How Do I Get Balanced, Safe, Clear Pool Water?

Clean and clear pool water is important to all of us.  Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it’s safe to swim in.  Every year, people seem to struggle with keeping their pool water the way they want it–I’m going to give you some basic guidelines as well as some trouble-shooting ideas to help you LOVE your pool this year.

If your pool is looking pretty good in the spring, and everything is fairly balanced, your weekly maintenance should be simple but MUST be followed.  We’ll use chlorine for our examples.

Des Moines, IA Pool Store
1. Sanitizer–Keep the right number of sticks or tabs in your skimmer or floater to make sure that you always have some new chlorine in the pool water.
2. Algaecide–It’s a preventative AND a killer, so make sure you use it!  Big dose when you open your pool, then a smaller dose weekly.  It can be the difference between beautiful water and green water, without question.
3.  SHOCK! –Some people forget about shock.  You really MUST shock your pool weekly.  Why?  Let me give you a run-down on what chlorine is doing in your pool.

{You’ve got chlorine and germs in your pool.  When chlorine is first added, or is in clean water, it is FREE chlorine.  Once it gets used up attacking germs and bacteria, it becomes COMBINED chlorine, which will not sanitize anymore.  What your test strips often measure is TOTAL chlorine, so sometimes that number looks just fine when it isn’t.  SHOCK is going to free up that combined chlorine so that you no longer have harmful or useless combinations in your pool.  Without it, your pool could SEEM like it has chlorine, SMELL like it has chlorine, but not ACTUALLY have any functional chlorine at all.}

combined chlorineTo break it down in one other way:  your test strips may say 5 total chlorine, but it’s possible 4 or 5 parts of that is actually combined, dead chlorine that is no longer sanitizing your pool.  You may only have one or two parts free chlorine.  (PLEASE–ask questions if this doesn’t make sense!)

Aside from those three basics, keep an eye on your PH and Alkalinity.  Those are important, and when balanced they help your added chemicals, like sanitizers, can work properly.

Good Practices!

Backwash your filter weekly, or as needed.  If your water seems to be getting a bit hazy, or recently cleared up, backwash to get the gunk out of your filter.  Chemically clean at least once a year, too.

Test Water weekly, or bring it into your pool store to have tested.   If you have a large pool, or an inground pool, I recommend you check it twice weekly.

Keep leaves, dirt, debris out of your water–use your net whenever you can, and vacuum when you need to.

Trouble-shooting ideas!

Problem:  Cloudy Water.  Solution?  100 Reasons Why Your Water Might Be Cloudy.   Start there.  If you can figure out WHY it’s cloudy or hazy, you’ll have a better chance of fixing it.  Make sure you have plenty of FREE chlorine in your water, make sure your filter is clean and backwash as needed.  You may consider using a clarifier and/or filter aid to get the water to clear up faster.
Problem:  Chlorine Demand  Solution?  First, understand what a chlorine demand is and what causes it. A chlorine demand happens when there is so much bacteria/algae/ammonia/other organic matter in the pool, that it is essentially sitting negative on chlorine.  The amount of your demand is the amount of chlorine needed to get you back up to level.  Think of it as a ladder in a hole.  When you have a demand, you’re down that hole–you’ll need to climb back up to get on the ground.  Sometimes it may take 10lbs of chlorine to get you back up, sometimes it may take 100lbs.  Keeping a close eye on your pool and your FREE chlorine is very helpful in avoiding chlorine demands.

Have a problem to trouble-shoot?  Tell me about it!  🙂

Thanks for reading!  Check out the rest of the blog and website, and feel free to write me!

Central Iowa Pool & Spa




Jen Allen
Central Iowa Pool & Spa

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