A Manual for Home Owners


Stan Kingsley

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Version 20090914 Non-fiction: How To, Swimming Pool Water Maintenance


Because this book is presented as a PDF (portable document format) file available on the internet and viewable on computers the contents can be listed using the PDF's search window. If you want to see the main headings type three diagonal slash marks in the search window. All the headings will be listed. If you want to see the sections labeled KEY POINTS type that phrase into the search window.

The meat of the book is in the middle -- Achieving Balanced Water and Maintaining Balanced Water. The earlier sections describe the basic chemistry and definitions. Later sections have details about pool chemicals.

I first wrote this manual over twenty years ago for myself. There was not much written about pool care. The suppliers started to provide written information but not unexpectedly they had a slant which promoted their products. Since that time computer aided analysis became widely available in pool stores. I've updated the contents to reflect these changes as well as new products. I have noticed that products and procedures that were not useful are no longer promoted. The most useful products and test procedures have remained the same for a long time and are only aided by computers, not replaced by them.

There are many ways to purify pool water but I have selected only one, chlorination, and have provided recommendations that balance economics with convenience to make maintaining pool water less of a chore and less of an expense. There are tens of thousands of technical pages written about water and its analysis and water treatments. Even though the chemistry might seem complicated I have only included enough to explain why certain effects happen in pool water. For further information any topic today can be searched on the internet for more details.

In twenty-five years I have used only liquid and tablet chlorine along with acid and baking soda and occasionally calcium chloride because I live in a soft water area. Nothing else is needed. Once a pool is balanced it is much easier and cheaper to maintain it than it is to neglect it and fix it later. But even then a large dose of liquid chlorine is usually all that is required plus balancing the calcium and pH. My pool has always been blue.

It is also eco-friendly to maintain pool water in the most efficient ways possible. The methods described in this manual should help you save time and money and help the environment too. It is good to be "green" while keeping your pool water blue.

I am a retired scientist with degrees in chemistry and business administration. I hope that what I have learned about pool water maintenance will be useful to you also. The most practical points are collected in "key points" and I will start with a summary of those.

pH is the single most important test. Hydrochloric acid and baking soda are the two chemicals needed for this. It indicates the activity level of the chlorine. Calcium is required at about 300 ppm to preserve the cement and make water balance easier to maintain.4. baking soda and acid. Hard water requires adjusting other parameters. Others are almost never required.) If you are using chlorine to sanitize a swimming pool keep the pH near 7. Too much stabilizer will throw off test results and interfere with chlorination.) 10. The only chemicals you need to use the methods described in this manual are chlorine tablets and solution. 4.) 6.) 9. If stabilizer is present the chlorine will last longer but must be kept at a higher level.) 3. To preserve the cement the water must be balanced and the pH buffered.) 5. Balanced water is blue.) 2.) 7.) . Two necessary pieces of equipment are a pool thermometer and a comprehensive test kit which includes a nomogram for water balance. clear and odor-free. There are two forms of economical chlorine -.) 8. And calcium in soft water areas. The best algaecide is liquid chlorine.SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS 1.solution (10%) and tablets (3" diameter).


INTRODUCTION Why Chlorine? All About Water Balance If In Doubt CHLORINATION CHLORINE SOLUTION Chemistry of Liquid Chlorine Handling of Liquid Chlorine KEY POINTS ABOUT CHLORINE SOLUTION CHLORINE TABLETS Chemistry of Trichlor Tablets Handling of Trichlor Tablets KEY POINTS ABOUT TRICHLOR TABLETS CHLORINE POWDER Chemistry of Calcium Hypochlorite Handling of Calcium Hypochlorite KEY POINTS ABOUT CALCIUM HYPOCHLORITE STABILIZER Problems Caused By High Stabilizer Concentration KEY POINTS ABOUT STABILIZER CONTROL OF pH Dissociation of Water Definition of pH Scale Of pH Values Buffering Correcting Low pH Why pH Increases And Alkalinity Decreases Carbonate Chemistry KEY POINTS ABOUT pH CONTROL

CALCIUM BALANCE Calcium Chloride: Chemistry and Handling Calcium Concentration Problems with Hard Water Calcium Balance and Temperature Calcium Carbonate (Cement) Solubility A Short Cut To Balance Water Using A Nomogram KEY POINTS ABOUT CALCIUM BALANCE IDEAL CONDITIONS WEATHER EFFECTS Seasonal Effects -- Summer Seasonal Effects -- Winter The Effect Of Rain Evaporation Incoming Water Supply Environment KEY POINTS ABOUT WEATHER EFFECTS CONTROL OF ALGAE Super-chlorination Shock Treatment Other Chlorine Treatments Other Algaecides Quaternary Ammonium Chlorides Cost Comparison KEY POINTS ABOUT CONTROL OF ALGAE TESTING AND ADJUSTING POOL WATER TEST KITS Accuracy of Test Results Chlorine Test Methods: OTO vs. DPD pH DETERMINATION Acid Demand Base Demand CHLORINE CONCENTRATION Chlorine Measurements Estimating Effective Chlorine (VERY IMPORTANT) Adjusting Chlorine



peroxides and silver ions. such as bromination. . An attempt has been made to take the mystery out of the chemistry. The three most widely used and readily available chlorine compounds are: * Chlorine solution (sodium hypochlorite in water. Why Chlorine? Chlorination has been used for over a century in public water supplies and pools because it is safe and effective and low cost compared to the many other methods which are not discussed here. Comparisons to other forms of chlorine are given. ozonation. very similar to bleach) * Trichlor tablets (trichloro-s-triazinetrione powder in 3" tablet form) * Calcium hypochlorite powder (granules similar to bleach) What they are and how to use them is discussed in detail with suggestions for making them the most effective at least cost to maintain your pool water./// INTRODUCTION \\\ This manual is for the home owner with a cement in-ground swimming pool. It is a brief description of the necessary chemicals and procedures for using chlorine to sanitize pool water.

slightly basic. Each section is followed by KEY POINTS which are useful for quick reference when it comes time to practice the art of water maintenance. Always read the labels of the chemicals before using and follow the instructions for safe handling and use. They are a summary of important points and recommendations. The third step is calcium balance to preserve the cement as long as possible. so that it is never acidic and corrosive. If In Doubt The suitability of the information in this manual and its application to particular situations has to be determined by the reader. . Consult a professional when in doubt. The second aspect of pool maintenance is water balance. It may not seem simple to the average pool owner without training in chemistry but the emphasis is on the basic mechanisms at work in pool water treatment and why they affect decisions about which products to use and how to use them.All About Water Balance Chlorination to kill bacteria and algae is the first step. Without knowing the basics it is easy to be led into wasting money on expensive materials when cheaper ones will do or into chasing a problem around and around by attacking appearances rather than true causes. Now on to the technical stuff! There are explanations for the technical terms and a simplified description of the chemistry. It is necessary to control the pH by buffering the water to keep it near neutral.

The results can only be interpreted along with the pH value. If this chemical terminology seems obscure it is only necessary to remember that THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CHLORINE DEPENDS ON THE pH OF THE WATER. HOCl. effective purifying agent Inactive species. It is the active form of chlorine. In normal pool water the chlorine is a mixture of both active and inactive forms. forms salt When testing for chlorine the test kit methods will indicate the sum of both the active and inactive forms. CHLORINE SPECIES IN WATER Hypochlorous acid Hypochlorite ion Chloride ion HOCl OCl– Cl– Active species. In basic water it remains inactive as hypochlorite ions. becomes active at lower pH Inactive species. Chlorine compounds used in pools form hypochlorous acid when added to water. The amount formed depends on the pH./// CHLORINATION \\\ The chemical species which sanitizes is hypochlorous acid. As described later the pH of pool water must be maintained in a narrow range for . In very acidic water all of the chlorine will be in the active form.

Each ends with a summary of KEY POINTS about that material. The three best materials for effective chlorination at low cost are described in the next three sections. When stabilizer is present more chlorine is needed so I find that four to five or more parts per million is a more practical chlorine level to aim for in swimming pools. . This too can vary with the water temperature. It increases when the pH is lowered. TO OBTAIN A SUFFICIENT LEVEL OF ACTIVE CHLORINE IN POOL WATER IT IS NECESSARY TO ADD A CHLORINE CONTAINING COMPOUND AND MAINTAIN THE pH NEAR 7. Pool books and test kits often recommend three to five parts per million.4. Public pools usually aim for ten parts per million because they have so many users. It might be OK for a short time but it is so marginal that you would be constantly adjusting it upward.several reasons. number of pool users and the weather. What Is The Right Amount of Chlorine? It is often recommended that one part per million is sufficient. that is. when acid is added. The amount of active chlorine will be anywhere from one-fourth to three-fourths of the total when the pH is in the proper range. This is a good range and matches the range for most test methods for pool chlorine. This is approximately the amount of chlorine in most tap water.

How Do You Know When You Have Enough Chlorine? If algae shows up you need more chlorine. And. It is better to spend a little more on regular chlorination and keep the level near four or five ppm rather than have to shock the pool with ten or more parts per million. An appropriate level of chlorine will prevent the appearance of algae on an on-going basis. . weather and pool use. An immediate boost will kill the algae and then a higher level in general will help prevent it from coming back. again. this depends on climate.

the availability of acid ions (H+) in the water. This is one of the disadvantages of liquid chlorine because the pH must be brought back to the desired range by the addition of acid to the pool water. Adding hydrochloric acid lowers the pH and adds chloride ions (Cl–) which do not contribute to effective chlorination. Chemistry of Liquid Chlorine When liquid chlorine is added to a pool it immediately raises the level of effective chlorine./// CHLORINE SOLUTION (Sodium hypochlorite) \\\ Liquid chlorine is a ten percent solution of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) in water. . Use caution when transporting or pouring liquid chlorine. The bulk material is usually sold in two and a half gallon refillable containers. A splash can ruin your clothes. A spill in your car would be a disaster. It is available in pre-packaged one gallon containers or in bulk at hardware or pool supply stores. It is the same active ingredient as household bleach but at double the concentration. Sodium hypochlorite is instantly converted to HOCl depending on the pH. Handling of Chlorine Solution Liquid chlorine must be handled carefully. that is. As acid ions are taken up to form the hypochlorous acid the pH of the pool increases.

the level drops substantially within one or two days. Do not buy more than a season's supply at a time.000 gallon pool. Carry the container without bumping it against yourself and only put it down on something that will not be ruined by stray drips of the solution. Never mix the solution with anything else. This rate of disappearance of chlorine is typical and depends on sunlight.HELPFUL HINTS: Use a box to keep the container from touching the car interior. temperature and the presence of stabilizer and contaminants in the pool water. The ten percent concentration is only approximate. However. The change in chlorine level with the addition of chlorinating solution is immediate. . In spite of the inconveniences it is the most commonly used form of chlorine because it is cheap and effective. Avoid breathing the vapors. The storage life is limited so the percentage will drop over time. Only pour it into a clean measuring container. Ten percent chlorine solution is added at about 500 ml (one pint) per day every day to achieve a one part per million (ppm) chlorine level in a 15.

. Use it for routine chlorination. superchlorination and shock treatments.) 2. It is the most cost effective form of chlorine.) is a hazardous material. The pool's pH rises when chlorine solution is added so it must be re-adjusted with acid. 4. The chlorine protection only lasts a short time.) 3.) 6.) The chlorine level is raised immediately as the solution is added./// KEY POINTS ABOUT CHLORINE SOLUTION \\\ 1. The shelf life is limited.) Handle it carefully -.) 5.

