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Calcium hardness levels

01 January 2013 swimart

Calcium hardness levels

Calcium hardness levels

Simple solutions for mitigating pool damage

Mystified by the way your pool water seems to be having a corrosive effect upon your pool surfaces, or why scaling has formed on your pool’s pipe, plumbing and filter?

Improperly balanced water does not always cause colourful algae blooms that are easy to spot with their vibrant green, brown or blue hue; sometimes a change in the levels of minerals, such as low or high calcium hardness levels, can be harder to spot.

Never fear, problems with calcium hardness levels are easily solved. However, acting fast is important if you want to limit the damage done to your pool surfaces and equipment.

Calcium what?
When talking about ‘calcium hardness’ levels in regards to your pool, it applies to the measure of total hardness of dissolved minerals such as calcium, sodium and magnesium. The recommended level of hardness is between 200-400 ppm; if this level is either too high or too low, there can be hard to fix consequences for your pool and its equipment.

High levels may result from pool water evaporating and increasing the concentration of calcium in the remaining water as it leaves the mineral behind. Also, some chlorine chemicals contain high levels of calcium and can make the problem worse. Switching your chlorine sanitiser to one that contains a smaller amount of chlorine can help reduce the chances of problems with calcium hardness levels.

Low levels of calcium hardness may be caused by poor quality fill water low in calcium, or use of a low calcium sanitiser.

Eye spy
But how do you know when the calcium hardness levels of your pool are too low or too high? Taking a water sample to your local Swimart store will ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment, however, there are a few indicators that can help you indentify the problem yourself.

Low levels can be spotted by the corrosive nature of the pool water; plaster surfaces, metal equipment and accessories and tile grouting may all be affected by this, eroding or rusting rapidly. If left untreated for a long period of time, eventually a need for resurfacing will arise earlier than usual. Staining of the pool surfaces is also an unwelcome consequence of low calcium hardness levels.

On the other hand, high levels will cause scaling to form on the pool surfaces, filter, pipes and plumbing. The water can even become cloudy with calcium precipitating out into the water rather than clinging to a surface, but this is in extreme cases. The water may also irritate swimmers’ eyes.

Pull the plug

When treating high or low calcium hardness levels, you may need to drain and refill your pool with water that has a more suitable chlorine level, however this should only be done by a qualified pool technician. After refilling, you may also need to use a product to aid your pool water’s return to normal calcium levels.

Visit your local Swimart for advice on calcium hardness and for easy solutions such as Aqua Health Hardness Increaser.