How To Balance Pool Water

Beginner Info, Pool

how to balance pool water
As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. All the products recommendation links on will navigate to Amazon

Balance Pool Water: Well, in this post, I would be walking you through various aspects of balancing pool water in order to help you achieve an optimum result without any hassle.

For the perfect swimming environment, you can’t compromise on the pool water chemistry and the chemicals need to be balanced in order to prevent any last-hour misadventure.

Moreover, balancing pool water might seem to you a calk walk but it isn’t.

You need to put constant effort to keep the pool water balance, and failing to do so exposes your pool to a wide range of problems including algae and bacteria.

So, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned professional, it is really important for you to understand the importance of keeping pool water balanced.

In case, you’re well aware of the tips and tricks then you can exit the post right away.

Else, be with us till the end because the discussion that is gonna happen would be full of idiosyncratic information that almost all the swimmers out here would be looking forward to.

Correct me, if I’m wrong.

So, without any further ado, let’s begin…

How To Balance Pool Water | Prerequisites

So, after an in-depth discussion with my consultant and swimming partners, here I’m with a list of things that you would be needing to achieve an optimum result.

In case, I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comment section.

Does it make sense?

  • Testing Kit
  • Stabilizer
  • pH Balancer
  • Alkalinity Balancer
  • Water Hardness Balancer

It’s my humble request that before we start the discussion on balancing pool water please have these things handy to prevent any last-hour mishap.

Do I really need balanced pool water?

Definitely, no doubt about it.

Let’s discuss some of the reasons that will highlight the need for balanced pool water.

To begin with, keeping balanced pool water is the best preventive measure that you can take against algae and bacteria growth in your pool.

Using a high-quality and highly effective sanitizer is a must to maintain a healthy and safe swimming ambiance.

Well, especially the newbies make mistakes by taking for granted that chlorine would do all the tricks for them.

But, in the real world, that is far from reality.

In fact, just throwing some chlorine tabs in the dispenser or pouring some solutions into your pool wouldn’t be sufficient at all.

It may give you some temporary relief, that’s all.

As a pool owner, you need to be well aware of the amount of chlorine present in your pool as well as the amount needed to be added over a period of time.

Trust me, I own a pool for over a decade now, and sanitization using chlorine and bromine is an ongoing process, and needs to be a part of the regular maintenance process.

In case, you’re not aware of the optimum level of chlorine that needs to be present in your pool for maintaining a healthy environment then your pool might become prey to high or low chlorine levels.

From chlorine poisoning to eye and skin irritation, everything can happen due to the presence of excessive chlorine in your pool water.

Chlorine poisoning is known to cause many symptoms including nausea, burning throat, itchy eyes, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.

Only maintaining chlorine level wouldn’t do the trick for you rather entire pool chemical compositions need to be tracked on a regular basis along with keeping them balanced.

Moreover, the performance of chlorine is also influenced by the pH level of pool water so the latter needs to be maintained.

If you’re thinking that only the high chlorine level in your pool water would be the problem then you’re absolutely wrong.

Even a shortage of chlorine could cause you sleepless nights.

A low level of chlorine in your pool may make the water corrosive leading to damage to equipment.

Some of you might even have faced some skin and eye problems, right?

So, the gist is, you need to keep track of all the essential chemicals in your pool that is directly or indirectly related to pool cleanliness, safety, hygiene, etc.

Should I use a test kit for balancing my pool water?

Definitely, you should opt for a high-quality testing kit in order to help you maintain a hygienic pool environment without any hassle.

Needless to say, every pool kit is unique in its own sense and also comes with its own set of instructions.

Correct me, if I’m wrong.

For liquid kits, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps to achieve an optimum result.

