Periodical testing of pool water is crucial with regards to safety, cleanliness, the overall health of the user. But, how often should test your pool water? This depends on what sanitation method you use to maintain your water. There are many factors such as the climate, bather load, indoor/outdoor/enclosed pool, sunlight exposure, type of pool surface and any other complementary systems set up to monitor and control the quality of water in the pool. There are various variables to be considered when testing pool water apart from the chlorine level. This post tries to answer the same.
Factors to Consider in Testing Pool Water
Some parameters can be checked on a semi-annual or annual basis depending upon the frequency of use, weather conditions, and the amount of make-up water required. However, there are some parameters, such as chlorine, which should be checked weekly at a minimum. Intec does recommend testing of the water at least twice a week during the peak usage seasons. Below are some variables you should test for on a chlorinated or salt water chlorinated pool. Keep in mind, commercial pools would have to be checked and maintained more frequently.
- Chlorine Levels: People who use chlorine to sanitize their pools should check the levels at least twice every week. Especially, if the pool is used on a daily basis. If your pool is privately owned and not used every day, you might get by checking levels once a week. This assumes that it is during non-peak times of the year and if little make-up water is required. Check the amount of free chlorine in water and you would know how much to add. Total chlorine minus free chlorine determines the combined chlorine level which is used to determine the frequency of a chlorine shock treatment.
- Shocking a Pool: If your combined chlorine level is above 0.3, then you will need to add 10-15 times that amount in chlorine to prevent the buildup of chloramines. There are several online tools that can assist you in the amount of chlorine to add. pH adjustment may be required before a shock treatment to make it effective.
- Cyanuric Acid: Cyanuric acid (CYA) is added to a pool to slow the suns ability to degrade your free chlorine levels. Ideal ranges for indoor pools are 10-20 ppm, outdoor pools are 30-50 ppm, and Salt water pools 60-70 ppm. If the CYA levels are too high, then more chlorine is required to prevent algae growth. Although there are some product available to remove CYA, the best method is to drain a portion of your pool water to reduce CYA levels.
- pH Level: This is the single most important variable and should also be checked along with chlorine. If your pH levels are off, chlorine is inefficetive or the water is too aggressive and unpleasant for swimmers. The ideal pH of your chlorinated pool water should be between 7.4 and 7.8.
- Acid Demand Test: This is a simple test not many people know about. If your pH is high, do not throw the sample away and use the acid demand reagent to calculate how much acid is required to bring your pH in balance. It simply removes the guesswork and saves time.
- Total Alkalinity: This factor comprises the amount of alkaline substances present in the pool water and acts as a buffering agent of sorts and helps balance/maintain the pH of your water. If levels are too low, your pH can drop. If the levels are too high, your pH can rise rapidly. The alkaline substances here could be carbonates, bicarbonates, and hydroxides, among others. Ideally this level should be between 80 and 120 ppm (Ideal range can vary depending on total dissolved solid levels and your region). Although this is not an extremely important variable, it is recommended to test while you are battling pH issues.
- Total Dissolved Solids: These are dissolved particulate matter, mainly salts, which are present in the water. Some common TDS components include sodium, chlorides, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Excess of such solids may hamper the effectiveness of sanitizing chemicals added to the pool water. High salt levels can be corrosive and high calcium/magnesium levels cause unsightly scale deposits
- Salinity / Salt Levels: You should check the amount of salts in the pool once in a month for a saltwater chlorine generated pool. The ideal salt levels are 2700–3400 ppm.
- Calcium Hardness: Check the calcium hardness levels at least twice a year to maintain the chemical balance of your pool. Many chemicals used to maintain the water chemistry can be aggressive on the surface of your pool and the hardness negates some of hose aggressive effects. Levels are dependent upon the surface you have for your pool and are most important for plaster / gunite pools.
- Metals: You need to remove metals such as iron, manganese, and copper if you notice discolorations on the pool floors and walls. They are fine as long as levels are low and they remain in a dissolved state; however, air is present in the water and chlorine and shocking the pool would oxidize these metals causing them to plate out and create hard to remove stains.
Are you a private pool owner and looking for better alternatives to chlorine? If yes, ensure you approach a reliable player such as Intec America, which offers safe water treatment solutions for swimming pools. They do offer solutions regarding how and when you should test your pool water to maintain its overall quality. Intec America was the first company in the US to popularize the copper ionization technology developed by NASA. Since then, copper ionizers have been largely used in the swimming pools for water treatment.