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5 chemical factors which affect the water quality in swimming pools

The quality of water in swimming pools intended for public use is constantly changing. The reason for this is that these facilities are use daily by many visitors. Moreover, throughout the day they are exposed to various environmental factors.

Monitoring and controlling the chemical composition of the water will guarantee its excellent quality and balance. As a result, customers or the users of the pool and other water facilities will be protected against any risks and the water will always be crystal clear.

In order to ensure optimal chemistry parameters of the water, these should be regularly measured. Ideally, 24/7 with the help of intelligent technological solutions such as HealthySwim.

There are 5 chemical factors which are crucial for the safety of the water in the pool and ensure the health of its users. We will look at them briefly in the following article, prepared by the team of HealthySwim on the topic.

Optimal pH levels

pH refers to the level of acidity of water. When using chemicals to control contaminants, pH levels increase. Optimally, pH values should range between 7.0 and 7.2. In this case we are talking about clean neutral water – a goal every pool owner should be aiming for.

Water alkalinity

Alkalinity is intimately connected to the pH level. Total alkalinity of the pool water refers to its ability to resist changes in the pH levels. In other words, good alkalinity balance of the water is achieved when optimal pH values are maintained. Acceptable parameters of pool water alkalinity should be between 80 and 200 PPM.

Calcium hardness

High calcium content in water causes formation of scale, which also leads to a visible change in water quality – darkening of the water is observed. Conversely, low levels of calcium result in corrosion of the pool linings.

Low calcium content water will attack metal components, such as heat exchangers, fittings, and water pipes. This may in turn result in leaks and/or damage to the components of the pool system. We consider the best calcium hardness levels when measurements fall between 80 and 200 PPM.

Metals dissolved in the water which cause discoloration

Water contains various metals, such as iron, copper, manganese, etc., which may affect its colour and lead to stains on the walls of the pool or elsewhere.

The iron, present in the water for instance, is colourless. However, it instantly reacts with chlorine and other oxidizers, producing rusty-red colour in the water and also reddish-brown staining on the surface of the pool. Iron can be introduced into the pool through the fill water from its filling source. Therefore, close monitoring for the presence of iron is very important.

Copper, on the other hand, is another mineral, which causes water in the pool to turn green. The presence of copper in the water may also affect swimmers in the pool, causing discoloration of their fingernails or hair. Copper may enter the water as a result of corrosion processes in copper heaters and/or in a similar way to iron – during filling.

Manganese may change water colour to anything from pink to deep purple depending on its contained amount. Manganese enters the pool either form the water source, naturally, or as a result of adding potassium permanganate for water treatment. The staining effect of manganese in water or on the pool surfaces may be controlled during pool filling or through preventive maintenance.

Total dissolved solids

The Total dissolved solids (TDS) parameter refers to the total amount of all mineral, metals, salts and contaminants present in the water. These include many different chemical compounds, some of which more harmful and others.

For example, the presence of salt (sodium chloride) in the water would not be a problem for its quality, as salt is typically introduced to the pool highly dissolved, while calcium compounds may be an issue even in low levels.

High TDS levels may cause cloudy water, difficulty in maintaining water balance, reduced effectiveness of disinfectants, etc.

The most effective method for measuring all these parameters is by using photometric testers. One of the best on the market, recommended by our team as well, is the German PoolLab® 2.0, which offers three parallel measurements for professional analysis of water in swimming pools and spas. PoolLab® 2.0 is a water tester equipped with Bluetooth® and built-in Wi-Fi, and can automatically synchronize data with a cloud.

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