You are tracking and maintaining your pool water and what can happen if you don’t. Regular pool water testing and balancing of the chemicals are essential for ensuring a safe, relaxed swimming environment and preserving pool finishes and equipment durability.
Failure to check and conserve water quality can damage or cause corrosion to the pool features, materials, and equipment. But, most of all, it can cause water conditions that might hurt swimmers and cause various diseases.
Avoid the irritations, hazards, and dangers to those using your pool by keeping the water appropriately maintained. Testing the chemistry is very easy. Your daily routine should include collecting water quality data so you can treat it appropriately.
Different ways are available for testing pool water:
The main products for examining pool water chemistry are test strips, a four-in-one test kit, and testing tablets. But the pool test strips can provide a reliable reading for chemical levels in pool water, and most consist of step-by-step directions that are simple to follow for first-time pool owners.
What Is the Best Way to Use Pool Water Test Strips?
Using pool water test strips is relatively easy. First, remove a test strip from its container without contacting the test pads and dip it in the water sample. Next, remove from the water and hold it face up, letting off any excess. Wait for 10 to 15 seconds before comparing the strip to the color chart shown on the test strip box. Chemicals should be added to your pool according to the test results. Test strips are probably the most acceptable approach available if you’re searching for an inexpensive, reliable, and easy method of testing your pool water.
So, which chemicals must be tested for? First, let’s take a look at the four most essential chemicals for a trouble-free, swim-ready pool.
Chemical levels in pool water must be tested and balanced.
In order for water to be healthy, four chemical levels are important: free chlorine, calcium hardness, pH, and total alkalinity. These chemicals, together with cyanuric acid (a type of water conditioner frequently referred to as “sunblock for pool water”), act in unison. Having them at the proper level helps create sparkling, swim-ready water.
If a water test shows that one or more chemical levels are excessively high or excessively low, the signal is to act. You’ll know whether to add chlorine, muriatic acid, sodium bicarbonate, or other pool treatments based on the water readings.
Chlorine in a pool, whether in tablet, liquid, or powder form, destroys a variety of viruses, bacteria, and organic waste such as sweat, urine, and feces. In addition, chlorine cleans the water, removing most microorganisms that might be harmful to swimmers.
The term “free chlorine” refers to chlorine in pool water that is fresh; it has not yet reacted with any impurities. It will, however, be hazardous to swimmers and pool equipment if there is too much or not enough of this compound in the water.
Pool water becomes prone to several negative impacts when there is insufficient free chlorine to combat invading pollutants.
Algae might flourish and make the water murky, leaving slimy green spots on the pool’s floor and sides. The undesirable green visitor can also cover the cartridges in some types of pool filters, demanding more frequent cleaning and shortening the product’s lifespan.
Without enough chlorine, the water’s appearance may become hazy due to organic materials brought in by the wind and swimmers, such as sweat, make-up, skin oil, and sunblock.
Worse, insufficient chlorine provides a safe habitat for water-borne illnesses. When swimmers (particularly pets) add biological materials, such as urine or bacteria invading an open wound, there is insufficient sanitizer to kill the microorganisms. As a result, the possibilities for the spread of pathogenic bacteria and the diseases they cause grow.
On the other hand, high levels of free chlorine generate a series of issues. Too much might harm swimmers’ eyes and damage their skin. In addition, high levels of this chemical can produce harsh, bleach-like fumes that are both unpleasant to inhale and damaging to the lungs of swimmers.
Pools require enough free chlorine to eliminate germs and toxins, but not so much that it is toxic to pool users. It’s all about striking a balance between 1.5 and 2.5 ppm. Pools equipped with ozone systems and ultraviolet sanitizers use far less chlorine—only. 5 to 1 ppm.
It is evaluated from 1 to 14 on a scale: The numbers 1 through 6 indicate acidity; the numbers 8 through 14 show the amount of alkalinity. The neutral range is 7.3 to 7.7 ppm, which is where pool water should be.
Swimmers’ eyes and skin can be hurt by water with a pH level that is too low. Low pH can also cause damage to pool equipment, such as ladders, railings, and other metal-based accessories, as well as elements of the pool heater.
When the pH of the water is excessively high, the efficiency of the free chlorine in the water is reduced, which can lead to unhealthy swimming conditions. Water with a high pH range might be hazy, and like water with a low pH, this might cause skin itch and eyes to sting. The ensuing combination with high pH spells problems if the pool’s alkalinity and calcium hardness levels are also higher. An unbalanced chemical triad can form a rough scale on the pool’s skimmer, interior surfaces, different equipment fittings, and some types of automatic pool cleaners.
Total alkalinity (TA) is the mixture of all alkaline chemicals present. Total alkalinity should be between 90 and 120 ppm in a pool to be effective.
Alkaline is crucial in pool water chemistry because it strongly impacts maintaining a neutral pH level. pH levels may change if the TA level is too high or too low; frequently, if the TA level goes down, the pH will be off as well. Low TA is problematic. Low TA is an issue. Burning eyes and swimming in murky water are only two risks for everyone who uses the pool. The pool has a significant impact. The water becomes “aggressive,” attacking metal pool accessories and equipment such as rails, ladders, and the heat exchanger in the heating system.
A high TA level in the water, on the other hand, might irritate swimmers’ skin. It can also diminish the efficiency of free chlorine, promoting algae and bacterial development, plus lots of other problems associated with low chlorine levels.
Calcium hardness determines the hardness of pool water, showing whether it is too hard, too soft, or just perfect. Pool plaster takes the brunt of the damage if the hardness rating is too low, indicating that the water is soft.
Desperate for calcium, the pool water collects it from the most acceptable source available—the pool plaster! The once smooth internal surface becomes etched and full of ugly pitting as the mineral seeps out of the components.
It takes a lot of calcium hardness to bring about any issues, so the higher the calcium hardness, the greater the issues. Unpleasant scaling, calcium deposits can form on the pool’s interior surface, resulting in grey, white, or brownish areas across the collection.
If the pH and alkalinity are both increased, as does the calcium, the news is much worse. The scale may accumulate and cause havoc on the pool pump, heater, and DE or cartridge filter components.
Extreme cases of scaling that have gone uncontrolled may necessitate a costly and time-consuming task that no pool owner wants to undertake: emptying the pool. But, unfortunately, that’s what it takes to acid wash it and remove all of the mineral buildups.
Do not allow this to happen. Check that calcium levels are between 200 and 400 ppm to avoid out-of-control calcium and its associated consequences.
Pool Water Test Strip Benefits
Pool water test strips are inexpensive, rapid, and effective. Some claim they are more accurate than liquid test kits. The strips are easy to use, and as long as you can distinguish between colors and have good eyesight (or at least reading glasses), they are pretty easy to read. The package includes a color chart to compare to the strip you dipped in your water sample. This will indicate to you what levels in your pool water, if any, have to be adjusted. Most strips will test for many items at once. For example, the chlorine, bromine, pH balance, total alkalinity, and total hardness values are provided by the 5 in 1 strip. Cyanuric acid will also be tested using the 6 in 1 strip. You may also get strips that test for phosphates, bacteria, salt, and total dissolved solids.
Testing your pool water and maintaining the chemicals in balance is critical for the longevity of your pool as well as the health and safety of your friends and family that swim in it. To achieve this goal, test your water weekly with pool test strips to check that levels are appropriate. In addition, maintaining the chemistry of your pool correctly will allow you and your family to enjoy your private resort for many years to come.