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How To Test Pool Water For Calcium Hardness

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What If The Water Is Too Hard

How To Test and Adjust Calcium Hardness in a Pool

If the calcium hardness level in your pool gets too high, the water will be hard. The first indication will likely be a cloudy pool.

Normally, you can clear cloudy pool water with pool shock. But if the cloudiness doesnt dissipate after shocking, especially if you try it a couple of times, it could be too much calcium in the water.

If left unaddressed for too long, you may also notice a buildup of calcium sediment on pool surfaces. When that happens, its timepast time, reallyto reduce the amount of calcium in your pool.

If Algae Growth Has Happened

Brush the algae off of the walls and floor. Clean the filter, then shock the pool with chlorine. After that, add the phosphate remover. Keep in mind that phosphate remover is hard on the filter, and you will notice reduced ow after a day or two. Clean the filter again after 24 to 36 hours of circulation.

The Effects Of High And Low Hardness

Specifically, water with high calcium hardness gets cloudy unless the alkalinity and/or pH are low enough to compensate. As mentioned, the excess calcium carbonate will precipitate as crusty, grayish white scale on surfaces, piping, and equipment. It’s unsightly, can cause abrasions on users and snag bathing suits, and makes a good anchor for microorganisms. It will clog filters. When it builds up in piping, circulation is reduced and pressure increases. Scaling is an especially acute problem in heaters because calcium’s solubility is inversely proportional to temperature: As temperature increases, less calcium is able to stay dissolved. Scale on the pipes or coils acts as an insulator, slowing heat transfer. This makes it more expensive to heat the water. Over time, thick scale will cause a heater to fail.

Water with low calcium hardness will seek more by dissolving it from surfaces it comes in contact with that contain calcium, such as plaster, grout, and concrete decking. The late Dr. Neil Lowry, a well-respected instructor in our industry, preferred to call water with low calcium hardness “aggressive” rather than “corrosive” because the latter term implies the destruction of metals. The corrosiveness of unbalanced water, he would tell his students, comes from poorly maintained alkalinity and pH.

  • pitting of concrete pool surfaces
  • cloudy water
  • clogged filters and reduced circulation through piping
  • pitting of concrete pool deck
  • heater inefficiency

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Total Hardness Information For Balancing Your Pool

Testing Calcium Hardness: We recommend taking a sample of your pool water to a dealer test station or using an advanced test kit.

What is Calcium Hardness?Calcium hardness is the measure of how hard or soft your pool water is, and measures the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in your swimming pool. Just like pHand total alkalinity, its important to keep the calcium hardness balanced to prevent your pool water from becoming corrosive or scaling. However, before you attempt to balance your pools calcium hardness level, first make sure your pools total alkalinity level is balanced, then the pH and lastly calcium hardness. The ideal range for calcium hardness is 150-400 ppm . To determine if your swimming pool is properly balanced use our Langelier Saturation Index calculator.

Facts And Myths About Calcium Hardness In Water

How To Test and Adjust Calcium Hardness in a Pool

As with every other aspect of water chemistry, calcium hardness in water also needs to be in balance to protect your pool surface from calcium formation, stains, or corrosion. So, unlike pH and chlorine, the calcium level in most pools does not vary greatly over the seasons, so testing every few months is normally sufficient. Consequently, high or low calcium hardness can cause white staining on pool surfaces, etching, or discolouration. Remember, the trick is to maintain the calcium at the right level.

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What Is The Best Way To Test Pool Water

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!

Calcium Reductionthe Natural Way

One way to reduce calcium hardness is to pump out water using your pool cleaner or vacuum hose. Doing this during long periods of soaking rain when your pool is likely to overflow is best. In short, this method removes the high calcium water from the pool while at the same time, the rain refills it with fresh water that contains no calcium. So, doing this several times a year can have a huge impact on the calcium levels in your water. And its free!

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The Role Of Calcium Hardness In Water Balance

While hardness in water consists of both calcium and magnesium salts , only the calcium component is relevant in the water balance calculation for pools and spas. Called the Saturation Index formula, it considers the interrelationships of four chemical factorscalcium hardness pH total alkalinity, as corrected for the contribution of any cyanuric acid stabilizer in use and, to a much lesser extent, the total dissolved solids levelplus one physical factor, water temperature. All but the mathletes among us use a water balance calculator like Taylor Technologies’ Watergram® to do the number crunching involved. The value one arrives at reflects the water’s degree of saturation with calcium carbonate.