It is available under several brand names and all manufacturer's labels include the following: trichloro-s-triazinetrione inert available chlorine (89%) 99.0% 1. . At the same time three acid groups present in the water combine with the remainder of the trichlor to form one cyanuric acid (CYA) molecule. Do not confuse stabilized chlorine with tablets of calcium hypochlorite./// CHLORINE TABLETS (Trichlor) \\\ The recommended stabilized chlorine is the three-inch tablet form of trichloro-striazinetrione ("trichlor"). Comparing prices tablets are more expensive than liquid chlorine. It is discussed in the section on STABILIZER. such as "dichlor". Also the trichlor compound does not affect the pH and so reduces the requirements for acid.0% Do not use stabilized chlorine with less available chlorine. When these chlorine atoms are released they combine with hydroxyl groups present in the water and form hypochlorous acid (HOCl). Cyanuric acid is a stabilizer for chlorine. This cost difference is partially offset because trichlor tablets provide stabilizer. Chemistry of Trichlor Tablets Trichloro-s-triazinetrione is an organic compound which contains three chlorine atoms per molecule.

000 gallon pool. Chlorination is provided over a long period of time at a slow rate. But if uncovered they give off obnoxious fumes. Because they dissolve slowly the three inch tablets eliminate the need for daily attention. As the tablet dissolves the chlorine level increases slowly and reaches a peak several days later. Three-inch tablets are added two tablets per week to achieve about one ppm chlorine in a 15. . The best way to control the rate of chlorination is to use a floating dispenser which can be loaded once a week. It is best to wear rubber gloves when transferring tablets from their original container to a pool dispenser.Chlorinating tablets are like time-release capsules. Handling of Trichlor Tablets They are easier to handle and transport than liquids. Most of the chlorine will be released in the first two weeks. Three-inch tablets are preferred because it takes about three weeks for them to completely dissolve. Or plastic tongs can be used to avoid skin contact with the tablet.

Stabilizer (cyanuric acid) is also released but at one-third the rate of the hypochlorous acid.) 3. Use tablets during the hottest time of the year for routine chlorination.) When trichlor tablets dissolve they slowly create hypochlorous acid (the effective form of chlorine).) 5. Limit use to avoid excess stabilizer.) 2.) 4. . Continuous use of trichlor tablets causes the amount of cyanuric acid stabilizer to increase./// KEY POINTS ABOUT TRICHLOR TABLETS \\\ 1.

See the section CALCIUM BALANCE for problems with hard water. usually a powder. It can also be found as tablets. Look for the following description on the label: calcium hypochlorite inert ingredients available chlorine (65%) 65% 35% The cost of calcium hypochlorite varies with quantity and packaging. Its chemistry is similar to liquid chlorine but with calcium in place of sodium./// CHLORINE POWDER (Calcium hypochlorite) \\\ A third type of chlorine which is useful in pools is calcium hypochlorite. Its physical form is solid. The shelf life is substantially longer than that of chlorine solution. . from 100 pound drums to 25 pound pails or one pound packages. Handling of Calcium Hypochlorite Calcium hypochlorite is easier to transport than liquid chlorine and easier to handle than trichlor. Chemistry of Calcium Hypochlorite When calcium hypochlorite is added to a pool it raises the level of effective chlorine as it dissolves and it raises the pH. The addition of calcium to the pool water is an advantage in most cases unless the water is hard meaning that there is already a high level of calcium in it. but do not confuse it with trichlor tablets.

The powdered form of calcium hypochlorite can offer an advantage when used as a shock treatment to kill algae. The powder can be sprinkled on or near algae spots. The level of chlorine is raised quickly as the powder dissolves. One pound of 65% active powder provides a 5 ppm chlorine shock in a 15. When this is done in still water the concentration of chlorine becomes very high right where the algae is. They behave like time release capsules. .000 gallon pool. The denser forms (tablets or cartridges) will be slower to dissolve and are added less often. Some powders are finer and dissolve faster providing a quicker shock and some are 75% active. About three ounces per day of calcium hypochlorite powder in a 15.000 gallon pool will provide about one ppm chlorine.A disadvantage of calcium hypochlorite is that it causes cloudy pool water until the filter removes residual particles.

but a problem in hard water areas or when calcium content is already high.) The powder form of calcium hypochlorite quickly raises the effective chlorine concentration.) 3. necessary for pool water. . The powder form is an excellent algaecide. It causes the pH to go up.) 4. especially for spots or clusters of algae. It provides calcium.) 5./// KEY POINTS ABOUT CALCIUM HYPOCHLORITE \\\ 1.) 2. The tablet or cartridge form of calcium hypochlorite slowly releases effective chlorine.

COMPARISON OF CHLORINE COMPOUNDS Name: Sodium hypochlorite NaOCl Solution 10% active HOCl Excellent 16 oz daily Excellent Calcium hypochlorite Ca(OCl)2 Powder 65 to 75% active HOCl. calcium Good 3 oz daily Good Trichloro-striazinetrione (CNOCl)3 Tablet (3") 99% active HOCl. stabilizer Excellent 16 oz weekly Not recommended Not recommended Formula: Form: % Active: Provides: Chlorination: Use rate: Shock: Spot algaecide: Not recommended Excellent .

Higher amounts are required in summer along with higher chlorine concentrations. A good starting range is 20 to 40 ppm. Cyanuric acid (CYA) stabilizes hypochlorous acid and extends its lifetime. Stabilizer concentration should be kept under 100 ppm.000 gallon pool. adding five pounds would provide 40 ppm in a 15. If trichlor is not used cyanuric acid stabilizer can be added separately. Because the cyanuric acid (CYA) level can become excessive if using trichlor continuously at least twice a year determine its concentration. About 30 ppm is optimum. Indoor pools do not require stabilizer. Be aware that other forms of chlorine may be stabilized and their use will increase the CYA levels in your pool. When trichlor tablets are used stabilizer is formed as they dissolve. This happens to hypochlorous acid in pool water. When trichlor tablets are added routinely to the pool the amount of cyanuric acid (CYA) will increase by about 3 ppm per month. (See the sections on CALCULATIONS and ADDITIONS TO THE POOL./// STABILIZER (Cyanuric acid) \\\ Chlorine compounds decompose when exposed to sunlight (ultra-violet radiation). For example. This effect is very important. If it is too high then one of the other non-stabilized forms of chlorine should be used instead of trichlor until the level of CYA comes down below 50 ppm.) Cyanuric acid is sometimes called conditioner but it acts as a stabilizer. .

cyanuric acid. Caution: See the section: Partial draining of the Pool.the stabilizer concentration will drop by about 7 ppm per month. High cyanuric acid (CYA) levels also interfere with the test for alkalinity. The test kit results can show adequate levels of chlorine but there may still be algae growth.Problems Caused By High Stabilizer Concentration If the CYA level becomes too high it will interfere with the activity of the chlorine. See the section TOTAL ALKALINITY in TESTING AND ADJUSTING POOL WATER. But in large amounts CYA can mask a low level of bicarbonate alkalinity. . For these reasons it is recommended that trichlor be used for only four months of the year to avoid excessive build-up of stabilizer. If the level of CYA is very high there is only one way to reduce it: Drain about half the pool and refill to cut the concentration in half. If the pool is super-chlorinated the level of chlorine will remain very for a very long time during which it should not be used. Any amount over 100 ppm is too much. It is better to never exceed 60 ppm. At less than 30 ppm the effect on the alkalinity test is small enough to be ignored. In less severe cases simply stop using the trichlor type of chlorine -. Cyanuric acid (CYA) is very useful but only at a reasonable level.

When the stabilizer level is high do not use trichlor (or any stabilized chlorine product). . use sodium or calcium hypochlorite instead./// KEY POINTS ABOUT STABILIZER \\\ 1. Too much stabilizer inhibits the effectiveness of chlorine.) 2.) 5. Too much of it will mask a deficiency in carbonate level unless the alkalinity test result is corrected for it.) 6. The amount of cyanuric acid in the pool water increases when stabilized chlorine is used continuously for long periods of time. Stabilizer contributes to alkalinity in the test for total alkalinity.) At about 30 ppm it extends the lifetime of chlorine.) 3.) 4.

The pH value is the strength of the .) Because of the way it is defined neutral water has a pH of 7. When the amounts of (H+) ions and (OH-) ions are equal then the water is neutral. If the (OH-) ions predominate then the water is basic./// CONTROL OF pH \\\ Dissociation of Water Water is unstable and to a very small degree its molecules dissociate. A chemist would describe the dissociation as follows: H2O water = forms (H+) hydrogen ions (acidic) + and (OH–) hydroxyl ions (basic) Definition of pH The balance between the dissociated ions is referred to as "pH. (It happens to be the negative logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) expressed in moles per liter. down to zero. Acidic water is less than seven. The balance between (H+) ions and (OH-) ions is easily influenced by other hydrogen ion (H+) and one hydroxyl ion (OH-). Basic water has a pH over 7 up to 14. They break down into ion pairs -. If the balance favors the (H+) ions the water is acidic." It is measured on a scale which runs from zero to fourteen.

" Scale Of pH Values neutral 0----------------------------------7---------------------------------14 acidic basic For swimming pool water the desired range of pH is within 7 to 8. Acidic pool water would be corrosive. Above pH 8 there would be very little of the active form of chlorine.4 (with an acceptable range of 7. It is an abbreviation of the German phrase "potenz Hydrogen. . Materials are added to the water which will counteract increases or decreases in the pH." literally "power of hydrogen.hydrogen ion concentration. Recall that hypochlorous acid becomes inactive hypochlorite ion in strongly basic water.6) where the water is not corrosive and about one half of the chlorine will be in the active form. For these reasons the ideal value of pH is around 7. Buffering Buffering is a method of slowing down changes in pH. In swimming pools this is accomplished by adding baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). always on the slightly basic side.2 to 7.

In buffered swimming pools the normal drift will be to higher pH. *A pool with mildly acidic water (pH about 6) can be corrected by adding baking soda. These changes are corrected by the addition of acid. This material is sold under various names for raising pool pH. Also. *Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) can be used to adjust a very low pH pool. It is checked with a test for total alkalinity.The amount of baking soda required is about one hundred ppm. The pH has to be adjusted more often. The level of sodium bicarbonate will change relatively slowly and can be adjusted about every two weeks. However. if the pH should accidentally go below 7 it can be corrected in several ways: *A slightly acidic pool just under pH 7 can be corrected by adding liquid or powder chlorine (sodium or calcium hypochlorite). It is more cost effective than dry acid (sodium bisulfate). There is no need to keep it on hand. .) Correcting Low pH Acid additions should always be done such that the pH never goes below 7. primarily to prevent cement corrosion (see CALCIUM BALANCE) but also to provide buffering action for pH stability. Most commonly muriatic (hydrochloric) acid is used. (See below. as described earlier the use of sodium or calcium hypochlorite will raise the pH. It should never be needed but if the occasion arises a pool store would be able to provide it. The pH adjustment with acid should always be the last thing done when treating pool water.

The decrease in acid raises the pH. In pool water the acid and bicarbonate combine to form carbonic acid. This is why sodium carbonate will more effectively raise pH. All of these changes are unavoidable and this is why the baking soda and acid must be replenished. Carbonic acid decomposes to water and carbon dioxide gas. All that remains is sodium and chloride. In water it provides bicarbonate ions (CO3–). At pH three both of them are completely converted to carbonic acid. Each carbonate ion can take up two acid ions and bicarbonate can take one. carbonate ions (CO3– –) or carbonic acid (H2CO3) depending on the pH.5 in unbuffered water. Carbonate Chemistry The chemical formula for sodium bicarbonate is NaHCO3. Doing this in the other order can result in a never-ending consumption of both materials as they are converted into salt. The decrease in carbonate reduces the alkalinity.Why pH Increases And Alkalinity Decreases Acids and bases (alkaline materials) neutralize each other and form salts. The pH of carbonate is 11 and the pH of bicarbonate is 8. salt. The accumulation of salt raises the total dissolved solids. When this happens the carbonate and acid ions are lost. All of this happens faster when the temperature is higher. . To minimize the neutralization of baking soda by the acid it is best to adjust alkalinity first and then adjust the pH.

