A Guide to Keeping Pool Water Balanced and Sanitized: 9 Easy Steps

Keeping your pool water balanced and sanitized is key to the health of your pool. Here are 9 easy steps to make your pool water balanced and sanitized.

A pool is one of the best things about summer. It’s refreshing and a great way to cool off on those hot days. But keeping your pool healthy can be a lot of work. That’s why we made this nifty little guide — you can keep your pool water balanced, clear, and healthy without too much effort from yourself.

Swim in clear water pool

Read on! You’ll learn the importance of well-balanced pool water, the different types of chemicals to use, and how you can maintain the balance of your pool’s water in just easy steps. 

What’s the Importance of Balanced Pool Water?

To maintain the water balance in a pool, it is vital to clean your pool by removing and maintaining the balance of minerals and chemicals. You can have fun in a properly balanced pool for a longer time. It’s also more appealing, as well as keep the swimming environment safe. 

For maintaining the water balance of your pool, you need to clean it regularly. Without regular maintenance, it will get dirty and lose its color and clarity. Also, the low maintenance quality of a swimming pool relies on how well you maintain it. 

How Regular Should You Check on Your Pool to Maintain Its Balance?

It is suggested that you test the water at least once a week to maintain its balance. The pH should be tested and then balanced if necessary. The water should also be tested for chlorine levels, as well as total alkalinity and total hardness.

If you want to ensure that your pool is clean all the time, it is recommended to vacuum the pool walls, floor, and bottom of your pool every week.

Floor Vacuum

The pool pump should be cleaned out about once a month. However, if you have a large pool, it is suggested that you do this at least once every two weeks, as this will keep your pool’s water crystal clear. You will also find that the pump will last longer when properly maintained.

Testing your pool water can be tedious, but it is necessary to ensure that you maintain an appropriate pool pH level and sanitization of your water system. 

Easy Steps to Maintain Pool Water Balanced

Before we start, you must read this quick summary of the proper chemical levels of your pool. 

  • Total alkalinity (80 – 120 ppm)
  • pH Level (7.4 – 7.6)
  • Calcium Hardness (200 – 400 ppm)
  • Chlorine, Bromine, Biguanide (3 ppm chlorine)
  • Total Dissolved Solids (<2,000 ppm)

Now let’s begin.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Materials

Make sure you have all of the necessary supplies before you begin testing the water. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started:

  • Chemical test kit
  • Alkalinity balancer
  • pH balancer
  • Water-hardness balancer
  • Stabilizer or conditioner

Step 2: Test and Balance Pools Water Total Alkalinity

Test and Balance Pools Water Total Alkalinity

Total alkalinity is the measure of the number of alkaline substances in your pool. Alkalinity is the measure of the water’s ability to resist a change in pH.

Alkaline is also a pH stabilizer so when your pool’s total alkalinity fluctuates, so does your pH level. Total alkalinity ideal level should range to 80 – 120 ppm.

How to increase the levels of alkalinity? 

  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Baking Soda

How to decrease the levels of alkalinity? 

  • Sodium bisulfate (dry acid)
  • Muriatic acid

Step 3: Test and Balance the Pools Water pH Levels

Testing ph levels shows the swimming pool’s water relative acidity rate. It’s measured on a scale of 1.0 to 14.0. On the pH scale, the acidic range is from 0 to 7.0, while the base range is from 7.0 to 14.

Depending on the results you get, you may have to increase or decrease your pool’s pH level. 

pH level should range from 7.4 – 7.6

How to increase the pH level?

  • pH increaser (soda ash)

How to decrease the pH level?

  • pH decreaser (sodium bisulfate)
  • Muriatic acid

Step 4: Test and Balance Calcium Hardness

You can check the calcium imbalance by looking for a white line or scaling around your swimming pool’s waterline. If you often see something like this, it indicates the need to balance your pool’s calcium hardness asap. 

Calcium hardness levels should range from 200 to 400 ppm.

How to increase the level of calcium hardness?

