Now that I’ve got the pump working and the right amount of DE in the filter it’s time to get the water clear. However, before I can get the water from its ever so interesting milky green to clear, I’ve got to test it to see its chemical makeup. Once I know where it is and where it should be, I’ll figure out the path to get it there.
Pool Testing Kits
Back when I used Bacqacil, my testing kit consisted of a few test strips. I’d dip the strip in water and compare the colors on the strip to the colors on a color guide. I’d then add the appropriate chemicals to make everything match. Being new to the chlorine side of the game, I bought a testing kit (I wish I hadn’t).
The testing kit consists of tubes and testing liquids. The kit explains how many drops of which testing solution to use in order to test the water’s pH, and chlorine/bromine levels. Actually, I’m not too enthused with this kit and intend to find a different testing kit that consists of test strips, but in the meanwhile, I’ve got to use what I’ve got on hand.
If all else fails, I can take a water sample to Leslie Pool Supplies and they’ll tell me what to do.
Starting with the Pool’s pH Levels
Apparently, chlorine doesn’t work efficiently if the pool’s pH levels are off. So, before I begin adding a bunch of chemicals it’s best to get the pH to the optimal level of 7.4 (wow, that’s the same optimal pH level as human blood).
To find the pH level using the chemistry kit that I bought, I’ve got to get a sample of water, place the water in the large tube, add a drop of solution #4 and then five drops of solution #2 to see what colors it yields (too much work). After playing chemist I found that my pool’s pH levels were at the maximum of 8.2.
The pH level makes sense because I filled it with a water hose. We have a water softening system attached to the house so all of our water softening salt went into the pool creating a high pH level. The way to lower the level is to introduce acids.
Reducing a Pool’s pH Level
Muriatic acid is a popular acid is a popular acid used for lowering a pool’s pH. Instead, I used a dry crystal substitute called pH Decrease. It works the same as muriatic acid, but it is in crystal form and I believe easier to handle.
According to the testing kit, I needed to add several pints/pounds of acid to the pool. The thing about adding acid is that you’ve got to add it slowly. I added about a pint/pound at a time and waited for at least 2 hours before testing the water.
Because my pH levels were so high, it took several days to get the pH down. I was hesitant to dump several pounds of acid into the pool in one day. One source advised to add no more than one pint a day and another source advised to add acid and test every two hours.
I decided to follow a little of both sources. I added a pint, waited for two hours and checked the pH levels which were still high. I then added another pint, waited for two hours, checked the levels and decided to hold off on adding more acid until the next day. I repeated the process each day until the pH levels were at or near 7.4.