Miami is known for its quick rains, sunny weather, oranges, air-conditioning, flip-flops, and swimming pools. Swimming pools have become a staple in most Miami homes, and they are one of the reasons why property in the state can command a higher price. However, the pool must be kept in excellent condition, whether by using a Miami pool service or buying pool supplies and maintaining the pool on your own.
One of the critical aspects of pool maintenance is keeping the pH and alkalinity balance in control. The pH balance measures the acidity of your water. Ideally, you should get 7.4 to 7.6 pH from your pool’s water chemistry. Alkalinity measures the amount of alkaline dissolved in your pool water. The ideal range for alkaline in your pool water is 80 to 120ppm.
Simply explained, a high pH level affects how effective the chlorine in your pool water will be. High pH levels will also make your pool water taste bitter. Low pH levels, on the other hand, will start to physically damage the pool.
Why Your Pool Water Chemistry is Important
According to the US Geological Survey, a pH level of 7.0 in your pool water means the water is at its best neutral stage. This means it has the right amount of free hydrogen and hydrogen ions in the pool water. If your pool water has too many free hydrogen ions, it becomes acidic. To give you a point of comparison, most tap water has a 7.0 pH level. You will know your pool water is acidic by its color. High acidity levels will turn the pool water cloudy. However, it is important to note that high acid levels are not the only cause for cloudy water.
High pH levels in your pool water can lead to the following problems (aside from cloudy water):
- Corrosion of the granite and metal parts of your pool like the ladder, lights, and heater caused by calcium hardness
- Scratches and scaly or chalky appearance on the tiles
- Problems with the plumbing and filtration
- Damage to vinyl liner
- Early wear and tear
- Itchy skin
- Eye irritation
You can and should check the pH and alkaline levels of your pool every day. There are pool stores in Miami that sell the basic equipment you need for testing your pool’s water. Ideally, the testing should be done before anyone goes swimming because the quality of water may have changed overnight.
Reasons for Changes in pH Levels
Many elements can affect the pH balance of your pool water. This is why a pool service has become part of most household budgets in Miami. The most common causes of a change in the pH level are:
Rain, falling leaves, sun block, algae, free metals, chlorine, pollution, swimmers, and the source of your pool water
How to Have the Perfect Pool Water Chemistry
There are several ways to keep your pool water in perfect condition for swimming. You will need to keep your stock of pool chemicals and pool supplies or contract a Miami pool service to come in regularly to check your pool. It is highly advisable to keep a minimum amount of pool supplies and pool chemicals on hand just in case you need to do a quick check for an unscheduled pool party – something that is very commonplace in Florida.
You will need to buy a pool water maintenance kit, which is composed of soda ash or baking soda, to raise the pH level and muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to lower the pH level. You should also have the chlorine and mineral content tester, and once in a while, test the pool’s Total Dissolved Solids and Base Demand levels.
If you don’t use the pool every day, you don’t need to check the water’s chemistry every day. You can do the tests once or twice a week. If you own a commercial pool, however, you are required by law to do the tests every day. You will also have to keep a record of the results in a record book. It would be a good idea to keep records for privately-owned and used pools as well because you never know when the information will come in handy. For instance, if you decide to sell your property, proof of your pool maintenance will be very useful in keeping the value of the property high.
The recommended levels of your pool water’s chemistry are:
- pH level – 7.2 to 7.8
- Total Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm
- Chlorine – 1.0 to 2.9 ppm
- Calcium Hardness – 180 to 220 ppm (or 200 to 400 ppm)
- Cyanuric Acid – 40 to 80 ppm
- Total Dissolved Solids – Lower than 5000 ppm
The Simple Ph Test
Two easy ways to testing the pH level of water are using the pH meter and doing the litmus paper test.
With the pH meter, all you need to do is purchase the meter, then calibrate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and specifications. (Make sure it comes with a manual).
- Once you have done this, rinse the meter in clean water and dry completely by wiping it with a clean tissue.
- Using a clean container, collect a sample of your water. Make sure there is enough water to cover the tip of the meter’s electrode.
- Do not remove the meter immediately. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
- Remove the meter, input the temperature data using a thermometer, then adjust the meter to match the temperature and dip again in the water.
- Wait again and then read your pH level and record.
To use litmus paper to test your pH levels:
- Purchase litmus and pH papers from your Miami pool store. The pH paper has indicator bars while the litmus paper is usually in red or blue and sold as strips coated with alkaline
- Collect a sample of your pool water in a clean container
- Dip the paper into the water for a few seconds
- Then compare your result with the color chart that comes with the paper
If you plan on treating your pool water, make sure that you handle the acids with extreme care or task your preferred Miami pool service to handle it for you. Slight errors in the dilution could damage the pool or risk harming anyone who comes into contact with the acid. If you need an immediate solution, a quick way to raise the pH is by turning on the water and directing the flow towards the surface.
Taylor K-2006 testing with reagent provides the most accurate testing quality available to pool owners. Some home owners feel it is a little bit more difficult, but it is a process easy to grasp with a little practice.
If you need a reliable testing kit, get one like the Taylor K-2006 Test Kit from https://www.taylortechnologies.com/products_kitinfo.asp?KitID=2230. It’s one of the best in the industry. Keep your pool in great condition every day with Taylor products.