Pool Water Chemistry: Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity, And PH.  

by Pool Builders on 02-03-2013 in Articles

Pool Water Chemistry: Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity, And pH.

Calcium Hardness is the measure of how much Calcium is dissolved in the pool water. You do not want your Calcium Hardness to be to high or to low, that is why we suggest that your Calcium Hardness needs to be between 150 and 250 ppm (parts per million). The ideal range is not always ideal for everyone it could change on the type of pool you have, or the type of chemicals that you are using in your system please consult a pool professional. If your Calcium Hardness is too high or to low you may experience some problems with your pool. You may see some corrosion or some pitting of some areas.

When your Calcium Hardness is to low your water becomes corrosive. When your water is corrosive it can very easily stain the floor and the sides of your pool. Not to mention the damage it can do to the metal parts of your pool, corrode plumbing fittings, do damage to the pump and heater. This can cause pitting on your pool decking surfaces and on the pool concrete. It may also etch your pools plaster and destroy grout if these were used in the making and installing of your pool.

When your Calcium Hardness is to high you could very easily clog your pools filter and it may also clog your pools heater elements. This will also cause scale build up on all of the pools surfaces. The water will become cloudy and the higher the Calcium Hardness is then more irritation will be cause to the swimmers skin and eyes. So this is something you defiantly want to keep in between the correct range because having high or low Calcium Hardness can affect your pool in the incorrect way.

Total Alkalinity is the measure of all of the alkaline substances that can be found in your pool or spa. Your main focus when dealing with Total Alkalinity is to measure your calcium carbonate, keeping your calcium carbonate in a safe range will help with the up keep of your pool and much more. Your Total Alkalinity should be keep between 80ppm (parts per million) and 120 ppm. When your Total Alkalinity is in this range it will prevent rapid pH changes in your pool or spa as well. It really helps to stabilize the pH.

If your Total Alkalinity is low there are many things that this could do to your pool or spa. With it being low it can corrode metal parts that are in the pool or spa, for example your steps, hand rails, pumps, etc. It can also stain the pools walls and floors, and make the water green. On top of all that it will also cause your eyes to burn and can cause your pH to bounce seemingly at random.

If your Total Alkalinity is to high it really makes it difficult to adjust the pH levels in the pool or spa. With the Total Alkalinity being to high it can also make your water cloudy and cause the chlorine to lose its effectiveness as a disinfectant. This could also cause your filter and heating elements to get clogged up. So keep in mind that it is very important to keep your Total Alkalinity in the correct range and it will make it a lot easier for you to be able to keep up with the up keep of your pool or spa.

pH is the measure of the acidity of the water. The lower the pH the more acidic it is and the higher the pH the more basic it is. Maintaining pH, or potential Hydrogen, is simple and easy when you understand just a few basics. pH ranges from 0-14 with 7 being neutral.

Your pool or spa's pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Your eyes pH is between 7.3 and 7.4, so the closer you are to 7.4 the less burning sensation you will have in your eyes. If your pool or spa's pH is below 7 then the water becomes more corrosive and will start to wear away your metal components. For example your pump, your heater, and it also removes the plasticizers from the vinyl liner & pits the concrete, etc.

If you pool or spa's pH is to high then it will start to build up scale. Scale can begin to form on the warmest parts of the pool, so the heater is the first victim. Scale acts as an insulator on the heat exchanger. That can run up the cost of operating your pool because you have to use more natural gas or electricity. And finally the higher the pH is in your pool or spa the less effective your chlorine will be, and the less sanitized it will be.

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