Understanding Water Balance Chemistry

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Proper water balance is essential to ensuring long term enjoyment of your swimming pool and protecting your backyard investment.

Properly balanced water provides a comfortable swimming environment and makes your pool easier to maintain. Properly balanced pool water meets the following criteria:

  • pH: 7.2-7.8
  • Total Alkalinity: 80-150ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 180-250 (vinyl pools), 200-275 (plaster pools)
  • Metals: none
  • Total Dissolved Solids: less than 1500 ppm
  • Bacquaci Sanitizer: 30-50ppm
  • Chlorine: 1.0-3.0 ppm.

Pleasant Pools and Spas carries a full line of chemicals that make water balance adjustments quick and easy.

Use your test strips at home to check your pH, total alkalinity, and sanitizer level at least once a week (check your chlorine level at least every other day).

Bring a 12 oz. water sample to Pleasant Pools and Spas at least once every two weeks to maintain a current record of your water chemistry and address any water chemistry concerns before problems develop.

Total Alkalinity

The alkalinity level in your pool can impact swimmer comfort. Alkalinity influences the pH level of the pool. A high alkalinity level will push the pH reading upward, while low alkalinity can promote pool corrosion and cause "pH bounce," which is a large change in the pH reading after you add adjustment chemicals. To increase alkalinity add alkalinity increaser. To lower the alkalinity add pH minus or muriatic acid per dealer instructions. The ideal alkalinity for a pool is 80-150 ppm. Always adjust the alkalinity before adjusting the pH.


pH is the measure of the acidity or basicity of the water. It is measured on a scale of 0-14 with 7 being neutral. Swimming pool water should have just a little basicity with a pH reading between 7.2 and 7.8. If the water is too basic, scale can occur. If the water is too acidic, corrosion can occur. To lower the pH, add pH minus or muriatic acid. To raise the pH, add pH plus. Visit Pleasant Pools for complete directions.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness also affects the balance of your pool water. Low calcium hardness will promote corrosion while high calcium hardness can cause cloudiness and scaling. To adjust low calcium hardness add calcium hardness increaser. The ideal calcium hardness for plaster pools is 200-275 ppm. For all other types of pools the ideal calcium hardness level is 180-250 ppm.

Metals & Minerals

Metals and minerals can be found dissolved in pool water. They generally come from source water or from the corrosion of metal fixtures in the pool such as heater cores. Metals and minerals in pool water can cause staining of pool surfaces and inhibit sanitizer performance. Metals and minerals can also cause water discoloration.

The ideal level for metals and minerals in pools is 0 ppm.

Pleasant Pools recommends regular treatment with a metal control product if your pool uses well water, has a plaster finish or a heater, or has excessive leaves from nearby trees. Visit Pleasant Pools with a 12 oz. water sample and request a metals test if you have any concerns regarding possible metals or minerals in your pool.

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