Having an inground pool offers endless hours of relaxation and enjoyment during the warmer months. However, behind the sparkling waters lies a delicate balance of chemicals essential for ensuring a safe and pristine swimming environment.

The Chemistry of a Clean Pool

Before diving into the depths of pool chemistry, you should understand the fundamentals that keep your pool clean and inviting. From the mighty guardian, chlorine, to the delicate balance of pH levels and alkalinity, understanding the cornerstone principles of effective pool maintenance will help you ensure that your oasis remains a sanctuary of splashing all season long.

The Guardian of Cleanliness

Chlorine is the superhero of pool chemistry, effectively combating bacteria, algae, and other contaminants to keep your pool water safe and sanitized. Available in various forms such as liquid, granular, or tablet, chlorine remains an important part of pool maintenance.

Balancing Act

Maintaining the pH level of your pool water requires finding the ideal balance. A pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 is just right, preventing irritation to swimmers’ eyes and skin while also maximizing the effectiveness of the chlorine.

Stability Support

Alkalinity acts as a buffer, helping to stabilize the pH level and prevent rapid fluctuations. Aim for alkalinity levels between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm) to maintain water balance and prevent corrosion of pool surfaces and equipment.

Shock Value

Pool shock, also known as super chlorination, is a concentrated dose of chlorine used to quickly eliminate organic contaminants and restore water clarity. Regular shocking can help prevent algae growth and remove built-up chloramines, which can cause breathing problems and eye irritation, keeping your pool water safe and clean.

Combatting Common Pool Contaminants

Despite our best efforts, inground pools can become breeding grounds for various types of bacteria, posing potential health risks to swimmers. Among the most common offenders are:

    • E. coli: Originating from fecal matter, E. coli bacteria can enter the pool through contaminated water sources or improperly maintained facilities, leading to gastrointestinal illness. Using chlorine is the best way to eliminate E. coli.
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa: This opportunistic pathogen thrives in warm, moist environments like hot tubs and inadequately chlorinated pools, causing skin rashes, ear infections, and even respiratory issues. Adding sodium hypochlorite to your pool water to adjust the free chlorine level can eradicate P. aeruginosa.
    • Legionella pneumophila: Found in stagnant water and poorly maintained plumbing systems, Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water droplets. Chlorine dioxide, which is more powerful than chlorine, is an effective biocide to combat Legionella pneumophila.

Fortunately, maintaining proper water chemistry and employing targeted chemical treatments can help not only eradicate most harmful bacteria but also prevent a resurgence.

Maintaining Harmony

Consistency is key when it comes to pool maintenance. Establishing a regular schedule for testing water chemistry, adding chemicals, and cleaning filters will help prevent issues before they arise and keep your pool clean throughout the season. By understanding the basics of pool chemistry and implementing regular maintenance routines, you can enjoy endless hours of relaxation and fun in your backyard oasis.