  • Calcium chloride

How to decrease the level of calcium hardness

  • Draining your pool and refilling it with fresh water
  • Flocculant

Step 5: Add Chlorine to the Pool Water

Add Chlorine to the Pool Water

Chlorine kills free bacteria, ensuring that your water is safe and healthy to swim in. Without chlorine, your pool will be a breeding ground for bacteria, algae, and viruses. Chlorine is the most used sanitizer for swimming pools, and it’s available in the forms of:

  • Liquid chlorine
  • Granular chlorine
  • Chlorine tablets
  • Salt chlorine generators

To measure your chlorine, here are the two most important levels to look at:

  • Free chlorine – this is the number of unused chlorine ready for use in your pool water
  • Total chlorine – this is the total amount of chlorine present in your water deducted from combined chlorine. Ideal chlorine levels in a pool  should range to 3 ppm

What’s the other type of pool sanitizer?


Bromine is a type of liquid sanitizer used in swimming pools. It is less harsh than chlorine in pool water sanitization because it does not kill bacteria on contact as readily as chlorine does. Also, you can’t use this as a mix of traditional pool chemicals like algaecides and shocks.

Bromine levels should range to 3 – 5 ppm.


Biguanide (or bicarbonate) is an alternative to chlorine and can help sanitize your pool. However, it’s a little expensive than chlorine and used as part of a chemical sanitization trio.

Biguanide levels should range to 30 – 50 ppm. 


Mineral sanitization is unusual to pool owners. This system produces copper and silver ions which help regulate the pH in your pool. The good thing about mineral systems is that it’s very low maintenance and only requires the cartridge to be replaced every half of the year. 

Step 6: Test and Rebalance Cyanuric Acid Levels

Cyanuric acid (CYA) is a compound that prevents chlorine from being quickly burned by sunlight. Pool shock often contains CYA, but you may need to add extra to guarantee that it preserves your pool’s chlorine to its fullest extent.

CYA levels should range from 30 to 50 pm

Step 7: Check and Balance the Water’s Total Dissolved Solids

Total dissolved solids represent all the used chemicals substances that you’ve added to your water like the pool shock, salts, algaecides, dirt, and pretty much everything else. 

It’s common for pools to have Total Dissolved Solids levels of 100 to 1000. But there comes to the point that it becomes too much that the only way to reduce it is by draining and replacing your pool water. 

TDS level below 2,000 ppm is normal, and no adjustment is needed, but anything greater than this number requires a pool draining. 

Step 8: It’s Time to Shock the Pool Water

Shock Swimming Pool

There are many reasons pool owners might shock the pool water, but one of the main reasons is to remove any bacteria and organic debris. Shocking also restarts your pool water by keeping it clean, sanitized, and safe for swimming. 

How to shock your pool?

Now that you’ve learned everything about maintaining the balance in your pool, it’s time to shock your pool water!

  • Find a bucket that you can fill up with 5 gallons of water
  • Pour one bag of pool shock and gently mix with a stirring stick to dissolve the solution.
  • Once the solution is entirely diluted, gradually pour the mixed solution around the pool.
  • Pour most of it into the shallow end of your pool, so it reaches the drain much faster.

Step 9: Test the Water One Last Time

You should test your pool water one last time before dipping right into it. However, make sure to wait half a day to at least give enough time for your pool shock to work in the water.

After that, grab the chemical levels checklist and give a run down to see if you hit the proper levels in your pool.

In some circumstances, you might need to make few adjustments, but that’s okay rather than correcting the chemical imbalance in the long run.

Balancing your pool water is an important routine of being a swimming pool owner. It’s fairly easy, especially if you get into the habit of doing this regularly. Neglect these vital responsibilities, and there’s a huge chance alga could take control over your water. And no pool owner wouldn’t want that!

Luckily, if you follow along with these easy steps, you can spend less time worrying about the health of the swimmers and more time enjoying your pool instead. Check out the articles below that make you worry less about your pool. You can find all of our articles on our website. Happy swimming!

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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