Testing and Balancing Your Swimming Pool Water

When imagining the life of people with swimming pools at their home, a bright image of summer barbecues, parents enjoying their favorite drinks and kids playing in the water fills the mind. While pool owners do get to actually enjoy this, things are not as simple as they appear.

Plenty of time is also spent on pool maintenance which isn’t as glamorous. One of the most important things that pool owners need to do is to test and balance the water, which means testing and balancing the all the different chemical levels. Pool water changes throughout the year. From dirt, debris, and suntan lotion to the temperature, everything affects the balance of pool water.

As a pool owner, you will need to regularly test and ensure that everything is well-balanced. If you are a new pool owner with no idea how to do this, this guide is for you. From chlorine free pool chemicals, hardness, to pH balancer, every important thing that you need and how the test is done is discussed in this post.

A Note About Adding Chemicals to Pool Water

Before you add any chemicals to the pool, ensure that you turn on the pump to make sure that the chemicals circulate all over the pool. Also, note that only a certain amount of any chemical can be added to the water at any one time.

If you need to add chemicals more than the maximum limit, do so in increments and allow at least 6-8 hours between the additions.  Remember that the pump MUST be running the entire time!  Turning off the pump immediately or too soon after adding chemicals can destroy your filtration system and / or filter cartridges.

Let’s take a Look at How You Can Test and Balance Your Pool Water!

Step 1- Things needed for testing:

  • Water test kit
  • pH balancer
  • Alkalinity balancer
  • Chlorine tablets
  • Water hardness balancer

Step 2- Calculating the approximate volume of the pool

Once you have all the things mentioned above, calculate the approximate volume of your pool. Use the formula Length x Width x Depth x Multiplier= Volume of pool in gallons.

While you can measure the length, width, and depth, the multiplier is different for different shapes of the pool. For oval or round pools it is 5.9 and for square, rectangle, or free-form pools it is 7.5.

Step 3- Testing and Balancing the Alkalinity

Start the process by first testing the TA (Total Alkalinity) of the water. This is the measurement of alkaline materials present in the pool water. It is important to first test the alkalinity, as it functions as a pH buffer.

The alkalinity of the pool water should be maintained between 80 ppm to 120 ppm. Based on your reading, you can use the Alkalinity Increaser to increase the alkalinity or Sodium Bisulfate for reducing the alkalinity.

Step 4- The pH of the Pool Water

pH is the relative acidity of pool water. The ideal pH range for water in swimming pools is between 7.0 and 7.8. If the pH is lower than 7.0, the water of the pool is acidic and if it is higher than 7.8, it is alkaline. Depending on your reading, you can use Sodium Carbonate for increasing the pH and Sodium Bisulfate for reducing the pH.

The working of the filter plays a crucial role in the pH level of the pool water. If you’ve been using the filter for several years, consider buying a replacement.

Step 5- Testing the Hardness of Water

Once the pH is done, the next step is to test the water hardness or calcium hardness. This measurement is the amount of calcium present in pool water. The ideal Calcium Hardness range is between 200 ppm and 400 ppm. If the hardness is low, Calcium Chloride can be used for increasing the calcium content.

However, if the hardness is very high, the only option is to drain the pool partially or entirely and refill it with new fresh water.  A pre-filter may be a wise choice if you live in an area of hard water.

Step 6- Chlorine Content of the Water

Chlorine is added to pool water for sanitizing it and eliminating bacteria and other types of contaminants. It is available in liquid, gas, tablet, and granular form. Try to maintain the chlorine content in pool water between 2.0 and 4.0.

Since the pump is running when you are adding these chemicals, they will circulate throughout the pool and balance it. Apart from testing and balancing the pool water, make sure that you regularly clean the pool filter. You can also buy an additional replacement of Filbur pool filter cartridge for times when you clean the current filter to have easy access to a spare.

As you can see, the entire process of testing and balancing the pool water is pretty simple and you can do it on your own. So, what are you waiting for? Start collecting the items mentioned above and follow the steps accurately to test and achieve the right quality of your pool water.