If you own a swimming pool, you are responsible for maintaining safe swimming conditions. One of the most important safety practices for swimming pools is also one of the least understood by owners: balancing pool chemicals. Whatever type of pool you own, you'll need to carefully monitor the levels of chlorine and other chemicals to keep conditions safe. Here are some of the chemical aspects of your pool water that you should be checking regularly:

Chlorine Levels:

The reason chlorine is crucial to swimming pools is that it acts as a disinfecting agent. Not only does chlorine naturally kill bacteria, but it also prevents the growth of algae, and it can also oxidize certain solid substances, including dirt. Without the right chlorine balance, your pool can quickly turn into a serious infection risk for your friends and family.

pH:

Sunset Pools & Spas, a company which installs inground swimming pools in Chicago, states, “Keeping pool water at the proper pH levels ensures that the chlorine will function properly and all equipment and pool finish will remain intact.” pH refers to the acidity or baseness of a substance; for swimming pools, a pH from 7.4 to 7.6 is ideal. pH levels lower than this can cause chlorine to dissolve faster, while a high pH makes chlorine inactive. Since chlorine is the chemical keeping your pool safe and clean, be sure to test for pH regularly.

Alkalinity:

Total alkalinity, which is a measure used when balancing swimming pools, refers to the alkaline levels of the water. For safety, your swimming pool should maintain a total alkalinity value of around 100 ppm. The reason for this is that high alkalinity can lead to water with a high pH, while low alkalinity can cause a low pH.

Total Dissolved Solids:

Total dissolved solids, or TDS, refers to the concentration of minerals that remain when pool water evaporates. If these minerals become too concentrated, chemical additives such as chlorine will work less effectively, while stains may also form on your pool.

Stabilizer Levels:

The purpose of stabilizer is to keep the chlorine in your pool around longer. When added to chlorine compounds in your pool, stabilizer helps protect these compounds from sunlight, which can cause them to break down faster. If your pool doesn't have sufficient levels of stabilizer, you'll find yourself needing a lot more chlorine, although excessively high stabilizer levels can mean that your pool water will need to be diluted.