Just when you thought you could leave your high school chemistry class behind, we had to bring up this topic. Fear not! Even if you slumbered during class, we can bring you up to sufficient speed to understand what your swimming pool water needs to keep it clean, clear, and healthy. No periodic tables required. If you want to keep your swimming pool water clear and clean, you just need to keep its chemistry balanced. If the chemistry is off, no amount of vacuuming, scrubbing, or filtering is going to do the trick.
The basics of pool water chemistry include its pH level, the total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Working together, these elements create the best environment for successful swimming pool sanitization.
Pool sanitation requires a sanitizing agent to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms that gather. Sanitizing agents include chlorine (the front runner), as well as bromine, biguanide or minerals that act as sanitizers. Pool stabilizers help protect the chlorine from the UV rays of the sun that will burn it off.
Pool water should be routinely tested and test results should be measured against the LSI, or Langelier Saturation Index. These results will indicate if the pool water has become acidic and corrosive, or alkaline and prone to scaling. If necessary, the water can then be treated to again achieve a healthy, neutral state.
Keeping your swimming pool free of algae blooms is a dance between chemical balance, sanitizer levels, regular water filtration, general cleaning of the swimming pool area and regular brushing of the pool walls.
Always present in pools – even in super clean ones – green, yellow and blue-green algae lie in wait for the perfect opportunity to bloom. When the chlorine levels drop and the pH rise, or if the pump and filter are not up to snuff, it is “game on” for algae.
Algae multiplies quickly, especially on warm, sunny days. Photosynthesis is what allows it to grow. Algae can grow in the shade, but it really accelerates the growth process in the sun. And algae has a smorgasbord of food available to survive in and around your pool. From specks of dust to any contaminant that finds its way into contact with algae, it’s a veritable feed bag.
The good news? You can get rid of it. Just don’t overlook it for an appreciable amount of time, or you will be spending an appreciable amount of money showing it the door. Before it gets out of control, you need to put it in its place. Using prevention methods, you can also ensure it doesn’t return.