At normal pool pH values the buffering system is actually a bicarbonate/ carbonic acid mixture.6 the same species are formed. .2 to 7. Once the pH is adjusted to the normal range of 7. This happens because the pool pH lies between the pH's of these two species. It doesn't matter whether bicarbonate (baking soda) or carbonate (soda ash) is added to the pool water. This is the reason that there is no need for carbonate addition and the less expensive baking soda is used.

4 is the best value (as a high in summer and as a low in winter).) 8.6 for pH.) 10.) 5. Determining the baking soda content (the total alkalinity test) should be done about every two weeks.) 6.) Because it determines the effectiveness of chlorine pH is the most important item to control to maintain pool water. Almost always the pH will drift higher. Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid is used to adjust the pH back to lower values. (It will vary with temperature and calcium content.) 4. A pH of 7. Baking soda is used to retard changes in pH.) 3./// KEY POINTS ABOUT pH CONTROL \\\ 1. Adjusting pH should always be done after making all other additions to the pool water. The correct amount of baking soda (bicarbonate alkalinity) is about 90 ppm. The usual range is 7. See the section on CALCIUM BALANCE.) 2.2 to 7.) 9. Maintenance of pH is often a daily task (in season).) .) 7.

The interior surface of the pool is finished with a coating of cement containing marble dust ("plaster") to give it a bright white color. The pool surface in contact with water is going to slightly dissolve and put calcium and carbonate in the water. mixed with other chlorides). It can be purchased as a brand name product or in bulk form. Smaller quantities or brand name products will cost more. . See the section on CONTROL OF pH. Carbonate is supplied when baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is added. cement and marble are principally or entirely limestone which is the mineral name for calcium carbonate. Hardware supply store offer large bags of bulk calcium chloride at lower prices per pound. It absorbs moisture so it is usually available in its hydrate form. To prevent the cement surfaces from eroding calcium and carbonate should be added to the pool water. The chemical formula is CaCl2./// CALCIUM BALANCE \\\ In-ground swimming pools are usually made by casting concrete over a metal frame of reinforcing rods. Concrete.2(H2O). Calcium is provided by the addition of calcium chloride. Calcium Chloride: Chemistry and Handling Calcium chloride is a chemical similar to ordinary salt. calcium chloride dihydrate (at 80%.

However. It is important to remember that the routine use of calcium hypochlorite will add significantly to the calcium level of the pool water. See the section on CHLORINE POWDER. Testing every three months will usually be sufficient. Repeat this procedure until the required amount of calcium has been dissolved and added. A new pool or one recently resurfaced may change more quickly than an older pool and not need additional calcium for a long time. When it dissolves it gives off heat. . When the calcium level is controlled fairly closely it is easier to maintain the proper chemical balances.The best way to add calcium is to fill a clean five gallon pail with pool water and add a few pounds of calcium chloride. routine chlorination with this material will add about 20 ppm per month. Carefully pour the calcium solution into the skimmer leaving any solid materials in the bottom of the pail. calcium hypochlorite must be avoided. Its use as an algaecide or for shock treatments will not contribute much to the calcium level -. The solid material or its hot concentrated solution can be irritating to skin. For pools with an existing high level of calcium. Calcium Concentration A calcium concentration near 300 ppm is best. A suitable range is 200 to 400 ppm. This is not a problem for most pools and simply reduces the requirement for adding calcium chloride.about 2 ppm per treatment. Or flakes of calcium chloride can be added slowly to the skimmer so that they dissolve before reaching the pump.

Problems with Hard Water High calcium levels can be the result of naturally occurring levels in the incoming water used to fill the pool. Calcium Balance and Temperature Temperature changes the solubility of chemicals in water. The presence of calcium (and similar ions such as magnesium) is said to make water "hard" because it interferes with the sudsing action of detergents. . This problem was addressed by chemists who developed a saturation index for calcium carbonate. Often high calcium content can be compensated by altering carbonate concentration and pH. As its temperature changes it is possible for pool water to become corrosive and dissolve the cement. It is a way of calculating the amount of calcium and carbonate needed for a given pH and temperature to prevent corrosion (dissolving cement) and scaling (precipitating calcium carbonate). Some water supplies are naturally "hard" and can contain so much calcium that scaling becomes a problem. This happens when calcium carbonate precipitates out of the pool water as a hard rough deposit on the walls of the pool. In particular the solubility of calcium carbonate will change. Or it is possible that calcium carbonate will begin to precipitate. scale formation on equipment or rough deposits on the walls of the pool. In areas where the problem is severe it may be necessary to bring in water with a lower calcium content from another location. This can cause cloudiness in the water. In some test kits the calcium determination is referred to as a "water hardness" or "calcium hardness" test.

The calcium and carbonate concentrations are kept constant. Calcium carbonate is unusual in this respect -.5 Note that the alkalinity is the same and the calcium concentration is the same. And the acidity should be higher (lower pH) in warmer water because of the decreased solubility of the calcium carbonate. A set of conditions satisfying these requirements is given below: BALANCED WATER CONDITIONS Water temperature (ºF) Calcium (ppm) Alkalinity.Calcium Carbonate (Cement) Solubility Most minerals are more soluble in warm water than cold. . One approach for counterbalancing the solubility of the cement requires changing the pH to compensate for temperature changes.3 60º 300 90 7. This is why a lower carbonate (lower alkalinity) level is necessary in hotter weather. The total alkalinity shown above includes 80 ppm for carbonate alkalinity and 10 ppm for the effect of becomes less soluble as the temperature increases. The change in water temperature is compensated by altering the pH. total (ppm) pH 85º 300 90 7. Over a wide and useful range of temperature the water can be balanced with the calcium concentration near 300 ppm.

In the range of 60 to 90ºF the alkalinity can be adjusted as shown below: BALANCED WATER CONDITIONS AT pH 7.4 Temperature (ºF) 90 80 70 60 Total Alkalinity (ppm) 75 85 100 115 For most pools this is a good approach because alkalinity can be easily changed in response to seasonal temperatures.4 -. The pH is restricted to a narrow range because of its effect on chlorine. Now it is only necessary to alter the carbonate alkalinity to suit the temperature. .calcium around 300 ppm and the pH around 7. Since calcium levels are slow to change it is easier to maintain them at a uniform level.This shows that it is particularly helpful to keep the calcium level near 300 ppm.the problem is simplified. A Short Cut To Balance Water Calcium balance is complicated because there are four items to be concerned about. Another way to look at the problem of balancing the water is given below. With this level of calcium the pH can be kept in the range where the chlorine is effective. With two of these kept in a narrow range -.

The nomogram will cover a wide range of conditions but only those which keep the pH between 7 and 7. A good test kit will include a nomogram which is a way to compare these four items. Once the alkalinity has been selected it can be maintained until there is a large temperature change.4 Next find the alkalinity which compensates the existing calcium level. The nomogram could be a series of tables or more conveniently it will be a device like a slide rule.For a heated pool kept at constant temperature the problem of calcium balance is much simpler. It is best to start with the water temperature and set it against a pH of 7. . It is still necessary to test and adjust the pH. Using A Nomogram The word nomogram is a combination of Greek words meaning a law which is written or drawn. If the calcium level is less than 220 ppm consider adjusting it to 300 ppm and find the amount of alkalinity to balance it. in this case a scientific law which describes the solubility of calcium and carbonate as determined by the temperature and pH.6 are of interest. For pool water which is hard it is necessary to use a calcium to carbonate ratio outside the normal range. A carbonate level can be selected for the given temperature and a pH of 7. In these cases a nomogram will make it easier to find the right amount of alkalinity to use. And sometimes the temperature falls outside the range covered in the table above.4. A test kit which includes a nomogram for water balance is well worth the cost. calcium and carbonate to maintain the selected levels.

In this situation locate the value of the calcium level and find an alkalinity value which will balance the water at a useful pH for the given temperature. Since it is not easy to lower calcium it will be necessary to adjust alkalinity to lower levels to compensate for it. In this way the necessary pH can be maintained for effective chlorination over the seasonal temperature range of the pool. .The nomogram is especially useful if your water supply is hard and has a calcium level higher than 400 ppm.

) If the pH is kept near 7.) 2. 6.) Calcium is necessary to preserve the cement finish of the pool surfaces.4 and the calcium concentration is near 300 ppm then the alkalinity can be adjusted to compensate for seasonal changes in the water temperature. Calcium hardness should be determined at least four times a year./// KEY POINTS ABOUT CALCIUM BALANCE \\\ 1.) The amount of calcium and the amount of carbonate necessary to preserve the cement depend on the pH and the water temperature. 4.) The desired amount of alkalinity can be determined from a set of tables (or a nomogram) which compares levels of calcium and carbonate with pH and temperature. The desired range for calcium is 200 to 400 ppm. . A new or recently resurfaced pool should be checked more often.) 3. 5.

2 .40 ppm 7. The ideal values for these items and the acceptable ranges are given below: Ideal Chlorine (effective) Stabilizer pH (to activate the Cl) Calcium Carbonate alkalinity Total alkalinity (test kit) 2 ppm 25 ppm 7./// IDEAL CONDITIONS \\\ There are two materials which are necessary for water maintenance using the method described in this manual: CHLORINE preserve the cement. Calcium solubility depends on pH and carbonate disinfect the water.400 ppm 60 .130 ppm Total alkalinity is shown separately from carbonate alkalinity because it is the one actually measured and it differs because of the influence of the stabilizer.120 ppm 70 . and CALCIUM -. The "ideal" water temperature for ideal conditions is 77ºF.6 200 .3 ppm 10 . .4 300 ppm 80 ppm 90 ppm Range 1 .7. Since water temperature can vary or be set to a different value there has to be a range of acceptable values for the other parameters. Chlorine effectiveness depends on pH and stabilizer.

In warmer water the chlorine and stabilizer requirements are higher. In cooler water the chlorine and stabilizer requirements are lower and maintaining lower levels will reduce costs. The carbonate alkalinity should be higher. The pH can be kept slightly higher (less acidic) which also reduces the cost. . The calcium can be maintained near 300 ppm. The calcium can be maintained near 300 ppm. The carbonate alkalinity should be lower. Although calcium balance allows for some variations in the concentrations of calcium and carbonate a minimum carbonate alkalinity of 60 ppm and maximum calcium level of 400 should be observed. The pH should be slightly lower (more acidic).

buffering and chlorination all depend on water temperature. This will be more compatible with a lower pH and reduce acid demand. As shown above in IDEAL CONDITIONS calcium balance./// WEATHER EFFECTS \\\ Even in a stable climate (such as Florida) pool water can change from below 60ºF in winter to above 90ºF in summer. The chlorine and stabilizer levels have to be kept higher to avoid depletion because the consumption of chlorine is greater. The pH can be adjusted to lower values (7. The alkalinity can be kept at the lower end of its range (60 to 80 ppm).2 to 7. .Summer When the water is 20ºF warmer changes occur twice as fast -. These changes will make the precipitation of calcium carbonate less likely during very hot weather. It is important to have a pool thermometer.4) to make the chlorine more effective. stabilizer decomposes faster. bicarbonate and acid neutralize faster -.algae and bacteria breed faster. The most direct ultra-violet radiation occurs at the summer solstice (June 22 in the northern hemisphere). These conditions cause changes in the requirements to maintain balanced water.and there is more use of the pool in hotter weather. Seasonal Effects -.

