By Samuel Greenfield

‘What a waste of money’, says the frustrated pool owner as they dump another bottle of sodium bi-sulfate into their swimming pool.

‘My pool is a little hazy but it has only gone swamp-green once this year, so who cares – and I’m too busy to relearn the chemistry I forgot since high school.’

It’s tempting to think pool chemicals are a cash grab. And what is sodium bi-what-carbonate-hypo-chloride anyway?

At Pool Service Canada I am passionate about maintaining proper water chemistry. I want you to literally see and feel the benefits – without turning your pool shed into a veritable museum of half-empty chemical containers.

So why care about testing and balancing your pool water?

Safety first:

  • You must maintain adequate levels of a water sanitizer – typically chlorine or bromine – to eliminate contaminants and harmful bacteria that could find their way into your pool.Think of it this way: you would likely shudder at the thought of settling down into someone else’s used bath water. So why share a pool with a group of other people, if the water is not sanitized? The Canadian government has some helpful guidelines on keeping your pool clean.

Keeping up appearances:

  • Safety considerations aside, who wants to jump into a murky or green pool with slime growing on the walls? Keeping the chemistry balanced helps keep algae from growing in your pool and helps keep it sparkling and clear in appearance.Having enough chlorine in your pool water is the first step. But did you know that the water’s PH can impact how effectively chlorine can sanitize? For example, chlorine is far more effective at a PH of 7.2 than at a PH of 8. This is just one reason why PH should be maintained between the commonly recommend 7.2-7.8 parameters.

Close for comfort:

  • What makes swimming so relaxing is that the water surrounds you entirely. Whether you swim for exercise, for therapy, or just to cool down and splash with your kids, you want to be comfortable in your water. Part of this achieved by maintaining balanced water chemistry to help avoid stinging eyes and itchy skin. For example, maintaining a PH between 7.2 and 7.8 keeps the water’s PH similar to that of the human eye.

A stitch in time…

  • You might compare maintaining proper chemistry to eating a healthy diet or even servicing your car properly. Neglect of water chemistry may literally lead to the damage of your pool and its equipment.For instance, when pool water becomes too basic (PH to high) it is more likely to scale (leave unsightly deposits on pool surfaces). If the PH becomes to acidic it may start to cause corrosion. The reason we test the pool’s Total Alkalinity and add sodium-bicarbonate (literally baking soda) is to buffer, or, prevent unwanted fluctuations in the PH. Consider the following scenario: a pool’s alkalinity is ignored and drops almost to zero. The PH plummets and the water becomes overly acidic. Inside the pool heater, the copper heat exchange is corroded to the point where it starts leaking water inside the heater and requires and expensive repair job. Not only that, but dissolved copper from the heater begins to deposit on a beautiful vinyl pool liner – much to the chagrin of the homeowner.

I hope you can see the merit to regularly balancing your pool’s chemistry – it makes sense not just for your own bathing pleasure but can also save you unnecessary headaches and expenses.

Your pool water will be tested with a professional water testing kit from Taylor Technologies.

We test for:

  1. Chlorine/Bromine (to keep your water clean)
  2. PH  (to keep your water balanced and comfortable)
  3. Total Alkalinity (to keep PH stable)
  4. Calcium Hardness (to keep water balanced, especially in concrete pools)
  5. Cyanuric acid (also known as stabilizer, to protect your chlorine from getting burnt off by sunlight)
  6. Phosphates (to help prevent algae, one common source of phosphates is organic matter such as tree leaves.)
  7. Salt (if salt pool)

For a detailed chart showing the proper ranges for your pool chemistry numbers, please click here.

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