Swimming Pool Chemistry

Simple Swimming Pool Chemistry & Your Pool Chemistry Cheat Sheet. All About Swimming Pool Water Chemistry & Pool Water Maintenance Tips. 

Proper swimming pool chemistry is the most important part of your pool care.

The water quality indicators and swimming safety depends on having your pool balanced correctly.

This is not complex chemistry, but a basic understanding of what you need to know for swimming pool care. 

Swimming Pool Chemistry In Context

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Have a great swimming pool should be fun and cleaning your pool is part of that fun, at least it should be.

Because most indoor and outdoor swimming pools are chlorine pools, there are only six chemistry basics you need to know:

  • Pool chlorine and cyanuric acid levels (CYA/pool stabilizer). The CYA is mainly for outdoor pools. Your chlorine level should be 2 - 4ppm and the CYA level is 30 - 50 ppm.
  • Testing and knowledge of combined chlorine (CC/chloramines). This is mostly for indoor pools but the CC should not exceed 0.6 for 3 consecutive days. If it does it's time to shock the pool.
  • How to raise and lower your swimming pool pH level. pH is the acidity or alkalinity of a solution/water.  A low pH, 6.9 and under, indicates acidic conditions. A high pH, 7.1 and above, indicates basic conditions.  pH measures the amount of hydrogen ions in water. A measurement of 7.0 is considered neutral. Keep your pool water between 7.2 - 7.8. 
  • How to properly adjust your swimming pool's total alkalinity (TA). Alkalinity is capacity of water to neutralize an acid. Keep your alkalinity between 80 - 100 ppm, 120 ppm being the top.
  • Your calcium hardness is raised using calcium chloride and should be kept at 150 - 250 ppm. There's no chemical to effectively reduce the hardness. Places that have hard fill water should only use liquid chlorine, not calcium hypochlorite. 

And last, but not least, a good pool water testing kit.

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Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 Pool Water Test Kit

Pool Chemistry Safety

Always take the proper precautions in dealing with swimming pool chemicals and read the manufacture’s labels.

  • Wear heavy duty rubber gloves, goggles, and clothes (long sleeves and pants) that you don't mind getting ruined
  • Keep all pool chemicals out of reach of children and pets
  • Never store liquid chemicals over dry.  Keep them separate.
  • Never mix calcium chloride in a bucket with water. It may steam up and burn you. Add directly to the pool water.
  • Always wait 2 hours before adding a different chemical; chlorine and acid. And never mix the two.
  • If your first diluting the chlorine in a bucket, ALWAYS add the chemical to the water, never water to the chemical
  • Always allow for one full turn-over of the water before making another adjustment. The is about 8 - 10 hours of filtering.

Whether for salt water pool maintenance, above ground or inground pool maintenance, this swimming pool chemistry and swimming pool maintenance tips page will come in handy. Review it from time to time and you'll have the perfect pool.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

At A Loss On Pool Chemical Levels 
My TH is 200 My FC/Bromine is 0 My pH is 8.4 My TA is 240 My CYA is 30-50 I have shocked a few times, added that myur#*}~* acid once. I have chlorine …

Chlorine or Free Chlorine Green Pools 
I have a green pool at start up of the season. I shocked, then put in algaecide, and vaced a few times it is not the dark green/black any more but a light-green …

Putting Chemicals In When Filter Is Down 
My filter is down until I can get a new lateral--maybe a day or so. I need to put in @ 12 pounds of shock to get my total chlorine down. Can I sprinkle …

How Can I Clear Up My Water 
I have a 13000 Gal above the ground pool. It was neglected for most of the summer last year due to financial problems, but now this spring, we are opening …

Sitting Pool Water 
Above-ground pool installed and electrical contractor bailed before the work was finished. Water is to full level. We're scrambling to get another …


High Phosphate Levels 
My pool guy is treating my pool for high levels of phosphate and beginning black algae (YUCK). My pool guy has treated the pool for the phosphates …

Put the Wrong Chemical In The Pool By Mistake 
We were opening our above the 18 ft. round ground pool & it was ready for us to put in the chlorine extender. By mistake (the containers were similar …

Total Chlorine & Phosphate Problems...What Should I Do? 
I live on a heavily wooded lot just north pf Pittsburgh Pa. I have a 20x43 Lazy L in-ground vinyl lined pool (still orig liner). Pool was put in in …

How Much Chlorine Do I Need For My Pool Not rated yet
I am new at this. I have an above ground pool Intex 24/12 but I am not sure how much chlorine to add. I am bothered by Algae. Can you help? …

Pool In India Not rated yet
First off I'm in India. My pool in the US IS GREAT....here it's a mess. There is no way to get the water tested... The pool leaks. They fill up three …

Phosphate Question. What Range Should It Be? Not rated yet
The phosphate on my pool is 95 and the Leslie's pool shop lady told me that has to be around 300. My question is what is the right range? …

Trouble Leveling Off Chemicals In Pool Not rated yet
This is a new pool. Easy set..18 x 48. 4950 gallons water. using the cartidge filter washing them out 2 times daily to remove rust and deposits building …

Troclosene Not rated yet
Thanks for a great site. We have an Intex 8 ft round pool, which holds about 640 gallons. My question is whether it is safe to treat the water solely with …

How To Address Pool Water Imbalance Not rated yet
We have a new salt pool. I took a water sample in to local store this AM with the follow in results. Salt 6.4 Total Chlor 2.04 pH 8.07 Ca 140 TA 60 …

Iron in Swimming Pool Water Not rated yet
I have a Hydro Force above ground swimming pool and use the Krystal Clear salt water system. I filled my pool from my tap water which is run through …

Hot Tub Maintenance Tips Not rated yet
Hot tubs and spas need to be maintained just like your swimming pool does and in fact many of the methods of maintaining and winterizing your swimming …

Pool Clarity Not rated yet
I own a chlorine inground pool. I tried using a product called Blue Bayou to give my pool a bluer tint. After 1 1/2 days I now have an orange tint. …

I Am The New Pool Guy Not rated yet
We have a pool but cannot afford to have someone come and service it. My husband has thrown up his hands and just wants to get rid of the pool. I …

Out Of Balance Water Issues Not rated yet
I lack patience so before you got back to me I was on internet and chlorine, chlorine it said. So I put 5 gallons in. Yes, I did this, now my reading …

Is Sand Filter Working With 50 Gallons Of Bleach Not rated yet
New Question We have put 50 gallons of bleach in the pool and all of the readings are low or don't even register on the strip. The pool was …

1rst Pool Help..Pump Won't Circulate, So Can I Swim? Not rated yet
I just recently put up our backyard pool, my first-ever pool. It measures 15' X 48" (457cm X 122cm). I've got everything hooked up to its pump, but …

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