5.Winter When water temperatures drop (especially below 60ºF) there is much less demand on the chlorine. alkalinity and pH (in this order). This causes more of the chlorine to be used and the pH to rise.Seasonal Effects -. Higher alkalinity is required (120 ppm). algae and bacteria into the pool. Cold weather is an opportunity to reduce costs because less chemical treatment is needed. The Effect Of Rain Rain upsets balanced water. dirt.add liquid or power chlorine. It is acidic because it combines with carbon dioxide in the air and forms carbonic acid. Buffered pool water overcomes this pH difference. The pH of rain is near 5 or 6.4 to 7. organic matter. The cure for this is simple -. then adjust the pH. pollen. near the winter solstice. If the pool is kept open chlorine can be kept lower at one ppm and the pH kept at 7. dilution is not great unless there is a downpour. Heavy rain will require draining some water and adjusting chlorine. . If possible it is best to have the pool water circulating during rain. in fact the pool pH becomes less acidic because of the materials carried along with the rain. For a typical pool a half inch of rain will be about one percent of the volume. December 22. It carries dust. Stabilizer concentration should be lower.

It is important to remember that municipal water supplies are treated and have alkalinity and calcium levels that can be substantial.Evaporation In windy. When luck does not prevail it will be necessary to add water to the pool. Test the water supply with a pool test kit. dry. Normal evaporation is less than this and with luck rain will balance losses. Incoming Water Supply Residential water supplies can vary depending on the geographic location. A typical comparison of tap water. pool water and rain is shown in the table below: . hot conditions an outdoor pool exposed to the sun could lose several inches of water in a week. Most municipal water departments will share their test results. This is especially useful when filling a pool.

leaves. pine needles. free (ppm) pH Alkalinity. pollen and organic matter blown into the pool. Careful selection and placement of decorative plants and the use of mulch or stone near the pool perimeter can also reduce cleaning chores. total (ppm) Calcium (ppm) Stabilizer (ppm) 1 9.WATER SUPPLY COMPARISONS Tap Water Chlorine.4 95 300 25 Rain 0 5 0 0 0 Environment Proximity of trees. A screen pool enclosure will greatly reduce the amount of contamination. . plants and uncovered soil will affect the amount of dust.5 60 80 0 Pool Water 2 7.

) 2.) 4. Hot summer weather increases the need for chlorine./// KEY POINTS ABOUT WEATHER EFFECTS \\\ 1. alkalinity and pH should be kept at the lower end of their acceptable ranges. . Cold winter weather is an opportunity to save chemical supplies since demands on chlorine are lower and the pH can be higher.) Rain upsets balanced water requiring additional chlorine and acid.) 3. With more intense sunlight (near the summer solstice) more chlorine and stabilizer are required.

The pool should not be used until the chlorine level returns to the normal range. The filter will remove the dead algae. It is convenient to do this when the pool will not be in use for a day or two. One of the most effective algaecides is chlorine. This treatment should be accompanied by brushing the pool surfaces. Even a brief lapse in maintaining the chlorine level or the pH can result in algae blooms. especially after a rainy or windy day. It is also the cheapest and should be the first choice among the methods to combat algae growth." Because it immediately raises chlorine levels the use of liquid chlorine provides the best effect. ./// CONTROL OF ALGAE \\\ The most common pool problem is algae growth. When the first bloom of algae growth is noticed doubling the normal chlorine level will often kill it. Ideal times to super-chlorinate are when rain is expected or if going on a short trip and leaving the pool unused. Super-chlorination Bringing the chlorine concentration to a higher than normal level is called "superchlorination. Occasional superchlorination will also remove combined chlorine which builds up when waste material is disinfected.

Then add the chlorine to the water along the perimeter of the pool. This is ten to twenty times the usual amount so it will take a while for the chlorine to return to normal. In pools which are seldom used or used by one person the need for shock treatment is rare. Do not use the pool until the excess chlorine has dissipated. Note that superchlorination will usually boost chlorine for about two days whereas shock treatment will take several days longer. Most often 30 to 60 ppm will take care of a major algae bloom. The next morning the pH can be checked after circulating the pool water for half an hour and adjusted as necessary.2 before turning off the pump.Shock Treatment If there is a lot of algae or if it resists superchlorination then a larger dose of chlorine can be used. superchlorination and shock will be needed more frequently. especially in hot weather. In pools which are used by many people. Again liquid chlorine is an excellent way to increase chlorine levels immediately to a high value. During the night the chlorine level will be highest near the walls where most algae usually forms. Shocking the pool water . First adjust the pH to 7. This is called "shocking " the pool. The amount of chlorine to use depends on the severity of the problem. To make superchlorination or shock more effective the chlorine compound can be added at the end of the day when the water is not circulating.

(2) Trichloro-s-triazinetrione (trichlor) powder. Many times when a pool has a strong odor it is not the chlorine that causes it but rather the by-product of chlorine and urine which is chloramines. . But if the pool water turns dark green it is definitely time to shock treat the water. In a well maintained pool it would never be required." It could harm the cement surface. Powered trichlor is sold specifically as a treatment for "black usually required only if the maintenance has been neglected. See the section CHLORINE POWDER. Other Chlorine Treatments In addition to sodium hypochlorite solution there are three powders which are also very effective algaecides: (1) Calcium hypochlorite. It is also very good for superchlorination and shock. Since it is chemically similar to liquid chlorine it will require pH adjustment in the same manner. It can be applied directly in the vicinity of the algae when the pool is not circulating to raise the chlorine level very high in a localized area. This should definitely be treated by superchlorination or shock. If a pool is going to be left unattended for a period of time preventive shock treatment can be used to avoid algae growth. This is the same material as discussed in the section CHLORINE TABLETS. This material is an excellent choice for control of algae spots.

There are some very exotic algaecides available and they have higher costs. If these attempt do not kill the algae consult a pool store about the problem for a recommendation about one of the more specialized types. It could be used if both calcium and stabilizer levels were too high preventing the use of either of the other two powders. Spots of algae can also be brushed with a stainless steel brush to help break them open. Then try powdered chlorine compounds applied in the area of the algae colony. It is an excellent material but very expensive. Quaternary Ammonium Chlorides There is a family of common algaecides known as quaternary ammonium .(3) Lithium hypochlorite. NOTE: Using spot algaecides should be avoided since strong solid chlorine compounds can dissolve cement surfaces weakening them and making them rougher which then promotes algae growth. Before resorting to these materials it is better to try shocking the pool with liquid chlorine. Other Algaecides Before buying a high priced algaecide it is a good idea to check the label. If it is just an expensive form of chlorine it will not be any more effective than the cheaper forms. The first attempt to kill algae should use liquid chlorine then powders can be used with the water circulating.

They are available from several manufacturers as ten percent solutions in one gallon containers. bulk (2.70 3. With larger amounts foaming will occur.00 7. The prices of almost all of these items have gone up since this list was prepared but the comparisons are still valid. prepackaged 1.00 1.chlorides (also called "alkyl ammonium chlorides"). Sodium hypochlorite solution. At higher cost this material provides an alternate way to defend against algae and bacteria which is chemically different from chlorination. The use of this material imparts a slippery feel to the water which may be unwanted.5 gallon jug) " " one gallon. They are not recommended.50 20. The prices are in dollars per pound of active ingredient (which is not the same as the shelf price in the store). Currently liquid chlorine prices in Florida have doubled as I type this but the list still shows the expected relative expense of each type of chlorine.00 Calcium hypochlorite (powder) Quaternary ammonium chlorides (solution) Trichloro-s-triazinetrione (trichlor). Cost Comparison The relative costs of these algaecide and shock treatments are listed below.00 5. A small addition each week of a quaternary ammonium chloride solution is an optional preventive measure. powder Lithium hypochlorite (powder) .

Fighting algae is always a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The calcium hypochlorite at slightly higher cost is a useful alternative. And a dollar's worth of chlorine is better than a more expensive algaecide. .It is easy to see that sodium hypochlorite should be the first choice for shocking or super-chlorinating.

/// KEY POINTS ABOUT CONTROL OF ALGAE \\\ 1. added when the water is still. 2. 3.) The most cost effective algaecide is chlorine solution.) Expensive algaecides are not more effective and usually not required. .) For algae on the bottom of a pool a chlorine powder is more effective. The most cost effective powder is calcium hypochlorite: One pound provides 5 ppm chlorine in 15. ten percent sodium hypochlorite: One gallon provides 5 ppm chlorine in 15.000 gallon pools.000 gallon pools.

if the pH is actually lower the water could be corrosive to the cement. The cost of a second test is small compared to the trouble that comes with inaccurate test results. If the actual pH is higher than indicated the chlorine is less effective./// TESTING AND ADJUSTING POOL WATER \\\ TEST KITS A test kit is the most important piece of equipment needed for maintaining pool water. The DPD method offers the advantage of using two separate steps to find the free and total chlorine levels. They are referred to as "OTO" and "DPD" which are abbreviations for the reagents used in the test. DPD There are two methods for measuring chlorine commonly available in pool test kits. Chlorine Test Methods: OTO vs. It is very advantageous to purchase a kit that includes all five of the necessary tests: pH determination chlorine concentration total alkalinity calcium hardness stabilizer concentration (cyanuric acid) Accuracy of Test Results If in doubt about the accuracy of a test repeat it with new reagents. There are many available. The test kit and its reagents should be stored indoors out of direct sunlight. Or. It does not have to be refrigerated. The OTO test indicates free chlorine for a few .

They both provide satisfactory results but the DPD method is easier to interpret. Large test kits include a test for this and a table for determining how much acid should be added. This amount can be calculated based on the chemical interactions of the bicarbonate buffer and the acid.000 gallon pool with 100 ppm of carbonate alkalinity is 325 ml (ten ounces) of concentrated hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid). Usually 100 to 300 ml (three to ten ounces) of acid will lower the .seconds after which total chlorine is indicated. the amount of acid required to change the pH from 7. pH DETERMINATION The pH determination indicates the basicity of the pool water. In a normal buffered pool the pH will drift to higher values and it will be necessary to bring it back down by adding acid." For example. The number of drops represents the amount of acid needed for the pool size as listed in the table. Refer to the section on CONTROL OF pH.8 to 7. Fortunately it is not necessary to calculate acid demand each time the pH changes. Drops of a standard acid solution ("acid demand reagent") are added to the pH sample until the desired pH is reached. Test kits are designed so that the appropriate pH level will be approximately in the middle of the test kit range. Acid Demand The amount of acid required is often referred to as "acid demand.3 in a 15. Once familiar with the procedure the amount of acid for a desired change in pH is easily estimated.

It is the effective chlorine which is pH dependent. Base Demand There is a similar test and table for "base demand. if there is an accidental upset of the pH to values below 7 the base demand test may be useful. In a residential pool there may be some combined chlorine if it has had heavy use but most of the time there will be little or none. Periodic super-chlorination removes the combined chlorine. Rapid addition of acid will reduce the alkalinity more and change the pH less effectively. But is should always be added slowly. One for "free chlorine" and one for "total chlorine. In a carefully maintained pool the water will never become too acidic. The most important chlorine level cannot be directly tested.pH as required. Combined chlorine is produced when chlorine combines with waste material to disinfect it. Unless both the free chlorine and the pH are in range there is very little purifying or sanitizing. See the section "Correcting Low pH." This is rarely needed. However. It can be added directly to the pool water or diluted first." The difference between them is the "combined chlorine" level. Chemically it is usually a chloramine." CHLORINE CONCENTRATION A good test kit will provide two tests for chlorine determination. .

