Swimming pools can be the cause of health problems such as ear, nose and throat infections. It is therefore very important to check the quality of the pool water at least weekly if not daily during usage to ensure your family pool is healthy to swim in.
To check the water quality, a test kit is required. This will then show the current water quality and what if anything needs to be adjusted.
Basic kits testing pH, free chlorine, total alkalinity and calcium hardness are available for low cost at Bunnings, Big W and Pool shops.
It is then simply a matter of taking a sample of pool water, a tablet or solution and matching the colour to the chart to obtain the reading.
Water samples should be collected in the morning and taken from 40-80 cm below the surface away from skimmer boxes and pool water return outlets. Samples should not be collected while adding water to the pool. Samples can also be collected directly in the test tubes; remove the caps, place fingers over the holes submerge 40-80 centimetres below the surface, remove fingers and let the tubes fill. Place finger back over the holes and bring to the surface for testing.
Writing down test results is a good idea so you have a record of how the water quality varies at different times of the year, saving you time in the future.
These are five simple key factors to maintaining the water quality in your swimming pool.
- Filtration (covered under filters)
- Sanitising/chlorination (covered in next section)
- pH level
- Total Alkalinity
- Calcium Hardness
This is the single most important element in maintaining water quality. pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. (A measure of Hydrogen Iron, H+ concentration in the water) pH is measured on a scale between 0-14 with 0 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline. 7 is neutral.
Town water usually has a pH between 7 and 7.5 while orange juice has a pH around 4 and caustic soda around 13.
A pH reading between 7.2. and 7.6 is desirable for most pools. This range is most comfortable to the human eye and provides for optimum use of free chlorine while maintaining water that is not corrosive or scale forming.
pH levels below 7 can cause:
- Chlorine residual to dissipate quickly
- Eye irritation and stinging
- Corrosion of pool equipment and metal fittings
- Loss of Alkalinity
- Etching of pool surfaces
- Dissolved metal stains on pool surfaces
pH levels above 8 can cause:
- Chlorine effectiveness to decrease considerably
- Increased chlorine consumption
- Scale formation on pool equipment
- Water to become cloudy
- Eye irritation
Pool pH can change a lot with pool usage, rain, addition of chemicals, algae and organic litter.