What To Do with the Other Chemicals
Even with keeping good chemistry in your pool and spa over time you main need to use some other things to keep your water at it’s best. These things include algaecides, flocculants, stabilizers, and more.
Sometimes pool water becomes cloudy because of the introduction of organic pollution from the environment (i.e. air born pollens) or human wastes. Some of these are too small to be removed by the pool filter. In this case you may want to use flocculants instead excess and more expensive chlorine.
A flocculating product is broadcast on the water of the pool. It joins with the small particles, making them bigger and heavier so that they fall out of the water. They are then carefully vacuumed up from the bottom.
There are also some flocculants that are available to add to sand filters so that they are more efficient in removing small particles. As with all chemicals follow the manufacturers directions for best results.
Algae can become a problem particularly in the early season when you are first bring a pool out of winterization, after a severe storm, and any time the chlorine level drops too low. Algae can be introduced into the water by wind blow debris, rain, falling leaves and flowers, and even the water you use to fill your pool with. The growth of algae can be helped by sunlight and warm temperatures and by other things in the water such as bacteria and minerals.
Algae comes in many forms and colors.Algae can float on the surface of the water or attach to walls and/or the bottom of the pool. You may need to use an algaecide to get rid of the algae as well as some vigorous scrubbing if it has attached.
Algaecides come in many different forms. Some contain metals such as copper. It is important to follow the manufacturers directions not only for them to work properly but to prevent them from causing discoloration in your pool. Some algae (ie. cobalt algae) is very resistance to removal and will require repeated treatments.
The use of an algae inhibitor and more importantly maintaining a high free chlorine level will keep algae at a minimum.
Stains particularly from a water source that is high in iron may require the addition of chelating or sequestering agents on a regular basis to keep staining to a minimum. Sequestering or chelating agents increase the ability of the water to keep the minerals in solution.
Foaming can be a common problem in spas either from natural elements in the water or from a well meaning person who thinks that the addition of some soap will make for better bubbles. In this case a good defoamer will be your friend. Just follow the directions on the container.
Because the UV light from the sun removes chlorine from the water in outdoor facilities it will be necessary to have a stabilizer in the water to help hold on to the chlorine and keep it from breaking down into inactive compounds.
Cyanuric acid is used to protect the chlorine from the effects of sunlight and heat. 30 to 50 ppm of cyanuric acid will keep the loss of chlorine to 10 to 15 %. A pool without stabilizer will lose most of it in about 3 hours of strong sunlight.
New pools or freshly filled pools will need to be stabilized but you will need to then add very little over time. You lose stabilizer with the water that is removed from the pool or spa by what bathers carry out with them, splashing and filter backwashing. But do not neglect the stabilizer unless you want to use and pay for a lot of chlorine.
Cyanuric acid levels should not be allowed to get above 100ppm because when it gets too high it interferes with the ability to balance the water in the pool. Cyanuric acid is removed by draining at least 20% of the water and refilling with fresh water.
Total hardness of water is made up of all the mineral in the water. These can be naturally from the water that is used to fill the pool and from the chemicals that are used to treat the pool. Calcium carbonate is the least soluble of all the minerals in pool water and is therefore the most important. It is the one that becomes over or under saturated, bring the water out of balance.
When the water is oversaturated or too high in calcium it will precipitate or come out of solution resulting in scale formation, clogged pipes, and cloudy water. The only way to reduce this is by replacing the water in the pool.
Under-saturated water is aggressive and corrosive. It attacks the piping and equipment as well as the surfaces of the pool. It is easy to fix by the addition of calcium chloride. Calculate the amount needed and then add it about 1/3 at a time over a period of 4 hours for each addition.
Proper calcium hardness is between 250 and 350 ppm. In this range it helps to keep the water balanced and all of your other chemicals working as they should.
One thing to remember is that temperature effects how things dissolve in the water. Most of us are aware that most chemicals are more soluble in warm water. (e.g. sugar in hot tea) but calcium carbonate behaves different. Calcium carbonate is less soluble in warm water. The level of calcium carbonate in the water of a spa or heated pool require particular attention.
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