OCl–. If stabilizer is over 100 ppm effective chlorine will be substantially reduced. Combined chlorine is found by subtracting the free chlorine from the total chlorine. . chloramines HOCl. CHLORINE TESTS AND MEASUREMENTS (Summary) TOTAL chlorine (test) FREE chlorine (test) COMBINED chlorine (calculated) EFFECTIVE chlorine HOCl. This includes hypochlorous acid.Chlorine Measurements Total chlorine is a measure of all the chlorine materials present in the pool water. It can be determined by the DPD or OTO method. Effective chlorine is hypochlorous acid. hypochlorite ion and chloramines. OCl– chloramines (TOTAL – FREE) HOCl (depends on pH) Estimating Effective Chlorine (VERY IMPORTANT) To estimate effective chlorine first measure the free chlorine with a DPD test. It should be close to zero. It is pH dependent and is usually about half of the free chlorine level. Next reduce this amount by half to allow for the pH effect. It is easiest to determine with the DPD method. It does not include chlorides (from salt or acid). If stabilizer is present (and below 40 ppm) subtract another ten percent. Free chlorine is a measure of hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion.

In a second case if free chlorine were again 3 ppm but the pH was 7.35 ppm. do not put this type of chlorine into the skimmer (either the solid or a solution of it ) because it could corrode the filter.5 ppm. Do not pour chlorine solution into the skimmer -. Again.4). With CYA stabilizer at 30 ppm the effective chlorine is further reduced to about 1. .) They can be added to a floating dispenser which allows them to dissolve slowly and provides better distribution even when the pump is not running. 2. especially in hot weather. This is only recommended if there are no metal parts in the pool plumbing. In the first example algae growth would be inhibited but not in the second. Never toss tablets in the pool. An alternate method recommended by some manufacturers is to pre-dissolve the powder in a bucket and pour the solution in the pool. Adjusting Chlorine Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) can be added directly to the pool.6 with 100 ppm of stabilizer then the effective chlorine would be less than 0. Pour it slowly along the perimeter for even could corrode the filter. Chlorine powder (calcium hypochlorite) can be added directly to the water along the perimeter of the pool or cast over the surface.5 ppm (with the pH near 7. if the free chlorine test reads 3 ppm then the effective level is 1.For example. even though the test results are the same.) They can be placed in the skimmer basket which causes them to dissolve faster. There are three ways to handle them: 1. they will corrode the cement.

The tablets are added to a small tank and dissolve as pool water is pumped through it.3. Hypochlorites (either solution or powder) last for a period of days whereas tablets last for a period of weeks. so pH has to be close to normal to get an accurate result. more effective level. Sometimes "total alkalinity" is referred to as "carbonate" alkalinity because it is the bicarbonate concentration which is important. With trichlor tablets (three-inch size) used in a floating dispenser weekly addition is enough.) There are in-line dispensers which can be connected to the piping of the water circulation system. With more frequent but smaller additions of either type of chlorine the minimum amount remains at a higher. controlling the rate of addition is more reliable with the floating device. (See the section on Carbonate Chemistry. In practice only the chlorine and acid additions are critical since only the pH and chlorine concentration can change rapidly. This is more cost effective but less convenient than using larger amounts less often. Since the pH determines the state of the carbonate ion it will affect the test results. It would be ideal to add small amounts continuously.daily additions of chlorine and acid will often be needed to maintain a steady level of effective chlorine. TOTAL ALKALINITY Any material which takes up acid ions will contribute to total alkalinity. With hypochlorites (liquid or powder) more frequent correction of pH is required -. However.) .

However. It would be necessary to adjust for such a large interference since it is only the bicarbonate which balances the water. However. if the stabilizer is excessive (over 100 ppm) then it will contribute more than 30 ppm. About one third of it shows up. Unless the . If the calcium level should go up unexpectedly the cement may be dissolving. Calcium hardness should be tested every three months.The total alkalinity test should be performed at least every two weeks (once a week in hot weather). The stabilizer compound (CYA) interferes with this test because it contributes to alkalinity. A private well would have to be tested for minerals other than calcium. With the water circulating it will dissolve quickly. When testing alkalinity remember to reduce the "total" to estimate the bicarbonate content if stabilizer is present. When an addition of baking soda is needed it can be added slowly into the skimmer. Typically this will add about ten ppm. CALCIUM HARDNESS The test for calcium is actually a water hardness test which also responds to other minerals such as magnesium. Normally calcium will drift to lower values and can be corrected with the addition of calcium chloride. This is not a problem for most pools since calcium will predominate. in a hard water area the amount of the other minerals present must be known in order to adjust for the interference. Public water utilities should provide this information.

The easiest way to avoid excess is to limit the amount of stabilized chlorine used for a season. There is no need for this test if neither stabilized chlorine nor cyanuric acid is used. or if the amounts are limited. This is necessary to keep excessively high levels from interfering with the chlorine activity or the determination of alkalinity. it is not water is hard or a lot of calcium hypochlorite has been used there is a problem with the water balance (alkalinity and pH). Continuous use of trichloro-s-triazinetrione (trichlor) causes the level of stabilizer to increase. TESTING CONDUCTIVITY The conductivity of the pool water indicates the amount of dissolved solids in the water." Compare it with the tap water at the pool site. As the salt increases the conductivity increases. The buffering and pH adjustments using bicarbonate and acid cause salt to form. This test can be done at a pool store. Once a year ask for a determination of "total dissolved solids. STABILIZER CONCENTRATION The test for cyanuric acid (CYA) is very important if a stabilized chlorine compound is used. It is best to stay under 50 ppm. most of which is salt. (There . After three months the stabilizer content should be determined. This test is imprecise because it requires estimating the cloudiness (turbidity) of the test solution. When too high reduce it by draining some of the water and adding fresh water. See the section on CALCIUM BALANCE.

are some pools which use salt in the water for purification with automatic chlorinators. In this case the conductivity should be higher than normal.) TESTING SCHEDULES -.FREQUENCY pH determination Chlorine concentration Total alkalinity Calcium hardness Stabilizer concentration Conductivity Almost daily Several times a week Twice a month Four times a year Two to four times a year Once a year .

2.) Accurate pH testing is essential to water maintenance based on chlorination. usually by half. It is lower than the test reading. .) The amount of effective chlorine is the test kit measurement adjusted for pH and the presence of stabilizer./// KEY POINTS ABOUT TESTING \\\ 1.

Always use clean sampling containers and rinse them out after each test./// SAMPLING THE WATER \\\ For meaningful results the water sample must represent the average condition in the pool. For this reason the water should be circulating at least half an hour before the sample is taken. Check the outlets for the incoming water. Try this in your pool. Most can be adjusted to change the direction of the water flow. Do not discard the tested water into the pool. If test results from samples taken at different locations are compared usually no differences are found. . If the results are different is may mean that the circulation is not very effective.

All the tests should be done together at least four times a year. A record of these results is useful in developing an understanding of the effects of the chemical additions. A notebook is useful for recording test results that are done less frequently such as calcium and stabilizer levels./// RECORD KEEPING \\\ A calendar is a convenient way to save test results. . On a monthly calendar each day's test results or chemical additions can be recorded in the appropriate space.

A large test kit will include a set of tables for determining the weight of the chemical addition which will provide the desired increase in ppm for various pool sizes." It is abbreviated as "ppm. The chemical compounds are usually not 100% of the desired material so this must also be taken into account.000 which equals 124.3 pounds per gallon. For a 15. The weight of water is 8. It is not necessary to do these calculations each time an addition to the pool water is required. Dividing this weight by one million gives 0.000 gallon pool needed 20 ppm of a chemical then 20 times 0. For example the different chlorine compounds are different percentages of available chlorine. . the required amount to add.3 times 15. Therefore "one ppm" in a 15. Tables have been prepared for each of the chemical compounds of interest.000 gallon pool is 0.1245 pounds which is about two ounces or 56 grams.1245 pounds.1245 would be 2.5 pounds./// CALCULATIONS \\\ Parts Per Million Except for pH all other tests determine concentrations in "parts per million.000 gallon pool the weight of the water is 8." It refers to the weight of the tested chemical compared to the weight of the water in the pool. If a 15.500 pounds.

Then the test can be run again and the rest of the addition can be made as needed. especially if unsure of the pool capacity. A conversion table is given below for the amounts most commonly encountered. Caution in making additions is always advisable because it is easy to add more and impossible to remove over-additions. Always read the label and follow manufacturer's instructions before adding a chemical to the pool. . Always allow time for one addition to disperse before staring another. The tables may give the addition amounts in either metric or standard measures. After determining the amount of the addition it is always better to add only part of it. Additions must be made one at a time and while the pool water is circulating.Amount of Chemical Additions The test results may indicate that certain additions are required to keep the pool water in good balance. Using the tables from a test kit the amount of each addition can be found for the size of the pool.

Or.0 (about one pint) 34. the volume in cubic feet times 7.785 liters (3785 ml) 128. One way is to calculate the volume based on the geometry.500 pounds.600 cubic feet.3 pounds per gallon gives 19.CONVERSION TABLE FOR LIQUID MEASURES Milliliters (ml) 100 200 300 400 500 (half liter) 1000 (one liter) Ounces (oz) 3.400 gallons.0 13. multiply the average depth times the surface area.4 6. given a rectangular pool 18' x 36' with an average depth of four feet the volume is 18 times 36 times 4 or about 2.5 17. That is. combining the conversion factors.3 pounds per cubic foot for a pool capacity of 161.0 (one gallon) Pool Capacity The size of a pool can be estimated in various ways.5 will give the pool capacity in gallons. Dividing this by 8.8 10. For example. .0 (about one quart) 3. Once the volume is determined in cubic feet multiply by 62.

This is the most accurate way to find the size in gallons.CONVERSION FACTORS FOR POOL CAPACITY Pounds per gallon of water Pounds per cubic foot of water Gallons per cubic foot of water 8. Additions of baking soda or calcium chloride can be used to check on the estimated capacity.3 7. Then count the squares to estimate the area.5 For non-rectangular pools an estimate of the surface area is needed. there are not many occasions to do this. For example. The easiest way to determine pool capacity is to check the water meter when the pool is filled. . if a ten pound addition of baking soda gives only half the expected increase in ppm alkalinity then the pool capacity is probably twice that expected. A third method to estimate pool capacity is to note the effect of various size additions on the increase in ppm. However. One way to do this is to draw on graph paper a scaled outline of the pool shape.3 62.

/// PARTIAL DRAINING OF THE POOL \\\ Reasons to partially drain a pool are to reduce excessive stabilizer or dissolved solids or to freshen the water. . Many pools have a dry well underneath connected to a pipe used for checking ground water and pumping it away. Over long periods dissolved organic material increases especially if quaternary ammonium chlorides have been used. Never completely empty a pool unless the ground water level has been checked. If ground water is higher than the bottom of an empty pool it could lift out of the ground.

A word of caution: Not all store employees always know what they are doing all the time. NEW SCHOOL \\\ All of the above details about testing. There is always some variation in test results because some of them are estimated or based on subjective judgments of color or turbidity. Obviously the sample water must be representative of the pool if the computer aided analysis is to be meaningful. If you have doubts try bringing in samples of the same pool water on different days or to different stores. Again. You always have your own test kit and the information provided in this manual to check on the recommendations. A clean sample container is a must and the sample should be taken just prior to going to the store. . But today many pool stores offer computer analysis if you bring a water sample in. adjusting and calculating additions of chemicals are good things to know./// OLD SCHOOL VS. All you have to know is the temperature of the pool and its capacity in gallons and the computer will do the analyses and calculate the required additions. Sometimes store employees are too eager to recommend something be bought. a good test kit with all the major tests is recommended for home use.

