Swimming pools are a great way to relax and stay cool during the summer. But if your swimming pool has hard water, it can harm your and your family’s health. Hard water is created when magnesium, calcium, iron, and other minerals accumulate in water over time, making it difficult for chlorine to do its job properly.
In this article, we will give you tips on balancing the hard water from your swimming pool so you can enjoy a safe swimming experience.
What Is Hard Water?
Water can either be hard or soft. Hard water means it has a high mineral content. This happens when rain or groundwater passes through rocks like limestone, chalk, or gypsum and picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium.
If you get your water from a well, it will probably be hard water, and you might need a system to soften it up. Hard water is common in some parts of the US, like the Southwest and Midwest, but it can happen anywhere.
Even though hard water is safe to drink, it can have some downsides. It can make your hair and skin feel dry and cause limescale buildup in your hot water tank and affect your appliances.
In swimming pools, hard water is sometimes known as calcium hardness.
What Are the Effects of Hard Water in Pools?
Like other appliances, hard water can cause limescale buildup around your pool and its filtration system. This looks bad and can also harm your pool components and equipment if it needs to be taken care of.
Limescale buildup in pipes can slow the water flow from the filtration system and clog up the filter. It can also stick to other equipment like heating coils.
Hard water can also make the water in your pool look cloudy and change its color, making it look unclean. And if you swim in a pool with hard water, it can dry out your hair and skin and irritate you.
How to Measure Water Hardness in Pools
Before you soften your pool water, it’s essential to know how hard the water is. The ideal hardness level depends on what kind of pool you have. For pools with a fiberglass or vinyl liner, you should aim for a lower hardness level of around 175-225 parts per million (ppm). A hardness level of 200-275 ppm is ideal if you have a concrete or plaster pool.
Measuring the hardness of your pool water is simple. Just get a hardness test kit with test strips you can dip in your pool for quick reading.
To use the test strips, dip one end in the pool water for a few seconds until the color changes. Then compare the new color on the strip with the chart that comes with the kit. If the water hardness is higher than 300 ppm, treating it and making it softer is a good idea.
Why You Need to Balance Your Calcium Water Levels
If you’re having trouble with cloudy water and mineral buildup in your pool, it might be a sign that your calcium hardness level is too high. This means there’s a higher concentration of minerals dissolved in your water. Too much hard water can lead to mineral deposits on your pool walls, equipment, and pipes, making the water look cloudy.
It’s essential to balance your pool water, including calcium hardness, pH, and total alkalinity. The ideal range for calcium hardness is between 150-400 ppm. Keeping it at the midpoint, around 275 ppm, will help keep your pool in good shape.
Having imbalanced pool water can also affect the effectiveness of other chemicals you use to adjust pH and total alkalinity. You might use more of them to get the same results.
What Are the Steps to Lower Calcium Hardness?
If you’re dealing with a complex water problem in your swimming pool, don’t worry, there are a few ways to fix it. You can replace the hard pool water with fresh water, use a flocculant to bunch up excess minerals, or adjust the saturation index.
The easiest and safest way to reduce the calcium in your pool is to drain some water and refill it with fresh water. You can use your pool’s backwash feature to do this while you’re cleaning the filter. Here’s how:
- Test your pool’s calcium hardness level. You need to know how much calcium you’re starting with.
- Figure out how much water you need to remove. If your calcium level is over 400 ppm, drain about a quarter of the pool to bring it down. Check with a local pool service provider to see what’s typical in your area, as this can get expensive if your water rates are high.
- Drain some water by backwashing or using a drop-in pump and hose. If you’re siphoning the water, turn off the pool pump if the water level gets too low.
- Refill the pool with fresh water and wait 6 hours for it to mix. If your existing water is warm, the freshwater might sink to the bottom, so give it some time.
- Test the calcium hardness level again and see if you’re in the ideal range. Repeat the process if needed.
And there you have it, a simple way to fix a hard water problem in your pool
Can Hard Water Affect Your Health?
So, while we don’t drink the pool water, some of it may end up being swallowed while we’re swimming. According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information report, if we swallow hard pool water, it can be bad news for our hearts.
How to Balance Calcium Hardness
To avoid hard water problems in your pool, the best thing to do is to keep it well-maintained, with balanced water and calcium levels. Here’s how:
- Keep your pool clean. A clean pool is a happy pool!
- Balance the water. Keeping an eye on your pool’s chemistry will help you avoid calcium hardness problems, among others.
- Test the water often. If you have hard water, it’s imperative to test it at least once a week (or every two weeks at most). Make sure you use test strips or a kit that checks for calcium hardness.
- Tackle problems early. Don’t wait for hard water to get out of control before you fix it. As soon as you see the level getting too close to the upper or lower limit, take action.
Following these steps, you can keep your pool healthy and avoid challenging water problems! Learn about calcium hardness in pool water. Learn how to test your water and how to treat it if your calcium levels are too high.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What problems can hard water cause in swimming pools?
Hard water can lead to several issues, including scale formation on pool surfaces, reduced water clarity, clogged filters, and decreased effectiveness of pool chemicals.
Can I prevent hard water scale in my pool?
Yes, you can prevent scale buildup by maintaining proper water chemistry, including the use of sequestering agents or scale inhibitors to keep minerals in suspension and prevent them from forming scale.
How can I lower the hardness level in my pool water?
To lower hardness levels, you can partially drain and refill the pool with fresh water. Dilution is an effective method to reduce the concentration of minerals in the pool.
How often should I test and adjust the hardness of my pool water?
Regularly test your pool water, especially when filling the pool or after heavy rain. Adjust hardness as needed to maintain the desired level.
What is the ideal hardness level for pool water?
The ideal hardness level for pool water typically falls within the range of 200 to 400 ppm, although this can vary depending on your specific pool and local water conditions.
Hard water in swimming pools can be a problem, but there are several ways to tackle it. Replacing hard pool water with fresh water is the safest and most reliable option. You can also use a flocculant to clump together excess minerals or adjust the saturation index.
Keeping your pool well-maintained with balanced water, testing the water frequently, and addressing problems early are also crucial to avoiding challenging water issues in your pool. With a little effort, you can maintain a healthy and enjoyable swimming environment for yourself and your family.