understanding pool chemistry - Classic Marcite

The Importance of Understanding Pool Chemistry

by | Mar 10, 2023

Having a pool can be a dream come true for many homeowners, but without proper care, it can become a nightmare. Improper chemical maintenance can cause many problems, such as skin irritation, green or murky water, and even damage to your pool that could require repair or replacement. That’s why understanding pool chemistry is a must for pool owners. 

Classic Marcite is one of the top pool deck resurfacing contractors in Orlando, FL, and we’re experts in pool repair and maintenance. Here, we share what you need to know about common pool problems and the chemicals that help prevent them so you can keep your pool in top shape. 

Common Issues Improper Pool Chemistry Can Cause

Many of the problems you might face as a pool owner can be detrimental not only to the longevity of your pool but also to swimmers’ health. If you notice any of these issues, you’ll likely need to address your pool’s chemistry. 

Discolored Water

If your pool’s chemicals aren’t balanced correctly, you may see the water change color and consistency. If you notice that the water is murky or sludgy, it’s likely because algae have started to grow. Once it begins, it can spread quickly, making your pool unattractive, unsafe, and unusable. 

Green-colored water can also mean that metals such as copper and iron are present. They can stain your pool’s liner, making that unappealing shade of green more permanent. These metals can also be toxic to humans, so balance your pool’s chemicals to keep the water clean and clear.

Premature Pool Deterioration 

If your pool is showing signs of wear and tear but is relatively new, then poor water chemistry is likely at least part of the problem. You’ll have to repair or replace your pool surface far before you would have if you were vigilant with chemical maintenance. 

Water that’s too acidic or has too much metal or calcium can cause premature deterioration of the pool’s structure, liner, deck, and accessories. Water that is not acidic enough can create buildup in your pool. 

Eye and Skin Irritation 

Unbalanced pool chemicals can cause physical symptoms in people, as well. These include dry skin, itchy eyes and skin, burning sensations, and rashes after swimming. Not only are these conditions uncomfortable, but they can eventually lead to infections—and it’ll only get worse if you don’t adjust the pH level of your pool.

Chemistry Terms Pool Owners Should Know

Understanding pool chemistry and applying it properly can prevent many pool problems, including discolored water, pool deterioration, and irritated skin. Taking the time to learn these essential terms and what they mean is the first step to having a clean and long-lasting pool. 

  • pH: This is a measure of how acidic your water is. The lower the number, the more acidic it is. The ideal range for most pools is a pH between 7.4 and 7.6. 
  • Alkalinity: This is a measure of carbonates and hydroxides in your water, which help moderate pH levels. A low alkalinity level can lead to a low pH level, making your pool too acidic. The ideal alkalinity range for most pools is between 60 and 200 parts per million (ppm). 
  • Calcium hardness: This is a measure of how much calcium is in your water. Too much calcium can cause your water to become cloudy, and too little can damage your pool. The ideal calcium level for most pools is between 80 and 500 ppm. 

Testing is also part of proper pool chemistry maintenance. Using a pool testing kit, you can check each of these elements in your water regularly. Once every two weeks is usually sufficient, but some types of pools do best with weekly testing. 

Four Common Pool Cleaners to Balance Pool Chemistry 

The sanitizers and disinfectants you use to clean your pool can also impact pool health and chemistry. Here’s a rundown of some common pool cleaners:

  • Chlorine: This is one of the most common pool sanitizers because it’s cheap and widely available. Chlorine levels should usually stay between 1 and 3 ppm. Keep in mind that chlorine becomes less effective at higher pH levels.
  • Bromine: This option is similar to chlorine but doesn’t smell as strong and is usually more effective. However, it can lose effectiveness in strong direct sunlight. The ideal bromine level for pools is between 3 and 5 parts ppm. 
  • Ozone: This is a powerful sanitizer, but it doesn’t have a long lifespan in water, so pool owners often use it as a backup with another type of cleaner. A generator pumps the appropriate amount of ozone into your pool, depending on its size. The recommended level is usually between .03-.05 ppm. 
  • Ionizer: An ionizer device releases metal ions such as copper and silver to kill bacteria and algae in your pool. If not configured correctly, it could release too many metals into the pool, causing stains. 

Another option is to have a saltwater pool with a salt chlorination system that turns the salt ions in the water into chlorine gas by emitting an electric charge into the pool. Some people prefer this option over adding chemicals to their pool. However, pH can fluctuate more easily with this option, so you’ll need to be vigilant about checking levels. 

Work with the Pool Maintenance Experts at Classic Marcite

No matter what type of pool you have, a great way to keep it in shape and ensure proper chemistry is to work with experts at a trusted pool company in your area. If you’re having challenges with your outdoor pool, you may also want to consider repairing or renovating it.

Classic Marcite is a leading residential and commercial pool resurfacing company that has been serving Orlando and Jacksonville, FL, for more than 30 years. We’re a family-owned company that can help you not only with understanding pool chemistry but with maintenance, repair, refinishing, and more. 

Want more pool maintenance tips? Read on to learn about conserving water in a swimming pool.

If you want to bring your pool back to life, call our Classic Marcite team 407-521-6260 today to schedule a consultation and get a free, no-obligation quote. 

About Mike Folta
Mike Folta has served the clients of Classic Marcite for more than 15 years. He has 20+ years in the pool industry servicing large hotels and theme parks in the Greater Orlando area, as well as expertly turning backyard pools into an island oasis.