The Importance of Proper Water Balance
Water balance is important for many reasons. Balanced water will allow your sanitizers to work more efficiently to eliminate bacteria and germs. Balanced water will protect equipment and will contribute to brilliant looking water. When water is in balance, it is more comfortable for swimmers, unpleasant odors are virtually eliminated, and burning eyes and itchy skin are less likely to occur. If you are starting up your pool for the first time of the year, allow the water to circulate for 24 hours. During this time avoid adding any products to the pool. After a full day has passed, obtain a sample of your pool water using a ProTeam Water Sample Bottle or any clean resealable container. Your water sample should be taken at elbow’s length down and away from anywhere water may re-enter the swimming pool. After the container has been sealed bring the water to your authorized ProTeam dealer for a water analysis.
Most ProTeam dealers perform water analysis using the ProTeam Speed Lab, a computerized optical testing system. Speed Lab tests water to get information needed to properly treat and balance swimming pool water. With that information, our dealers will help you select the right products in the right quantities for your pool’s specific needs. We strongly recommend using their services at the beginning, end and at least a couple of times during the swimming season.
pH is the most important factor in water balance. pH is a number between 0 and 14 that measures the acidity (low pH) or basicity (high pH) of water. A neutral pH is 7.0, but swimming pools should have pH between 7.4 – 7.6. When pH is low in a body of water it becomes acidic. Low pH levels will start to corrode equipment and deteriorate surfaces, such as plaster and vinyl. If pH becomes high, water is likely to form scale around pool surfaces and equipment. These scale deposits can be unsightly in the pool and its formation in pool equipment (especially the heater) can be damaging. Additionally, high pH can cause hazy water and eye and skin irritation. If pH is below 7.4 apply ProTeam pH Up, if pH is above 7.6 apply ProTeam pH Down according to label instructions. pH should be tested daily when there is heavy swimmer use or twice a week with moderate or light use.
Total Alkalinity (TA )
Total alkalinity’s function in water is to be a pH buffer. In other words, alkalinity will help keep pH at ideal levels. Typically, when total alkalinity in water is low pH will bounce in and out of range. When total alkalinity is high, pH should be high or difficult to adjust. Proper TA should be maintained in the range of 100 – 150 ppm for plaster or gunite pools and 125 – 150 in vinyl, fiberglass and non-masonry finishes. If total alkalinity is low add ProTeam Total Alkalinity Increaser according to label instructions. If TA is high (not typical) consult your local ProTeam authorized dealer for assistance. Total Alkalinity should be tested at least once a week.
Calcium Hardness (CH)
Calcium hardness refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in water. Proper calcium hardness levels for plaster or gunite pools range between 250 – 350 ppm. Vinyl and fiberglass surfaces should have a calcium hardness level between 150 – 250 ppm. Low CH can lead to corrosion of equipment, etching of surface finishes or premature aging of liners. CH that is too high may cause cloudy water and scaling. Test calcium hardness levels at the beginning and end of your pool season. Continue monitoring these levels monthly during the season. If calcium hardness is low in your swimming pool add ProTeam Calcium Up, according to label instructions.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
To keep water sanitary and to help keep water in balance, products are periodically added to water. During a normal pool season these products leave a small invisible trace of themselves behind. All these unseen particles are called total dissolved solids or TDS. TDS may cause some issues in a traditionally sanitized pool when levels exceed 2,000 ppm. These issues can range from, increased sanitizer consumption to hazy pool water. Traditionally, the most effective method is to drain a small amount of water out of the pool and replace with fresh water. However, in highly elevated levels of TDS, ProTeam Superfloc Clarifier can be used according to label instructions. Since TDS does not increase rapidly, it may only need to be tested twice a season.