Spa Chemistry

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Pleasure Pools & Spas have some of the best water testers in the area. We always have at least one trained water tech on staff during all store hours who would be glad to help you with any questions or issues you might have. If you bought your Pool or Hot Tub from us, or you’re just a regular customer, the water tests are always free, no matter how odd or persistent the issue is.

 

So stop on by or e-mail us with questions, we’ve heard every question there is, no matter how odd it may seem at first.

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Water is an easy thing to take care of with the right knowledge and routine. The chemicals we use and sell are for three reasons.

1) To prevent disease

2) To protect your equipment

3) To keep your tub or pool clean and clear and looking great.

 

Having your water balanced is more comfortable for swimmers because it reduces unpleasant odor, burning eyes, and itchy skin. Balanced water will also help prevent equipment corrosion and scale buildup.

 

There is a lot of information here and in store but taking care of pool or spa water is very simple, most often only taking about 1-5 minutes of your time a week.

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pH: The pH level of your water is one of the most important things to keep track of in your water, but what is it?

 

pH is simply a measurement that indicates whether the water being tested is acidic or basic. The pH scale is a number scale that ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. If your water is above 7 then your water is considered basic. If your waters pH is below 7 it would be acidic.

 

pH should be maintained around 7.4 – 7.6

 

What is basic water? 

 

Basic water is scale forming and can cause a white, sandpaper-like buildup on almost any surface. Making the equipment less efficient and more brittle. This happens because once the Ph is above 8.0 the calcium in the water will combine with carbonates in the water and start to “fall out of the water” this causes them to stick to the surfaces beneath the water. A good indicator of when your water is too basic is when it begins to cloud up easily.

 

What is Acidic water?

 

Acidic water is clean, but very corrosive and can cause serious damage to pool equipment and surfaces over time. It is also very irritating to swimmers, causing red eyes and skin. Acidic water can corrode metal surfaces such as pumps, filters, pipes, heaters, and valves, as well as etch the surface of some pools. Another danger is corrosion, which dissolves metals into water, can lead to stains on the walls and floor.

 

Alkalinity: A discussion of pH in swimming pools or spas is not complete without an explanation of total alkalinity. Total alkalinity is a measure of the ability of the water to resist changes in pH. In short, it is a buffer for pH. One of the most important things you can do once you fill or re-fill up your tub or pool is to get your Alkalinity to a good level. If your having trouble with your pH, fix the Alkalinity first.

 

Alkalinity (varies depending on chemical system) should be kept around 100ppm

 

Further in depth explanation of Alkalinity.

 

Alkalinity is a buffer for pH. Buffers resist changes in pH because it contains an acidic component to neutralize OH- ions that could drive pH up, and contain basic components to neutralize H+ ions that could drive pH down. For example, if an acidic sanitizer such as trichlor was introduced to the water, it would increase the H+ concentration in the water. In the presence of an ideal level to total alkalinity, the basic component will interact with the H+ ions and neutralize them. Keeping the pH level from dropping in the presence of the acid.

 

Stabilizer: also known as Cyanuric Acid, is a weak acid and provides some buffering properties in the water (similar to an Alkalinity reading). Stabilizers main job is to prevent UV rays of the sun from prematurely dissipating the chlorine level in your pool.

 

Stabilizer should be maintained anywhere from 60 -200 ppm, depending on chemical system.

 

Alkalinity and Stabilizer together.

 

Because the test for total alkalinity is simply a test for weak acids in solution, pools containing Cyanuric acid will get a false high reading when testing for total alkalinity. It is important to account for this false high reading because Cyanuric acid, while providing some buffering, will not protect against corrosion as the carbonate buffering system of your Alkalinity will.  At Pleasure Pools & Spas our water techs are fully trained and aware of how to read these tests in your pool or spa, so please if you come down with questions, bring a water sample with you.

 

Calcium Hardness: is a measure of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Water has an aggressive appetite for calcium. If the calcium level is too low, the water will become corrosive to satisfy this appetite. If the calcium level is too high, the water is considered saturated. The calcium can then drop out of the water and form scale, otherwise known as that sandpaper feel under the water line.

 

Most of the area in and around the Quad Cities has a good or slightly high Calcium hardness level. We do however test for it regardless and have the necessary chemicals to correct any problems that may come about.

 

Calcium Should be maintained around 200 – 400 ppm

 

Low Calcium Hardness:

 

If the calcium level in water is too low there can be deterioration of any plasters, grouts, or metal that is in contact with the pool water. If the water in contact with these surfaces does not have sufficient calcium hardness, these calcium based minerals can slowly dissolve leaving voids. This can occur at the surface resulting in a wearing away of the material, called surface etch, which is permanent. At Pleasure Pools & Spas we do not sell plaster pools so often the only problems you will face with Low Calcium Hardness in one of our pools is pump deterioration and generally lower pH.

 

High Calcium Hardness:

 

If Calcium Hardness is too high precipitation, or fall out, can occur which can cause cloudy water or scale on surfaces. The reason for placing an upper limit on Calcium Hardness is so that calcium based minerals do not precipitate from solution. The most common calcium based mineral formed is calcium carbonate, CaCO3. When calcium carbonate precipitates, it can cause cloudy water and settling on the bottom of the pool or spa. This can cause a need for more frequent vacuuming or filtration and backwashing.

 

Total dissolved solids (TDS): Total Dissolved Solids is a measure of exactly what it sounds like, dissolved material in the water. High TDS in hot tubs can be an indicator of when the water is “old” and needs to be drained and re-filled.

 

In Salt pools this number will always read high because it is taking the dissolved salt in the pool into this measurement.