So I’ve opened my pool… Now what ??

Keeping your water clear is something every pool owner wants … right?  Sometimes everything falls into place after you’ve put in the contents of your opening kit and the pool looks fine with no real effort on your part for a while.  Then BOOM! … cloudy water or possibly even algae pops up overnight. The high volume and frequency of rainfall this spring hasn’t helped matters for most pool owners in Southern Ontario. That’s a great reason to pay attention to what your pool water is telling you, with your test strips and monthly visits to our retail store for a detailed water analysis.

It’s important to realize that just because your pool water looks clear doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy. Your pool water could have low sanitizer levels, just waiting to be affected by a period of hot weather or slow water circulation. The next thing you know you are sitting by the pool having a “cold one,” and then over a couple of hours you can see your water going green! This is not fantasy! It can happen so watch your free chlorine level to make sure it is holding  between 2 – 5 parts per million.

Proper Alkalinity Levels are crucial in maintaining overall pool health

Total Alkalinity (TA) is a measure of water’s resistance to change in pH.  Adjusting total alkalinity can and will affect your pH. In basic terms TA acts like a buffer for your pH level. If you don’t keep your TA in check it’s almost impossible to keep your pH in check. It should also be noted that adjustments to both total alkalinity (TA) and pH can affect the calcium hardness level.

FACT: The disinfectant power of Free Chlorine is relative to the pH of the water.

A high pH level will not allow your chlorine to be as effective as with a balanced pH level.  As pH increases, the chlorine becomes less effective.  As pH decreases, the chlorine becomes more effective

pH Effectiveness of Free Chlorine
6.0 97%
7.0 75%
7.2 63%
7.5 49%
7.6 39%
7.8 28%
8.0 3%

A best practice is ALWAYS adjust the levels of each of these in this order. You risk adding unnecessary chemicals and waste time testing if you do not balance your water in this order.

  1. Total alkalinity
  2. pH
  3. Calcium hardness

The recommended range for total alkalinity in swimming pools is 80 – 150 ppm . This allows for bather comfort, the ability to control Ph, and is a safe range for your pool equipment

Clear water can also be very acidic, meaning low alkalinity, and as a result you can get corrosion on metal surfaces. Pool ladders, light housings, hand rails, steps, screws, and other hardware can corrode when exposed to low alkalinity water.  Pump motors, metal pipes, valves, heat exchangers can also corrode.  This corrosion can also lead to metals such as copper and iron leaching into the water.

Pool water pH can fluctuate rapidly in water with low alkalinity. This can result in pH bounce, where the pH can drop drastically and then spike suddenly, and do this over many cycles. It is not uncommon for the pH to fluctuate between about 6.8 and 7.8 within a 24 hour time span with very low alkaline water.

Cloudy water can mean the opposite. Pool water with high alkalinity will more easily allow for calcium and other minerals to come out of solution.  These substances will float freely in the water, causing the water to turn murky and uninviting. Water scale can then form on pool walls and floors, especially at the surface of the water.  The insides of pool equipment such as filters, pipes and heaters can also become clogged with water scale.

Remember swimming pools depend on adequate water circulation to filter out contaminates and prevent organics like algae from getting a foothold in the water.  It’s always easier and less expensive  chemical-wise  to keep your water balanced with a once a week regimen and by using test strips to monitor your pools sanitizer and balancers than fixing a green pool or damaged equipment later !

The Next Blog:    Gib San  7-in-1 Test Strips – A better Choice for your pool!

Derrick Stricek
Store Manager

Have some stories to share about your pool opening experiences  ?  Email me at and I will put it in another blog post for all to benefit from!

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