How To Lower Hardness Of A Pool Water? [Facts!]

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Just like any other appliance that you use in your home, the water in your pool needs to be changed once or twice a month with the proper chemicals to keep it clean. The main difference is that the chemicals used for pools are more expensive and have more complex formulas then those used for home washing machines. Some of these chemicals can be harmful to the environment if used improperly so always make sure you follow the directions and safety precautions carefully.

What Is The Difference In Pool Chemicals?

There are several different types of chemicals used in pools, which is why it is crucial to know which ones your pool cleaner is applying so that you can be certain that the water is safe for your family to swim in. The most common types of chemicals are:

  • Alkaline water
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Ammonia
  • Triethanolamine (T)
  • Chlorine
  • Chromium (III) compounds
  • Ferric (III) compounds
  • Fluoride
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Trichloroisocyanuric Acid (Triclos)
  • EDTA
  • Ammonium Sulfate
  • Bromide
  • Chlorine dioxide

In addition to the above-named chemicals, many pools also use a sanitizer to keep the water clean of any unwanted organisms. The two most common sanitizers are:

  • Irgasan (Irga)
  • Sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC)

However, before applying any chemicals to your pool, you first need to take care of the water itself. One of the most important things to do is make sure that the pH levels of the water are within the proper range of 7.2 to 8.4. The pH levels of your pool water will determine how the water feels, which you can test with one of those inexpensive pocket pH meters that you can buy at any pharmacy. If your pH levels are off, it could potentially damage the structural integrity of your pool. Therefore, it is crucial to keep pH levels as close to 7.2 as possible.

How Do You Test For The Right pH Levels In Your Pool?

Testing the pH levels of your pool water is easy enough; all you need to do is dip a clean swatch of paper into the water and check the results with one of the above-named chemicals. Always remember that your pool water is more acidic than fresh water, which means that the results of your tests will be slightly different.

It is also important to check for the presence of any chemicals that might be leaching out of the porous materials used to line your pool. If you suspect that there are any chemicals present, it is imperative that you test for their individual content by using a liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (LC/MS). An expert pool service will often have one at their disposal so that they can check for the proper pH levels and any other impurities in your pool water. As long-time readers of this blog might recall, I work for a company that provides pool service, so I get to use one all the time.

What Are The Most Dangerous Chemicals In Pools?

You have to remember that while most swimming pools contain toxic chemicals that are only harmful at very high concentrations, it is the possibility of having these chemicals enter your water that you need to be concerned about. Most of the chemicals mentioned above are extremely toxic and can be harmful even in minute quantities, which is why it is so important to test for their presence regularly.

The most toxic of the chemicals that you might find in your pool are:

  • Lead (Pb)
  • Arsenic (As)
  • Mercury (Hg)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Chromium (Cr)
  • Benzene
  • Tetracycline (Tc)
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD)

The above-named chemicals are especially dangerous due to their persistence in the environment. While it might not seem like it now, but many of these chemicals were extremely abundant in the 20th century, especially during the Industrial Revolution. A lot of these chemicals are still found in soil and water, even years after the factories that produced them closed down, which is why it is so important to test for their presence regularly.

What Other Chemicals Do You Need To Test For?

In addition to testing for pH levels and the presence of toxic chemicals, it is also important to check for the proper amount of the less-toxic chemicals that are used in large amounts. Some of these chemicals are:

  • Sodium cyanide
  • Ammonia
  • Potassium dichromate
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Ferric Chloride
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Zinc oxide
  • Citric acid
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Silver nitrate
  • Rhodanine dye
  • Tocotrienol
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs)

Are You Ready To Try The “Shake & Drop” Method?

If you follow all of the above guidelines and precautions carefully, it is possible to keep your pool water in good condition for a very long time. However, you might find that some pools respond better to certain procedures than others do. One of the simplest and most effective ways to lower the hardness of your pool water is called the “shake & drop” method. This is a procedure where you simply shake the bottle and then drop the inorganic chemicals that are present into the pool water. The water should then settle for a few minutes before you check for any apparent changes in its clarity.

Usually, when you drop the inorganic chemicals that are present in the organic pool cleaner, the water will immediately begin to change color. This is because the inorganic chemicals disrupt the balance of the natural chemicals in your pool water, resulting in a slight discoloration. As a general rule of thumb, the softer the water, the darker it will get when reacting to the “shake & drop” method. The opposite is usually true for very hard water; as a general rule of thumb, the harder the water, the clearer it will become when applying the “shake & drop” method.

Are You Ready To Try The “Shake & Pulse” Method?

Another very simple way to lower the hardness of your swimming pool water is through the use of an ultrasonic cleaner. The ultrasonic cleaner works by sending sound waves through water so that they can disrupt the balance of the natural chemicals in your pool. This can effectively lower the chlorine levels of the water so that your pool can be enjoyed by your family and friends without any harmful effects.

The above two methods are extremely easy to use and can be applied by anyone with a reasonable amount of patience. However, if you want to continue using chemicals to keep your pool clean, there are several other options that you can try, such as:

  • Adding more chlorine
  • Fountain drink dispensers
  • Sealing the pool
  • Shade cover
  • Stripping down the pool
  • Using ultraviolet rays (UV)
  • Adding more chemicals
  • Filling the pool up

With any one of these options, it is possible to keep your pool water at its intended clarity for a very long time, provided that you adhere to proper storage and usage instructions. Always remember that the safety of your family comes first, so you should not endanger them by following potentially dangerous instructions that are found online.

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