How to Increase Total Hardness in Your Above Ground Pool Like a Pro


Sharing is Caring

Ensuring proper pool water balance is crucial to the longevity and enjoyment of your above ground pool. Total hardness is a key component of this balance, impacting the water’s feel, clarity, and longevity. Unfortunately, many pool owners overlook the importance of total hardness and struggle to maintain appropriate levels.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know to increase total hardness in your above ground pool like a pro. From understanding the relationship between calcium, pH, and alkalinity to selecting the right hardness increaser for your pool, we’ll provide expert tips and insights to help you keep your pool water perfectly balanced all season long.

Boosting Calcium Levels for Optimal Water Chemistry

Calcium plays a critical role in your above ground pool‘s overall water chemistry, affecting the pool water’s clarity, feel, and longevity. Insufficient calcium levels can lead to corrosion and etching of pool surfaces and equipment, while excess calcium can cause scaling, leaving unsightly deposits and damaging your pool’s plumbing system. Here are some tips on how to increase calcium levels in your above ground pool for optimal water chemistry.

Test Calcium Levels Regularly

The first step in maintaining proper calcium levels in your pool is to test the water regularly. You can use test strips or a liquid testing kit to measure the pool’s calcium hardness levels. The recommended calcium hardness level for above ground pools is between 150 and 250 parts per million (ppm).

Add Calcium Chloride

  • Step 1: Calculate the amount of calcium chloride required to increase calcium levels in your pool. Use a pool calculator to determine the amount needed based on the pool’s volume and the desired increase in calcium hardness.
  • Step 2: Add the required amount of calcium chloride to a bucket of water, and stir until dissolved.
  • Step 3: Slowly pour the dissolved calcium chloride into the pool, concentrating on areas with low calcium hardness levels.
  • Step 4: Wait 4-6 hours before testing the pool water again to ensure that the calcium levels have increased as desired.

Balance pH and Alkalinity

It’s important to balance your pool’s pH and alkalinity levels before attempting to increase calcium hardness. A pH level between 7.2 and 7.8 and alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm will help to prevent calcium scaling and other water chemistry issues.

  • Step 1: Test your pool’s pH and alkalinity levels using test strips or a liquid testing kit.
  • Step 2: Add pH increaser or decreaser to adjust the pH level to the appropriate range.
  • Step 3: Add alkalinity increaser or decreaser to adjust the alkalinity level to the appropriate range.
  • Step 4: Wait 4-6 hours before testing the pool water again to ensure that the pH and alkalinity levels have stabilized.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your above ground pool maintains optimal calcium levels and overall water chemistry, providing you with a clean and healthy swimming environment.

Understanding the Relationship Between pH and Total Alkalinity

pH and total alkalinity are two of the most important parameters to consider when it comes to balancing the water chemistry in your pool. The relationship between these two factors is important to understand in order to keep your pool water safe, clear, and comfortable for swimmers.

When pH levels are too low, pool water can become acidic and cause damage to pool surfaces and equipment. On the other hand, when pH levels are too high, it can lead to scaling and cloudy water. Total alkalinity, on the other hand, helps to buffer the pH and prevent it from swinging too far in either direction.

Factors that Affect pH and Total Alkalinity

  • Chemicals: The chemicals you use in your pool, such as chlorine and algaecides, can affect both pH and total alkalinity levels. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and regularly test your pool water to ensure it stays within the recommended levels.
  • Water source: The source of your pool water can also impact pH and total alkalinity levels. Depending on where you live, the water may be naturally high or low in alkalinity, which can affect the overall balance of your pool water.

How to Adjust pH and Total Alkalinity

  1. pH: To raise pH levels, add a pH increaser or soda ash to the pool water. To lower pH levels, add a pH decreaser or muriatic acid. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and test the water regularly to prevent overcorrection.
  2. Total Alkalinity: To raise total alkalinity, add sodium bicarbonate. To lower total alkalinity, add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. Again, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and test the water regularly.

By understanding the relationship between pH and total alkalinity and taking the necessary steps to keep both parameters balanced, you can ensure that your pool water is safe, clear, and comfortable for swimmers. Regular testing and maintenance are key to keeping your pool water in optimal condition.

Choosing the Right Type of Hardness Increaser for Your Pool

Hardness Increaser, Pool, Water

Properly maintaining the water chemistry in your pool is essential to ensure that it remains clean and clear throughout the season. One of the most important factors to consider is the hardness of the water. If the water is too soft, it can corrode the pool’s surfaces, while water that is too hard can lead to cloudy water, scaling, and stains. Choosing the right type of hardness increaser can help you maintain the right balance of minerals in your pool water.

Calcium Chloride

  • Calcium Chloride, Hardness Increaser
  • Calcium chloride is one of the most common types of hardness increaser available for pool owners. It is a white, odorless powder that dissolves easily in water. Calcium chloride is often used to increase the hardness of water in areas with naturally soft water or after heavy rain.
  • It is important to note that calcium chloride can increase the total alkalinity of the water, which can affect the pH level. If you use calcium chloride, be sure to monitor the pH level regularly to ensure that it remains within the proper range.

