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Understanding Basic Water Chemistry

Easy Water Chemistry & Maintenance


Owning your new pool can be very exciting, but there are things that you should know to

keep you swimming in a safe and clean pool.


After the install of your pool once the water has been topped up to the proper level on the skimmer face plate. Turn the pump on and allow the pump to run its circulation cycle (located in the pump section) for 24 hours. Once those 24 hours are up, bring a sample of water (1 cup) into your Bluewater location for testing. Remember to know your pool size before entering for a water test. The aqua specialist will be taking the sample and reading 5 major categories to ensure all are balanced. If there is one level that is out, the other levels will try to over compensate, causing you to spend more money that is not necessary. Remember to test your water regularly to ensure proper water balances. Once the water is balanced, a water test should be brought in every 3 weeks.

The following are the items they will be testing…

  1. Sanitizer Level

Reads at 1-3ppm or a lilac purple on the test strip for normal levels.

General weekly maintenance (weather, location, and bather loads can change these measurements slightly)

Aboveground – ½ jug chlorine Sunday/ ½ jug Wednesday

Inground – above 70 000L-1 jug Sunday/ 1 Jug Wednesday

Salt- 50% on dial

Nature II- Dial at 3


  1. pH Level

Reads at 7.2-7.8 (May read a little higher with a stronger alkalinity reading) or is a pinkish/red on the test strip.

This will only be adjusted along with your alkalinity during water tests only. This will read how acidic or basic the levels are in the water.


  1. Calcium

Reads 200-400 ppm/100-150 ppm concrete pool, Level checked at Bluewater location.

This is adjusted in the spring once the pool is up and running. Once calcium is added it will remain in the water and not deplete, unless new water is added or it rains significantly. The calcium will add a softness to the water, but more importantly help to stabilize the alkalinity and pH levels during weather systems. 


  1. Alkalinity

Read 120-150 ppm or a forest green with blue specs coming through on the test strip.

Alkalinity helps stabilize the pH level and keep the water more basic than acidic. This will be adjusted at the beginning when you open and periodically through the pool season during your water tests. It will maintain its level with the help of calcium. Alkalinity is usually only depleted when rain storms come in, so keep some handy for a rainy day!

  1. Stabilizer

Reads 15-70 ppm or gold on the test strip (It is best to keep your level around the 45 ppm mark)

Stabilizer is what allows the chlorine/sanitizer to stay in the water. This level cannot be chemically removed and slowly builds through the season. Once the level is good, strictly use chlorine/salt generator. This level should be watched carefully to prevent it from getting too high and disabling the chlorine from doing its job. People who use granular/pucks as their main source of sanitizer can run into this issue. By doing your routine water tests, you can avoid this issue.



There are many products that can ensure your water stays clear and free of unwanted bacteria and problems.

As part of your weekly maintenance you may want to incorporate them.

  • A weekly dose of a strong algaecide can be beneficial in order to prevent algae growth from appearing.
  • Adding a stain & scale can coat your system and liner to prevent stains from settling in. This should be done at opening and closing time.
  • A clarifying product can gather anything suspended in the water and sink it to the bottom for easy pick up with the vacuum.
  • In the spring, a filter cleaner can keep the sand in the filter tank fresh and free of bacteria.