Pools are a great investment. They add value to the home, and they allow you to enjoy recreation without having to leave the house and spend extra money. Many pool owners love the fun times and fond memories that having one can provide.

Like any investment, pools require care and maintenance. Keeping the water balanced so that it is safe and enjoyable to everyone can be a constant job. Sometimes, inexperience, lack of time or sheer forgetfulness can lead to a pool owner having more trouble with maintenance than they anticipated. Without regular, knowledgeable and attentive care, you only end up creating more work for yourself in the end.

With this warning in mind, here are some ways that many owners inadvertently neglect their pool’s chemical balance.

Not Testing Often Enough

You absolutely have to test your water at a minimum of twice a week during the spring and summer and once a week during the winter. Without regular monitoring, chemical issues can cascade and small problems will snowball into larger ones.

On top of that, by not dutifully keeping the water’s chemical balance in check, you end up with a giant yo-yo effect on your pool’s concentration levels. A graph charting something like pH would thus look less like a steady line and more like a Wall Street index during a bad week – too many peaks and valleys. 

Letting the Water Become Too Basic

When the water is too acidic, people notice because of the unpleasant sour taste it will have. However, the opposite problem can be quite problematic: letting the water become too basic.

Pure, neutral water is at a pH of 7. Lower than that means an acidic solution, and higher than that means a basic solution – something like an ammonia cleaner or the active ingredient in baking soda.

The problem with having a pH above 8 is that now the chlorine becomes only 10% active. At 7-7.5 the chlorine is between 73-50% active. By not keeping the pH balanced, you end up wasting a good deal of your chlorine, and your pool is not going to be sanitized as effectively.

Not Keeping Total Alkalinity (TA) Between 80-140 PPM

Alkalinity essentially refers to the water’s ability to neutralize excess acids. If the TA gets too low, the water can become acidic quickly. If the TA gets too high, the pH will be much more difficult to balance. Both effects create a more difficult environment for the chlorine to do its job.

Letting Total Dissolved Solids Get Too High

Total dissolved solids or TDS is exactly what it sounds like – the amount of solid particles floating around in your pool. This includes added chemicals such as chlorine and sodium bicarbonate, but it can also be the result of dust, dirt, and human particles that have become a part of your water’s concentration.

When TDS gets too high, the water cannot handle any more solids in it, so powdered chemicals sink to the bottom more often and the pool sides can develop stains. The only way to keep TDS low is to backwash regularly when needed or to replace some of the water with fresh water, which can be expensive.

Maintaining a proper balance between these three chemical factors can be a difficult tightrope to walk. Even with regular monitoring and adjustments, one mistake or overcompensation can send the whole pool out of whack.

Thus, even if you take care of the majority of your own Fort Lauderdale pool maintenance, it still helps to have a professional come out and evaluate it on a regular basis, especially if you notice persistent problems. Take a look at our residential services page to see how a professional can help.