Why is Pool Alkalinity so Important in regular pool maintenance?
Pool alkalinity is one of the many factors that affect the water quality of your swimming pool. Total alkalinity is closely related to pH, measuring the pool’s ability to neutralize acids. In the proper range of 80 ppm to 150 ppm, total alkalinity keeps the pH level stable.
If the total alkalinity is too low, then the pH can fluctuate wildly at the slightest addition of an acid or base. The pH often drops randomly, causing damage to metal fixtures, etching of the pool walls, staining of the pool walls, and swimmers to get stinging eyes and itchy skin.
If the total alkalinity is too high, it becomes extremely difficult to change the pH. In this situation, the pH is often too high, making the water cloudy, building up scale on the walls of your pool, and your chlorine becomes ineffective as a sanitizing agent. Your tests will also specify that the pool is in constant need of acid. Application of acid to the pool is the means of decreasing total alkalinity, but the process can take weeks and is best supervised by an experience pool caretaker.
Why is Pool pH so Important in Regular Pool maintenance?
Keeping your pool pH in the correct range is a vital component of keeping your pool safe and sanitary. If the pH is outside of the range of 7.0 to 7.6, the chlorine cannot sanitize the water properly and kill any algae growth. Below are a few other effects of high or low pH levels.
Too High pH
Calcium in the water combines with carbonates to form scales at the edges of the pool, trapping dust and dirt and eventually turning black.
Water becomes cloudy.
Calcium carbonate clogs the sand in the filter, and the sand becomes similar to concrete. It then destroys the effectiveness of the filter.
You need 80 percent more chlorine to do the same work because the chemical isn’t as effective.
Eyes and nose burn. Skin gets dry and itchy.
Too Low pH
The water begins to dissolve the surface of the grout, plaster holding tiles in place, or other material that makes up the bottom and walls of the pool. The surfaces becomes rough and make a good home for algae or cause tiles to come loose.
Metal corrodes, including ladders and rails in the pool and pipes and fittings in the filter.
As the metal corrodes, sulfates form, which attack the walls of the pool and form brown or black stains.
Chlorine activates and evaporates too fast to sanitize the water.
Eyes and nose burn. Skin gets dry and itchy.
Swimwear and pool toys fade, and the water damages other materials.
For optimal swimmer comfort as well as chlorine effectiveness, aim for a pH between 7.2 and 7.4. This is the natural range of pH for your eyes.
Top Pool Maintenance Mistakes
Make sure you or your current pool maintenance company is not making these Common Mistakes!
Swimming pool maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult, but knowing how to properly maintain your pool will make it last longer and be a safer place for friends family or rental tenants.
Not checking your pool’s chemistry often enough. Check the pool’s chemistry twice per week in the summer and once per week in the winter. By doing this you can make minor regular adjustments to your water chemistry instead of big adjustments that can create a wild up and down graph of activity.
Allowing pH to get above 8.0. At 8.5 chlorine is only 10% active. At 7.0 it is about 73% active. By just maintaining pH around 7.5 the chlorine is 50-60% active. Keeping the pH in check will allow you to use to the full potential the chlorine that is already in the pool.
Not keeping alkalinity between 80-140 PPM. Low or high alkalinity can affect water balance and ultimately a sanitizer’s ability to perform.
Not checking TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) or calcium hardness on a regular basis. Check TDS every 6 months and calcium hardness every month. These also affect water balance which is different from sanitation, although related.
Not cleaning the cells in salt water systems (chlorine generators). Corroded or calcified cells will produce little chlorine.
Backwashing sand or DE filters too often. If you do this, the filter can never reach its cleaning potential. If you backwash on a regular basis for no reason, you are wasting water. Most filters require backwashing when the pressure gauge rises 8-10 PSI from clean.
Not cleaning the skimmer basket and/or hair and lint pot in the pool pump often enough. If these are full of debris you will get little flow resulting in poor circulation, potentially creating a big problem.
Adding chemicals, especially liquid chlorine, during the day. Try to add chemicals in the evening after the sun has set. You will get more out of them.
Not brushing the walls and tile down often enough. If your circulation system is suspect, and many are, brushing down the walls will help eliminate algae problems. Keeping your tile clean will save you money. Once the tile gets calcified it becomes like plaque and will take a specialist to get it off.
Make sure that you keep the space between the bottom of the cantilever on the deck and the top of the tile in check. If this cracks, then put in some silicon. You do not want water migrating from the inside of the pool out under the decking.
Not running pumps long enough. You should run your pump about 1 hour for every 10 degrees of temperature. This assumes you have a decent circulation system. It is ALL about the FLOW! Circulation IS the key to a low maintenance swimming pool.
Not replacing broken or missing drains or suction sources. This is a real and dangerous hazard. The same could be said for defective door/gate closers and fences in disrepair.
Ask for a quote today you may be surprised how little a truly professional pool maintenance company cost! Contact Us Today for more information.
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