  • First and foremost, you need to dip a tangible amount of water out of your pool. Well, irrespective of the test kit brand and model, each one of them would be having a plastic container for collecting water
  • Generally, the container is meant to hold water in the middle and has numbers on the side that would give you a reading of the levels
  • The kit also comes with a reagent that you need to add to the water, and the amount that you need to add to the water would be clearly mentioned in the instruction manual that will come with your kit so the margin of error would be very negligible
  • Your testing kit would also comprise caps that you need to cover the vials and then turn upside down a couple of times in order to mix the reagent with water
  • Finally, you need to read the result and understand the meaning of the inference, and at times, it can be quite tricky as well. Your test kit would give you the colors that you’re supposed to match. Lastly, the color your water turns in the vials indicates the level of your chemicals

What are the important chemical factors that need to be tested?

Definitely, an important question, indeed.

So, moving further, we would be discussing some of the important chemicals that need to be tested on a regular basis for the proper functioning of the pool.

pH Balance

Frankly speaking, the pH level is an important parameter that needs to be tested on a regular basis.

It tells whether your pool water is acidic, basic, or neutral, and is known to impact the performance of chlorine as well.

pH can be influenced by lots of external factors including heavy rain, debris, algae, etc.

The higher level of pH depicts that the pool water is basic.

On the other hand, a lower pH level would depict that the pool water is acidic.

Unfortunately, a lower level of pH can give birth to lots of problems including skin and eye irritation.

In the worst-case scenario, an unstable pH can lead to pool liner and pool equipment erosion which is definitely not a healthy sign for your pool.

As a pool owner, it is your sole responsibility to maintain a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6.

Anything above and below it would be hazardous to both the pool and the swimmer.

Getting the pH on track isn’t difficult, all you need to do is to add a pH-balancing chemical to get it back on track.

For raising the pH level when it’s below normal, you need to either add sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate.

Both chemicals are good at doing their job perfectly.

Moreover, you can also find some chemicals like pH UP readily available on the market that comes with easy-to-follow instructions highly beneficial for newbies and beginners.

On the other hand, if your pH level is too high then you need to add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to help you achieve the desired level of pH.

Since these chemicals are used to reduce the pH level of your pool water so they are labeled as pH reducers.

Most of the pH reducers come with an easy-to-read set of instructions that can help you to get the pH back to the desired level.


Alkalinity is again an important parameter that can be considered as a mediator for the pH levels.

As we all know pH is a very unstable factor because of the capability of external factors to influence it so in order to keep the pH level stable you need something sort of alkalinity.

Moreover, if alkalinity is too low, the pH levels would be drastically impacted, and of course not for a good reason.

On the other hand, if alkalinity is too high then it would be really difficult for anyone to adjust the pH level in an epigrammatic span of time.

Always, try to keep the alkalinity level in the range of 100 and 150 parts per million.

Furthermore, if they are out of balance it’s usually because they are too low.

In order to raise the alkalinity level, you need to add sodium bicarbonate.

To reduce the alkalinity level, muriatic acid would do the trick for you.

Calcium Hardness

As the name suggests, calcium hardness tells you about the quality of your pool water, that is, how soft or hard your pool water is.

It goes without saying that if your pool water is too soft then it will give you a feeling as if your skin is slimy and unclean.

Soft water simply means the calcium level in your pool water is not up to the mark, and as a result, corrosion might happen on your pool’s surface and equipment.

You need to add calcium chloride in order to raise calcium hardness in your pool water.

On the contrary, if the level of calcium is way more than the required level then your pool water will not only turn cloudy but also leave calcium deposits all over the place including the filter and liner.

Lowering the calcium level is much easier than you can ever imagine, all you need to do is to add muriatic acid.

Always, ensure that the calcium hardness reading falls in the range of 150 and 400 parts per million to avoid any unpleasant event.

Total Chlorine

Do I REALLY need to talk about the importance of chlorine?

I know many of you would be confused with the phrase total chlorine, right?

Well, I was also very inquisitive regarding the same when I heard about it for the first time.

Total chlorine can be defined as the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine.

Total Chlorine = Free Chlorine + Combined Chlorine

So, let’s understand each one of them.

Free chlorine is the amount of chlorine that is still freely available to clean your pool.

On the other hand, combined chlorine is the amount of chlorine that has already been used up.

