A pristine backyard pool can be a tempting sight during those warm summer months. But when it comes to keeping your pool clean and ready for a party, balancing your pool chemicals needs to be a part of your maintenance routine. Too much chemical could mean burning on the skin or nausea, and too little supports the growth of algae and bacteria. What you want is to maintain a comfortable equilibrium so family and friends can enjoy the pool all summer long.
Pool test strips are a quick way to understand what’s going on with your water. They typically test for a variety of factors, including pH levels and chlorine levels, with just one dip. When it comes to keeping your water clean, getting the right balance of pool chlorine is the priority. The amount of free chlorine means what’s available for sanitation, while combined chlorine is the amount that’s already been used for sanitation, so it’s much weaker than free chlorine.
To help chlorine and pool equipment work at efficient levels, you need between 1 and 3 parts per million of free chlorine, and that should be higher than the combined level. If it’s not, you should load your chlorine dispensing system and add some stabilizer, which extends the life of the chlorine tablets.
Another result to keep an eye on is your pH balance. If it’s too acidic, your chlorine dissipates too quickly because it thrives in an acidic environment. However, if the water is too alkaline, it creates a better environment for algae growth.
When it comes to pools, you need to look out for three types of algae. Green algae are the most common and easily identifiable. It gives the water a slimy feeling as well as a greenish tinge. You may also see bits of it floating around, and it’s usually due to poor filtration or sanitation.
Mustard algae are either yellow or brown and tend to hover in the corners of your pool. They’re chlorine-resistant, making them tough to handle. Then there’s black algae, which technically is a type of bacteria. It gets into your concrete and is difficult to treat unless you are aggressive in fighting it. To treat algae comprehensively, you want to consider adding pool shock, which is more powerful than your regular pool maintenance routine.
Calcium hypochlorite is a common way to shock your pool, and it’s been used by municipal water sources for decades. It’s between 65 and 75 percent chlorine and needs to be dissolved before adding to your water. Lithium hypochlorite is about 35 percent chlorine. It’s ready to use, so you won’t need to dissolve it first, while dichlor shock is between 50 and 60 percent chlorine.
Each needs to be added to your pool after the last swim of the evening so the sun doesn’t burn off the chlorine. These pool chemicals need at least eight hours to work fully, and depending on the size of your pool, you may need to do multiple rounds. If you want something that lets you get back into the water in less than a half hour, non-chlorine shocks work quickly but won’t help you to effectively combat algae.
A well-planned pool shock helps you get rid of unwanted growth in your pool, which reduces the phosphate levels, but the best way to deal with algae is through prevention. Algicide works better as a pre-emptive strike than as a cure. Whether it’s copper-based or copper-free, it works to disrupt the chemical process that allows the fungus to proliferate. Algicide is particularly effective in dealing with chlorine-resistant types, such as mustard and black algae.
Making sure that your pool chemicals are balanced is only one part of the process. There are plenty of automatic pool cleaners, but they won’t help you to get rid of growth completely. A manual pool vacuum lets you specifically target the algae-covered areas, while a good stiff pool brush stirs up sediment and really gets into those tough corners. These are some of the basic tools you can find at Walmart.ca to help your floating chlorinator and filters work better.