A balanced swimming pool is a healthy pool. But it is truly a balancing act, made more difficult because of the various elements involved. Pool water balance involves calcium hardness, alkalinity, and pH levels – too low or too high will always lead to problems. There are other pool chemicals whose levels are balanced or at least in a “safe range.”
It’s a little confusing if you haven’t worked on your pool’s water balance before. But we make it simpler for you. Pool water quality is based on the water’s level of pH, which depends on alkalinity. When the pH level of the water is too high, you’ll notice that water is cloudy or with scaly deposits. No, it’s not the epoxy coating.
Meanwhile, when the water has a very low pH, the surface and equipment you use for your pool can corrode and etch. Most people add chlorine to solve the problem temporarily. But too much of the chemical can irritate the eyes and skin. Sanitisers can cause trouble, as well. If you forget to reach their recommended range, you’ll find your pool teeming with contaminants like algae and bacteria.
Water balance is essential, and you should focus on the three most important aspects of it:
- Pool pH
- Calcium Hardness
- Total Alkalinity
Understanding Pool pH
Let’s talk about pH first. The pool water’s pH level is a measurement of the basicity or acidity, from 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral. When the pH level is below 7, it’s acidic, which is a corrosive environment. Anything else above 7 is basic, which causes scaling and the formation of cloudy water.
The best pool pH is considered around 7.6 to 7.8. Everything has a pH of some sort, and this means that everything going into your pool will have an affect on the pH, or be affected by the water’s pH.
When the pool pH is below 7, you should add a base to increase the pH and avoid any corrosion. If the pH is above 7.8, the potency of chlorine is reduced due to its inability to dissolve in scale forming water. You need to add an acid to lower the pH levels and prevent the formation of scale and assist minerals to dissolve.
What is Calcium Hardness?
Calcium hardness is a measurement of the softness and hardness of the water. How exactly is water hard? When its calcium or magnesium content is higher than normal, it is considered hard. Both calcium and magnesium can deposit themselves on the surfaces of the pool, as well as on the lights and ladders. As a result, your water looks cloudy.
Just like water pH, calcium hardness is essential in maintaining water balance. Murky pool water and the appearance of scale and stain are among the signs of hard water. When you measure for calcium hardness, it should be lower than 400 PPM. The best range, however, is typically 280 – 320 PPM.
Keep calcium hardness in its optimum levels by adding a calcium increaser when it is too low. Water that’s too soft or has low calcium can corrode the surfaces.
How to Manage Total Alkalinity of Your Pool
Total alkalinity tells you the level of hydroxide, alkaline, and carbonate substances in the water. It should hover around 160 – 180 PPM.
Total alkalinity is connected to pH, since it buffers the water’s pH levels, meaning alkalinity stabilises pH. So, when total alkalinity is too low, the water’s pH can become erratic. What you’ll need to do is to raise the alkalinity (if it is low) by adding a base. Please choose a product that specifically says it increases alkalinity.
If the pool has a high TA, you can lower it by adding an acid. It’s quite tricky because doing so will reduce the water’s pH levels. You need to find the right balance between the alkalinity and pH of the water. Certain types of products affect alkalinity more than pH, though. However, there’s still the process of minding the pH and TA as you raise or lower these two elements.
The Trick to a Healthy and Safe Pool Water
A common misconception about epoxy coatings is that they cause murky or chalky water. It’s certainly untrue because it happens to pools with rubber-based or plastered coatings, as well. AquaSheen has worked and studied to find the reason for this water problem. We have discovered that epoxy coats are not at fault. Achieving a balanced epoxy painted pool, however, is not always the same as any other pools.
Here’s an example.
If your pool’s total alkalinity is too low, minerals found in the water can become inconsistent. This happens especially to calcium carbonate. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reacts to the water, forming a white precipitate of calcium carbonate.
You immediately know this reaction took place when you notice scale, which feels oily and greasy. It does somehow resemble paint, which is why pool owners think it’s epoxy. If left on the surface it will act as an abrasive and cause the paint to get damaged, therefore when you rub your hand over the surface you could find a coloured residue. It’s important to correct water balance, but equally important to remove scale and residue by brushing the surface and filtering settlement away.
So, what should you do when you have this kind of chalking or murkiness? The answer is to adjust the water chemistry. Here’s how you do it for your epoxy painted pool:
- Test the total alkalinity and make sure it is around 160 – 180 PPM.
- You can add a chelating or sequestering agent. Don’t apply before reading the directions.
- Add a clarifier (also known as a flocculant) to help bind free particles together. The filter will then trap them. If you have a filter cartridge of five microns, that would be ideal. However, a 30-micron cartridge may not work here. The use of filter enhancers and clarifiers will help.
- Filter the pool, allowing it to run for 16 to 20 hours every day for five days. Backwashing your sand filter or cleaning cartridges when filter pressure increases is important.
- Your job is not complete yet. You still have to brush the sides of the pool vigorously for the next five days while the filtering system operates.
- Check the calcium level of the water. It should be around 280 – 320 PPM.
Follow the steps above, and we guarantee that your pool water will become clearer and healthier. The most important thing that you should do, however, is to adjust water chemistry accordingly.
When you have a newly painted pool, a chelating agent is necessary, especially in the summer, when your pool is quite busy. Chelating or sequestering agents help control stain and scale. Also, it is best if you brush the walls of the pool at least once per week.
When you have an epoxy painted swimming pool, you should test the water balance two to three times weekly and adjust chemicals when needed. You can run the pump after adding chemicals, which will help distribute them evenly.
If you have to add more than one chemical, add one at a time. If you insist on adding them all at the same time, you can apply them into different parts of the pool. Follow the instructions indicated on the chemical containers, always add chemicals to water and never the other way around. Never mix chemicals together.
Test and adjust to achieve water balance in the correct order. First, check alkalinity and then proceed to pH before finalising the process with calcium.
Pool water balance is significant, not only to your pool and its surfaces but also to the health of the swimmers. When water elements are unstable and incorrect, expect unsanitary pool water and a stained and corroded pool.
Test and balance – repeat whenever necessary. That way, you can enjoy a safer epoxy coated pool with less cloudiness and less stress!