Chlorine and acid are the two items which deteriorate most rapidly. test the level of stabilizer -if over 100 ppm partially drain the pool and add fresh water. If the algae persists. For unusual problems involving equipment. called "chlorine lock. The first is high pH making the chlorine less effective. refilling and balancing the water will take care of problems related only to the water. It is an inexpensive remedy worth trying before more drastic measures." makes super-chlorination or shock treatment less effective. . Weather changes can hasten their disappearance. This condition. This is the most common problem and is easy to solve. company. Algae Even with regular preventive maintenance there can sometimes be algae growth because chlorine levels are kept low for safety and economic reasons. Draining the pool. the cement surface or the structure of the pool seek the help of a professional pool service./// POOL WATER PROBLEMS \\\ Most problems will respond to shock treatment with liquid chlorine. The cure is to lower the pH. It is treated by super-chlorination or shock treatment as described in the section CONTROL OF ALGAE. The second is too much cyanuric acid. Algae With High Chlorine If chlorine is high and there is a lot of algae there could be two causes. Since low chlorine or high pH results in ineffective chlorination either can lead to algae growth. if over 50 ppm do not use stabilized chlorine for a few months.

Cloudy. The use of a flocculent (sequestrant) may be required. Hazy Water Cloudy water can have several causes. If the water is still cloudy it may be caused by small particles which pass through the filter. Among them are algae. The first is algae which is discussed above. Next super-chlorinate or shock treat as required. high combined chlorine or too much stabilizer or quaternary ammonium chloride. A pool supply store will have one or more brands to choose from. Calcium hypochlorite can cause temporary cloudiness. high calcium. To cure cloudy water first adjust the pH to 7.4. These are suspended solids. high alkalinity. Check the filter for holes if the DE appears to be leaking into the pool. high pH. Inert or inactive ingredients in solid chlorinating compounds can cause cloudiness unless the filtering system removes them. When it appears to be a different color there are two common causes.2 to 7. especially if diatomaceous earth is used. Algae . Cloudiness could occur during hot weather when rising water temperature causes calcium carbonate to precipitate. Colored Water Swimming pool water should be blue. This is a material which will cause suspended particles to clump together so that the filter can remove them. Also be sure the water is balanced with respect to calcium. carbonate and pH for the given temperature. A tear in the filter will create cloudy water. If cloudiness persists check the filter pressure and clean the filter or change the DE.

Chlorine treated water has a slight smell of chlorine. The color can vary depending on the metal which is present. in the pool water combining with the chlorine to form a chloramine. If foaming is caused by the presence of materials which do not belong in the pool (like detergents) then it will be necessary to drain the pool to remove them. Odors If there is an unpleasant or strong odor from the pool water it is most likely from the formation chloramines. A strong smell is often caused by urine. Foaming Foaming is a problem that is usually caused by the over use of quaternary ammonium chlorides. Pool supply stores have products that will remove metal ions. A first attempt to eliminate colored water should be to shock treat with chlorine solution. This can be treated by chlorine shock which will eliminate the combined chlorine. . Waiting for the excess to dissipate is probably the best solution. If this is ineffective then a treatment to remove metal ions should be tried next. Iron and copper are the most common. it will be necessary to partially drain and refill with fresh water. This is an infrequent problem. The second is contamination with metal ions. an amine. Before treatment have the water analyzed to identify the contaminant. otherwise.usually colors water green.

It can be several years before they become objectionable. Stop using any material which contains calcium.High Dissolved Solids This is a condition that will occur eventually. Flocculents will not eliminate dissolved solids. A side effect of buffering with baking soda and acid is the formation of salt. The salt and other water treatment compounds continue to accumulate in the pool water. Treat this problem by adjusting the pH and cleaning the filter. Rough Deposits On Pool Surfaces If white crystalline deposits form on the cement surfaces it is usually caused by high pH especially in hot weather. The only way to reduce them is to partially drain the pool and add fresh water. High Filter Pressure A sudden increase in filter pressure might be caused by an increase in pH especially in hot weather.4 will dissolve. The deposits usually scrape off easily and when the pH is adjusted below 7. . The high water temperature in combination with high pH causes calcium to precipitate. In severe cases partially drain the pool and refill to remove some of the calcium. In some cases the calcium content may have become too high. Precipitating calcium carbonate could plug the filter. Adjust the pH and alkalinity to balance the calcium at the present water temperature.

Do this with the circulation turned off so that the water is still and leave it that way for a while. Stains will often bleach out within a few minutes. which is a discoloration that does not brush off. At the bottom of the pool this can be done by placing one end of a pole near the stain and pouring liquid chlorine down the other end. Its cause and cure are discussed below in the section on big problems. Neglecting it can be very expensive. Follow it with a few cups of pool water to flush the heavier chlorine solution out at the end of the pole near the stain. For intractable stains the advice of a pool professional may be necessary. it can usually be removed by adding chlorine right near the spot. Later on circulate the water and adjust the pH if necessary in the usual way with an acid addition. If you are not agile enough to do this get someone else to help in order to avoid spilling chlorine on yourself.Cement Erosion Cement erosion occurs if calcium dissolves from the cement. He may want to do tests to determine if there is something in the water such as metal ions which should not be there. Staining of Cement If a stain appears. .

This influences the alkalinity test. alkalinity. calcium and stabilizer. Unless this is recognized the water will become corrosive to the cement. resurfaced and refilled at a cost of thousands of dollars. Total alkalinity will reflect the high stabilizer content and appear to be normal. out of balance water can cause significant damage after long exposure (about two years). The white finish cement may crumble and erode in patches down to the rough cement below it. The surface of the pool becomes pitted and rough. This situation causes the pool water to appear balanced when in fact the carbon alkalinity is actually very low. If water is left out of balance when refilling a pool it can cause serious problems depending on the chemistry of the incoming water. Water can be out of balance when regular testing is not done for pH. To repair such damage the pool is drained. even with regular testing a situation can occur where the water appears to be balanced but is least several decades. However. The use of stabilized chlorine increases the amount of cyanuric acid in the pool." A high pH may cause precipitation and staining of the cement if it is not promptly adjusted. See the section on "Incoming Water Supply. ./// HOW TO AVOID BIG PROBLEMS \\\ A pool with properly balanced water should last for a very long time -. However. At this stage the calcium level may increase even though calcium is not added.

3. . 2.To avoid these problems remember that: 1.) It is important to control water balance even when filling a pool.) The total alkalinity measurement has to be corrected if the stabilizer content is high in order to know the true level of carbonate alkalinity.) High levels of CYA stabilizer can result from continuous use of stabilized chlorine (trichlor).

5c. It may need cleaning.) If there is little or no algae omit STEP TWO and go to STEP THREE and test the water.deeper blue at the deep end. It can appear as a yellowish powder. 5.) Super-chlorinate if there is a small amount of algae./// ACHIEVING BALANCED POOL WATER \\\ The next two sections provide an overall view of how to put all the preceding information together to achieve and maintain balanced pool water.) Look for algae along the tile and on the walls and floor of the pool. or black spots. 5b. dark green slime. The water should be clear and blue -.) 2.) For large amounts of algae use a shock treatment as described below in STEP TWO. See the section on CONTROL OF ALGAE. 5a. 3. 4. To check the water balance of a pool there are three major steps: STEP ONE: Mechanical and Visual Inspection 1.) Check the pressure of the filtering unit and compare it to the manufacturer's recommended range. . Put your hand in front of the water inlets to feel the force and direction of the water. Check the flow rate of the water coming out of the return lines to the pool.) Make sure that the pump is operating. Redirect the water inlet jets as necessary for maximum circulation.) Look at the color and clarity.

pH.) 4. filtering and vacuuming and shock treatment with chlorine there are three questions to complete a visual inspection: Is the water blue? Is it clear? Is it clean? When the water is blue. STEP THREE: Chemical Testing of the Water 1. Compare the test results for all five tests to the ideal values. alkalinity. 2. After any required fixes to the equipment and brushing. clear and free of dirt or debris it is time to check for the things you can't see using the chemical tests.) Measure the water temperature. If this is your first experience with a pool it may be best to consult a pool care service company if you are faced with very contaminated should be less than 40 ppm. It should also be odor free.) 3.000 gallon pool. This will be 5 to 10 gallons of ten percent liquid chlorine for a 15.STEP TWO: Shock Treatment (Only if required) Add liquid chlorine to provide 30 to 60 ppm chlorine. If it is over 100 ppm it will be necessary to partially drain the pool and refill. Make sure that the amount of cyanuric acid will not cause problems -. Run the pump and filter continuously until the water clears. .) Sample the water and perform the tests for chlorine. This could take several days and require cleaning the filter several times. If it is close to acceptable there is no need to adjust it immediately. calcium and stabilizer.

The test kit will contain the necessary tables to find the amounts of the additions to bring the calcium.) Adjust the chlorine concentration to about two ppm if it is low. The sections on CALCIUM BALANCE and IDEAL CONDITIONS will provide background information about balancing the chemicals for the water temperature.) 8. The section on TESTING AND ADJUSTING POOL WATER contains useful details for carrying out the above procedure.) If calcium is below 200 ppm bring it to 300 ppm by adding calcium chloride. Adjust the total alkalinity to about 90 ppm. Do not use the values given below.0 and below 7. alkalinity and pH to the desired values in this order. the calcium hardness and the amount of stabilizer present. The section on CHLORINATION provides descriptions of the various types of chlorine compounds available.) 7. chlorine. Keep it above 7. 6.) 5b. The choice will depend on the season.6 aiming for approximately 7. . If calcium is over 400 ppm use a nomogram or table to determine the appropriate pH and alkalinity. Adjust the pH after making all the other adjustments.5a.4.

The three-inch tablet size is recommended for use with a floating dispenser to provide the most reliable release rate of chlorine. This will make it easier to keep the chlorine level uniform and the pH stable. It will also provide cyanuric acid (CYA) stabilizer during the season when the sunlight is most intense.) When the chlorine requirements are not met by the trichlor tablets (at the maximum rate of one tablet per 5. calcium and stabilizer the following procedures will then maintain the balance. From one to three tablets per week should be used in a fifteen thousand gallon pool This is approximately forty to fifty tablets per year (twenty pounds)./// MAINTAINING BALANCED POOL WATER \\\ Maintaining the chemical balance in pool water is a matter of making adjustments for the decomposition of some of the chemicals and for seasonal changes in temperature. The method described below was selected for economy and convenience. alkalinity. .000 gallons per week) then use chlorine solution to supplement the tablets. Summer Procedures 1. 2. With proper filtration and with the water balanced with respect to pH. A few can be reserved for use in midwinter to boost the stabilizer level but the major portion will be required in the summer. There are many ways to accomplish this. chlorine.) Use trichlor tablets for the four hottest months of the year.

) This will require more frequent adjusting of the pH with acid. Off-Season Time Saver For pools which remain open but unused during the winter there is a procedure which will reduce some of the maintenance effort. 2. If algae gets out of hand shock treat with a large dose of liquid chlorine to obtain ten or more ppm. In order to allow the stabilizer concentration to drop use liquid chlorine only.) If there is algae on the tile chlorine solution can be poured along the perimeter when the water is still and left overnight for maximum effect.) During the hottest season keep the pH around 7.) Calcium should be kept near 300 ppm. 7.3.3 and the carbonate alkalinity around 80 ppm. 6. The pH can be kept at about 7.5 and the carbonate alkalinity can be kept at about 100 ppm. Off-Season Procedures 1. 4.) If algae occurs on the bottom of the pool calcium hypochlorite powder can be cast over the surface when the water is still and left overnight. If using chlorine solution change the addition schedule as follows: .) 5. After heavy use or rain or if algae is present super-chlorinate with liquid chlorine by adding an additional 3 to 5 ppm over the usual level. Muriatic acid will be used to adjust the pH and baking soda will be used to add carbonate alkalinity.) During the cooler season it will be easier to maintain the water purity.

This is once-a-week super-chlorination. Adjust the pH to 7.4 with acid.) 2. such as a trip away from home. If the pool is to be unused keeping the chlorine at a higher than normal level will prevent problems until regular maintenance can be resumed. Testing for chlorine and pH can also be reduced to once a week. Preventive Maintenance for Away Time During a period of time when regular maintenance will not be possible.) Instead of one pint daily add about three quarts weekly. This timesaving procedure replaces daily maintenance with testing and additions which can be carried out on a weekend.1. . preventive shock treatment will delay the onset of algae growth. There will be a higher than necessary chlorine level most of the time. Select the amount so that at least one ppm chlorine remains a week later.

