Why drain pools in Arizona? Most swimming pool owners never think to routinely draining their pool and filling with fresh water. But as time goes on and as more chemicals and other foreign substances are introduced into the pool, various elements of the pool water change and can move outside acceptable parameters. A number of these changes can lead to recurring problems with algae, scale and creating additional expenses trying to deal with the problems.
Dilute Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) – high levels of TDS (total dissolved solids) can interfere with the ability of chlorine to sanitize the pool water. If you’re having persistent problems with algae or you’re having trouble holding a sufficient chlorine level, have your pool water tested for TDS. If it’s too high, partially drain the swimming pool until the TDS reading is at the appropriate level.
Dilute Cyanuric Acid – cyanuric acid is used as a conditioner or stabilizer that protects chlorine from the sun. When stabilized chlorine is used to sanitize the pool, the level of cyanuric acid in the pool will slowly rise over time. The optimum level of Cyanuric Acid in a swimming pool is about 20 – 50 ppm. If the level is below that, the sun will destroy the chlorine at a high rate and more chlorine will be needed. As the level gets over 50 ppm, the chlorine will be over stabilized and lose its ability to sanitize the pool water. It’s a good idea to test for cyanuric acid at least once a month. When the level exceeds 50 ppm, dilute the pool water to bring the level back in the proper range.
Calcium Hardness – Calcium, which is found in our water in the southern United States can really cause havoc if you own a swimming pool. If you’re a swimming pool owner it’s good to have some calcium in the pool (200-400 parts per million) but what happens when it goes above 400ppm? In the southwest our fill water comes from the Colorado River which carves its way through the Grand Canyon and is loaded with limestone. During this time it picks up calcium and other hardness minerals which makes our water extremely hard. Overtime, as the water evaporates in the pool the hardness minerals stay behind and build up. Typically swimming pool owners see the buildup on the liner, water line on the tile and fountains/water features. The calcium which is naked to the human eye is also building up in the plumbing, pumps and filters. When this number gets extremely high (above 800ppm) it can cause cloudiness in the water and bind up the chemicals in the pool which can lead to a green pool. Calcium literally acts like a sponge and sucks up chlorine.
Phosphates – Phosphate is an important plant nutrient and when present in a swimming pool can serve as food for algae. The phosphate level in the pool will slowly increase as different foreign substances such as bather wastes, bird droppings, leafs, rain water, and many other substances enter the pool. The ideal level for phosphates is around 125 ppb or lower. When the level gets over 200, algae can begin to grow and thrive. Similar to TDS and Cyanuric Acid, you should have your swimming pool tested for phosphates periodically. As the level approaches or goes over 500 ppb, start planning to dilute the pool water soon in order to bring the reading back down to the 100 – 200 level.
All four of these elements of swimming pool water will slowly increase over time and can lead to real problems. Routine maintenance can quickly turn into one headache after another. A crystal clear swimming pool can quickly turn into a pool with recurring algae problems. Get your pool water tested for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Cyanuric Acid, Calcium Hardness and Phosphates at least a few times a year. Be sure to build into your plans for routine pool maintenance draining your pool every two to three years. Doing so should help keep these issues in control and help keep your job maintaining your swimming pool easy, and help to keep your swimming pool crystal clear throughout the year.