What are all of these numbers and what do they mean?!?

Understanding Pool Chemistry


You’ve been told since day one with your pool how important water chemistry is. Did you ever wonder what these numbers are and what they really mean? Proper water balance is necessary to provide safe, comfortable, and healthy water as well as ensuring the longevity of your equipment and pool surface. As a new or even as an experienced pool owner having your water professionally tested will help you to enjoy your pool and keep it clean, clear, and blue!

There are 3 different chlorine readings you may be given when you have your water tested. Free, total and combined. The free chlorine is the chlorine in your water that is working to kill germs and bacteria. This is your good chlorine and should be maintained at a level of 1-3ppm. The total chlorine is all the chlorine in the water; both used and free. This number should be equal to your free chlorine. The combined chlorine is basically used up chlorine or chloramines. Combined chlorine is formed when there is heavy organic waste (sweat, body oils, etc.) and not enough free chlorine to get rid of it. You want the combined chlorine reading to be 0, less than .02 is acceptable.

Next thing on your water analysis sheet is probably pH. Your pH is the number that determines if your pool is acidic, base, or neutral. The acceptable range for pH should be between 7.2-7.6. When your pH is low the water is acidic and can cause red eyes in swimmers and corrosion that damages your equipment and pool surface. When the pH is too high, the chlorine is not as effective at doing its job and you will be more likely to develop some pesky algae. High pH can also cause scale to form on your equipment and pool surface. Keeping your pH in range is easier to do when your total alkalinity is balanced. Total alkalinity acts as a buffer for the pH and should be maintained at 80-120ppm. When you have low alkalinity your pH will fluctuate, the water becomes corrosive and staining is more likely to occur. High alkalinity will lead you to cloudy water, clogged filters and heaters, and may make pH adjustments more difficult.

Calcium hardness, much like the calcium vitamins you might take serves a vital role in keeping pool surfaces and equipment healthy. The calcium hardness level in a pool should be maintained between 200-400ppm. Low calcium hardness can cause the water to etch at your plaster surface and draw the natural calcium from the surface. Too much calcium however, can cause scale to form on your pool surface and equipment. There is no way to reduce the calcium hardness of the water, so be sure not to add too much when making adjustments!

Cyanuric acid is used as a sunblock for your chlorine to prevent it from burning off too quickly. The cyanuric acid level should be maintained between 30-50ppm in a residential pool. Cyanuric acid can also not be reduced in the water, so take caution that you do not add too much. This is only used in outdoor pools.

Now that you have a better understanding of all those numbers they give you at your local pool store, it probably makes more sense when you hear them tell you to add 20lbs of this or 10lbs of that. Keeping your water balanced will keep your swimmers from getting sick and keeps your pool looking and running like new.

Spring Pool Maintenance Tips from SunGuard

Get your swimming pool ready for spring with these quick tips!

Spring Pool Maintenance | SunGuard Chemicals

Now that winter is gone, and the snow is finally melted, it is time to think about getting your pool opened and swim ready. Whether you have a service company you use, or you are a do-it-yourself pool opener; getting your pool from covered to clean isn’t as hard as you think. The SunGuard Pool Start-up Kit is a great place to start; the kit contains your most important pool chemicals for getting the water clean and swim ready. Inside the kit you will find (2) 1lb. bags of SunGuard MultiShock Plus, 1qt. of SunGuard Algae Control Plus, 1qt. of SunGuard Stain and Scale Control and a water sample bottle.  

Each chemical in the kit has a very important role in preparing your pool for the swim season. The SunGuard Stain and Scale Control will help prevent metallic stains and hard water scaling. It will also help prevent metallic staining; believe it or not, plants and trees contain organic metals that can stain your pool! Adding the SunGuard Algae Control Plus will stop algae in its tracks and prevent an algae bloom. If you open your pool before it is consistently warm out; you will spend less time and money getting your pool swim ready. Shocking is also an important part of opening; the SunGuard MultiShock Plus will give your pool a good starting dose of chlorine to kill any algae and bacteria in your water from the winter season.

Once you have your filter running and your start-up chemicals circulating for at least 24 hours you should bring a sample of your pool water to your local SunGuard dealer for a complete water analysis. Proper water balance is the key to making sure your pool stays clean, clear, blue and safe!  

Don’t forget to protect your winter pool cover! Safety Covers can cost thousands of dollars. Cleaning your pool cover with SunGuard Pool Cover Cleaner can prevent mold, unpleasant odors, and remove stains to keep your cover clean and ensure a long life.  

Pretty soon you’ll be enjoying the warm weather and going for a refreshing swim in your pool. Pool care doesn’t have to be hard. Check back often for tips and tutorials on making pool care simple so you can enjoy your pool!