One of the most important steps in swimming pool maintenance is maintaining water balance and, to understand what water balance is, it is important first to know the reasons why a balanced swimming pool must always be attained.
A good water balance in a swimming pool must have a pH reading that falls in the range of 7.4 to 7.6 to attain a safe water condition where there are no presences of germs and bacteria; therefore, if your pool is either using a salt-based pool producing chlorine or a chlorine-based tablet pool, then the pH of the water needs to be corrected for the chlorine sanitizer to function effectively. The pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity level of the pool water, such that a reading of 0 to 7.0 reflects an acidic water level and a pH reading from 8.0 to 14.0 means the pool water is basic or alkaline. Because the ideal pH reading of 7.4 to 7.6 must be maintained in a pool water, it means that the right water balance is slightly alkaline or slightly neutral.
The effects of attaining the right pH level of the pool water are: low pH reading (below 7.4) allows for chlorine to dissolve quicker, which means the pool water when maintained with chlorine or bleach will make the water more acidic, causing skin and eye irritation, and corrode the pool liner, ladders, hand rail and pump, while a high ph reading (above 7.6) males the pool water to be more alkaline, which makes the chlorine or bleach used for disinfecting pool ineffective, which results into bacterial and germ presence in the pool, as well as introducing corrosion to the pool accessories. Another way to measure the right water balance in a pool is, aside from the pH reading, is using a device that measures the alkalinity reading of 100 ppm (parts per million), which is the ideal alkaline condition in a pool.
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Part of a good water balance is also determining the ideal amount of calcium in the water, which is 300 ppm, because if the calcium reading is below 300 ppm, this means there is less calcium and this can cause erosion of the pool plaster, while too much calcium, above 300 ppm, could make the pool water cloudy such that scaling and stains may build up.
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Knowing that chlorine or bleach is normally used to disinfect the pool, a stabilizer must also be added to make the chlorine stay longer just enough to make disinfection work.
In addition to maintaining the water balance in the pool, sometimes there is need to either drain some water or add fresh water; the reason to this is that all water contains dissolved minerals that remain in the pool and become concentrated when the water evaporates, and when this happens, it is hard for chemical additives, that are applied to the pool for maintenance, become effective.