Sodium Carbonate

  • Sodium Carbonate, Hardness Increaser
  • Sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash, is another type of hardness increaser that can be used in pools. It is a white, odorless powder that is effective in raising the hardness of the water while also increasing the pH level.
  • When using sodium carbonate, it is important to add it to the water slowly and to test the pH level regularly to ensure that it remains within the proper range.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium Chloride, Hardness Increaser

Magnesium chloride is a type of hardness increaser that is often used in areas where the water is naturally hard. It is a white, odorless powder that dissolves easily in water. Magnesium chloride can help to balance the minerals in the water and prevent scaling and staining.

When choosing a hardness increaser for your pool, it is important to consider the current levels of hardness in the water, as well as the pH level and total alkalinity. By selecting the right type of hardness increaser and monitoring the water chemistry regularly, you can ensure that your pool remains clean, clear, and safe for swimming all season long.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Total Hardness

Raising Total Hardness levels in a swimming pool is essential for maintaining the water quality, but it’s important to avoid certain mistakes that could lead to problems. One of the most common mistakes is adding too much hardness increaser at once, which can cause scaling and cloudiness in the water. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and add the increaser gradually over a period of time.

Another common mistake is failing to test the water regularly. Without proper testing, it’s difficult to know how much hardness increaser is needed. Testing the water at least once a week is recommended to ensure that the hardness level remains within the optimal range. Overuse of hardness increaser can cause water to become too hard, which can lead to problems such as staining and cloudy water.

Mistake #1: Adding too much hardness increaser at once

Adding too much hardness increaser at once can cause scaling and cloudiness in the water, as well as making it difficult to control the level of hardness. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and add the hardness increaser gradually over a period of time. This will ensure that the water remains clear and healthy, while also keeping the hardness level within the optimal range.

Mistake #2: Failing to test the water regularly

Testing the water regularly is essential for maintaining the optimal level of hardness. Without regular testing, it’s difficult to know how much hardness increaser is needed. Overuse of hardness increaser can cause the water to become too hard, which can lead to staining and cloudy water. Testing the water at least once a week is recommended to ensure that the hardness level remains within the optimal range.

Mistake #3: Using the wrong type of hardness increaser

  • Calcium Chloride is the most commonly used hardness increaser for swimming pools, but it’s not always the best option. If your pool has a high pH level, then using calcium chloride can actually increase the pH level even further. In this case, using sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate can be a better choice.
  • Magnesium Sulfate is another type of hardness increaser that is sometimes used, but it’s important to note that it can also increase the level of sulfate in the water. High levels of sulfate can cause scaling and staining on pool surfaces.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help you maintain the optimal level of hardness in your swimming pool, ensuring that the water remains clear, healthy, and free of stains and other problems.

Regular Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Pool Water Balanced

Keeping your pool water properly balanced is essential to maintaining a clean and healthy swimming environment. Regular maintenance is key to preventing issues such as algae growth, cloudy water, and equipment damage. Here are a few tips to help keep your pool water balanced:

Test your water regularly: It’s important to test your pool water regularly using a reliable test kit. You should test the water at least once a week, and more frequently if you notice any changes in the water clarity or smell.

Adjust the pH level: The pH level of your pool water should be between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH level is too high or too low, it can cause skin and eye irritation and damage pool equipment. Add pH increaser to raise the pH level and pH decreaser to lower it.

Ways to Balance Your Pool Water

  • Chlorine: Chlorine is a chemical that is commonly used to disinfect and sanitize pool water. It helps to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. You should maintain a chlorine level of 1-3 ppm.
  • Alkalinity: Alkalinity refers to the ability of the water to neutralize acids. The ideal alkalinity level is between 80-120 ppm. Use an alkalinity increaser if the level is too low and an alkalinity decreaser if it’s too high.

Regular Pool Maintenance

Clean your filter: It’s important to clean your pool filter regularly to prevent blockages and ensure proper water circulation. Depending on the type of filter, it may need to be cleaned weekly or monthly.

Skim the surface: Skimming the surface of your pool regularly helps to remove debris such as leaves and insects. You should also clean out the skimmer basket and pump basket weekly.

By following these regular maintenance tips, you can help keep your pool water balanced and maintain a clean and healthy swimming environment for you and your family to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to raise total hardness in above ground pool?

To raise the total hardness in your above ground pool, you can add calcium chloride or calcium carbonate. These chemicals can be purchased at your local pool supply store. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and test your pool water regularly to ensure the hardness is at the appropriate level.

What is the ideal total hardness level for an above ground pool?

The ideal total hardness level for an above ground pool is between 200-400 parts per million (ppm). If the hardness level is too low, it can cause corrosion and staining on the pool surface. If the level is too high, it can cause scaling and cloudy water.

Can I use baking soda to raise the total hardness in my above ground pool?

Yes, you can use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to raise the total hardness in your above ground pool. Baking soda will also raise the pH level of your pool, so be sure to test the water and adjust the pH as needed. Follow the instructions on the package and add the baking soda slowly to avoid cloudiness in the water.

What is the difference between total hardness and calcium hardness?

Total hardness measures the amount of dissolved minerals in your pool water, including calcium and magnesium. Calcium hardness specifically measures the amount of dissolved calcium in the water. Both are important to maintain for the health of your pool and its equipment.

How often should I test the total hardness level in my above ground pool?

It is recommended to test the total hardness level in your above ground pool at least once a week. This will help you catch any changes in the level early and make adjustments as needed. If you notice any issues with the water or equipment, it may be necessary to test more frequently.

Craving More Content?

Pool Tips USA