Water Care 101_______________________
The Goal: Crystal clear water that is safe for the people using it and the equipment that runs it

How to reach it:
Read and apply the following.  Don't worry, there's no test at the end.  It's just free advice on how to create the best water environment for you and your pool or hot tub.

Part 1: Understand the 5 Keys to Basic Water Care

Pool and hot tub water must be circulated for maximum sanitizer effectiveness. The more your water is in motion, the harder it is for bacteria and algae to take hold. Circulation also makes it possible for debris to be captured by the filter, resulting in clearer, cleaner water.

The filter is one of your most important pieces of equipment in your pool and hot tub. It removes both visible debris and most microscopic matter. A filter should be rinsed off regularly (backwashing for a pool filter) to remove debris that inhibits its straining ability.  In addition, since rinsing does not remove oils and deeply embedded debris, every filter needs to be chemically cleaned regularly.

Some swimming pools and hot tubs have areas with little or no circulation.  This is where algae and bacteria can begin to grow. At least once a week, a pools walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed to remove debris that the filter misses. For hot tubs, cleaning and brushing the surface every time you drain is recommended.  Also, when the hot tub is not in use it is recommended to open up all jet lines so that water can move through them and keep them clean.

Every pool and hot tub has characteristics that must be regularly measured and adjusted. Most important are the pH and the level of active sanitizer. By testing these two factors at regular intervals, you'll understand how bather load, weather and product application affect the water. Test your pool water two or three times per week. Every 4-6 weeks it is also recommended to drop off a water sample with us for complete analysis. This will help you maintain proper water balance and greatly reduce the potential for problems.

The last step in a total pool maintenance program is applying the right products to your  water at the right time. This will help you; provide a sanitary swimming environment for your family and friends, balance the water to protect the equipment and pool surfaces, and provide brilliant, sparkling water that's inviting.  We can provide you maintenance sheet customized to the size of your pool or hot tub, and to the products you use.

Part 2: Understand the importance of balanced water

Proper water balance in pool and hot tubs is important for 3 main reasons:

1. Prevents Infection and Disease - sanitizers (bromine/chlorine) work best in balanced water.  It allows them to do their job of killing harmful bacteria and viruses most effectively, and that's what keeps you and your hot tub or pools users from getting sick.

2. Protects Equipment - balanced water helps prevent equipment corrosion and/or scale build up.  Low pH (<7.2) = corrosive.  High pH (>7.8) = scale forming

3. Provide most enjoyable environment for users - balanced water (7.4-7.6) is the most comfortable for pool and hot tub users because it reduces unpleasant odors, burning eyes and itchy skin.  Unbalanced water can also become cloudy and unappealing to use.

Part 3: Understand the components of balanced water

Now that we understand why balanced water is important in a swimming pool and hot tub, the next step is understanding what properly balanced water is made up of.  Here are the main components and that make up balanced water.

1. pH
Most people are familiar with the pH scale as the measurement of whether something is acidic or basic (alkaline).  The scale goes from 0-14, with 7 being considered pH neutral.   Interestingly, the pH of human tears (saline) is 7.2-7.5, making it the most comfortable pH for skin.  

Pool and hot tub water ideal pH 7.5
Victoria City Water pH  7.2-7.3

2. Alkalinity
A discussion of pH in pool and hot tub water is not complete without an explanation of alkalinity, since they are closely related.  Total alkalinity is a measure of the ability of the water to resist changes in pH.  Think of it as a shield or buffer for the pH.  In chemistry language it is considered carbonate buffering.  The greatest contributor to total alkalinity in pool and hot tub water are bicarbonates.  The easiest way to add this to water is in the form of sodium bicarbonate.  Or, in more common terms, Baking Soda.  The only difference between what is used in baking and what is used in pool and hot tub water is the density.  Pool and Hot Tub grade sodium bicarbonate is denser, allowing it to absorb into water instead of floating on the surface.

Pool and hot tub water ideal Alkalinity 120-150ppm
Victoria City Water Alkalinity 20ppm

3. Calcium Hardness
Water, like our own bodies, needs a certain amount of calcium.  Pool and hot tub water also  needs this mineral to be properly balanced.  Maintaining appropriate levels of calcium hardness is directly related to the balance of the other two, pH and Alkalinity.  Adding the right amount of Calcium hardness and maintaining that level is important because of the major problems that can occur if it isn't. If the water doesn’t have enough it will become aggressive (corrosive) in an effort to get it, or if it has too much it will get rid of it by disposing of it as a scale formation.  Both of these scenarios lead to damaging hot tub and pool surfaces and parts (pumps, filters, heaters etc.)

Pool and hot tub water ideal calcium Hardness 150-300ppm (higher amount for concrete surfaces)
Victoria City Water Calcium Hardness 20ppm

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