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Pool Maintenance: Understanding Chemicals and Testing

Having a pool is amazing fun during summer (or even winter if it’s heated), but most people don’t know that it requires a certain amount of upkeep. Keeping on top of the chemicals required and solving common issues with pool maintenance can be difficult. 

Struggling with chemicals can feel like an uphill battle at times, and some people even decide to let their pools go green or cover them for large sections of the year so they don’t have to deal with them. This guide to pool maintenance will help you understand your chemicals and the tests required so you can enjoy your pool more often. 

Why is Pool Maintenance Important? 

Pool maintenance can be a chore at times, but it is essential. Aside from helping make the pool more visually appealing to swim in, it is also really important for keeping the pool healthy for both the people swimming in it and for the various pool structures. 

Without appropriate maintenance, there can be build-up of various chemicals or plant life which can make it unpleasant to swim in. The build-ups can also create clogs in the piping around the pools, back ups in the filters, and destroy all the careful work that it took to construct your pool in the first place. 

Depending on the type of pool you have, some of these build-ups can even threaten the structural integrity of the pool lining, with some crystal formations being really solid, and potentially ripping through the lining of the pool. This could create a leak that ultimately ruins the fun for the summer. 

What Chemicals Are Required?

Common pool chemicals include chlorine (to kill off any germs), calcium (to keep the water from corroding pool structures), acid (to lower the pH of the pool), and sodium bicarbonate (to raise the pH of the pool). 

All of these pool chemicals have specific roles in maintaining the health of the pool, and keeping pool water safe for both people and structures. There are specific tests for pool water which can be sold as a pool water testing kit, which comes with all the tests required, as well as everything you need to carry out the tests. 

How to Test The Pool

When taking a testing sample, you want to get about elbow deep in the water. This ensures that you are getting a sample that is representative of the water as a whole, not one solely from the surface that has been altered by exposure to the heat of the sun. 

The next step is to take a little bit of the water and test the pH level. This can be done on a paper strip, liquid reagent, or with an electronic reader. You are looking for the pH range to be somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8 to be safe for both people and your pool equipment. 

The next step is to check for alkalinity. This is done to help ensure that the pH will remain within a good range; you are aiming for around 100-200 parts per million (ppm). 

Calcium hardness is next on the list. The appropriate hardness for a pool varies based on what it’s made out of. A concrete or tiled pool would require a hardness of around 200-400 ppm, whereas one made out of vinyl or fibreglass only needs a hardness of around 100-250 ppm. 

Chlorine is the final thing to test for, and it only needs to be present in very small doses of around 2 to 3 ppm. If you find your chlorine is often disappearing or you are frequently getting algal blooms, try adding an acid like cyanuric acid to stabilise the chlorine, and add this at 30-50 ppm. 

Pool Maintenance Tips

Looking after your equipment is really important for effective pool maintenance. It can be easy to forget, but these chemicals are hazardous if not handled correctly especially chlorine. Make sure to store them away from light, somewhere safe and not too warm. 

You should also make sure that no children are able to get anywhere near any of these chemicals for their own safety. 

Aside from safety tips, looking after a pool just requires regular, routine maintenance with testing at least once a week. Testing once a week allows you to get on top of any potential issues and stop them in their tracks. Almost all pool issues will be some combination of these chemicals being insufficient, and if all the chemicals look good, then it is time to have a look at your filters or your piping in case they are malfunctioning. 

Hurstbridge Garden Supplies

If you really can’t get a handle on your pool, try asking the experts at Hurstbridge Garden Supplies for help. They know all the tips and tricks for clearing up cloudy water or stifling an algal bloom. To order your water testing kits and get some friendly advice while you’re at it, get in touch with the team today!

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