Maintaining Perfect Pool Water
Swimming, splashing and laughing. A pool is the secret ingredient to a good life. But if you don’t maintain your pool water, it can quickly become a headache. The BOAST system makes running your pool easy, simple and affordable.
By following the BOAST system, you will achieve, clean, healthy and sparkling water ready for splashing in.
Balance Pool Water For Bather Comfort and Maximum Chemical Efficiency.
Establishing the correct water balance is important for several reasons:
- Chemical efficiency
- Bather comfort
- Protection of pool equipment
- Water quality and appearance
- Less time consuming looking after the pool
Some people believe that keeping the right pH is all that is needed to achieve the correct water balance, this isn’t the case and although pH is important there are other factors that also need to be considered. Below are the parameters that make up water balance and the ideal levels that should be maintained.
To achieve balanced water the following parameters, need to be within the indicated ranges:
- pH level: 7.2 – 7.6
- Calcium Hardness: 200 – 275 mg/l
- Total Alkalinity: 80 – 150 mg/l
Total Dissolved Solids: 1500mg/l maximum
Whether water is balanced, i.e, neither scale forming, or corrosive is established using the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI)
Balanced water has an LSI reading of 0
If the LSI is negative it indicates that the water is corrosive
If the LSI is positive it indicates that the water is scale forming
Ideally water should have a slight positive LSI value
Oxidise To Establish A Sanitiser Level Then Weekly To Destroy Waste Compounds
Bathers, insects, leaves, dust, pollen and rain can all introduce waste products into the pool water. As these waste compounds build up they become a source of food for bacteria and algae encouraging their growth and making the pool water unhealthy and cloudy. Organic wastes will react to chlorine creating chloramines (combined chlorine) that has an unpleasant pungent odour if levels are allowed to rise too high and is irritating to eyes and nose. Oxidising the water is essential for removing bather waste, chloramines and bacteria that the sanitiser has not killed. Oxidising or shock dosing destroys chloramines and organic wastes helping to keep the pool safe and comfortable for bathers.
- Shock dosing (introducing an oxidiser to your pool water) is recommended when:
- Pool is cloudy
- Heavy use
- After a thunderstorm or heavy rainfall
- Weekly – to remove bacteria, bather waste and chloramines
Algae Prevention, Stop Algae Establishing Themselves In Your Pool Water
Algae are microscopic plant life that, in the right conditions, multiply rapidly usually turning pool water green and opaque. Because algae are so small they do not become visible to the human eye until there are millions of them, so the early stages of an algae attack can easily go undetected and therefore untreated. Recovering an algae infested pool can be time consuming and expensive, which is why algae prevention is always preferable to cure. The secret to keeping a pool algae free is to maintain the correct water balance, oxidise regularly to destroy sources of algae food and organic wastes, apply algaecide to support the sanitiser (chlorine or bromine), continuously keep a consistent sanitiser level in the water and test regularly to ensure that the correct levels are being maintained.
Sanitise, and Maintain A Constant Sanitiser Level to Prevent and Kill Bacteria
Without use of a sanitiser, a pool can quickly become a pool party for bacteria. These are unwanted guests that will establish themselves in the pool water, on pool surfaces and in the pipe work / filter media unless you put measures in place to stop this happening. Sanitiser kills bacteria, and prevents it multiplying. It must be regularly administered to your pool, either by hand, by an automated dosing system or tablet feeder.
Chlorine is the most popular and wide used sanitiser for pools, mainly because of it is easy to use and is the kindest sanitiser on your wallet.
Chlorine levels should be between 1.0 – 3.0 mg/l to maintain healthy, clean water.
There are many different products on the market for chlorine. The most popular is granular chlorine, which is fast dissolving, quickly giving the pool a high level of chlorine. It does require you to dose regularly as chlorine content is not maintained over a long period of time.
Tablets are slow releasing and so maintain chlorine content over a period of time, but it is necessary to establish a base level of chlorine before you sanitise with a tablet as they release chlorine at a steady rate.
Chlorine is broken down by UV radiation from the sun. Sunlight can, without there being any bathers in the water, deplete the chlorine levels in the pool. This would mean that there would be no chlorine to act on any bacteria or bather pollution introduced into the water. Chlorine granules and tablets are available as “stabilised” products. These stabilised products contain Cyanuric Acid that protects the chlorine from the UV light and prevents it from being burned off when the sun shines. It is important to be aware that when using stabilised products, the cyanuric acid level that build up in the water reduce the kill rate of bacteria. The recommended chlorine level when using stabilised chlorine products is 2.5 – 5.0 ppm.
Bromine is another sanitiser option for a pool.
Bromine levels should be between 3.0 – 5.0 mg/l to maintain healthy, clean water.
As a chemical bromine is much kinder on the skin, usually being an option for people with sensitive skin. Unlike chlorine, bromine is not lost to sunlight which means it does not need cyanuric acid added to the product to stabilise it.
Bromine isn’t as pungent in smell as chlorine can be, which can be a perk if you find the chlorine smell unbearable. It is more expensive than chlorine however, and this is often a reason that sways people away from bromine.
Test The Water Frequently, There Is No Way To Know What The Levels Are Without Testing
Testing needn’t be stressful like it was back in school. It is a great way to get information about the condition of the pool water. Without testing the water, you do not know what chemicals are needed or if what there is able to work properly.
There are 4 ways to test pool water:
- Test strips (most common)
- Pool testers
- Comparator kits
- Electronic test kits
Regardless of what method is chosen, it is strongly recommended that the water is tested regularly. Ideally every day during the swimming season and twice a week as a minimum.
There is a lot of data you can get from testing. The most common tend to be pH, sanitiser (bromine or chlorine) and TA. You can also get tests for TDS, calcium hardness, free chlorine, cyanuric acid and many more.
Test strips are the most popular way of testing pool water because it is a quick and easy process. All that is required is you dip the strip into the pool water and compare the pads on the strip to the colours printed on the test strip pot.