Be careful about choosing a small test kit for just chlorine and pH./// QUARTERLY TESTING TO MAINTAIN A BALANCED POOL \\\ The key to maintaining pool water is regular testing. One of the best is "tailor made" for your pool. And at least four times a year all five chemical tests should be performed together. Try an internet search for test kits for pool water and you will find them. Some of them are either not reliable or difficult to read precisely enough. This is the only brand name hint I've used. There are a few large test kits which are expensive but they contain everything you need to do a complete analysis of your pool water. The cyanuric acid test can be eliminated if the use of stabilized chlorine is limited. . Wrong information is just as bad as no information.

) 3. only if necessary. Off-Season: 1. Check the level of stabilizer. 2.) 4. Use liquid chlorine for super-chlorination approximately once per week.) Reduce the filtering /circulating time or close the pool.) 2.000 gallons. Use weekly super-chlorination with liquid chlorine to reduce maintenance time. Opening the Pool: 1. Test the calcium level and bring it to about 300 ppm. Use powder chlorine for spot algae.) 3. Test and adjust the pH./// SEASONAL CHECK LIST \\\ Beginning of the Season. .) 4.) Use the trichlor tablets approximately one per week per 5.) Clean the filter system.) Increase the filtering/circulating time.) 5. Summer: 1. It should be about 20 to 40 ppm. Start using three-inch tablets of trichlor.) 6. Shock treat.) 7.) 2. See the section on "Pump Schedule" in FILTERING. Test and adjust alkalinity and chlorine levels.

) Trichlor tablets Liquid chlorine Muriatic acid Trichloro -s-triazinetrione. three-inch tablets. CaCl2.) is not needed in hard water areas at all and for normal water areas could be bought as needed since it is only used a few times a year. Quite often they will be coming from the same manufacturing plant with different packaging. liquid chlorine. I have not used brand names because it is the chemicals and their purity that is important. .2H2O.) 3. 99% Sodium hypochlorite. NaOCl.) 2. 31. flakes 4./// CHEMICAL SUPPLIES \\\ The chemical supplies needed for the chlorination methods recommended in this manual are listed below. acid and baking soda.) Baking soda Calcium chloride Four of them are needed on a regular basis: the tablets.80 %.) 5. Nothing else is required for normal maintenance based on chlorination. HCl. 20º Baume Sodium bicarbonate. 1. Item (5. ten percent solution Hydrochloric acid.5%. NaHCO3 Calcium dichloride dihydrate. 77 . concentrated.

Control of pH is achieved with hydrochloric (muriatic) acid and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).) Algae can be controlled by manual brushing and periodic super-chlorination or occasional shock treatment with chlorine solution. 7.) The cement is preserved by balancing calcium and carbonate levels relative to the water temperature and pH. 3.) Total alkalinity should be about 90 ppm.) Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite solution) is the most cost effective way to chlorinate a pool.) 8. The usual range is 70 to 130 and the optimum depends on the water temperature./// KEY POINTS ABOUT MAINTAINING POOL WATER \\\ 1.) The optimum pH is 7. . 2. 5.4 and is the single most important factor to control. 4. 6.) Trichlor tablets should be used for three or four months in summer. 9.) Cyanuric acid stabilizer should be kept around 50 ppm by limiting the amount of trichlor used. They provide chlorination and cyanuric acid stabilizer.) Calcium chloride additions may be needed to keep calcium levels near 300 ppm.

12. Check the labels for ingredients and the percent active.) 11.) The best spot algaecide is calcium hypochlorite powder. .) When purchasing supplies pay for the chemical compounds and not for brand names. The index provides descriptions of the necessary chemicals and price comparisons. A comprehensive test kit is necessary for maintaining balanced pool water.10. Chemical adjustments based on regular testing will eliminate most problems.

* Storage locker for chemicals. skimming net./// EQUIPMENT CHECK LIST \\\ * Calendar or Notebook * Pool thermometer * Floating dispenser for solid chlorine tablets. . * Water sample bottle for outside analysis. * Test kit for pH. * Petroleum jelly to lubricate O-rings. alkalinity. * Hand brush with plastic bristles for cleaning tile. vacuum head and hose. calcium and stabilizer including tables for additions and a nomogram for water balance. * Adjustable length pole with pool brush. chlorine. * Plastic one quart measuring cup with metric calibrations.

As the cartridge picks up solid materials its effective pore size becomes smaller. . The result is cleaner water which looks much clearer. DE Filters Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters are more effective than cartridge filters. The advantage of cartridge filters is the initial lower cost of the equipment./// FILTERING \\\ Filtration and circulation are essential to good water maintenance. The same cartridge is then replaced in the filter housing and used again for another cycle. Algae and debris are removed and the growth of algae is inhibited. When this happens the pump must run longer to filter the same volume of water. The usual routine for cleaning a cartridge filter is to take it apart and hose it down. The disadvantages are the inconvenience of the cleaning procedure and eventual replacement cost of the cartridge element. This results in higher pressure and decreased flow. Cartridge Filters Cartridge filters are commonly used in residential swimming pools to remove solid debris from the water. The decreased flow reduces the circulation in the pool and when it is too low the cartridge must be removed and cleaned.

in the long run they are cheaper than cartridge filters because the DE powder is inexpensive. especially the pump motor. . (Note: Sand filters are somewhere in between cartridge and DE filters in effectiveness and cost. convenience and necessity.These filters pull water through a fine powder suspended on a fabric. For DE filters with a multi-port valve this procedure is quick and easy. Less effective filtering systems may have to run almost all day. The disadvantage of DE filters is higher initial cost." New DE powder is added through the skimmer with the valve in the normal "filter" position. By alternating on and off periods the motor has a chance to cool down and electricity can be saved without reducing the effectiveness.) Pump Schedule Filtering and circulating constantly would be best for the water quality but would cost more and wear out the equipment sooner. A more expensive over-sized system will allow for shorter running times and save a substantial amount of electricity. A timer is essential for convenient scheduling. As usual there is a trade-off between cost. At least once a year the filter element should be removed from the housing and hosed down. This can be very easily done on a model with a clamp and O-ring seal securing the cover. The used powder is blown off the fabric with pool water by setting the valve position to "backwash. When the filter pressure goes up the flow decreases and the powder has to be replaced with fresh DE. However.

When the water temperature is above 85º F more filtering is needed than when it is below 60º F. Pools in a cold winter climate do not need to be filtered until they are reopened. .Water temperature and amount of pool use need to be considered. During the winter if the pool water is very cold very little circulation and filtration is required and the pump can be scheduled to run for a few hours per day.

A manual pool vacuum attachment connects to the skimmer outlet with a flexible hose. Automatic cleaners require maintenance and cleaning themselves. Brushing is more effective for removing algae than vacuuming. not a completely hands-free solution. For the spaces between tiles a toothbrush is very effective. so there is a trade-off here. A small hand brush is needed to brush the tile and grout. this will vary considerably depending on the pool location and enclosure. If there is algae to be removed brush first to dislodge it and vacuum last. It also helps to prevent algae growth. For debris which floats a hand held net can be used. For better suction at the drain during brushing close the skimmer line. Use a pool brush with an adjustable telescopic pole. This will dislodge debris which does not float. It is used to remove debris which has sunk to the bottom of the pool. . Brush debris toward the main drain./// BRUSHING AND VACUUMING \\\ Unless there is an automatic cleaner the sides and bottom of the pool should be brushed occasionally. Vacuum as required. For increased suction close down the main drain while vacuuming. This chore can be handled with an automatic cleaner.

A daily check at least is suggested in this case. The bottom section of the skimmer (the basket) should be periodically removed and emptied. Simply dislodge the weir so that it floats again. It is designed so that it will adjust to changes in water level.) The floating weir is the smaller upper part of the skimmer. The floating weir usually has a pocket under its rim which has to be cleaned out occasionally. This is the reason for maintaining the water level at the midpoint of the tile./// SKIMMER \\\ The simmer collects floating debris from the surface of the water. It does this by pulling water over the edge of a floating weir and through a basket. Once in a while a floating weir may become stuck which causes air to be sucked into the pump. (Some pools have a fixed weir. . A screened-in pool will have less floating debris but an open outdoor pools may have an occasional frog or mouse to remove.

. A home-made wrench is very useful for loosening the cover. The number of trees in the area also affects how much solid matter ends up in the trap basket. The frequency depends on whether a pool is screened-in or not. The wrench can be made from a piece of 2"x6" lumber with a notch cut in it to fit over the cover handle. The cover to the trap filter should be replaced hand tight./// PUMP TRAP \\\ Most pumps for residential swimming pools have a trap to remove debris just before the water enters the pump. Never use the wrench to tighten the cover to avoid deforming the O-ring. At least every few weeks the cover should be removed when the pump is off to clean out the basket inside. It is a good idea to lubricate the O-ring with petroleum jelly. This trap usually has a see-through cover.

goggles or a dust mask as appropriate. * * * * * * * * Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Dispose of empty containers after rinsing out with pool water. Observe the precautions necessary for each type of chemical. Only add chemicals intended for swimming pools. Use rubber gloves. Do not use the pool until hazardous chemical additions have been dispersed. do not breathe the dust or fumes. Never add hazardous chemicals when the pool is in use. * * . Always read the label before use. Never mix different chemicals together. This puts all the material into the pool and keeps the trash barrel safe. Wait until one chemical addition is complete and has dispersed before making another. Store pool chemicals in a secure place (child-proof). Avoid skin contact./// SAFETY \\\ The following reminders about the safe handling of pool chemicals should always be observed.

No other method of water purification has been subjected to the scrutiny that chlorination has or has been used on as wide a scale or for as long a time. 4. Studies of chlorinated drinking water have concluded the benefits far exceed the risks. With regard to swimming in chlorinated water there are several points to keep in mind: 1. In spite of this the studies continue to find that drinking chlorinated water is an acceptable risk.) 3.but not much higher when swimming is allowed. Recently it has been learned that when water is chlorinated there may also be traces of organochlorine compounds formed.) Swimming pool water is not intended to be ingested.) The use of chlorinated water in swimming pools has a long history -.Risks of Swimming In Chlorinated Water Water has been chlorinated for drinking since the turn of the century.) The level of chlorine in swimming pools is about the same as. The health consequences of not disinfecting water can be far more serious than chlorine exposure. 2. Generally chlorine gas or liquid chlorine has been used. . but can be higher than. drinking water -. Some of these are known to be carcinogens (cause cancer).about one hundred years. This results in the formation of hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion as described in the section on CHLORINATION.

Small and frequent additions of chlorinating compounds are less convenient but safer and more economical. This also keeps the cost lower. See the section on "Adjusting Chlorine" in TESTING AND ADJUSTING POOL WATER. . Safety and economics both argue for using a minimum level of chlorine. If a pool is not in use it is convenient to increase the chlorine level with larger but less frequent additions of chlorine. if the amount of chlorine is not sufficient then bacteria and algae will flourish which is a health hazard. The cost of eliminating algae blooms and excess bacteria is greater than the cost of routinely controlling them. However.As a practical matter when chlorinating swimming pool water the level of chlorine should be kept as low as possible to avoid exposure risks.

