Finding The Balance With Pool Chemicals

May 27, 2022

Above ground pools have become extremely popular since everyone started spending more time in their own backyard.  With it came the complexity of balancing and keeping your pool clean.  I wanted to touch base on some specifics and try to simplify the process.  There are many products out there that can easily confuse just about anyone about what you need to do to make sure that everyone enjoys swimming in their new pool all summer long.   I would break this process up into two categories -- balancing and sanitization.
Let’s start with balancing…..
The 3 main ingredients to keeping a pool balanced are
  • PH levels
  • Alkalinity levels
  • Calcium hardness levels
 A good PH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6.  If the PH is to low it becomes acidic and if it is too high it is basic water.  After buying your pool, PH increaser and PH decrease would be my next purchases.  You will be using these throughout the summer to help keep your PH right where it needs to be.  There are test strips you can buy for PH balance to let you know when to add.  I would recommend testing once a week. 
Alkalinity helps the PH balance and should be between 100 ppm to 150 ppm.  Alkalinity and PH are so linked that if your PH is too high and you use “PH decrease” it will also take care of you alkalinity.  There is an alkalinity increase product on the market, but there is not an alkalinity decrease product, due to PH decrease taking care of this. 
Calcium hardness levels should be between 175ppm to 300ppm.  If it is too low, the plastic in the pool will start to break down, and if it is too high you will have calcium deposits. 
Now sanitization…..
Chlorine is the most popular liquid used for sanitization of pools.  Chlorine levels should be between 2 and 3 ppm.  Once the chlorine has killed the bacteria it becomes neutral and will not kill any more bacteria in the pool.  This causes the dead organic material to remain in the pool.  This is when you should shock your pool. 
Shocking the pool will use the sun rays to break up the organic material and clear the water.  After this, you simply need to make sure that you have good circulation and filtering.  Skimming and vacuuming will help to get whatever is left out the pool.  There are test strips for all that I mentioned above, in fact, a lot of the test strips can be scanned by your phone and they will let you know exactly what you need to do to keep your pool swim friendly. 
Be sure to stop by Ace Hardware in West Salem or the Mauston NAPA store for all of your pool chemicals and supplies.

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