What happens when these levels get to high?
Problem: High levels of chlorine can cause damage to pool surfaces and equipment if it continuously stays high. In a vinyl liner pool that has high chlorine; patterns will fade and the liner will wrinkle, no matter how new the liner is. If it is tablets that are relied on as the main source of chlorine, this will lead to corroding of fittings and heat exchangers because of the low levels of pH that these tablets contain. The ideal range for chlorine is 1.0ppm-2.00ppm.
Solution: Turn down your chlorinator and start using fewer tablets so you are able to maintain a low level of chlorine and shock it weekly with whatever sanitizer of choice. Add fresh water whenever possible and keep pool uncovered so it is able to breathe.
Problem: When the pH level is higher than 7.8 it makes it harder for chlorine to kill germs, algae and other microorganisms. The water can become cloudy, scale can form on equipment and on the wetted surfaces of the pool/spa. High pH can also cause eye and skin irritation. The ideal range for pH is 7.4ppm-7.6ppm.
Solution: If the pH level is high it could be because your Alkalinity level is also high. Start by lowering the Alkalinity first with the full dosage amount. Try turning down your spa temperature and pool heater. The higher the water temperature the more carbon dioxide leaves the water as a gas, causing a rise in pH. Let the pool/spa breathe with the cover off. Run your fountains and jets to help cool off pool/spa as well.
Problem: High Alkalinity water will cause scaling, and water may appear cloudy or dull. It also makes it difficult to adjust the pH because when the Alkalinity is high it will keep the pH high until it is back in range. Whenever you add fresh water you will raise the Alkalinity level in your pool. The ideal range for Alkalinity is 125ppm-150ppm. (80ppm-125ppm plaster pools)
Solution: You can decrease the Alkalinity level by adding muratic acid or sodium bisulfate. A small amount can make a big difference and can also change the pH.
Total Dissolved Solids
Problem: Total dissolved solids is a measure of the total concentration of solids dissolved in the water. Excessively high TDS can cause hazy water, corrode fixtures and make it difficult for chemicals to treat the pool. Rain water, bather waste and water treatment chemicals can increase the TDS level over time. Having a TDS higher than 2000pm reduce the effectiveness of sanitizer and ability to kill algae. The ideal range for Total Dissolved Solids is 400ppm-2000ppm.
Solution: Add fresh water whenever possible to the pool. In some cases it is best to drain the pool, leaving a foot in the bottom or top of the bottom step, and refilling it with fresh water. The lower the TDS the easier it is to maintain proper water chemistry and control algae.
Problem: If the calcium level is too high, it can cause cloudy water and deposit scale on pool surfaces and equipment, particularly heat exchanger surfaces. With this build up on surfaces it can reduce circulation and heater efficiency. Calcium level is not easily lowered. It requires source water that is not high in calcium. The ideal range for calcium level is 200ppm-400ppm.
Solution: The only safe solution to handling high levels of calcium is adding a weekly dose of Sequa Sol.
Problem: As the Stabilizer level rises above 80ppm, the chlorine will become less effective keeping the water clean and problems such as increased cloudiness and exceeding combined chlorine occurs. Stabilizer is also referred to as Cyanuric Acid. Being an acid, if this level is to high it will make the water more corrosive. As this level increases the Alkalinity level decreases. The ideal range is 30ppm-80ppm.
Solution: Drain partially and then add fresh water. This is the only way to lower a high Stabilizer. Do not use so many tablets because they have Stabilizer in them. Only use 1-2 tablets (per 10,000) a week on the setting of 1 or 2.
What happens when these levels get too low?
Problem: With little to know chlorine in the pool it is at risk of getting algae. It is important to sanitize the pool weekly to kill bacteria, bather waste and other microorganisms. If it is a salt pool or a tablet pool, a form of shock is still required weekly. This will prolong the life of the pool equipment and chemical feeders. Tablets are loaded with a high concentration of chlorine, stabilizer (cyanuric acid) and low pH content. If tablets are the only form of chlorine used in the pool it will cost more money to take care of the pool in the long run. Salt pools are great for soft skin and able to help maintain a chlorine level but the level must be present in order to maintain it. The ideal range for chlorine is 1.0ppm-2.00ppm.
