collecting a water sample in a test tube, dunking a dry test strip into the tube, removing it, and waiting about 20 seconds for the results.
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How To Test Your Pool Water For Calcium
The total hardness level in your pool should be somewhere between 200 and 500 parts per million . A professional-grade water testing kit is going to be your best friend. The best pro pool water testing kits will test for calcium levels along with chlorine, pH, copper, iron, and other substances.
Youll simply add a chemical indicator to a small sample of pool water and compare the water color to the included color-coded chart to determine whether your pool waters calcium is too high or too low.
Beginners Guide To Swimming Pool Chemicals
I was super excited when I purchased my first Intex Easy Set Deluxe Pool and remember spending every single minute of my free time swimming or just floating in my beloved pool.
Although I did my pre-purchase homework and bought all the right accessories for my pool, I lagged behind on the pool chemistry the most important part of pool care.
As a novice pool owner, I had no idea how important it is to use the proper chemicals to maintain a clean and clear pool. Within a few days, my sparkling clean pool started to lose its beauty and the water started turning cloudy.
That was when one of my dear friends came to the rescue and guided me through the pool maintenance routine. Your pool needs cleaning, toning, moisturizing just like your face. Those were her exact words to me, which I have never forgotten.
I know that there are a lot of excited new pool owners out there who, like me, may be overwhelmed by their new purchase and may need some coaching on basic Pool Chemicals. Then you can enjoy spending more time in your pool and less time wondering which chemicals to use and when.
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Whats The Ideal Range For Pool Water Chemistry Levels
While there is no precisely “perfect” number, your water chemistry should stay within these ranges:
- Total alkalinity: 80120 ppm
- pH: 7.27.8
- Calcium hardness: 200400 ppm
- Cyanuric acid: 2050 ppm
- Chlorine: 2.03.0 ppm
If the levels fall outside these ranges, you risk damaging the pool and incurring both expensive repairs and lost swim time.
How To Use A Pool Test Kit To Check Water Quality
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Estimated Cost: $20
The beginning of warm weather means the beginning of pool season. That’s when it’s time to start checking your water quality. In a typical residential swimming pool, this means you need to routinely check for:
- Total alkalinity
- Acid demand
And there are other tests you might need to do, as well. Don’t worry if you didn’t ace chemistry in school pool test kits are fairly easy to use if you follow the directions.
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Working With Test Kits
Standard kits for testing water chemistry come in several different types. The particular kit used in this demonstration, the 4-in-1 by Biolab Guardex, tests your pool water’s pH, chlorine, acid demand, and total alkalinity. Other available kits are 2-in-1 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 .
Other types of kits include test strips or provide analysis through the manufacturer’s website or an app or online calculator. You can also get a reading by taking the kit to your pool supply store. Be aware that the bottle numbers, vial sizes, and chemicals in this project are unique to this particular brand of test kit. Follow the instructions for your kit usually, you can find them online.
Keeping Swimming Pool And Spa Water Safe
Swimming pool or spa water that hasnt been sanitized properly can make people sick. Possible illnesses include ear infections, stomach infections and skin rashes.
Microorganisms like bacteria and viruses can live in swimming pool and spa water. Even clear water can have microorganisms in it. Maintaining proper water balance with sanitizers reduces the numbers of microorganisms to safe levels.
To keep your pool or spa water safe, you must test the water on a daily basis, especially during times of high use. It is important to always maintain proper water balance in all types of pools and spas, even inflatable pools.
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When To Call A Professional
If you arent comfortable testing your pools water quality yourself, you can always hire a professional. Many businesses will allow mail-in or walk-in with a pool water sample, which they will then test.
Alternatively, consider using a professional service for just a few key teststhe beginning, middle and end of the summer, or after an unexpected storm, for exampleand doing the rest of the tests yourself. This helps minimize any chance of an error with your home test kits and also gives you a second opinion, all while staying hassle-free and affordable.
How To Fix High Iron Levels
Again, because theyre both metal elements, the same remedies to fix high copper levels will also work for high iron levels.
