Swimming Pool Water Balance Why Is It Important

Proper Water balance achieved in your swimming pools and spas, will create an environment that will optimize your sanitation process thus creating very safe swimming experience for pool bathers. With proper swimming pool and spa water balancing, your swimming pool mechanical systems and equipment will be protected from chemical corrosion.

If your swimming pool and spa water do not contain any dissolved materials, it will become very aggressive which will lead to other related problems.

Due to this aggression, your swimming pool or spa water will attempt to naturally balance itself.

It does this by causing surface materials that it comes in contact with to go into solution.

Factors That Contribute To Pool Water Balance

There are many factors that are related to the balancing of your pool and spa water. However we are mainly concern about the ones listed below. They include:

  • Your pH levels.
  • Your swimming pool's total alkalinity level.
  • Your calcium hardness.
  • The temperature of your pool water.
  • The level of total dissolved solids in your pool water.
  • The saturation index of your swimming pool water.

We will look at each of these water balancing factors more closely, as we go on. The first of these factor that we will look at more closely at this point, will be the pH level. But first, let us look at some of the effects of a poorly balanced swimming pool or spa.

Surface Materials That Are Damaged By Poor Water Balance

Your swimming pool water environment has certain materials in it that can be attacked or dissolved and go into solution. This is all due to poor water balance. The surface materials that can be dissolved into solution include:

  • The tile-line grout in your swimming pool. This is providing your pool has a tiled surface of cause.
  • The walls of your pool, especially if your pool is a cemented one.
  • Iron and copper materials. These are usually the materials from your swimming pool pumps, your swimming pool heaters, your plumbing systems and valves.

Now if your pool water has too much dissolved materials, it will attempt to balance itself by releasing calcium carbonate from the solution. The result of this water balance attempt, is a hard rough surfaced precipitate. This problem is also referred to as scale build up in the swimming pool industry.

Whenever you have a scale build up due to poorly balanced pool water, dirt will be attracted which can cause more problems in your swim facility.

Some of these problems include:

  • Unsightly gray or dark deposits on the surfaces of your pool or spa.
  • Clogged filtration systems.
  • Clogged pool heater systems.
  • Clogged circulation systems (piping).

Swimming Pool Water Balance Facts

When your swimming pool or spa has good water balance, the operating life expectancy of your swimming pool equipment will be maintained and extended. Proper water balance will provide a more enjoyable swimming experience for your pool and spa users.

How The pH Level Affects Water Balance In Swimming Pools 

When it comes to your swimming pool water chemistry, your pH level is the most important single element.

Your pH levels will affect the balance of all the parameters and other pool chemicals, in the water.

The pH level is the measure of the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in the pool water.

This important element points out how acidic or how basic your pool water actually is. A pH level is measured on a scale of 0 (strongly acidic) to 14 (strongly basic). A pH reading of 7 on the scale, means that the water is neutral.

How pH Levels Are Related To Pools And Spa Water Problems

You can encounter serious water damaging problems in your swimming facility if you do not control your pH levels. Firstly, look at the problems that are caused by low pH levels.

  • Etching of your pool or spa surfaces.
  • Corrosion of your metal parts (i.e. such as pumps and valves).
  • Staining of your swimming pool surface walls.
  • Chlorine loss.
  • Wrinkles in your pool vinyl liners.
  • Eye and/or skin irritations.

Now we will look at the results of high pH levels.

  • Clogged pool filters.
  • Clogged pool or spa heater elements.
  • Reduced water circulation (due to clogged filters).
  • Cloudy pool or spa water.
  • Inefficiency of your pool chlorine.
  • Skin and/or eye irritations.

As you can see, these problems are very serious and they will result in the closure of your swimming pool. So you must at all cost protect your swimmers by controlling your pH levels. When it comes to the comfort of your human bathers, it is highly recommended that you maintain your water balance by sustaining a pH level that falls between 7.3 and 7.6 which is more ideal.

It can go as high as 7.8 which is acceptable to a degree.

Reasons why we want our pH levels to fall in the ideal range is listed below:

  • It is most comfortable to the eyes of our swimmers.
  • It provides for the maximum use of our free chlorine in the water.
  • It maintains a water environment that is non-corrosive or scale forming.

The pH of our pool water, has the most impact on its balance and the comfort of our swimmers.

Factors That Influence The pH Level In Pool Water Balance

The acceptable range of pH is between 7.2 to 7.8; however, there are many factors that can affect these readings.

These influencing factors include:

  • Your choice sanitizers or disinfectants.
  • Your make-up (water used to refill your pool or spa) or source water.
  • Air-borne debris.
  • Aeration systems.
  • Evaporation.

Controlling The pH Level In Swimming Pool And Spas

As I mentioned earlier, controlling the pH levels in your pools and spas is very important to your bathers, the efficiency of your pool sanitizers, and the protection of your mechanical systems. To control your pH level, your total alkalinity must be at its required level.

Before you make any kind of adjustment to your pH level, it is highly recommended that you check your total alkalinity first before doing so.

And if it is too low, make the necessary adjustment to bring it within industry standards. When your total alkalinity is at the correct level, often times your pH level will be at its correct range that it has to be at.

Water Balance Achieved By Lowering pH levels

Lowering your pH levels can be accomplish by either adding acids or acid salts like Sodium Bisulfate. By adding these pool care chemicals to your pool water, will increase the H+ ions; thus, causing a reduction in your pH levels. You can add these acids/salts directly to your pools and spas; still, the most commonly used and safer method is to use a feeder mechanism system.

Characteristics Of A Swimming Pool With Proper Water Balance

Whenever you achieve a pool or spa that is chemically balanced, the following characteristics are displayed.

  • The water for your facility will not want to absorb any more minerals nor will it want to get rid of any minerals. If the water is unbalanced however, it will want to do the opposite. This means that it can erode the surface of your pool or spa.

 On the other hand, if the water can relinquish minerals, then it will cause cloudy pool water.

  • The water will react correctly whenever any pool care chemicals are added to it. These include your chlorines, acids, base materials, and bicarbonates.
  • The water will not affect your swimmers in a negative way.

It is not necessary to have your pool or spa water perfectly balanced. In the swimming pool industry, it is recommended that you keep the water for your facilities, negatively balanced slightly. This process will allow room for pH swings that will occur when you add liquid chlorine and calcium based chlorines.

Never, ever forget, that it is your responsibility as a swimming pool or spa owner/operator to ensure the safety of your swimmers; hence, one of the ways that this is accomplished is to always maintain proper spa and swimming pool water balance.

Water balance is a big part of your swimming pool safety.

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