One of the most important aspects of properly maintaining your swimming pool is to make sure the water stays in balance. Proper water balance protects your swimming pool equipment and pool surfaces from damage and costly repairs as well as making the pool water comfortable to swim in.
There are a few factors that make up water balance. Let’s look at them;
pH : this is the scale used to measure the active acid or base nature of the swimming pool water. The ideal range is between 7.4 and 7.6, when the pH of the swimming pool water is below 7.4 it is considered acidic and corrosive. Above 7.6 the swimming pool water is considered too alkaline and is prone to scaling.
Alkalinity : refers to the alkaline matter dissolved in the swimming pool water. The ideal range is between 80-120 ppm. Properly maintaining the alkalinity minimizes pH bounce and helps hold the pH level at the correct level. Low alkalinity lets the pH bounce above and below the proper level. High alkalinity will let the pH rise and make it difficult to lower the pH level and is also prone to scaling.
Calcium Hardness : is the level of dissolved minerals ( mostly calcium carbonate) in your swimming pool water. The ideal range is between 200-400 ppm for gunite swimming pools and between 175-400 ppm for vinyl liner and fiberglass swimming pools. Low calcium harness leads to pool equipment corrosion and plaster etching. High calcium levels can cause cloudy water and scaling.
Cyanuric Acid : also known as conditioner or stabilizer. This chemical is only used in chlorine sanitized swimming pools or a saltwater swimming pool. This protects the chlorine from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The ideal range is between 30-100 ppm.
Total Dissolved Solids : this is a measure of all things dissolved in your swimming pool water. The ideal range is between 0-2000 ppm and is very broad range. This factor very rarely is a problem in swimming pools.
Note : We did not discuss sanitizers in this post because there numerous options available and sanitizers are technically not part of water balance. Swimming pool sanitizers are covered in another post.