PH and Alkaline Level Testing of Pool Water

by Pool Builders on 02-16-2012 in Articles

The easiest way to stay on top of knowing the quality of your pool water is by testing it often with a pH testing kit. These kits can be found in any pool store or pool or lawn care section at any discount department store. Some kits are made up of two connected vials. These vials are filled with water and then you drop in red or yellow colored drops and shake up the vials. You can then compare the color of the water in each vial to the color coded pH levels to the right or left of the vial. Other testing methods include strips that feature several tiny pads. You dip the strip into the water and wait for the pads to change color. You then hold the strip against a color code on the bottle the strip came from and can see your pH and alkalinity. If using the vial type of tester, be sure you are not closing up the openings with your fingers or hand as this can actually give you incorrect results because your skin might alter the pH level of the water in the sample.

Both of these methods will show you the calcium hardness and the alkalinity of the water in your pool. Once you see where your pool's water measures up in regards to pH, you can then know which type of chemical you need to balance it out. There are also additional testing supplies that can help you determine your chlorine residual parts per million or ppm as well as your alkalinity and calcium ppm. If you are still unsure about the quality of your water, you can always take a sample to your pool supply store to be tested there.
The proper ppm for chlorine residual in your pool should be higher than 1.0, but no higher than 1.3 ppm. Your alkalinity should be over 80 ppm but less than 120 ppm while your calcium hardness should be over 200 ppm but not over 1000 ppm. The level of Cyanuric acid should be around 40 or 50 ppm. The pH of your pool should be somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6, with the most ideal being at 7.5.

If your pool was plastered fairly recently, it will be even more important that you keep a close eye on the pH balance of your water. In fact, you should check it every day, or even twice daily. This is because if the calcium hardness of the water is high it can cause build up on the plaster. As the plaster hardens it can also change your pool water's pH. If the pH becomes highly acidic, the water can actually draw calcium out of the plaster causing it to crumble or become deformed in certain areas. Highly acidic water also irritates skin and eyes and can even corrode the filter or pump system to where it needs to be replaced.

For the most accurate reading of the pH and overall quality of your pool water, your best bet is to take a sample to the pool supply store. Here they can have the sample read by a computer and give you a print out of many different readings. These readings can help determine exactly which chemicals to use and exactly how much of them to use. In a case where your pool has become incredibly out of balance in regards to pH or you have noticed the water getting cloudy or algae beginning to accumulate you will need to add more chemicals than usual. You will probably have to do a high dose of chlorine or sanitizer, which is a process also called shocking. While the shock will obliterate any organic matter that is lurking in the pool, it will probably also throw the pH out of whack and you'll need to balance it.

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