What are the two main factors to pool water chemistry?

Chemical balance and Sanitation.

Chemical balance addresses how acidic or basic the water pH levels are. The pH scale for pool water is measured from 0 to 14. The number for neutral balance is 7. Human pH level is at 7.4 in the area of the eyes. If pool water is below pH 7.4, the water is acidic and may cause burning sensation and irritation. If the water pH is above 7.4, it can result in dry eyes and itchy skin.

Sanitation addresses contaminants in the pool water such as bacteria, urine, fecal material, oils, lotions, sunscreen, etc.

How often should I check my pool water chemical balance?

Most backyard pools should have the water tested once or twice per week. It is a good idea to test the pool water chemical levels prior to swimming to make sure the levels are in the target areas. This will help avoid recreational water illness (RWI).

What are the ‘target areas’ for pool water chemical levels?

Test Type Acceptable Range
pH 7.2 – 7.6
Total Alkalinity 100 – 150 ppm
Calcium Hardness 200 – 250 ppm (Gunite/Concrete)
Calcium Hardness 175 – 225 ppm (Vinyl)
Free Bromine 3 – 5 ppm
Free Chlorine 1 – 3 ppm
Copper 0 ppm
Iron 0 ppm

I see two different references to Chlorine level – FC and CC, what does that mean?

FC is ‘free chlorine’ and that is the chlorine available to kill contaminants in the pool water.

CC is ‘combined chlorine’ and that is the chlorine already bonded with contaminants in the pool water. Combined chlorine is ‘used chlorine’ and it needs to be ‘shocked’ to break the bond with the contaminants before it can sanitize pool water again.

A good rule of thumb is to use ‘shock’ once a week to break the combined chlorine and kill contaminants.

My pool has a strong smell of Chemicals/Chlorine, that means I have too much chlorine in the pool water?

No. A strong chemical/chlorine smell from a pool typically means that the pool water needs MORE chlorine.

One of the more common myths about pool water is that a strong chemical/chlorine smell means that there is too much chlorine. When chlorine interacts with contaminants such as body oil and sweat, it creates  “chloramines” in the pool water. Chloramines are what emit the strong smell from chlorine. When there is a strong smell from chloramines, that means the chlorine is contaminated and more chlorine will be needed to sanitize the pool water and reduce the strong odor.

What is the right pH level for pool water?

Pool water pH balance is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. pH level 7 is ‘neutral’ balance. pH levels under 7 are considered acidic and pH levels over 7 are considered basic, or low acid. The target pH balance for pool water is 7.2 – 7.6. Human eyes are typically at a 7.4 pH. That means a pH level under 7.4 will be acidic and likely cause burning eye sensation. A pH level over 7.4 may lead to dry eyes. Keeping pool water at a pH between 7.2 and 7.6 is best for swimmer comfort.

How do I remove the white mineral ring from pool tile?

The Southern Nevada and Las Vegas water supply typically contains hard minerals such as calcium and lime. Over time, these minerals cling to the surfaces they contact and build up upon each other. Pool owners will usually notice a white ring forming around the water level mark along the pool tiles. Other areas where mineral rings are found are on spa jets, water overflow areas, and other surfaces where ‘hard water’ makes continuous contact.

Once mineral buildup is noticed on pool tiles and surfaces, it can take a lot of physical scrubbing to get rid of it. In many instances, scrubbing alone will not remove the unsightly mineral rings and stains. The trick is to remove the mineral deposits without damaging the surface of the pool tiles. Damaged tiles offer a better surface for minerals and contaminants to cling to and build from. Scratched and scuffed pool tiles will collect contaminants faster than smooth, polished tiles.

Clarity Pool Service utilizes glass bead blasting for removing hard mineral buildup from pool surfaces. Glass beads are softer than sand or metal flake which can damage pool tiles. Glass beads are high-pressure sprayed through a hose and nozzle onto the pool tile surface. After the bead blasting process is completed, the glass beads are vacuumed from the bottom of the pool.

Clarity Pool Service typically combines their bead blasting service with their mobile Puripool filtration system. When combined, the Puripool water treatment removes hard minerals from the pool water and the bead blasting removes the existing hard mineral buildup. Once the Puripool has filtered the hard minerals and solid particles from the pool water, it will take much longer for the mineral buildup to accumulate on pool surfaces again.

Why do I need to drain my pool water every few years?

Pool water collects “solids” over time. These solids can be dirt, bacteria, minerals, and many other contaminants. As pool water collects “solids”, they reduce the effectiveness of chemicals to treat and balance the pool water. Over time, pools will need more and more chemicals to maintain optimal chemical balance. Eventually, the water becomes contaminated to the point where chemicals are no longer effective.

The good news is that Clarity Pool Service offers our mobile “Puripool” service which utilizes reverse-osmosis to clean these solids from your pool water!