A Matter of Balance
The Importance of Pool Alkalinity
It may be winter, but that doesn’t mean the pool can be left to its own devices until spring. Balanced water is vital to protect equipment from damage as well as create a healthy swimming environment.
Very few people are brave enough to swim in winter, but that doesn’t mean the backyard pool can be left to its own devices until spring. Part of keeping pool water healthy year-round is ensuring it is correctly balanced. This means testing the pH and alkalinity levels weekly.
Chlorine kills germs in pool water, but its levels can be affected by factors outside your control: bad weather, dirt and debris. The time it takes for chlorine to do its work is also affected by pH levels, which is one reason why keeping it at the correct level is so important. Remember, as pH goes up, the ability of chlorine to kill germs goes down.
When maintaining water balance, it is important to understand that pH and alkalinity levels are closely linked. Maintaining your alkalinity levels makes it much easier to keep the pH levels within normal range; when these two are balanced, the pool water is much more likely to be clean and healthy.
Alkalinity levels need to be between 80 to 120 ppm, while pH levels should range between 7.2 and 7.8.
Pool water can become corrosive when the pH levels drop too low. Your pool equipment and pipes can be damaged by this imbalance, including your pool surfaces. Swimmers can experience itchy or burning eyes.
If pH levels are too high, chlorine can be rendered ineffective against algae and bacteria. Scale can form on pool surfaces and equipment, and the water can become cloudy and cause itchy skin for swimmers.
Water with low levels of alkalinity can turn an abnormal shade of green, and burn swimmers’ eyes. Your pool finishes can also become stained, and corrosion can occur on metal fixtures on pool equipment.
When the alkalinity levels are too high, the water can turn cloudy and chlorine will lose its effectiveness. The pool is likely to need constant top-ups with acid.
Call into your local Swimart store and bring a pool water sample for a FREE water test.