The Importance of Proper Water Balance

Balance is important in everything we do. If you have too much or too little of something, this can cause problems. This rings true with our swimming pool. Our pool water must be balanced to ensure that our water is happy, clear, and clean for our bathers and that is not corrosive or aggressive for our pool surface and equipment. There is more to water balance that just adding a pinch of this, or a gallon of that. There are five main factors of water balance: pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, temperature, and total dissolved solids (TDS).

pH stands for potens hydrogen, but essentially it is how acidic or basic the water is. We want to maintain a pH ideally between 7.4-7.6 (acceptable is 7.2-7.8). By doing so, this makes our sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) work more efficiently and effectively; protect the pool equipment and pool surface from corroding or developing scale; and provides the most comfortable environment for bathers.

Alkalinity and pH are closely related. Alkalinity is the buffer that helps to maintain the pH properly and resist change in the pH. Maintaining a proper alkalinity level will prevent your pH from bouncing (raising up and lowering down as result of any addition of chemicals or foreign elements into the pool) and pH lock (the inability to adjust pH properly) and causing cloudy water.

Calcium Hardness
Calcium hardness refers to how much calcium there is in the water. Typically, water can be described as soft (low calcium) or hard (high calcium). Generally, in your fill water, calcium will be present and will dictate how much, if any, calcium should be added to your pool to maintain it. If there is not enough calcium, the water will seek it out naturally causing it to become aggressive on the surface and equipment.

Temperature is not a chemical, but physical factor of water balance. While temperature can be easily maintained and adjusted with the use of a heater, temperature does not have a major effect on water balance. Temperatures on the higher end have the potential to increase scale and when on the lower end have to potential for corrosion.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is the measure of all the dissolved matter in the water. This includes any chemicals you add, environmental debris, and body contaminants brought into the water by bathers. To reduce the potential of increasing the total dissolve solids, you can cover your pool during non-usage and require bathers to shower prior to entering the pool.

By keeping the elements of water balance in check, we ensure that your sanitizer works optimally; your pool equipment and surface are protected; and your bathers enjoy the pool to its best!

*This information is obtained from the Certified Pool and Spa Operator Handbook. This information may not be applicable to your pool based on your pool type and location. One should reference all applicable regulations and standards for your facility.

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