It’s essential to keep your swimming pool healthy for bathers, and that means keeping chlorine and alkalinity, acidity, or power of hydrogen (pH) levels at an optimum range. Trusted pool contractors in Orange County can ensure that your pool’s water composition is just right.
Determining the correct pH and chlorine levels is straightforward, but determining the cause of imbalances is not always that easy.
Orange County Pool Contractors Help You Maintain a Healthy Pool
Chlorine and pH work together to eliminate germs, bacteria, and viruses that cause the following health problems in swimmers:
- Ear infections
- Nose infections
- Throat infections
Chlorine can kill most of the germs on its own and does so within a few minutes. However, it won’t kill sources of bacteria without help from the correct pH levels.
Getting the balance right is crucial because a pH that is too high, >8.0, will lessen chlorine’s effectiveness and irritate eyes and skin. However, a pH level that is too low, <7.0, will irritate eyes and skin and begin to corrode your pool’s pipes.
You should be looking for a pH level that is anywhere between pH 7.2 – 7.6. The free chlorine level in swimming pools should be at least 1 part per million (ppm) and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs and spas.
The correct balance is sufficient to prevent swimmers’ discomfort and eye and skin irritation—and still kill the germs that cause swimming-related illnesses.
Testing is Best to Maintain Balance
Testing the pH and chlorine levels in your pool can be as easy as sticking a strip test in the water, waiting a couple of seconds, and then bringing it out to look at the results.
It’s the regularity of the testing pool maintenance that can be a bind. Experts recommend checking the chlorine level in your pool at least twice a day. You should test it more often if your pool is heavily used—for example, if your family swims every day, and especially if your kids have friends over or you have a pool party, and a lot of people are splashing around.
One of the reasons for the increase in testing is that swimmers contaminate your pool just by getting in. The dirt, like sweat, and particles from make-up, body lotion, and hair products attract chlorine. The chlorine deals with the new contaminants, so there is less of it to clean the pool.
There are two commonly used testing methods.
- Diethyl-p-phenylenediamine (DPD) test kits that measure the free chlorine and pH in the water, and
- Test strips, which aren’t quite as accurate as the kits.
What are the Other Contaminants?
Swimmers are the primary contaminants, but there are other contaminants to consider, these include:
Some dogs, especially labradors, love water. They’ll get in anything from a small muddy puddle to your swimming pool. So, you can imagine the contaminants that dogs bring into the pool water. Testing chemical levels after your dog has been for a swim is a must.
The dead wildlife you’re most likely to find in your pool water include frogs, lizards, and just about any insect you can imagine.
Debris includes leaves from trees and shrubs, especially in fall or after rain storms, grass from mowing the lawn, and dust, which comes from everywhere.
How Long Does Chlorine Take to Work?
The speed at which chlorine works depends on a variety of factors, including the bacteria type, the size of the pool, the filter system, the number of swimmers, and exposure to the sun. Under ideal conditions, chlorine kills bacteria like E.coli in under a minute.
Some germs are chlorine tolerant and take longer. For example, Giardia and Hepatitis A take about 45 minutes to work, while Cryptosporidium, which affects the bowel and causes a variety of awful symptoms, takes about 10.5 days.
How to Bring Your Pool Back Into Balance
The example used will have to bring your pool water back into balance if the chlorine levels are too high.
The Chlorine Level is Too High
If testing reveals that the level is high, but not exceedingly so, then you can simply stay out of the pool for a few hours. Without people in the pool, it could come back into balance naturally, and the entire surface is exposed to the sun. In as little as three hours, direct sunshine can lower the chlorine level by up to 90%.
If the level is moderately high, stop adding chlorine for a day or two, and then test the water. If the level is the same, you can leave the chlorine for another day, or you can add chlorine-neutralizing chemicals. You could add sodium thiosulfate and sodium sulfite. But there are also pre-packaged kits that you can buy.
A rather drastic option is to drain off a large volume of water and then refill it to see if dilution will help. However, the problem with this solution is that you don’t know the chemicals in the new water or how they’ll react with it. You could throw off all of the chemical levels, including pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
Draining Your Pool
If you’ve chosen to drain your pool, it’s a good idea to have it done professionally by Orange County Pool Contractors. They ensure the pH level is between pH 7.2 to 7.6 and the chlorine level is 1 ppm.
Your last option is to shock the pool. This is when you add a lot of extra chlorine to the pool to clean everything. It sounds counter-intuitive after being told to stop adding chlorine.
What you want is for the chlorine levels to reach a breaking point which is between 5 ppm and 10 ppm, so that chloramines are released. This will effectively kill all the contaminants in your pool. In fact, pool professionals recommend that you shock your pool once a week to proactively reduce the chance of germs and bacteria in the water.
Keep an eye on the pH level—if it is too high or low, pool shock will lose efficacy. It’s best to shock your pool in the evening so that it has long hours in the still of the night to work. As a rule, swimmers should stay out of the pool for 24 hours after it’s been shocked
Professionals Take the Hassel Out of Balancing the pH and Chlorine Levels in Your Pool
Finding exactly the right balance can be tricky, with the pH and chlorine swinging too much one way and then the other—this can be frustrating and time-consuming.
Orange County pool contractors can take all of that stress out of the process. Why not benefit from the experience and knowledge of a reputable pool repair company?
To get expert advice on how to keep your pH and chlorine levels balanced, contact us at 714-235-3294 at Calimingo Pools today!