Many home owners are at a loss(p) by their swimming pools especially when it comes to keeping their pool chemicals in balance. There seems to be a fear of the unknown more than anything. Just keep in mind to approach each chemical level seperately.If you do not have a test kit then I suggest you purchase one as soon as possible. A test kit is your gauge to your swimming pool chemicals. All pools are different and will in turn need different amounts of chemicals then same sized pools. This is only a guideline. Never mix any chemicals together!
Firstly , let’s begin with your pool’s Chlorine level. Chlorine is a sanitizer and it’s main job is to get rid of bacteria from the water. Chlorine does NOT make your eyes burn. The Chlorine level should be between 1-3 ppm on the scale on your test kit. If the Chlorine level is below 1 ppm then you need to shock the pool with one pound of calcium hypochlorite per 10,000 gallons of pool water. If the Chlorine level is between 1-3 ppm then just add 2 3″ chlorine tablets per 10,000 gallons of water. If the chlorine level is above 3 ppm this okay temporarily and it will descend over time.
Second , we will discuss the PH level of your pool. PH is the acidity of you water. The lower your PH level then the water is more acidic and this what causes your eyes to burn. The higher your PH level then the water is more alkaline or the water will have a tendency to cause scaling. Some people like myself this will also cause your eyes to burn. You want to maintain your PH level between 7.4 to 7.6 ppm.
If your PH level is lower than desired then you need to check your Alkalinity level. Your Alkalinity level should be 100 ppm for “concrete” pools and 180 ppm for fiberglass or vinyl liner pools. If your Alkalinity is low then add 1 pound of baking soda, yes Arm & Hammer, per 10 ppm you want to raise to the desired level plus one pound to your amount. It sounds odd but It’s actually 1 1/3 pounds but this extra pound is recognized as correct industry wide. If your Alkalinity is correct then your need to add soda ash or sodium sesqui if you can get it. You will only add soda ash one pound at a time always into the pool water. It becomes rock hard if put into skimmers. After adding your 1 pound of soda ash wait 24 hours and test your PH level again. Repeat this process until the desired PH level is acheived.
If your PH level is too high then you will need to add muriatic acid. Always add muriatic acid in front of a jet in the pool with the pump running. Add 1/4 gallon of acid if the level is 7.8 ppm or add 1/2 gallon of acid if the PH is 8 ppm.
Thirdly , the last level you will need to check periodically is the cyuanuric acid level. This chemical protets your Chlorine from the sun like sunblock. UV rays will dissapate unstabilized Chlorine molecules quickly. It should be 40 ppm in Chlorine pools and 80-100 ppm in salt pools. If the cyanuric acid level is low then add 1 pound of cyanuric acid per 3,000 gallons. If the cyanuric acid level is higher than desired then you can drain your pool halfway and refill it with fresh water. This should decrease your cyanuric level by half.
This is a basic guidline to follow for your pool chemicals. Do NOT ever mix any chemicals together. Always follow manufacture’s directions on their chemical levels. Some pools may differ in the amounts of chemicals needed and may phosphate remover to battle algae problems. Following these instructions will help prevent costly pool repairs. If you do not feel comfortable performing these procedures then please confab a pool service company. Also if you have a relationship with your pool builder they can be helpful finding a reputable service comapany or help you directly.