The number one question I get asked every year is" how do I keep the water in my swimming pool clear". I know it can be rather confusing especially when you walk into a pool supply store and see so many different chemicals to choose from. Do not be intimidated because it really is quite simple. As a beginner, you need to know a few basic things in order to have a good insight in water treatment. Two very important terms you need to familiarize yourself with is alkalinity and pH. This is the key to proper water maintenance.
Alkalinity is the term that describes the balance of a substance or the buffering capacity that water can tolerate before it becomes dangerous. Alkalinity is not the same as pH. It simply regulates the pH levels and the metal contents. Water that has a low level of alkalinity is easily susceptible to change in pH, while water with high levels of alkalinity can easily resist changes in pH levels. The ideal alkalinity reading should be in the range of 80 to 150 ppm. (Parts per million).
pH is the abbreviated form of potential of hydrogen or power of hydrogen. It is the measurement of how acidic the water is. The lower the ph, the more acidic the water; the higher the ph the more alkalinity. The pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.6. The pH can be altered due to acidic rain, decomposing leaves, grass and neglect.
The four basic chemicals:
- Shock (chlorine)
- Ph increase (soda ash or sodium carbonate)
- pH decrease ( muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate)
- The first thing you want to do is make sure that your filter is clean and the psi is reading between 10- 12psi. If not, you need to backwash and clean the filter. Check for leaks in the filter hoses. Leaks will cause the filter to suck air and lose psi pressure which will impede the filters production.
- Know how many gallons of water your pool holds. This is very important because the chemicals are added to the pool based on how many gallons of water are being treated.
- Purchase a chemical start up kit at your local pool supply store. The kit will contain the four basic chemicals needed to start the process. Follow the manufacturer directions and make sure you wear rubber gloves and eye protection.
- Circulate the chemicals for at least 16-24 hrs. and then test the water with your test kit. Submerge the tester at least 16 inches below the surface of the water to get an accurate reading. If you followed the directions on the back of the chemicals your test levels should be fine. Make sure the chlorine test levels are below 3.0 ppm before you get into the pool.
- You will add chlorine to the pool between 3-4 times a week depending on use and weather. After it rains (acid rain) you will definitely add chlorine.
- Keep the swimming pool covered when not in use.
- Use the skim net or leaf guard to clean the bugs, grass and leaves off of the surface daily.
- Vacuum at least 3 times a week or when needed.
- Do not mix Bacquacil chemicals with other name brand chemicals. This turns the water milky and the only way to correct this is to drain the pool and start over.