Solution: During the warmer days of the pool season get in the habit of checking your chlorine level every other day with a test strip. That way you are aware of low levels before they cause problems. Also stop by the store to have your water professionally tested. Make sure you know the amount of gallons of water your pool holds in case you aren’t adding enough weekly shock. If you are using tablets check the brand and what content they are made up of. Some off brand tablets have more fillers in them then actual chlorine. Same with buying liquid chlorine from a non-pool professional, product is not rotated at big box stores. You might be using 2 gallons of chlorine but really getting 1 gallon because it is expired. Also check the percentage of chlorine content. Our liquid chlorine is 12.5% and has a 30 day shelf life.
Problem: When pH approaches or goes below 7.2, especially when combined with low Alkalinity and calcium hardness, the water may become corrosive, damaging pool and spa surfaces and metal equipment, such as heaters. If this takes place with a pool that has a heater, copper fittings will be corroded causing copper levels to rise in the water and stains will appear on the wet surfaces. Low pH also causes skin and eye irritation. These low levels are can be caused by, tablet usage, low alkalinity levels, high stabilizer and bather waste from swimmers. The ideal range is 7.4ppm-7.6ppm.
Solution: Low pH levels can be adjusted by adding soda ash (sodium carbonate). Use fewer tablets in your chlorinator and keep it on a low setting. Add fresh water whenever possible.
Problem: Water with a low Alkalinity may cause pH to change dramatically when small additions of chemicals are made. Water tends to be more corrosive to plaster and metal equipment. This will often cause staining or etching of surfaces and equipment. It also can cause eye and skin irritation to bathers. Low Alkalinity levels can be caused by high stabilizer levels and relying on tablets for a long period of time as your only source of chlorine.The ideal range is 125ppm-150ppm (80ppm-125ppm plaster pools).
Solution: To raise low Alkalinity levels you can use sodium bicarbonate. It takes a lot to raise low alkalinity levels and it has been proven to save money if you replace the water with new water. Fresh water naturally raises low Alkalinity levels. Overall fresh water is always good for the pool and its recommended to add it whenever you can. Using to many tablets on a high setting for a long period of time is a big source of low alkalinity levels. Use fewer tablets because of the high content of Stabilizer (cyanuric acid) and low levels of pH.
Total Dissolved Solids
Problem: The lower the Total Dissolved Solids level the better. Low TDS levels make taking care of your pool and treating any problems easier. Fewer chemicals will be required to maintain your pool/spa when it is a low level because it is not highly saturated. Keeping your TDS level below 1500ppm is ideal.
Solution: Fresh water keeps this level low. Add it whenever possible to increase the life of pool surfaces, equipment and save you money.
Problem: If calcium hardness is too low, the water will become aggressive and will tend to dissolve surfaces. Levels lower than 200ppm may cause the water to become corrosive causing etching of plaster and pitting of surfaces. The ideal range for calcium is 200ppm-400ppm.
Solution: You can raise the calcium level by adding calcium to the pool. Bring in your water test on a regular basis until the level is raised.
Problem: Adding fresh water to the pool will lower a stabilizer level. Another way stabilizer drops if when the pool has algae. Stabilizer is the first thing algae attacks and when it does the chlorine level in the pool is no longer protected causing a full algae bloom. The ideal Stabilizer level is best kept between 30ppm-80ppm.
Solution: Whenever you add fresh water to the pool, stop by the store to have the water professionally tested to see what your Stabilizer level is. If you have algae the first thing to do is make sure you have the proper level of Stabilizer in the pool to help hold the chlorine level.
Here to help educate you on effective ways to prolong the life of your pool and save you money. You can find tips and advice on maintenance, products and solutions to common pool problems. Including grilling tips and recipes for our grill masters and Primodonnas!