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Water Chemistry 101

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  1. Water Chemistry 101

  2. Chlorine Explained Chlorine in water may be present in two forms, free and combined. Free chlorine does the hard work of killing bacteria and oxidizing contaminants. When you add chlorine to water, you are actually adding free chlorine. When the free chlorine combines with contaminants, it becomes combined chlorine, or chloramines. In water, this form of chlorine has very little sanitizing ability, and no oxidizing ability. Total chlorine is just the sum of both combined chlorine and free chlorine. Free chlorine levels should be kept between 1 – 5ppm (Water heated to 25C or above requires at least 3ppm chlorine Free, Combined & Total

  3. pH pH is the negative log of hydrogen ion concentration in a water-based solution. The term "pH" was first described by Danish biochemist Søren Peter LauritzSørensen in 1909. pH is an abbreviation for "power of hydrogen" where "p" is short for the German word for power, potenz and H is the element symbol for Hydrogen. The H is capitalized because it is standard to capitalize element symbols. A bit of history…

  4. pH Water that is either too acidic or too alkaline will cause undesirable chemical reactions. If the water is too acidic, it will corrode metal equipment, cause etching on the surface materials and cause skin irritation. If the water is too alkaline, it can causescaling on the pool surface and plumbing equipment and can cloud the water. Additionally, both high acidity and high alkalinity alters the effectiveness of the chlorine. The chlorine won't destroy pathogens as well if the water is too alkaline, and it will dissipate much more quickly if the water is too acidic. For swimming pools…

  5. pH We recommend a pool’s pH level is kept between 7.2 – 7.8 Everything entering the pool be it a swimmer, a dose of chlorine and even debris will shift the pH. To help control this fluctuation it is important to maintain your Total Alkalinity levels as this acts as a “buffer” for your pH For swimming pools…

  6. Total Alkalinity The Total Alkalinity (TA) in a swimming pool is measuring the level of bicarbonate alkalinity. It should be maintained between 80-120ppm. When the TA is in range it prevents rapid pH changes by acting as a buffer when other elements are introduced into the water. If the TA is too low, plaster walls will become etched, metals corrode, the pool's walls and floor can stain, the water can turn green, eyes burn and we can have pH bounce (pH rapidly going up and down). For swimming pools…

  7. Total Alkalinity If the TA is too high, the pH is difficult to adjust, the water becomes cloudy, the pool constantly needs acid and the chlorine loses its efficiency as a disinfectant. Toraise the level of TA, we use buffer (Balance 100) To lower the level of TA, we use either Hydrochloric Acid (Balance 5) or No Fume Acid (Balance 6) For swimming pools…

  8. Calcium Hardness The “hardness” of pool water refers to the total mineral content of the water. These minerals include calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, etc. These elements are present in the water used to fill the pool, and the levels can increase through the use of regular pool chemicals (e.g. chlorine composed of calcium hypochlorite). We are interested in the calcium hardness levels. The ideal range for calcium hardness is 200-275 ppm. For swimming pools…

  9. Calcium Hardness If the calcium hardness is too low, the water becomes corrosive and results in the etching of the pool's surfaces. Metals corrode - and this includes pool equipment, pipe fittings and pump connections. As a result, the pool's walls and floor can stain. Lowcalcium hardness can easily be increased using calcium chloride (Balance300). If the calcium hardness is too high, the result will be scale formation on all pool surfaces. The filter and pipes become clogged, reducing water flow and filtration efficiency. The water becomes cloudy and swimmers complain of eye irritations. Reducing calcium hardness is very difficult. Either replace some or all of the water in the pool, or add chemicals that will keep the calcium in solution and prevent it from depositing out. For swimming pools…

  10. T.D.S. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is the measure of the total of all the soluble substances dissolved in the water. It is measured by assessing the electrical conductivity of the pool water. Distilled or pure water has a TDS value of 0 ppm. Drinking water can have a TDS value of around 500 ppm. For regular fresh water swimming pools, the maximum recommended TDS level is 1,500 ppm. Values above this can lead to problems such as cloudy pool water, staining of the pool surfaces, scaling, hard water and a salty taste. For non-salt swimming pools…

  11. Salt The amount of salt needed for the salt chlorinator to produce sufficient chlorine varies depending on the type of chlorinator you have. (3500ppm-7000ppm). The manufacturers’ recommendations should be strictly followed to avoid damage to the chlorinator and to insure adequate chlorine production. Replacement salt is only required to replace loss from filter backwashing, splash out and any overflow due to rainfall. For salt swimming pools…

  12. Phosphates Algae blooms place a high demand on the chemicals present in your water and cost time and money to clean up.  In order to understand how to defeat algae, you must understand what it needs to survive. Algae reproduction depends completely on the presence of five key things: For all swimming pools…

  13. Phosphates Where do phosphates come from? The challenge with phosphates is that they are constantly being introduced into your swimming pool water. They are found in lawn and garden fertilizers, decaying vegetation, municipal water, cosmetic items on bathers, and even other pool chemicals. For all swimming pools…

  14. Phosphates Phosphates are compounds of the nonmetallic element phosphorous and are a primary food source for aquatic plants, including all types of algae.  If phosphate levels exceed 0.5ppm algae becomes increasingly resistant to sanitizers, including chlorine. To remove phosphate from water you simply add “Starver” and backwash the filter when required. For all swimming pools…