There are 5 major aspects to balancing swimming pool chemicals in a chlorine pool. These 5 aspects are key to keeping your chlorine swimming pool water chemistry in balance, and should be checked on a weekly basis to help reduce the chance of unwanted algae and bacteria from growing. Algae and bacteria will cause a pool to turn green, attract mosquitoes and other bugs and make a pool less healthy or even dangerous to swim in. Here is a breakdown of the important things to look at to ensure a clean safe pool to swim in.
1) Water Hardness Level
Water hardness level is the first key to balancing swimming pool chemicals, and consists of two components: Direct Hardness Level and Indirect Hardness Level.
Direct Hardness Level – Hardness in your water is direct result of the source your water comes from. When the water hardness is too high, it makes balancing swimming pool chemicals difficult. The biggest things that make water hard are dirt and partials (Magnesium and calcium from the dirt and atmosphere to be exact) that are in your water when it arrives at your house from wherever it came from. If you get your water from a well it will have a different hardness level than if you get it from the city you live in. Some communities have harder water than others. It all depends on the source.
Indirect Hardness Level – Hardness in a pool is indirectly affected by the various chemical compounds that dissolve in your pool’s water. As you add chemicals to your pool and they do their job, they get used up and start to add to the harness level of your pool’s water chemistry.
When water gets too hard it has no room to let the chemicals that balance a pool to dissolve and work, and it has a tendency to start creating deposits or minerals on your pool’s floor and walls and pool equipment due to the high concentration of the minerals in the water. When water hardness is to low (this is not the case too often) water is corrosive and will start eating away at your surfaces. In this case you can add a chemical called Calcium Chloride to bring the harness level up.
Perfect water hardness levels should be between 200-400 ppm of minerals to be safe and effective. If water in your pool becomes too hard the only way to resolve it is to drain your pool partially or completely, and refill it with new fresh water.
2) Chlorine Level
The chlorine level in the pool is the second key to balancing swimming pool chemicals. When talking about sanitizing a chlorine pool and killing unwanted algae and bacteria, chlorine is the most important chemical to have. It is important to keep this chemical in balance though, because if you have too much it can irritate swimmers’ skin and eyes and be unhealthy, and if you have too little then algae and bacteria can grow.
There are two forms chlorine takes when it is in your pool. I call the two forms “Useable Chlorine” and “Used Chlorine”. Combined (Useable and Used) make up the “Total Chlorine” in your pool.
1) Useable Chlorine (AKA Free Chlorine) is the chlorine that is actively working, sanitizing and killing unwanted algae and bacteria in your pool. This useable, or free chlorine level, is the most important chemical to keep in balance. The minimum useable chlorine there should be in your pool is 1 ppm. Less than this and there will not be enough to sanitize and kill. The most useable chlorine there should be in your pool is 10 ppm. More than this, and it becomes irritating and unsafe to swim in. The ideal range for perfect pool chemistry is to have 1-3 ppm of free, useable chlorine in your pool.