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Pool Chemistry Topics

Water Quality

Bear in mind that the water in your pool need not be changed regularly. However, without weekly service a swimming pool can cause serious health problems, such as ear, nose and throat infections, and skin rashes. Microbes such as bacteria and algae thrive in the warmer climate of your pool.  Chlorine lasts only a matter of days before it evaporates. Once the water loses it's clarity or looks cloudy it's indicative that the pool is in need of service. Back to top

Causes of Deterioration

What causes your pool's water quality to deteriorate? Frequent use is the most common cause. Showering before you enter the pool can help reduce this effect on the pool, but there are other factors that still have a negative effect. Allowing pets to swim in the pool may seem like fun, but will reap havoc on your water quality and filter. Dog hair clogs the grids of your pool's filter.  In the heat of summer, pools attract thirsty pests (mosquitoes) and wildlife (rodents) in search of water. Once the animals fall into the pool — no matter how good a swimmer — the pool becomes their resting spot. This obviously affects the sanitation of the pool.  Back to top

Introduction to Pool Maintenance

  • Filtration
  • Chlorination
  • pH level (acidity)
  • Total alkalinity (TA) Back to top


Filtration—Debris and particles are circulated through a filter attached to your pool. The larger your pool and the size of the pump determines the amount of time you need to run the filter. For and average size pool the pump should run 6 hours in the winter and 8 hours in the summer.  

Chlorination—Chlorine is the most common way to disinfect pool water. Combined with a chlorine stabilizer it can keep the pool clean for about a week. Ultimately, the amount of chlorine required will be affected by the weather, water temperature, the size of your pool, and the amount of use.

pH level—The pH level indicates the acidity or alkalinity of the water. A pH level of 7 means that water is neutral; above 7 means the water is alkaline, while below 7 indicates acidity. The pH of human tears is 7.4, so a pH level between 7 and 7.6 is ideal. When the pH is too high or too low, swimmers are at risk of skin and eye irritation.  Factors that affect your pool's pH level are usually heavy rain, heavy use, and method of chlorination. In general, salt chlorine generators will cause higher pH readings in most pools.

Total alkalinity (TA)—Total alkalinity means the sum of all alkaline chemicals in your water. If TA is too low, the pH balance can become unstable.  Concrete and plaster surfaces will deteriorate more quickly. It is imperative to test alkalinity frequently and to keep in within acceptable limits.   Back to top

Protecting Your Investment

You should be concerned about the quality of service from your pool technician. An average size swimming pool can run upwards from $100, 000. A reputable pool technician is paramount to the life of your pool. When choosing a pool service company it is important that you educate yourself regarding your investment.  Back to top

Pool Maintenance Essentials

·          Check the pool's chemistry at least once per week and for large or heavy-use pools twice per week. By doing this you can make minor adjustments to your water chemistry instead of big adjustments that create big swings in the pH levels of your pool.

·         Do not allow pH to get above 8.0. At 8.5 chlorine is only 10% active. At 7.0 it is about 73% active. By just maintaining pH around 7.5 the chlorine is 50-60% active. Keeping the pH in check will allow you to use to the full potential the chlorine that is already in the pool.

·      Keep alkalinity between 80-140 PPM. Low or high alkalinity can affect water balance and compromise the sanitizer's ability to perform.

·       Clean the cells of salt water systems (chlorine generators) frequently. Corroded or calcified cells will produce little chlorine and severely shorten the life of the cell.

·      Run the circulation pump as recommended by your service technician.  Circulation is the key to a low maintenance swimming pool.  Back to top

All of the information provided on this website is believed accurate and reliable. Tri Valley Pool & Spa assumes no liability or responsibility for any acts occurring from use or misuse of information obtained from this website. It is the users responsibility to insure accuracy, suitability, or currency status of any or all information contained herein. Tri Valley Pool & Spa assume no responsibility or liability for any resulting damages from use of information on this website. In any and all applications, a qualified Pool Technician should be consulted before attempting implementation of all pool or spa repairs.


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Last modified: 03/09/11