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  • Writer's pictureSean Flanagan

Balancing Act: Maintaining the Perfect Chemical Levels in Your Saltwater System

In recent years, more and more homeowners have been choosing saltwater pools over traditional chlorine pools for their numerous benefits, such as lower chemical use, softer water, and less maintenance. Despite this, maintaining the correct chemical balance in a saltwater pool is still crucial to ensure clean, safe water and a long-lasting system. This article will guide saltwater pool owners on achieving and maintaining the perfect chemical balance and discuss what to do if those levels skew off-kilter.


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Keep Your Pool Running Properly.


 

Understanding Your Saltwater Pool


A common misconception is that saltwater pools are chlorine-free. In reality, they produce their own chlorine through a process called electrolysis, using a salt-chlorine generator. As saltwater passes through this generator, it converts salt (sodium chloride) into chlorine. This chlorine sanitizes the water, killing bacteria and other harmful organisms before converting back into salt, ready for the process to start again. It's a beautiful, self-sustaining cycle, but it does require your attention and understanding to keep it running smoothly.


Keeping Your Pool Chemistry in Check


Maintaining your saltwater pool's chemical balance involves monitoring several parameters:


1. Salt

Maintaining the correct salt level is the most crucial aspect of a saltwater pool. Generally, the salt level should be between 2700 and 3400 parts per million (ppm). It's advisable to check the salt levels monthly and add salt as needed.


2. pH

This measures how acidic or basic your pool water is, with 7 being neutral on a scale of 0-14. The optimal pH for a saltwater pool is slightly basic, between 7.2 and 7.8. Regularly checking and adjusting pH levels is crucial because high pH can cause scale buildup, while low pH can corrode metal components.


3. Alkalinity

Alkalinity acts as a buffer to prevent sudden pH changes. The ideal range is 80-120 ppm. If alkalinity is too low, your pH levels can fluctuate widely, and if it's too high, it can cause your pH level to rise.


4. Cyanuric Acid (CYA):

This is essentially sunblock for your chlorine. It protects chlorine from being quickly burned off by the sun's UV rays. Aim for CYA levels between 70 and 80 ppm for saltwater pools.


5. Calcium Hardness

This measures the amount of calcium in the water. Too much calcium can cause scaling, and too little can lead to corrosion. Aim for 200-400 ppm.


Correcting Off-Balance Levels


Regular testing of your pool water will allow you to identify and correct imbalances promptly. Here's what to do if your levels are off:


1. Low Salt Levels

If salt levels are low, the solution is straightforward—add pool-grade salt. But always add less than you think you need, circulate the water, then recheck the salt level to prevent oversalting.


2. High pH

If the pH is too high, you'll need to add a pH reducer, usually muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate.


3. Low pH

If the pH is too low, you'll need to add a pH increaser, like soda ash or sodium bicarbonate.


4. High Alkalinity

To decrease alkalinity, you can add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate.


5. Low Alkalinity

Sodium bicarbonate can help increase the alkalinity.


6. High or Low CYA

To increase CYA, add cyanuric acid. If CYA is too high, unfortunately, the only solution is to partially drain and refill the pool to dilute it.


7. High Calcium Hardness

If the calcium hardness is too high, you may need to partially drain and refill your pool. Using a pool sequestering agent can also help keep the calcium in solution and off your pool surfaces.


8. Low Calcium Hardness

Add a calcium hardness increaser if your water is too soft.


Saltwater Pools Stay Healthy with Sea Breeze Pools


Maintaining the perfect chemical balance in your saltwater pool is an ongoing balancing act, but it doesn't need to be overwhelming. With regular testing and small adjustments, you can keep your saltwater system running smoothly and your pool sparkling clean. Remember, imbalances are easier to prevent than correct, so consider hiring our team at Sea Breeze Pools to monitor your pool water for you. We are Central Florida's top-rated pool service and we're here to cater to your pool's needs and ensure you have a healthy, safe swimming environment.


Got a Pool Problem? We Can Help.

 

Sea Breeze Pools services the following locations in Greater Central Florida:

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