Close-up of a man's hands as he checks the levels of various pool chemicals

Once you’ve built a custom swimming pool, there are some tasks you should perform to keep it clean and ready to use. Although maintenance may seem overwhelming at first, it doesn’t have to be. One of the most important tasks is keeping pool chemicals balanced.

Note that you should always add pool chemicals one at a time as mixing them can be very dangerous. You should also follow any guidelines on the packages of individual chemicals you are adding, including wearing gloves and eye protection as required. 

These are the chemicals you will need to balance in a traditional chlorine swimming pool:

Pool Chemicals You Add on a Schedule

You should add these sanitizing chemicals on a regular basis: 

Chlorine

Chlorine is the chemical most people think of when it comes to swimming pools. You add it in a stabilized form and it kills bacteria by breaking down the fats in their cell walls. Three parts per million (ppm) is the ideal concentration for pool chlorine. To maintain this level, you should plan to add more every 3-7 days while testing your water to ensure it is in the ideal range. 

To make adding chlorine easier and protect your pool’s equipment, our QuikDekClor tool is a great choice. We install this poolside to make adding new tablets easy. The system regulates water flow around the chlorine to keep its concentration at an optimal level. 

Pool Shock

Although you can add pool shock as needed after parties, storms, or heavy swimming, you should also plan to add it based on a set schedule. Once a week is better if you swim often, once every other week is fine for most pool owners, and once a month is a good minimum goal for shocking. Depending on your pool, you can use calcium hypochlorite (cal hypo), sodium dichlor, or a non-chlorine shock.

Pool Chemicals You Add as Needed

It is recommended to test your pool’s water 2-3 times a week for pH, weekly for alkalinity, and monthly for other levels. 

If anything is outside of the recommended range, you may need to add the following: 

Alkalinity Balancers

Total alkalinity (TA) is related to your pool’s pH and keeping this in a good range can make balancing pH easier. This should measure 80-120 ppm. If it is below 80, you can add sodium bicarbonate. One pound per 10,000 gallons increases TA by 10 ppm. If your TA is above 120, you can add dry acid. Two pounds per 10,000 gallons decreases the level by 10 ppm. 

pH Balancers

pH is the overall balance of acids and bases (specific types of chemical compounds) in your pool. It is important for sanitation and to ensure other pool chemicals work as intended. 7.2-7.5 is ideal. Soda ash can increase the pH by 0.2 for every 6 ounces added to 10,000 gallons of water. Sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid is ideal for decreasing pH. For these, you should follow manufacturer instructions. 

Calcium Hardness

200-400 ppm is the recommended calcium concentration for your swimming pool. If you need to raise this level, you can use one pound of a calcium hardness increaser per 10,000 gallons to increase the level by 8 ppm. If the level is too high, there are a few different ways to adjust it. One method is to add a flocculant to get rid of free-floating calcium. You would then vacuum the pool, backwash the filter, and add fresh water. Keeping other chemicals balanced is also a good way to keep calcium hardness under control. 

Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric acid (CYA), also called chlorine stabilizer, is a chemical that keeps chlorine from being degraded too quickly by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is especially important in sunny Arizona. The ideal level is 30-40 ppm. If it is low, you should add more CYA according to manufacturer instructions. If it is too high, you may need to drain your pool slightly and add fresh water to dilute it.

Make Maintenance EAsy With Pools by Design

While you will still need to do some work to keep your pool chemically balanced, adding high-quality features can make the process much simpler. For example, a state-of-the-art pump and circulation system distributes chemicals consistently around your whole pool, not just at the top. When you work with Pool by Design, we will make sure to discuss not only how you want your pool to look, but also how to keep your pool looking and working its best for years to come. 

Contact us today to learn more about building a custom swimming pool.