Testing the Waters – Keeping Your Pool Water in Perfect Health

If you have a home swimming pool you want to have confidence that the water is hygienic and safe. Testing the water and being aware of what constitutes a healthy swimming pool ensures this.

Common factors that can lead to corruption of a healthy chemical balance in your pool can often be avoided.  Be mindful of these and you may be able to dodge them, or at least address them, before they spoil your swimming fun.

Take the Test 

Remember to test your pool water at least once a week. Frequency should increase during times when pool is in regular use. This can be done with a DIY kit or by taking a water sample to your local pool shop (or to Agrifood Technology). The chemical balance of you pool is vital to both swimmers health in addition to preservation and maintenance of pool equipment.

The pH Level 

The pH level of the water—how acidic or basic it is—will need to be kept within an acceptable range. An ongoing imbalance in the pH of your pool water will result in unhealthy and potentially corrosive water. An acceptable pH level for your pool water is said to be between 7.4 and 7.6. A reading below 7 indicates water that is too acidic and can irritate the eyes. If the reading is above 8 it's indicative of alkalinity of the water and can result in skin irritations. The water pH must be correct to precipitate the function and utilization of the chlorine.


The maintenance of healthy active chlorine levels in the pool is essential. This applies in both chlorinated and salt water pools. Chlorine acts as disinfectant and can be corrupted or compromised by several factors including:

Activity in the pool and the number of users – Body oils, perspiration, body care products, sunscreens and cosmetics all de-stabilize your pool water's chemical levels. The more people in the pool the less stable the chemical balance of the water.

Animals in the pool – A standard size dog is equivalent, in debris and germ impact, to the increased load that three humans would create in your pool water. Think twice before you indulge Fido in dog paddle.

Leaf litter and vegetation from pool surrounds – Vegetation and garden chemicals can introduce phosphates into your pool, which in turn can encourage algae.

Efficiency and frequency of filtration system cycles – The pump and filtration system clears the pool water of debris. The longer the filtration cycle runs the less chlorine is needed to maintain pool water hygiene. The more efficient pumps and filters are the cleaner your pools will be.

Excessive rain – Prolonged rain will result in a dilution of chlorine levels and lead to the promotion of algae and bacteria in your pool. A shock treatment  may be required to kill any existing bacteria following a period of heavy rain.

Extreme heat – Chlorine is destroyed by the intense ultraviolet rays. Warm weather requires a more diligent testing and correcting of pool water. Hot weather will increase the number of people using your pool and the frequency of use. This weather therefore tends to lead to a decrease in chlorine in the pool water and a simultaneous rise in bacteria, encouraged as a result of sun lotion and body oils being introduced into the water by swimmers.

Knowing the above factors can wreak havoc on the healthy balance of your pool water can assist you in ascertaining when it may be necessary to increase diligence with your water testing. When you get it right, treat yourself to a swim.