How to Maintain Swimming Pool Chemicals

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Save money on pool and spa services by learning how to maintain swimming pool chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Pool Chemistry Kit
  • Chlorine
  • pH Up
  • pH Down
  • Alkalinity Up
  • Calcium Hardness Increaser
  • Algaecide
  • Chlorine or Bromine Shock
  • Purchase a complete pool chemistry testing kit such as Taylor Complete FAS-DPD or Taylor Professional Chlorine/Bromine Kit to help you properly maintain swimming pool chemistry.

  • Check Free, Combined, and Total chlorine daily. Chlorine levels should generally be 1.0 ppm for pools and 3.0 ppm for spas and hot tubs. Adjust chlorine levels using 99% sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione granulated quick dissolve chlorine to minimize effects on pH and impact on cyanuric acid levels. Maintain levels with less expensive chlorine tablets.

  • Test pH. Adjust using pH UP or pH DOWN products. The acid demand test will help you determine how much pH DOWN you need to lower water pH. The base demand test will indicate the amount of pH UP to use to raise water pH. Test pH weekly in a covered pool or a few hours after any major chlorine addition.

  • Check total alkalinity. This value should fluctuate minimally in a properly balanced, covered swimming pool. Maintaining alkalinity in a range from 80 to 150 ppm decreases fluctuations in pH. Eye irritation and pool equipment corrosion occurs below 80 ppm. Use an alkalinity UP product to raise to optimal levels.

  • Determine calcium hardness. Levels below 200 ppm can cause swimming pool and spa equipment corrosion. Add calcium hardness increaser as needed. Calcium levels should fluctuate minimally during the swimming season. Check weekly or biweekly if you note little fluctuation.

  • Test for cyanuric acid at least once a week. Cyanuric acid levels should be between 30 and 50 ppm to help stabilize chlorine levels. Cyanuric acid should not exceed 100 ppm as it is a potential carcinogen. High levels of cyanuric acid can not be corrected by the addition of any product. Partially drain pool and refill with fresh water. Retest. Repeat until cyanuric acid levels are within safe limits. Cyanuric acid is a common stabilizer in chlorine tablets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Optimal pH will for balanced water will depend on water temperature and alkalinity.
  • Treat with an algaecide biweekly to prevent green pool water. Prevention is easier than correction.
  • Add Superblue weekly for sparkling, deep blue pool water.
  • When high levels of combined chlorine are present, shock the pool to achieve breakpoint chlorination.
  • Pool chemicals and testing reagents are hazardous.
  • Store in a locked area away from children and pets.
  • Take precautions to avoid skin and eye contact.
  • Follow proper disposal instructions.

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  • Photo Credit Leo Zaza/Flickr.com
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