What Chemicals Do You Need To Maintain A Pool?
When you make the decision to finally get a pool it can be super exciting. You start picturing all the backyard parties you’ll have, relaxing days in the sun, and everything else fun that comes with having a pool. However, while all of those things will happen, it’s important that you don’t neglect your pool in the process. Just like your car need oil changes, tires rotations, washes, and other maintenance, your swimming pool needs the same amount of care. Your pool should be cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. One extremely important part of that pool maintenance is keeping the chemicals balanced in your pool’s water.
WHY BALANCE CHEMICALS?
As your new pool gets broken in and used by your friends and family, chemicals and skin cells from them can allow algae and dirt to start building up. In addition, other particles and debris will eventually find their way into your pool as well whether you like it or not. All of this can cause your pool’s water to become cloudy, discolored, bacteria-prone and overall unsafe for use. You can kiss all your fun pool parties and relaxing days in the sun goodbye if you don’t take the time to properly balance the chemicals in the water.
We know the word “chemicals” can see a bit scary. Many assume you need to be highly educated in order to get the perfect balance of chemicals. However, it’s a lot easier than you think. It really just takes some basic knowledge of pool chemistry and maintenance to get your pool to stay balanced, clean, and safe for you to enjoy.
The first place to start is to check the chemicals in your pool on a regular basis. We suggest you do so as a part of your regular maintenance routine. Regularly balancing the chemicals will help keep your pool from developing long-term issues such as intense algae growth and avoid costly repairs to your pool. A pool is a big investment and we want to help you keep it in good shape so it lasts for years to come.
BASIC POOL CHEMICALS
The following are the main chemicals you should be testing for and using as you maintain your pool on a regular basis. These chemicals can be easily tested for using pool chemical test strips, liquid test kits or at your local pool store.
Pool sanitizers work to neutralize the bacteria, algae, and other contaminants that find their way into your pool. The most commonly used sanitizer is Chlorine. Chlorine latches onto the contaminants and alters their chemicals profile in order for them to become neutral. The most common form of chlorine used is tablets. These are usually placed in a floater in your pool which guarantees uniform distribution of the sanitizer. You should also be shocking your pool every week along side adding the chlorine tabs.
Weekly pool shocks are crucial to a healthy pool. Pool shock helps to quickly raise chlorine levels, kill contaminants, and break up chloramines. Chloramines is also referred to as combined chlorine. When checking your pool chemicals, you will test for free chlorine, combined chlorine, and total chlorine. Free chlorine is chlorine that is free to link with contaminants such as algae or bacteria. It then destroys them and off-gasses them into the atmosphere. After that, it carries on and finds its next victim. Combined chlorine is chlorine that is stuck to other chemicals and cant break free. It becomes ineffective, useless, and can cause a strong chlorine scent. Total Chlorine is literally just the combo of free and combined chlorine. Pool shock allows the combined chlorine to release and off-gas the contaminants in order to increase the free chlorine levels in your pool. Depending on the level of your total chlorine, you will either use a chlorinated shock or non-chlorinated shock.
If you start to notice your pool becoming cloudy or discolored, algae is most likely the culprit. It’s important to regularly inspect your pool for algae spots and check equipment to ensure water is circulating properly. Algae not only creates an unappealing appearance for your pool, but it can be dangerous to the swimmers. Luckily, algaecides can help stop algae in its tracks. However, if you keep up with regular maintenance and chemicals readings, you shouldn’t have to use algaecides very often.
pH balancers ensure healthy pH levels in your pool. This is important in order to keep your pool in good shape and swimmers comfortable in the water. If the pH gets too high or low, the water can begin to bother swimmer’s eyes and skin. This imbalance can also lead to damage to your pool and cause the other pool chemicals to become less potent. The pH in your pool easily changed as anything that comes in contact with it can affect it. Aside from monitoring, we suggest keeping a pH increaser and decreaser on hand.
The purpose of alkalinity balancers is to ensure proper Total Alkalinity levels in your pool. Total Alkalinity measures the amount of alkaline substances found within your pool. While it is different from pH, it is closely tied with it as it directly affects your pH levels. We suggest keeping an alkaline increaser along with your other chemicals. Although a decreaser doesn’t exist, the pH decreaser you have on hand can help lower alkalinity as well.
CALCIUM HARDNESS BALANCERS
The amount of calcium in your pool is what determines the hardness of the water. Calcium levels depend on where you live and where you got your pool water from. Low calcium levels lead to corrosion in your pool plumbing and equipment while high levels can damage the surface of your pool. Having to deal with these types of costly damages can be a headache, so monitoring the calcium hardness regularly is important. This will keep you stress free and extend the longevity of your pool.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Along with understanding the importance of each of these chemicals, you should also make sure to read all labels in order to know how to safely use them. For example, some chlorinated shocks give you a time frame to wait before allowing swimmers back in your pool.
Pool chemistry can become easy once you understand all you need to know. However, we know not everyone feels comfortable using them or has the time to dedicate to it, and THAT’S OKAY. If that’s the case, we recommend hiring a professional to take the needed time to give your pool the proper care and maintenance it needs.
Our pool service maintenance techs here at Aquaman Pools are highly knowledgeable and have years of experience with pools. Chemicals come included with our weekly service and we include all chemicals readings within our post-service email we send after each service. Our mission is to allow pool owners around Phoenix and surrounding areas enjoy their pools, while we do the rest.