Useful Tips for Pool Owners to Keep in Mind
Tip: 1 – Top 10 Things That Will Negatively Affect Pool Water Chemistry
What causes good spa and pool water to turn bad so quickly? Unfortunately, almost anything in the environment can throw off your pool and spa water chemistry. Even your neighbouring yards and the swimmers themselves can cause problems with your water chemistry. Here are some things that can negatively affect your pool and spa water.
Human and animal contaminates
When your friends and family jump into your pool, the water balance can be thrown off by contaminants such as shampoo, hairspray, conditioners, soaps, hair gel, perfumes, sunscreen and anything else they may have on their person. This is why its advisable to show prior to swimming, but make sure you keep that sunscreen on. If your family pets have a tendency of jumping into your pool, then contaminants such as flea and tick treatments can leech out into the water.
As rain water is naturally acidic, it will lower the pH levels in spa and pool water. Keep in mind that your pH should not drop below 7.2 PPM (Parts per million), otherwise your water can actually become corrosive and damage the surfaces of your pool and its equipment. Pool water that has low pH levels is also uncomfortable for swimmers and the chlorine will deplete much more rapidly.
Rain water can also potentially dilute the chemicals in your pool and cause the water to suddenly develop an algae outbreak or become cloudy. This is why it’s rather important to inspect pool water after there has been heavy rain.
Topping up you pool using a garden hose can lead to problems with your pool chemistry. You should not assume that the tap water’s chemistry is safe. Well water can often contain high levels of iron (recommended iron levels in your pool should remain around <0.3 PPM, <0.1 PPM for spas), while town water can contain high calcium levels and other natural or introduced chemicals.
The key is to maintain adequate pool water circulation. Bacteria and algae will find it harder to thrive in constantly moving water. A slight current also increases the effectiveness of sanitisers. The standard circulation time is roughly 8 hours. This time can vary of course due to wind, water temperature, bather load, rain, the pool chemistry and of course, sunlight.
Some chemicals found in pool water actually contain minerals that can contribute to a calcium problem. The calcium hardness level should be kept between 200-400 PPM. You should keep in mind that not all chlorine types and chemicals are created exactly equal.
Promoting the growth of algae, phosphates will cause chlorine levels to drop as it works to break apart and destroy the accumulating algae. This means you will have to be forever topping up your chlorine levels to avoid having a green pool.
Sun (UV Light)
After a while, evaporation caused by sunlight will cause the chlorine and other chemicals present in the water to lose their effectiveness. Chemicals that are designed to disinfect the water have chlorine concentrations that range from approximately 12% to 95%. It is paramount that this chlorine concentration is kept high, as the chemicals are intended to be diluted throughout the water.
If you have a salt chlorinated pool, the UV light will increase the conversion of chlorine back into salt. Using a chlorine stabiliser (Like a form of sunscreen for your pool) will dramatically slow down this conversion process and maintain a higher level of chlorine, for longer. Without this stabiliser at work, then the life span of your chlorine is drastically reduced.
High winds can introduce external contaminants such as insecticides, construction chemicals and garden fertilisers from the surrounding area into your poo.
As bacteria species thrive in warm water, it’s important to maintain your pool’s water temperature. If the water is consistently high, then this is more likely to lead to scaling. The ideal temperature is around 25°C to 27°C, while a spa should not exceed 40°C. During hot weather or with heated spas and pools, the water temperature should be tested regularly.
Dirt and Debris
It is important to clean your pool daily to remove organic matter and debris which can contaminate your pool and affect the water chemistry.
Tip: 2 – Avoid Those Infamous Pool Water Sore Eyes
The first culprit for red or sore eyes when swimming in a pool is always the chlorine levels. However, an unstable pH balance can also exacerbate the problem. In fact, this balance is the most important element of regular pool water maintenance. When you consider the fact that chlorine’s ability to work effectively is tied directly to the pH, low or low levels will result in sanitisation problems.
The pH of our eyes is typically 7.2 – 7.4. If the pH in the pool water is kept around a similar level, then side-effects of burning eyes will be kept to a minimum. The range that is preferred for swimming pools is between 7.2 to 7.6. The effectiveness of chlorine to disinfect at this level is also optimum within this pH range.
Tip: 3 – What Causes Hair to Go Green in Pools?
Blonde hair is not the only colour that can turn green in the pool. All hair colours can be affected and this is not because of the chlorine, despite common belief. Essentially, oxidised metals present in the water bind to the protein in our hair fibres and this then deposits the greenish colour. The green typically comes from cooper, which is often found in algaecides and can naturally occur in some water. Certain bleaches that are introduced to the pool water may be the responsibly for oxidising the metal, but is not responsible for the colour.
If your hair does turn green, you can extract the discoloration by using a specific shampoo that chelates the metal. Alternatively, you can sometimes prevent copper from binding to your hair by sealing the hair cuticle with a conditioner before swimming. It is also advised to rinse your hair immediately after exiting the pool to help protect it, too.