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Your pool water should always be in balance to maximize the efficiency of your pool chemicals and to safeguard the pool surface and equipment. The term "water balance" is used to describe the relationship between Total Alkalinity (TA), pH and Calcium Hardness (CH). You should check the water regularly using a high quality test kit. This will help you to recognize problems early on and tackle them before the pool becomes unusable.

pH Plays a critical part in pool care. It is the factor around which the rest of the pool chemistry revolves. Keep your pool’s pH in balance in order to maximize the power of your primary chlorinator and minimize the amount of chlorine needed to keep your pool sparkling clean.

Ideal range for pH:
The pH scale runs from 0 - 14, with 7.0 as "neutral". The ideal range is between 7.2 and 7.8.

How to adjust a high pH level (above 7.8):

A high pH level will lead to cloudy water or scale deposits and reduce chlorine efficiency. High pH is easy to adjust using muriatic acid. Carefully add the acid to the water while the pool is running. Pour slowly to avoid any acid splashing up onto your skin or pool deck. (Muriatic acid is an extremely corrosive product. Always read all warnings and recommendations for use on the acid container.) Retest your pH after 2 to 4 hours. Additional Muriatic acid may be added until the pH reaches the 7.2 – 7.8 range. If the pH is resisting change, test and adjust your Total Alkalinity before further adjusting the pH.

How to adjust a low pH level (below 7.2):

A low pH level could lead to corrosive water, which could damage the pool lining, surface or any metal fixtures, and could introduce iron into the water. Rapid loss of chlorine residual and eye irritations may also occur.

Low pH is easy to adjust using pH increaser. Broadcast the appropriate amount of pH increaser across the pool’s surface with the pump and filter running. Retest your pH after 2 to 4 hours. Additional pH increaser may be added until the pH reaches the 7.2 – 7.8 range. If pH is resisting change, test and adjust your total alkalinity before further adjusting the pH.

For a trouble free pool, check and adjust total alkalinity levels (TA) at the beginning of the season and thereafter, about once a month or as needed.

Ideal range for Total Alkalinity:
Between 80 ppm and 125 ppm.

How to adjust a high total alkalinity level (above 125 ppm):

With a high total alkalinity level the pH will resist change. The water will become cloudy, and may lead to scale deposits and reduce chlorine efficiency.

Add the appropriate amount of Muriatic acid to one spot in the deepest end of the pool.

How to adjust a low total alkalinity level (below 80 ppm):

Having a low total alkalinity level will lead to the pH bouncing from one extreme to the other. Low total alkalinity, below 60 ppm can cause corrosion of equipment, eye irritation and discolored water.

Add alkalinity increaser to the pool. Follow label directions carefully for appropriate dosage.

"Hardness" is a term used to indicate the mineral content of water and is due mainly to the solids and rocks over which the water moves under ground dissolving into the water. The term hard water is usually associated with high calcium content in water and sometimes has a negative association. Pool water however, must contain a concentration of calcium hardness (CH) to prevent corrosion of the pool shell and equipment. In Arizona, because of the intense summer heat and natural hardness of the water, your pool will generally need to be drained every other year to keep the CH at a safe level.

Ideal range for calcium hardness:
200 ppm to 500 ppm.

How to adjust a low calcium hardness level (below 200 ppm):

Low CH could lead to corrosive water. It can also damage the pool lining, and lead to etching of the plaster and corrosion of equipment.

Add calcium increaser. Make sure that the pH is between 7.2 and 7.4. Scatter the chemical over the pool water with the pump and motor operating.

How to adjust a high calcium hardness level (above 500 ppm):

Sometimes calcium may precipitate from the water, causing cloudy water and scale deposits.

Unfortunately, there is only one practical remedy for lowering the calcium hardness level. You must drain your pool and fill it with fresh water of a lower hardness.