When the SI value is zero, the water is properly balanced. Its calcium hardness, pH, and total alkalinity are acting in harmony with one another. When the SI is +0.5 or more, the unbalanced water is trending toward scaling, meaning conditions are right for calcium carbonate to come out of solution and deposit on surfaces as “scale.” When the SI is -0.3 or less, the unbalanced water is trending toward corrosivity. Corrosive water attacks plaster, concrete, grout, and metal, resulting in etching, pitting, and surface stains and/or colored water caused by metal pulled out of piping, fittings, and equipment.

Products: Phosphate Test Kit Minikit 5in1 Multi Pooltester

How To Test Calcium Hardness In Swimming Pool Water

Do you have green and/or cloudy pool water? You could have an algae growth, a common problem for many pool owners. Algae is more likely to grow in sunlight, warm temperatures, low chlorine levels, and at high phosphate levels. Phosphate have the potential to feed and encourage algae growth in your swimming pool. If algae growth an be avoided, it safes a lot of effort and money.

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Reduce Or Raise Calcium Hardness Effectively

Calcium hardness is never a good or bad thing. It simply refers to the pH level in your pool.

In the presence of excess calcium in your pool, it will become cloudy and be exposed to algae growth, resulting in a horrible sight to behold. Also, if the pH level is below 150 ppm, that is not good enough. So to keep pH at a minimum level, make sure you change your pool water regularly and keep the pool clean at all times. If the pH level is too low, add baking soda or a dose of formulated calcium to it to raise the level to acceptable standards.

How To Lower The Calcium Hardness Levels

There are several ways you can take to lower the hardness level of your pool water.

  • If you know the water from your tap in your area isnt hard then you can drain part of the water in your pool and refill with fresh water.
  • If you dont have the option or option 1 then your next option is to use a flocculant to bind the excess calcium and filter it with your sand filter. It really helps when doing this to brush the walls thoroughly to lift the calcium deposits from the walls.
  • The last option is to use a dry acid to raise the saturation levels in your pool. This wont reduce your hardness but will bring your water back into balance.
  • Maintaining a properly balanced water is one of the most difficult parts of owning a pool. Calcium hardness is probably the most difficult to maintain when it get out of range. This is hindered further if you have hard water on tap. However, whist the balance can be difficult, with the right information you can overcome these problems and have a healthy safe pool.

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    What Order Do You Balance Chemicals In

    The order you balance your chemicals in is just as important as the quantities you use. For safe and accurate results, you should always test in the following order:

  • Start by testing alkalinity and making adjustments as needed
  • Next, test and adjust pH levels as needed
  • Third, test and adjust calcium hardness as needed
  • After taking these three steps, you can add sanitizer, test CYA levels, measure TDS levels, and shock the pool, as described above.

    How To Test Pool Water With Kit: Stay On Top Of Your Pool Chemistry The Easy Way

    How to Test Calcium Hardness in Pool Water?

    Now the summer months are well underway, you need to make sure you stay on top of the water quality in your home swimming pool.

    If youre new to pool ownership, youll soon discover you need to monitor the following metrics regularly:

    • pH levels
    • Total alkalinity
    • Acid demand

    With most standard pool test kits will accurately test for these factors, you can also encounter the following specialty tests:

    • Chloramines

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    Calcium Hardness In Aquaculture

    Hardness is an important water quality parameter that must be controlled to create the best environment for fish to grow. Calcium is important in the formation of bones and teeth, and in other biological processes.

    High levels of calcium in the surrounding water will prevent the fish from losing sodium and potassium from their bodies. These two ions are essential to normal heart, nerve, and muscle function. Regular monitoring of calcium hardness will create a more conducive environment for fish to grow.

    For more information about the key test parameters in aquaculture take a look at our case study on Water Testing at London Zoo.

    What Chemicals Do You Need For A Pool

    Certain items on the list below are essential to keep on hand, such as pool shock chemicals, which are used to sanitize contaminated water. Others, such as stain removers, may not be necessary for every pool owner. You should consult with a pool care and maintenance expert, like the pool service technicians at Latham Pool Products, to determine which chemical products are right for your swimming pool needs. With that in mind, here are a few common pool chemicals you might want to learn about:

    Tile and Vinyl Cleaners: If you own a tile or vinyl liner swimming pool, you may want to look into cleaners to help maintain that day-one shine.

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    How To Test Your Pool Water Chemicals

    There are three different ways you can test your pool water chemistry: using pool test strips, using a pool testing kit, or using an electronic device. Each method has pros and cons. First, lets take a step-by-step look at the how-tos of each testing method.

    Just remember: no matter which method you choose, its important to test and balance your water regularly ideally, at least two or three times per week. Regular water testing will help ensure that your pool remains cloud-free, crystal-clear, and most importantly, safe to swim in.

    Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Pool Test Strips – How to test your pool water Calcium Hardness

    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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    How To Test Water Hardness In Pool

    Calcium dissolves easier in cold water.Calcium hardness if calcium levels in the water are low, pool surrounds or grout can be eroded by the water.Calcium hardness is the measure of how hard or soft your pool water is, and measures the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in your swimming pool.Calcium hardness should be measured once a week.

    Calcium has the most influence on the total hardness context of your pool water.Calcium, magnesium, and other trace elements are naturally present in your pool water, and you want these in your water.Determine how many ppm you are from the midpoint of the ideal calcium hardness range.Dip a test strip approximately 18 inches below the water surface, or as directed by the test manufacturer.

    Ever so cool, lean forward and palming the test strip so its not visible, move your hand back and forth in the water for 10 seconds , and then get up and return to your chair, and compare the results.First test your pool for calcium hardness.Grab some water from the pool, and add the chemicals or test strip.Have had pool for a very long time but never tested for hardness before so i am at a loss as to how to calculate.

    Rinse and fill sample tube to 25 ml mark with water to be tested.Sample should turn red is hardness is present.Schedule for testing pool water for calcium.Schedule for testing pool water for iron.

    Causes Of Excess Pool Calcium

    Excess calcium in your swimming pool is typically the result of a bigger issue with the chemicals in your pool water. As most pool owners can tell you, when it comes to water, balance is, well everything: If your pool waters pH is off-kilter, or if your total alkalinity is too high or too low, youll likely end up battling algae, cloudy water, and, of course, calcium deposits.

    Of course, chemical imbalances arent the only cause of excess calcium. Water temperature is also a contributing factor: As water temperature rises, calcium becomes more likely to precipitate out of solution. Calcium is actually more soluble in cold water, which is why scaling of heater equipment is so common.

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    Reduce Pool Water Hardness Without Chemicals

    An alternative method that works to reduce calcium hardness is to pump out water using your pool cleaner or vacuum hose during periods of soaking rain when your pool is likely to overflow. This method removes high calcium water from the bottom of the pool while at the same time, the rain refills it with fresh water that has no calcium at all. Also, doing this several times a year can have a huge impact on the calcium level in your water and best of all, its free!

    Calcium Hardness: How To Fix And Maintain It

    Test Kits For Calcium Hardness

    This article may contain links from our partners. Please read our Disclaimer for more information.

    Download our free Pool Maintenance Starter Kit and learn how to manage your pool affordably and efficiently.

    Download our free Pool Maintenance Starter Kit and learn how to manage your pool affordably and efficiently.

    Having a pool is a dream for most prospective homeowners, but it takes a lot of hard work to maintain one. One of the many things pool owners and pool professionals will have to deal with is calcium hardness.

    Increasing calcium hardness in a pool is a challenge for many if the calcium level in the water seems to be too low. On the flip side, how to lower calcium hardness is another challenge if the calcium level is too high.

    This article addresses calcium hardness, what it means, and how to deal with it. So make sure you till the very end.

    • Sulfates
    • Chloride

    All these minerals combine to form total calcium hardness in the swimming pool. But, unfortunately, they also come together to cause cloudy water.

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    Water Softener With Submersible Pump

    Personally, I have had luck with using regular water softener and a submersible pump as my calcium hardness reducer. It went from 700-200 in almost two weeks.

    Ideally, any resin-based water softening unit will work. You simply need to pump water through it via any pump you have handy.

    Just pump the water via the softening tank and then pipe it back to the pool.

    A submersible pump is a water pump you drop into your pool, the kind that they typically use for water ponds and stuffs.

    Calcium Hardness Test Kits

    Quality test kits usually include a test for calcium hardness, plus other important water balance and sanitation tests.

    The most accurate way to test calcium hardness is with a water hardness test kit. You can find inexpensive water hardness test kits, or more useful pool test kits that provide a wide range of water tests, including a test for calcium hardness. The following are example test instructions for a Taylor brand test kit, so they cannot be applied to all test kits. Always follow the instructions on the test kit.

  • Rinse out and fill the comparator tube.
  • Fill the tube according to the test kit instructions, 20mL for Taylor.
  • Add 20 drops of calcium buffer reagent , then swirl the comparator tube to mix.
  • Add 5 drops of calcium indicator solution , then swirl to mix. The mixture should turn red.
  • Add the hardness reagent drop by drop. Count each drop and swirl the mixture after each drop. Do this until the mixture changes from red to blue.
  • Multiply the hardness reagent drops by 10. This value is your calcium hardness, in parts per million .
  • If this value is below the ideal range , your test kit includes a chart showing how much calcium chloride to add to your water based on your pool size and amount you need to add in ppm, as you need to raise the calcium hardness level in the pool water.
  • If the test result is high, then you need to partially drain the pool, as you need to lower the calcium hardness.
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