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Three Keys to Clear, Clean, and Healthy Pool Water

Posted by on 5/9/2018 to Useful Tips

There are 3 keys to maintaining clear, clean and healthy swimming pool and spa water. These 3 keys are Circulation, Filtration, and Chemical Balance. Whenever your water becomes cloudy, unhealthy or algae begins to grow it can be due to a breakdown in one or more of these three key conditions.

Circulation: Circulation is the flow or current in the water. The pump running daily for 1 hour per 10 degrees of median temperature (ex: 8hrs when it's 80 degrees), or 1 to 2 hours per day for a spa provides the water with circulation. Water circulation is important to keep the chemicals in the water evenly mixed, regulate the overall temperature of the water, and make it more difficult for algae to settle and take root. When a body of water is not circulating it becomes stagnant. Circulation also helps get any sanitized and oxidized material in the water to the filter to be collected, keeping the water clear.

Note: Algae can grow even in very turbulent water as we can see in any stream. Running the pool pump for the appropriate amount of time each day will help to make it more difficult for the algae spores to settle however, circulation alone will not stop algae growth so do not believe that merely running the pump for a longer amount of time will resolve your algae problem. The algae starting in the grout in a pool skimmer is proof of this.

Filtration: Filtration is when the water is pushed through the pool's filter. The filter collects any dirt and debris that the pump pushes into it or is vacuumed up, sending the clear and filtered water back into the pool. There are three standard types of filters that you will come across in doing your job. These three filters are Diatomaceous Earth filters which have a series of grids inside them that hold a fine powder filter media; Cartridge filters which have a large cartridge or a variety of smaller cartridges inside which collect the dirt and debris; and Sand filters which are filled with a fine sand in a sectioned compartment and force the water through the sand with the sand collecting the dirt and debris. All of these types of filters should be cleaned and maintained regularly. The entire body of water should be passed through the filter at least once per day which is another reason to have the water circulate for 8 or more hours per day.

Note: Water becomes cloudy when there is too much organic material in the water. Proper filtering will keep the water clear. Keeping your D.E. filters backwashed regularly will help the filter to operate more efficiently.

Chemical Balance: Chemical balance is the most important key to maintaining clean, clear, and healthy water. Bad water chemistry can not only cause staining and damage to the pool’s surface and equipment but can also cause swimmer discomfort and illness. Proper water chemistry must be checked for and maintained each week. Unbalanced chemistry can allow for algae growth and algae harbors and protects germs and bacteria, allowing it to thrive and putting your swimmers health at risk. 

There are 5 main aspects of water chemistry to keep balances and to check for regularly. These 5 aspects are:

· Free and Available Chlorine (FAC) - maintained at 3 to 5 ppm (parts per million)

· pH Balance (Power of Hydrogen) - maintained at 7.4 to 7.6

· Total Alkalinity (T.A.) - maintained at 80 to 120 ppm 

· Conditioner (Cyanuric Acid) - also called stabilizer, maintained at 30 to 60 ppm 

· Calcium Hardness – maintained at 180 to 500 ppm 

There are a few other conditions that can also be checked for:

· Salt, Salinity (Sodium Chloride) - Salt is used with Salt generated chlorination systems only and should be maintained at 3250 to 3500 ppm, though different manufacturers will have some variance in their recommended salinity levels

· Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) – a measurement of all solids dissolved in a sample of water and a general indication of the waters age. Proper TDS levels and recommendations will be given on a TDS test kit.

· Phosphates – a measurement of microscopic dead plant material and food for algae. Measurements for recommended phosphate levels will be given on any phosphate test kit.

Note: Chemical balance is the single most common reason for algae growth. Think of algae like a blood disease. When you see a symptom on the surface, merely brushing away the symptom does not cure the disease. The water must be treated in order to kill the algae else it will quickly return.

Things to Remember 

· All three keys: circulation, filtration, and chemical balance are important to maintain clear, clean, and healthy water.

· Circulation is an important key as it helps to circulate the chemicals, it makes it more difficult for algae spores to settle, and it helps sanitized and oxidized debris get into the filter.

· Filtration is the key to keeping the water clear from oxidized organic material. Water becomes cloudy and loses its lustrous sparkle when too much organic material blocks the sun’s rays from penetrating the water.

· Chemical balance is the main key to sanitizing and oxidizing the water and to preventing algae growth.

Victor Grijalva

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