Feed the Beast!! Feed the Beast!! Water is hungry like that old Hungry Hippo game. Maybe I'm dating myself? Meh, but the point is this. Water will try to feed its appetite for calcium any way it can. Many times it will draw it from the plaster, which causes unsightly pitting, or from your filtration system, which will cause hard water deposits. Maintaining your pool's calcium hardness level between 150 ppm - 250 ppm will prevent this from happening. Some areas of the country may have very soft water or very hard water.
The ideal range for your pool's calcium hardness level is 150 ppm-250 ppm, not 350 - 400 ppm or higher. This is especially true for saltwater pools and salt water pool system. If you add any more calcium hardness increaser, your salt cells might calcify and burn up, shortening its life. You also run the risk of having hard water scale at the water line.
You don't need take your tap water anywhere and have expensive tests performed. Simply call your local water company and ask them the calcium hardness of the water or use a good pool water test kit. Central Oregon has very soft water, about 3 ppm. Places like Arizona, Nevada, and here in Florida might have water hardness that can reach 200 ppm - 300 ppm or even higher!!
Your pool's calcium hardness is a measurement of the amount of calcium ions that can be found in your pool water. It's basically a hard mineral content. The minerals can be made up of calcium, magnesium carbonates, and others. The total hardness of the water consists of magnesium hardness and calcium hardness. Calcium is good for our pools and good for us. But too much can cause problems that we don't want.
The best answers are the simplest. You'll want to maintain your calcium hardness level in your pool at 150 - 250 ppm. This should be fairly easy to do. Keeping the correct level of calcium hardness is mainly for plaster pools. Plaster contain calcium carbonate and if the hardness level gets too low, the water will start to basically eat away at the plaster and try to satisfy its hunger for calcium. It's for this reason we want to maintain our calcium hardness in the correct range. But as always, follow your manufacturer's recommendations if you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool.
If you live in the 100,000 places that have hard water, it's best to stay away from anything that will raise it. Reduce or eliminate the use of calcium hypochlorite chlorine. And never use calcium chloride which is used, in and of itself, to raise calcium hardness. Maintaining a lower calcium hardness level might be a challenge when you already have hard fill water. Reducing calcium hardness is difficult. You may either replace some or all of your pool water or have pool water trucked in. When filling your pool with fresh water, be sure to test the tap water for its hardness. This will give you a good starting point to see if you need to add calcium chloride or not. Unfortunately there is no quick and easy fix on lowering your swimming pool's hard water.
However, there is good news. Remember the video above? About how pH affects your pool's calcium hardness? You can maintain a lower pH of 7.2 - 7.4. This will keep the pool water a little more on the acidic side and decrease the chances of the pool's calcium hardness falling out of solution.
There are a couple of options to lower your pool's calcium hardness. Of course, this is after you've tested your water.
Ah, this is the one I love!! You see, we can ALWAYS add more calcium hardness increaser to the pool to get it in the correct range of 150 - 250 ppm. Taking out calcium hardness, well, that one is a little tricky. If you're one of the lucky few that have soft fill water, your best option for raising the calcium hardness in your pool is calcium chloride. This chemical is readily available in any pool store or can be found online.
First is to test test and test. But we need a good test kit. Since starting in the pool industry in 1999, I've used and recommend the Taylor K-2006 pool water test kit. This kit will give you the chemical numbers you need. So we should:
Let's be proactive and take care of business when it happens.
Pool maintenance is one of the fun parts of having a pool and diligence is needed if we expect perfect results. A perfect pool doesn't happen by accident. And the longer we let the water chemistry slip by, the more problems and trouble we'll have with our calcium hardness.
The work pays off. And it shows by your crystal clear water.
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In your u-tube video from January, 2014, you state that the correct level for calcium hardness should be 150-250 ppm and that 250-500 ppm is too high. …