In the pool business there is one To-Do that is critical to your pool operation, but is overlooked almost daily by many owners, operators and pool service companies. Even the Health Department (DOH) does not address this.
You guessed it, we’re talking about water balance. BOORRING! We’re always talking about sexy new technologies, new ways to make your own chlorine out of recycled pool water, and great new ways to save energy, but at the base of every operation is the NEED to have good water balance.
Why is it important?
Water balance is calculated from (in order of influence) the pH, Temperature, Alkalinity, Calcium, and TDS of your pool water. It is an index normally from -1.5 to +1.5, where you find out if the water is HUNGRY (wants to destroy your pumps, filters, heaters, grout, and pool finish) or OVERSTUFFED and wants to give up particles that will show up as cloudy water, deposits on walls & tile, or efficiency-robbing deposits on heaters.
What is the problem?
The main problem is that typical fill water is low in calcium and alkalinity and is aggressive (or HUNGRY) which is OK when you’re watering the lawn or only flushing the toilet once. But if you trap it in a cement pool, lower the pH, and recirculate it over and over, it will start to attack the heaters, grout, pool finish, and more. How do you resolve it? For years expert operators have been taught to take a test kit reading of existing levels, buy lots of Calcium and Sodium Bicarbonate, calculate the necessary dosages, and manually dose the pool to bring everything in balance. Once every few weeks or every month is ok.
A dying art?
As easy as that sounds and to complete, it is hardly ever done by typical pool operators, or even service companies that just focus on Chlorine and pH. Since the DOH doesn’t test for water balance then you don’t get a wake up call normally, unless your CES rep harasses you, or the service company tries to explain why you lost your heater, or need to refinish your pool.
What does poor water balance cost?
Ignoring your water balance is expensive. A municipal pool can cost $300K or more to refinish, while some smaller pools still cost $30-75K. Sometimes, the same pool company that forgot to mention the need to balance water, will cheerfully sell you a new refinish job. Go figure. Heater replacements are expensive too, and can cost from $4K to $40K or more.
New tools to help you:
Help is on the way. Besides taking a CES AFO, AquaTech, Guerrilla, or Hoops class to brush up on water balance skills, you can also download a great new app that allows you to quickly calculate your water balance and will even give you corrective doses. It will do everything but test for it, and put in in. The best app we have used is called LSI Calculator from Pure Planet Science and Technology. Just load it on your phone or tablet; it’s easy to use, but call us if you need any help. Also new test kits provide a full test of all parameters in just 60 seconds, taking a lot of the hassle and guesswork out of testing.
Automatic Water Balance?
You can also automatically balance your water by using our Pulsar Tablet chlorination solution. Pulsar adds calcium and bicarb, and even a little stain prevention, while using 1/10th the acid of some bleach formulas. So, while it may cost a bit more, it ends up costing the same or a bit less overall. AND…. your pool is in balance. Some of our 25+ year Pulsar customers have NEVER refinished their pools.
Water Balance is really important, and we will help you along the way. Besides training and phone support, our PM customers can get personalized dosing instructions during their PM services, and we can even deliver balance chemicals at competitive pricing from your online ordering system or with a good a old fashioned call to your CES rep.
Please let us know how we can assist you.