Pool Balancing Chemicals What are pool balancers? Do I need pool balancers? How much of each balancer should I use? How do you balance pool water?

Pool Balancing Chemicals

Swimming pools don’t stay sparkling clear and gorgeous on their own. Pools require a careful care and maintenance routine to keep water safe for swimmers and beautiful in appearance. Achieving a chemical balance in your pool is key to enjoying its refreshing water.

You don’t have to be a chemistry expert to keep pool water balanced. You simply need to know a few things about chemicals that are useful in pools. We’re here to give you a head start on mastering the art of balance—pool chemical balance, that is.

We’ll answer the following questions common questions about pool water balancers:

  • What are pool balancers?
  • Do I need pool balancers?
  • How much of each balancer should I use?
  • How do you balance pool water?

After reading this guide and talking with your local pool professional, you’ll be ready to keep your pool clean and balanced, all year long.

swimming pool with fence

What are pool balancers?

Water balancers keep all the chemical levels of your pool in the proper range. In addition to sanitizers like chlorine and bromine, other pool chemicals impact your pool environment. These pool water balancers fall into several categories:

Alkalinity and pH Control: If pH or total alkalinity is too low, chlorine can rapidly deplete. Low pH can corrode pool equipment and surfaces as well as irritate skin. Therefore, you can balance low pH or total alkalinity with products specifically designed to raise pH and alkalinity. Consult with your pool professional for the correct products to use.

Acids: If pH or total alkalinity is too high, chlorine will not work efficiently. High pH water can also be cloudy. To lower pH and total alkalinity, use acids like muriatic acid or dry acid. Acids can cause serious damage to skin and eyes, so handle these chemicals with caution.

Conditioners/Stabilizer: When you use unstabilized chlorine in an outdoor pool, the sun’s rays can deactivate the chlorine. But there’s a simple fix—add a chlorine conditioner like cyanuric acid. Stabilized chlorine already has a base pool conditioner added.

Calcium Hardness Increasers: If your calcium hardness level is too low, it can corrode pool surfaces. Increase calcium hardness levels with calcium hardness increaser, but don’t add too much because calcium levels can be hard to reduce. Consult with your pool professional on the correct amounts to add.

Put Your Pool Water to the Test

It’s a good idea to test your pool water before (and after!) you add balancers -- or any other chemicals, for that matter. A good test kit will tell you if your pool is balanced, and it will also tell you if your chemical treatments are working effectively. Most pool supply stores sell easy-to-use strips that make testing quick and easy. It is best to have your water tested by a pool professional at minimum monthly.

Do I need pool balancers?

If you want a clean and clear pool that is safe for swimming, then you need pool balancers. Skipping out on these important chemicals means that your pool will go where nature takes it. If you’ve visited an untreated pond recently, you know that leaving your pool au natural will likely result in murky water, bright algae blooms, and wildlife inhabitants like frogs.

To avoid this pool-turned-pond scenario, keep your chemistry in check. Regularly test your pool water and add chemicals to correct any errant pool chemistry results. Balancing pool water takes some work but you will have a clean and safe place for your family to splash in.

swimming pool with list-group-item-action

How do you balance pool water?

Before you begin balancing pool water, you need to understand where your water chemistry stands. For that, you can test your pool water with a liquid or test strip kit, or you can bring a water sample to a pool store for professional testing, which is always preferred.

Once you determine what chemical levels are out of range, you’ll know what you need to add to balance the water. Add needed chemicals in this order:

First, raise total alkalinity with total alkalinity increaser. If you need to raise pH too, then pH increaser will be needed. To lower total alkalinity and pH, add a recommended pH decreaser. Total alkalinity acts as an umbrella, protecting all other pool chemical measurements. Having total alkalinity and pH in line will help the other pool chemicals work better.

Next, adjust your calcium hardness level by adding calcium hardness increaser if needed. If your calcium hardness level is too high, it’s a more difficult fix. You should consult with your pool professional for recommendations for your pool.

Finally, add your recommended sanitizer, most likely chlorine or bromine. Always follow label directions with regard to adding your sanitizer of choice.

If you have specific pool problems, you can address those with additional chemicals. Add algaecide to prevent algae growth. Add stain and scale formulas to prevent metal staining or mineral scaling on pool surfaces.

After this simple routine, your pool should be clean and sparkling. Regularly test pool water and add additional chemicals to keep your water clean and clear. Also, have your water tested professionally once a month at minimum. Remember to vacuum and remove leaves and other debris. These steps improve pool chemistry and help sanitizers work better. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a luxurious soak once you’ve achieved beautiful, well-balanced pool water.

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