See CONTROL OF ALGAE. otherwise use another seven gallons of liquid chlorine./// COST ANALYSIS \\\ When the methods described in this manual are used the amounts of chemical supplies for maintaining 15. Algaecide: No additional algaecides should be required.) Calcium chloride: The amount will depend on the "hardness" of the water supply. Cost Comparison section.000 gallons for one year are approximately: 1. 3.) Hydrochloric (Muriatic) acid: About ten gallons per year to adjust the pH. And about seven gallons for shock. Notes on other optional materials: Chlorine powder: About 12 pounds per year could be used as a spot algaecide and for super-chlorination or shock.) Chlorine tablets: About 45 to 50 tablets (twenty-five pounds). The three forms of chlorine listed above will take care of routine chlorination and super-chlorination and shock treatments. This amount of stabilized chlorine will provide chlorination for about five months and enough stabilizer for one year. but only as an option. For soft water areas about 25 to 50 pounds per year should maintain calcium at about 300 ppm. if needed. 4. . Baking soda: About fifty pounds per year to adjust the alkalinity.) Chlorine solution: About 10 to 12 gallons per year to supplement the tablets and for super-chlorination. 2.) 5.

A gallon of liquid chlorine will out perform them at a fraction of the cost. . It is important to check both the ingredients and the percent active material. The cost of exotic algaecides is often $50 per gallon. The price of some chlorine compounds is more sensitive to quantity than others. The relative prices for supplies are given. One major money saving strategy is to use liquid chlorine for super-chlorination and shock treatment to prevent algae growth. Buying in bulk or buying non-branded materials will reduce costs. Calcium hypochlorite (dry chlorine) will be much cheaper in drums. Dry acid is not only more expensive but it is less effective so more of it must be purchased to replace a given weight of muriatic ace. Note that the prices have been adjusted for the amount of active material. This is especially true for baking soda and calcium chloride flakes.Purchasing Chemical Supplies See the two page chart PRICE COMPARISONS OF POOL CHEMICALS. this is why they are usually sold by the pint or quart. The chemical effectiveness is important in some cases. Some treatments for algae are just small packages of the usual chlorinating compounds disguised with clever brand names. The actual dollar prices will vary depending on the area. Packaging also affects price so single pound packs cost less than pails on a per pound basis.

A ten thousand gallon pool would cost about $150 per year to maintain and a twenty thousand gallon pool should cost about $300 per year.000 gallon pool) Chlorine tablets Chlorine solution Acid Baking soda Calcium flakes Test kit supplies YEAR'S TOTAL $60 to 80 $70 to 100 $ 50 to 75 $ 30 to 50 $ 0 to 30 $ 20 to 30 $ 230 to 365 These costs are estimated for an area where there is competition among suppliers and they include sales taxes of seven percent. Your costs may be lower but should not have to be higher than these unless you are in an area where pool supplies are not commodity items. . Summary of Estimated Annual Costs (for a 15.Costs of Testing The cost of testing will average $15 per year. This is about $15 per thousand gallons per year. Replacing reagents will cost about $20 to $25 per year. A complete test kit costs about $65 and will last for several years.

50 Notes: * Trichlor requires less acid for pH adjustment and it includes stabilizer (cyanuric acid) which offsets the price compared to other sources of chlorination.00 4. Active: 1.5 gallon bulk solution one gallon prepackaged Trichlor tablets * Calcium hypochlorite ** envelopes pail drum Lithium hypochlorite Dichloro -s-triazinetrione Relative Prices Per Pound.50 1.00 1.PRICE COMPARISONS OF POOL CHEMICALS -.50 3.00 1.CHLORINE COMPOUNDS Chlorine compound: Sodium hypochlorite 2. ** Calcium hypochlorite chlorinates and provides calcium so less calcium chloride will be required. .70 2.75 20.

unbranded. for acid absorption to raise pH. This increases its price advantage.15 4.80 Other compounds: Calcium chloride.50 2.25 Notes: # Dry acid is less effective on a weight basis by a factor of three making muriatic acid five times more cost effective. ## Baking soda provides more carbonate on a weight basis than soda ash so it is a more effective buffering agent. specialty brand Quaternary ammonium chlorides Cyanuric acid (stabilizer) 0.35 1. soda ash is more effective but not enough to offset the higher price. However.OTHERS Relative Prices Per Pound of Active Material Compounds for pH control: Muriatic acid (HCl) Sodium bisulfate (Dry acid) # 0. bulk Sodium bicarbonate.PRICE COMPARISON OF POOL CHEMICALS -.95 Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). .50 0. bulk Calcium chloride. small package Sodium carbonate (soda ash) ## 0.00 0.50 1.

Causes pH to increase. superchlorination and shock treatment.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Sodium hypochlorite Chlorine solution Liquid chlorine NaOCl Type of Compound: Chlorine source. liquid Description: Ten percent solution in water Yellowish liquid. similar to bleach Irritant -. .handle with caution Limited shelf life POOL USE: Source of chlorine (hypochlorous acid) for routine chlorination.avoid contact Oxidizer Corrosive -. Alternate: Calcium hypochlorite RECOMMENDATION: Sodium hypochlorite is recommended as the most cost effective source of chlorine. Caution: Liquid chlorine is corrosive and must be handled with care. The most cost effective algaecide available.

Alternate: Sodium hypochlorite solution and cyanuric acid crystals. RECOMMENDATION: Trichlor three-inch tablets are recommended as a cost effective source of chlorine and stabilizer. 89% available chlorine POOL USE: Source of chlorine (hypochlorous acid) for routine chlorination and super-chlorination. three-inch diameter. . sticks and granules 99% active. white Also in smaller tablet sizes. contains stabilizer (cyanuric acid) Description: Tablets. Source of stabilizer (cyanuric acid).POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Trichloro-s-triazinetrione Trichlor Chlorine tablets Trichloroisocyanuric acid Type of Compound: Chlorine source. solid. Caution: Continuous use of trichlor can result in excessive build-up of CYA stabilizer. Does not upset pH.

POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Calcium hypochlorite Dry chlorine Chlorine powder Granular chlorine Ca(OCl)2 or Ca (ClO) 2 Type of Compound: Chlorine source. tablets or cartridges Oxidizer Irritant -. solid.avoid contact 65% active. Also provides calcium. Continuous use will add about 250 ppm calcium per year. contains calcium Description: White solid Granules. Alternate: Sodium hypochlorite . Caution: Should not be used in pools with hard water problems. An effective algaecide. 35% inert (sometimes 75/25) 65% available chlorine POOL USE: Source of chlorine (hypochlorous acid) for routine chlorination. superchlorination and shock treatment. powder. A solid alternative to liquid chlorine for easier handling. An excellent spot algaecide. Caution: The inert material may give the water a cloudy appearance until it is removed by filtering. Causes pH to increase.

Alternate: Sodium hypochlorite . Easier to handle than liquid chlorine. An expensive alternative source of chlorine.avoid contact. Causes pH to increase.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Lithium hypochlorite Li (OCl) or Li (ClO) Type of Compound: Chlorine source. superchlorination or shock treatment. solid Description: White powder Oxidizer Irritant -. Does not add calcium or stabilizer. do not breathe the dust 70% inert POOL USE: Source of chlorine (hypochlorous acid) for routine chlorination.

POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione dihydrate Dichlor Type of Compound: Chlorine source. solid. . Source of stabilizer (cyanuric acid) Caution: Should not be used if cyanuric acid levels are high. Alternate: Trichloro-s-triazinetrione NOT RECOMMENDED because it contains less chlorine and more stabilizer than trichlor. contains stabilizer (cyanuric acid) Description: White granules 99% active Irritating -. superchlorination or shock treatment.avoid breathing the dust Oxidizer POOL USE: Source of chlorine (hypochlorous acid) for routine chlorination.

Caution: Acid solution is corrosive and must be handled with care. concentrated.avoid breathing fumes POOL USE: Lowers pH. It is five times more cost effective than sodium bisulfate. .avoid contact Irritating -.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Hydrochloric acid Muriatic acid HCl Type of Compound: For control of pH. 20º Baume.5% Corrosive -. Alternate: Sodium bisulfate RECOMMENDATION: Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid is recommended as a cost effective method for lowering pH. It lowers pH. 31. Description: Solution of acid in water.

absorbs moisture POOL USE: Lowers pH. A solid alternative to liquid acid easier to handle and store.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Sodium bisulfate Dry acid Sodium hydrogen sulfate Sodium bisulfate mono-hydrate NaHSO4 Type of Compound: For control of pH. It lowers pH. Alternate: Hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) . Description: White powder Corrosive -.avoid contact Hygroscopic -.

Alternate: Sodium carbonate (soda ash) . It stabilizes the pH.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Sodium bicarbonate Baking soda Sodium hydrogen carbonate NaHCO3 Type of Compound: For control of pH. Other uses include cooking. RECOMMENDATIONS: Baking soda is recommended as a cost effective source of carbonate to buffer the pH and preserve the cement. Source of carbonate ions for cement stability. POOL USE: Baking soda slows down changes in pH. more basic values. It raises the pH. cleaning. For buffering. deodorizing and medication as an antacid. It also prevents the cement from dissolving. Description: White powder. It can be used to adjust pH to higher.

It can be used to raise carbonate alkalinity.NaHCO3. Alternate: Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) . granular POOL USE: It can be used to raise pH. However. It is useful when the pH is very low.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Sodium carbonate Soda ash Sodium sesquicarbonate Na2CO3 or Na2.2H2O Type of Compound: For control of pH. It raises pH. the percentage by weight of carbonate is greater in baking soda. Description: White powder. A source of carbonate ions for cement stability.

Caution: Too little calcium will allow the cement to dissolve.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Calcium chloride Calcium dichloride Calcium dichloride dihydrate CaCl2.2H2O Type of Compound: Calcium source Description: Solid. . RECOMMENDATION: Bulk calcium chloride is recommended as a cost effective source of calcium.avoid contact 80% calcium chloride plus 20% other chlorides POOL USE: A source of calcium to balance the solubility of the calcium in the cement. flakes Hygroscopic -. white. Caution: Too much calcium will result in rough deposits on the pool surfaces.absorbs moisture Irritant -.

An optional routine treatment for inhibition of algae growth.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Quaternary alkyl ammonium chlorides Usually a mixture of several compounds within this chemical family. For example: n-alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride n-alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride Type of Compound: Algaecide Description: Ten percent solution in water POOL USE: An effective algaecide chemically different from chlorination. Not recommended. Caution: Too much quaternary ammonium chlorides will cause foaming. .

absorbs moisture POOL USE: Cyanuric acid at 20 to 40 ppm extends the lifetime and effectiveness of chlorine by protecting it from degradation by the ultra-violet rays of the sun. white. Caution: Too much cyanuric acid will inhibit the effectiveness of chlorine.5-triazine-2. Caution: Too much cyanuric acid will mask a deficiency in carbonate alkalinity by increasing the total alkalinity.POOL CHEMICAL DATA SHEET Name(s): Cyanuric acid CYA Stabilizer Water conditioner 1. flakes or granules Irritant -.4.3. Alternate: Stabilized chlorine (trichloro-s-triazinetrione) .6--triol Type of Compound: Chlorine stabilizer Description: Solid.avoid contact Hygroscopic -.

Alternate source of carbonate.SUMMARY OF POOL CHEMICALS AND RECOMMENDED USES Sodium hypochlorite Trichloro-s-triazinetrione Calcium hypochlorite Lithium hypochlorite Sodium dichloro-striazinetrione Recommended for chlorination. Not recommended for routine use. Hydrochloric acid (Muriatic acid) Sodium bisulfate (Dry acid) Sodium bicarbonate (Baking soda) Sodium carbonate (Soda ash) Recommended for lowering pH. Alternate source of chlorine and calcium. Recommended as a spot algaecide. Recommended for buffering pH and as a source of carbonate. Alternate for lowering pH. Calcium chloride Alkyl ammonium chlorides Cyanuric acid Recommended source of calcium. Alternate source of chlorine. Recommended for chlorination and as a source of stabilizer. Expensive. Can be used if large increases in pH are needed. An optional routine algaecide. Alternate source of stabilizer. super-chlorination and shock treatment. .