As the warm weather approaches, all you can think about is swimming in your refreshing pool. Before you dive in though, you need to check the chemical balance, especially if the pool sat closed up for the colder seasons. Maintaining proper pool chemistry is important and helps to save you money and time in the long run. It involves more than simply adding chemicals because, over time, surfaces can become discolored. Before you replace everything, there are a few solutions that you may want to consider first.
Inspect the Pool
Always conduct a site inspection before getting in your pool. The area around the pool is often overlooked when it comes to getting the pool ready for summer. Clean debris from the decks, patio, and surrounding areas and skim or vacuum debris from the water surface. Use sanding pads to smooth down the grit of the pool finish. You need to evaluate if any roughness is from etching or precipitation because you want the surface to be smooth.
You can also use dental picks to clean the grout between the tiles. Add a squirt of dish soap to the pool to help break the surface ripples and visually inspect the interior surfaces to confirm they are still in good condition. Should you notice any major flaw or cracks you want to contact a pool professional to determine how severe it is. After inspection, they will be able to provide you with a solution. You also need to make sure you check for algae or any metal stains in the pool and once clear, you can move on to the chemicals.
Testing the Water
Proper pool chemistry is related to the source water that is used. You should always do a source water test before testing the pool. Take an accurate volume measurement in terms of gallons because many water-related problems are linked to having the wrong information about pool size. Too much chemical additives can lead to etching and other surface problems. You want to test for pH levels, total alkalinity, salt levels and calcium hardness, and the tests are available at any pool retailer.
Use the LSI (Langelier Saturation Index) to evaluate your water quality, especially if your pool has a tendency to form a chemical scale. You want to look for pH between the ranges of 7.2 and 7.6and a total alkalinity between 120-150 parts per million. As for calcium hardness the acceptable range will vary according to the type of pool you have. A concrete pool should register between 200 and 250 parts per million but vinyl pools will be between 175 and 225 parts per million. If you discover any levels outside of acceptable ranges, then you can make the chemical adjustments.
It is important to know exactly how many gallons of water your pool holds because a chemical imbalance can eat away at your pool finish and cause it to roughen. Pool water needs to be tested two or three times a week to ensure that you always have optimal conditions. The right chemistry not only keeps your pool clean and sanitized but it extends the life of your pool. Discoloration may not always be from a flawed material, it can be from poor chemistry. Research and inspect the pool completely before replacing any surfaces, because it may be a much easier fix. Proper chemical maintenance will save you money and keep your pool around for a long time.