Whenever you’re calculating the amount of sanitizer that you want to add to your pool, you need to calculate it on the basis of free chlorine.

Most of the test kits would be testing for the free chlorine level.

Remember, for the healthy functioning of your pool, you need to make sure that the free chlorine is present in a much higher percentage as compared to the combined chlorine.

The ideal chlorine level falls in the range of 1.0 to 3.0 parts per million.

However, if the pool chemistry test shows a lower level of chlorine then you need to add chlorine product to bring back its level on track.

On the other hand, if the level is too high then just wait for some time, sunlight would help you to bring the level back on track.

As we all know, UV rays present in the sunlight would eat up chlorine.

At the same time, make sure that no one enters the swimming pool when the chlorine level is too high because it might cause skin and eye irritation.

Cyanuric Acid

Well, cyanuric acid is a chemical compound that is used to stabilize the chlorine level in your pool.

Cyanuric acid aka CYA acts as a shield against UV rays and thus protects the chlorine from getting eaten up/disintegrated.

CYA is available in both liquid and granular forms.

Some chlorine products include CYA while the rest don’t.

If the chlorine product that you’ve bought for your pool doesn’t include CYA then the best thing that you can do is to buy CYA separately.

CYA is highly affordable and readily available.

Well, CYA plays an important role in protecting chlorine against UV rays, and many of you would be astonished to know that in the absence of CYA, half of the chlorine would get eaten up by the sunlight in less than 30 minutes.

On the other hand, a higher level of CYA may initiate a phenomenon called chlorine locking wherein chlorine loses its effectiveness.

Frankly speaking, try to maintain a CYA level somewhere between 50 and 100 parts per million (ppm).

Anything, above 100 ppm would give birth to lots of trouble.

What about pool temperature?

I know many of you especially the newbies would be wondering what the temperature had to do with the pool ambiance, right?

Well, it has a lot to do.

As compared to cold climates, bacteria, and algae thrive better and fast in a hot and humid climate.

So, as the temperature would start soaring, the algae and bacteria would start multiplying at an alarming rate.

In the worst-case scenario, your pool might turn green overnight or in less than 24 hours.

The real problem begins when algae and bacteria start growing at a very fast pace.

In order to tackle the rapid growth of the microorganism, chlorine gets consumed in an epigrammatic span of time leading to complete disruption of the chemical ecosystem.

So, keep a check on the pool temperature, and prevent it from soaring very high.

Does the saturation index matter?

Definitely, the saturation index is of utter importance and you can’t ignore it at all.

Frankly speaking, the saturation index is used to determine the tendencies of water towards corrosion or scaling based on the pH of calcium carbonate.

In layman’s terms, the saturation index is used to measure the balance of chemicals in your pool water.

Formula (SI) = pH + TF + CF + AF – 12.1

To be honest, with the help of the aforementioned formula, you can easily cross-verify that the pool chemistry is maintained or need some modification.

In the longer run, implying the formula would definitely help you to deal with future and unprecedented issues.

On the downside, this process is labor-intensive as well as time-consuming.

But, it’s worth the pain.

It’s A Wrap

Well, keeping your pool water clean and safe is something that you need to do on a priority basis.

And, for this, you must expedite chemical testing at least once a week if NOT MORE.

However, if any of the chemical levels rises or falls then definitely you need to increase the frequency of testing until and unless, the ideal level is restored for all the essential pool chemicals including calcium hardness, alkalinity, CYA, etc.

In case, you don’t want to spend time every day testing your pool water then the best thing that you can do is, hire a pool consultant like me to get the work done effortlessly.

Even you can take a sample of pool water to the nearby pool supply store and gets the testing done.

In case, you’re a newbie then definitely, you should try to test your pool water a couple of times to understand the entire process, and then you can hire a consultant.

I hope you would’ve thoroughly enjoyed this post on balancing pool water in a hassle-free manner.

Last but not least, please share this piece of information with the ones who are in need of it.

After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?

[Also Read]