A crucial part of pool operation is conducting weekly pool chemical maintenance checks. A proper maintenance program ensures not only comfort for your bathers, but also protects your pool equipment and maintains the condition of your pool’s vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass surface.
Because pH levels can fluctuate dramatically within a few days of adding chemicals, we recommend testing the pool water weekly to ensure that your chemical levels are appropriately balanced.
Whether opening, closing or using your pool, there are certain aspects of working with pool chemicals that you need to be aware of.
Adding Chemicals to Your Pool Water During the Swimming Season
To understand what the proper mixture of chemicals should be for your pool, you need to consult a pool professional. Take them a 500ml sample of your pool water, as well as your pool’s dimensions (length, width, depth), so they can develop a proper chemical dose for your pool.
Overdosing or under-dosing your pool will give you negative results, and could cause discomfort to your swimmers in a variety of ways:
- Dry skin: This is a very common complaint from people swimming in pool water that has an improper chemical balance. This is generally a result of low or high pH levels that are affecting the natural pH level of our skin, leaving us feeling dried out.
- Red eyes: If your swimmers leave the pool with irritated, bloodshot eyes, chances are the water’s chlorine levels are incorrect. pH levels can also play a role in the discomfort of a bather’s eyes.
- Infection: If a body of water is not treated correctly with a sanitizer, or sanitizer levels are not maintained, bacteria, viruses, and pathogens can be spread through the water from one swimmer to another. Proper chemical treatment will help combat what swimmers might be bringing into your pool.
Air temperature and humidity do not play a large part in chemical balancing. The only aspect it will affect is the rate in which your pool water uses up sanitizer (chlorine). On very hot days, chlorine tends to “gas off” from the pool water into the atmosphere. Although this is a natural occurrence, pool professionals try to combat this by ensuring that there is enough stabilizer in the pool water to eliminate the effects of the sun breaking down chlorine.
Remember, the only chemicals that should ever go into a pool are those labeled “pool chemical” or “suitable for swimming pools”. Food grade chemicals, or anything other than pool or hot tub specific chemicals should not go into the pool. For example, muriatic acid is a very strong, potentially fatal chemical that generally should not be used by the average homeowner. Most pool companies will not even carry it due to its inherent dangers. A dry granular acid should always be used as an alternative.
Most importantly, if you are a consumer applying pool chemicals at home, always follow the manufacturers recommendations on the back of the chemical container.
Chemicals Needed to Close Your Pool
You’ve worked hard to keep your pool water clean and safe over the summer, and can take a break from treating the water during the colder season. However, the pool will need one final treatment just before you close your pool for the winter.
When pool professionals close a pool, they will always premix and dilute the required chemicals to ensure they adequately dissolve into the pool water.
If doing it yourself, chemical treatment needs to be done before closing day to give the chemicals enough time to completely breakdown and dissolve in the pool. Allowing the chemicals to sit on the bottom of the pool for an extended period of time without dissolving can cause unsightly damage to your pool liner. A water test should be performed 48 hours prior to closing the pool to ensure that all the levels are balanced.
You do not need to check the chemical balances in a pool over the winter. Because no circulation is taking place, a water test will give you inconclusive results and any chemicals that you may add will not have the circulation required to dissolve them. The only exception is right before you are opening your pool, when you may decide to add a dose of chlorine to aid in the clean-up process.
Using Chemicals When Opening Your Pool
Pool chemicals should be first put into your pool once the opening process has completed. Typically, when a pool is first opened, large doses of clean up chemicals will be added to the water, which will greatly affect the overall chemistry. No attempt to balance pool water should be made until the water has returned to a reasonably clear state and has had a chance to settle/circulate for a few days.
Once this happens, it’s time to bring a 500 ml water sample to your local pool specialist for an in-depth water analysis.
FREE Swimming Pool Water Testing
Lakeshore Pools & Hot Tubs offers free swimming pool water testing. Simply bring in a 500 ml sample of your pool water (if you don’t have a bottle, we’ll give you a free sample bottle).
We run our pool water tests through three different water labs to give you the most accurate results possible. Our water care experts will have the results in a few minutes, and can then recommend a treatment plan that will give you a better understanding of your pool water and a greater amount of confidence when treating your pool.
Swimming Pool Chemicals and Watercare in Port Credit and Mississauga
Since 2004, the award-winning pool experts at Lakeshore Pools & Hot Tubs has provided pool chemical and watercare services local pool owners in the Mississauga, Oakville, and the Western Greater Toronto Area. We’ll treat your pool like it’s our very own, and help you have clean, clear, and safe water all season long. Call us today at (905) 891-8818 or visit our store at 309 Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga to learn more!