Behind the fun times enjoyed in a pool is a chemist hard at work. Managing, monitoring, and regulating pool chemicals is no joke. To achieve that clear and sparkling look, elbow grease is not all that’s needed to manage a pool. Some basic chemical knowledge is needed too to keep the pool safe and healthy for swimmers. Generally, there are two important factors in a pool water’s makeup: chlorine and pH. A balance of the two helps keep out germs and other irritants while bolstering pool sanitation equipment to top efficiency.
However, not all pool owners are aware of the importance of monitoring pH levels regularly. In fact, it should be done at least twice a day. In some cases, pools are left with high pH levels that can leave stains on the bottom of the pool. It’s unsightly and can put the health of swimmers at risk too.
Read on to learn about the consequences and why it’s important to regulate not just pH levels but chlorine content too.
The Basics of pH and Chlorine
To better understand pH, here’s a breakdown. What pH stands for is the potential of hydrogen. On the pH scale, there are two extremes: alkalinity and acidity. Zero marks maximum acidity while 14 marks maximum alkalinity. Seven is the middle ground and the recommended level for pH in pool water, specifically 7.2 to 7.8.
On the other hand, chlorine is used as a cleaning treatment for pools. It keeps algae growth and bacteria from pools and destroys any other contaminants in the water. With both working hands in hand, the pool water will be safe for everyone.
What Happens When the pH Is Too High?
A pH level between 7.2 to 7.8 is recommended by the CDC as it is the best range for killing off germs, preventing illness, increasing chlorine effectiveness, and increasing equipment efficiency and longevity. To keep pH levels within this range, it’s recommended to test levels at least twice a day.
There’s a good reason why this is the recommended range for pH level in a pool, and it has everything to do with safety and comfort. When the pH level is too high, it enables germs to settle into the water, causing negative health outcomes such as skin and eye irritation. Additionally, it can affect the pool’s plumbing equipment causing the water to be cloudy in appearance. It can also cause scaling on the pool’s surface.
When the pH level is below the recommended range, it can be as harmful too. It can cause grout, tiling, stone, etc. to deteriorate. The surface may become vulnerable to cracking too. All the broken-down debris and minerals can cause the water to cloud and stain the pool’s surface.
What Causes Stains and How Do I Get Rid of Them?
Although unsightly, getting stains on the pool floor is a common occurrence. There are multiple reasons behind it but the most common one would be high pH content. If the stain has a reddish-brown appearance, this could be caused by chlorine shock. This can be easily remedied by applying a pH reducer to the stain and rub it off with a cloth or brush. You should also add acid to lower the pH level in the pool.
Other times, a stain can appear more on the brown side, sometimes yellow. This means that organic debris such as dead leaves and the like are to blame. However, if the organic debris is algae this must be addressed as soon as possible. Either way, use a cloth to rub chlorine directly onto the pool floor until the stain is removed. If multiple areas have stains, shock your pool with chlorine and use a stiff brush to remove the stains.
Switch on the pump so the chlorine circulates around the pool, further breaking down the little stains left behind. Leave it on overnight and then brush the pool once again more thoroughly. Be sure to shock your pool during dusk or night time to avoid the sunlight from decreasing the chlorine’s potency.
Other than elbow grease, precision and patience are needed to manage a pool. It may sound like a lot of work, but they’re essential to have a truly safe and enjoyable experience in the pool. With the wide range of tools available in the market and the plethora of information available online, managing a residential pool is made possible.
Don’t skip steps to safety, even if it means taking the time to test out the water before anybody’s allowed to jump in. Take your time in learning how to fine-tune the water to a perfect balance.