Pools in Orlando and Central Florida are so much fun! BUT not when if you don’t take great care of the water quality. Many of our clients don’t want to know the specifics of pool care or the specifics involved in water quality issues. Topics such as PH and chlorine scales, alkalinity, conditioner and chlorination are not an area of expertise that they want to study or they simply do not have the time for. As one client eloquently summed it up recently: “I really don’t want to know how the electrons move through the microscope, I just want to swim in my pool!”. Yet many do want to know about the specifics and the chemistry of what we do here at Certified Pool Pros to make sure that their pool is in top shape for swimming. So here are some facts about pool chemicals and chemistry to help you understand what is involved in keeping your pool clean, healthy and always ready for you and your family to enjoy.
Chlorination and the Chlorine Scale
Chlorine is a chemical that kills biological contaminants such as algae that can grow in water. Although there may be algae present in your pool that presents a health hazard, many times it is not visible. When enough algae is in your pool, it becomes noticeable as a discoloration or a “blemish” on the pool’s surface. It can be a health risk for your family and friends because the algae can lead to infections by entering any open wounds or cuts on a human. Of course, who wants to swim in a discolored pool?
Chlorine is therefor added because of it’s ability to kill algae and other microorganisms such as bacteria. The chlorine level in a pool are measured in PPM (parts per million) and in most climates and geographical areas it is recommended to maintain the chlorine level in the 1.0 to 1.5 PPM range. However, according to the FSPA (Florida Swimming Pool Association) this level is NOT adequate in Florida during the hot summer months! When the temperature consistently is above 90 degrees, it has been documented that a chlorine level in the 1.0 to 1.5 PPM range simply dissipates much too quickly.
Another use of chlorine in Central Florida swimming pools is known as shocking (or super-chlorination). Every so often the pool is “shocked” to get rid of the buildup of organic pool waste (such as sweat, body oil, suntan oil, etc.). Using about a gallon of chlorine for every 10,000 gallons of pool water volume, the pool is treated with a high amount of chlorine for several hours. Most recommend to do this in the evening so the chlorine has time to do it’s job before dissipating.
The pH Scale
Some may remember the pH scale from chemistry class. It basically tells us how acidic or alkaline the water is. If the pH is too low, then the water is too acidic. If too high, then the water is too alkaline (or not enough acid is present in the water). Both scenarios are bad for your pool. The ideal pH level is between 7.4 – 7.6. This is true for all pools in Central Florida. Actually the 7.4 to 7.6 pH range is best for all swimming pools regardless of climate conditions, temperature or the amount of use that the pool gets.
It is also important to note that the surface type of your swimming pool affects the pH. Some pool surfaces such as quartz or plaster are very alkaline. They will neutralize the acid in your pool’s water, leading to a significant increase in the pH of the pool water. For such pool surfaces, we add small amounts of acid to the water to maintain the best pH balance. This scenario is not seen in pools with vinyl, fiberglass, or painted plaster pools. For these types of pools we sometimes need to a add small amounts of baking soda (or in some instances soda ash). This keeps the pH at a proper level, especially following periods of heavy rain (when acid is added form the rain and leaves, etc.).
As discussed above, the pH of the pool water is critical in maintaining a healthy and inviting pool for you, your family and visitors. Yet sometimes you will hear about the total alkalinity of your water. This gets many confused after they grasp the concept of maintaining the pH of the pool water between 7.4 – 7.6. The definition of total alkalinity is simply the total amount of dissolved particles in the water whose pH is above or higher than 7.0. Dirt and soil are examples of these particles. When the total alkalinity of the pool water is at an ideal level, the result is that the pH of the water will be balanced for longer periods of time. In Orlando (and for all pool surfaces) the recommended total alkalinity level is between 120 and 140 parts er million (PPM).
Stabilizer or Conditioner
To stop the chlorine from “escaping” your pool too quickly, we add a chemical called cyanuric acid to your pool water. This is known as a conditioner or a stabilizer. Sometimes you may hear it called a sun shield, but it is useful to slow down the chlorine’s degradation caused by the sun’s UV light. The ideal level for the stabilizer or conditioner in a Central Florida swimming pool is recommended to be between 40 – 100 parts per million (PPM).
We Are Pool Chemists
Certified Pool Pros offers complete pool care and service. We are POOL CHEMISTS with over 30 years experience in the pool service industry. Certified Pool Pros is Central Florida’s #1 pool service and pool cleaning company. Servicing Orlando with our corporate headquarters in Lake Mary, CPP covers Orange, Lake and Seminole counties with satisfaction guaranteed.
Whether you are an existing client or not, we urge you to contact us online or call us TODAY at 407-859-POOL (7665) if you have any questions regarding keeping your pool clean and sparkling. Let the experts do the work for you!