Wouldn’t it be great if you could just fill up your pool and enjoy it forever…maintenance free? I know I dream about it! The reality is that, just like our houses and cars…and tons of other things…our pools need our attention and, aside from skimming out bugs and leaves, chemicals are the primary way of keeping the pool clean…and it’s a balancing act.
I won't say it's fun (though you might), but it is important to your health and the longevity of your pool...not to mention your overall enjoyment of the significant investment you made to have a pool.
When it comes to pool chemistry, the three key elements we are balancing as pool owners are:
- Total Alkalinity
In the simplest terms, chlorine kills the bacteria and microorganisms; pH ensures the water is neither irritating nor corrosive; and, total alkalinity stabilizes pH fluctuation.
So, what’s the big deal if ideal levels for each get out of whack (to use a technical term)?
Again, keeping this simple, high chlorine is health hazard and can smell bad (see NOTE below). Low chlorine will not sufficiently kill algae and other microorganisms. Low pH (acidic), can lead to skin + eye irritation, along with damaging (corrosion + staining) your pool walls and concrete. High pH (alkaline) can lead to calcification which can reduce circulation in your pipes, promote clogging of your filters and cause the pool to look cloudy. Low total alkalinity (TA) can lead to accentuated fluctuation in pH, stained pool walls + floors, corroded metal, and green coloration of the water. High TA makes it difficult to maintain pH, leads to cloudy water and reduces the effectiveness of the chlorine as a disinfectant.
NOTE: At the risk of providing too much information, the "chlorine smell" from high chlorine levels is actually a sign that, counter-intuitively, you likely need to add more chlorine. Chlorine itself is odorless but, over time and thru the influence of things like lots of sunlight, the chlorine combines with other elements. That "combined chlorine" level is what causes the smell, but combined chlorine is ineffective in killing bacteria + microorganisms...which is why the smell indicates you need to add more chlorine. Of course, you'll want to mitigate that chlorine smell, too. For more information on that, just drop me an email. I am an NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operator, which means I have training in pool chemistry that exceeds the basic understanding typically found among pool builders.
Some people like putting in the time to keep their pool chemically balanced…just as some people like working on their cars. If you’re not one of those people though, hiring a pool maintenance professional may be a better solution. Yes, it’s an additional investment, but worth every penny versus the consequences of having a pool that spends extended time out of chemical balance.
Like anything, all pool maintenance pros are not created equal. We have our favorite maintenance companies, depending on where you live. If you think that’s a better solution for your, and would like a recommendation, just give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll be happy to direct you to people we know and trust.
For the rest of you DIYers, I tip my hat to you and your devotion to your pool!