You can use a metal sequestrant, which wont remove the iron, but will keep it from rusting and staining your pool. Just remember sequestrant will dissipate, so adding it must become part of your regular pool maintenance.
Also, controlling pH levels can help control iron levels, so keep a good handle on those.
Finally, a metal trap filter or a hose filter works just as well for iron as it does for copper. So if your water has turned a yucky brown color due to high iron levels, dont worry. Its fixable.
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Gathering A Proper Water Sample
Take samples far from your skimmer and return jets, and well below the surface . Use a clean container test container. If you are bringing the sample to a store, make sure it has a lid.
How Long Does It Take To Balance Pool Chemicals
It may take up to 24 hours to balance pool chemicals properly. The time required can increase or decrease depending on factors like the size and volume of the pool, the quality and condition of the water, whether youre shocking the pool and how many adjustments need to be made using chemicals like sodium bisulfate or calcium chloride. For instance, if you raise the pools alkalinity by adding baking soda, you should wait a minimum of six hours before retesting alkalinity levels.
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How Often To Test For Copper
While its ideal to conduct pool water testing for chlorine and pH levels weekly, its sufficient to test for copper once a month. Testing your water on a regular basis will keep copper levels at bay before you even see its effects. This will mean less work for you as you wont have to remove liner stains on top of addressing the copper in your water.
In addition, because low pH levels can contribute to high copper levels, its essential to test them weekly. Keep them under control, and you may be able to avoid copper buildup altogether.
Testing Based On Chemicals
Maintaining the appropriate chemistry of any pool is the key to ensuring it is safe and sanitary to use. Though your testing kit may test other compounds as well, here are six important ones to pay attention to.
- Chlorine: As the main sanitary chemical in your pool water, check the free chlorine levels at least two to three times per week. Free chlorine levels should stay around 1.0 to 3.0 parts per million .
- pH: The recommended range for pool water pH is between 7.2 and 7.8, with the ideal being 7.4. At this level, the water stays safe for your skin and the chlorine can work effectively. Test pH levels along with chlorine levels, two to three times per week.
- Total Alkalinity: Your pools alkalinity will closely correspond with your pools pH and helps keep your pool water anti-corrosive. Test at least once a week for an ideal range of 80 to 120 ppm, or more frequently if you make pH adjustments.
- Calcium Hardness: Ever heard of hard water? Well, the same thing can happen to your pool if youre not careful. Aim to maintain a calcium hardness level between 175 and 225 ppm or 200 and 275 ppm . Test a minimum of once a month.
- Total Dissolved Solids: Included in this category are substances like pollen, sunscreen and dust. Test at least once a month for a maximum range of 1,500 to 2,000 ppm.
- Metals : Test if you see staining in your pool or if you suspect the water has been exposed to metals. Otherwise, test every three to four months minimum for an ideal 0 ppm.
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How To Fix High Copper Levels In Your Pool Water
If your pool water tests positive for copper, there are some things you can do to combat any issues that may arise.
This is by far the easiest and probably the most effective way of combating high copper levels in your pool water. Metal sequestering agents for pools are metal chelators that are added to the water that protect the metals from oxidizing on the pool surface. This is only temporary as metal sequestrants do not actually remove metals from the water. They lose their efficacy over time and get filtered and backwashed out. You will want to dose your pool per the directions on the bottle and when your pool needs it.
Metal Filter or Trap
I’m a member of 5 professional pool industry groups on Facebook and many pool experts swear by a product called CuLator. It comes as a monthly maintenance kit that helps eliminate metals from your pool water. You add one monthly dose to your pool and it helps eliminate metals and prevents stains on your pool surface. It’s non-toxic, does not change the pH, and each application effectively treat up to 20,000 gallons
All Purpose Hose Filter
This is very similar to a filter you would install on your shower head. Using a filter hose can keep some of the copper from entering your pool.
How To Fix High Salt Levels
To prevent your chlorinator from having to work too hard to assimilate an overabundance of salt, its a good idea to reduce too-high salt levels. You can easily accomplish this by draining a few inches of water from your pool, and adding fresh water to bring the level back up.
Retest, and continue the process until salt levels are back in the optimal range.
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