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How to Balance the Calcium Hardness Level in Your Pool

How to Balance the Calcium Hardness Level in Your Pool

Remember those required reading lists you used to get over summer vacation? You’ll recall that if you read the books over the course of the summer, they were way easier to get through.

However, if you put reading them off, you likely spent those last precious days trying to pack all those pages in before school started. (Never mind if there were book reports due on top of that!) The lesson being that waiting until the last minute is not always the best plan.

As a home and pool owner, you already know that when you consistently stay ahead of the curve on maintenance issues, you won’t typically have to deal with sudden breakdowns or incur the added expense of dealing with neglected, presumed-to-be-minor repair issues that went from bad to worse. When everything is working as it should, you put yourself in a prime position to forge ahead with last-minute party plans. Without an extra credit book report in sight!

The Problem with Too Little Calcium

Just like life, balance is everything, whether it’s work/play or pool calcium levels. You don’t want any of these to run amok. As far as deficient pool calcium, an interesting (but not great!) phenomenon naturally occurs. Just as water seeks its own level, it also strives to equalize itself.

In other words, when your swimming pool water doesn’t have enough calcium, the water will make its own attempts at stability by literally drawing out the calcium it craves from the plaster pool walls. In the absence of plaster, your pool water will seek this mineral from metal fittings and even heat exchangers. That theft will be evidenced by the corrosive destruction, staining and potentially leaks.

The Problem with Too Much Calcium

Unlike the mineral that fortifies bones and is essential for some bodily functions, an excess of calcium in your pool is not a good thing either. It will:

  • Erode parts and causes tiny leaks in pool equipment
  • Leave behind ugly rust stains and scaly buildup
  • Corrode metal fittings

Although inappropriate levels of this chemical compound cause issues with your pool, a solid & regular maintenance routine will keep it balanced while making possible all the Zen time you crave in the crystal waters of your backyard oasis.

Speaking of inner and outer balance, your pool water’s pH is a value you must consistently monitor. When that alkalinity is too high or too low, you’ll be inviting even more than calcium deposits, but also some cloudy water and that notorious algae to build up.

So, besides the contribution of the base-to-alkaline ratio that spikes that surplus calcium, higher water temps contribute to the excess while lower water temps can cause scaling of heater equipment due to calcium’s solubility in cold water.

The Ideal Calcium Solution

The pros at Swim University say, “If your pool has a vinyl or fiberglass liner, the calcium hardness level should be between 175 parts per million (ppm) and 225 ppm. If you have a concrete or plaster pool, keep the level between 200 ppm and 275 ppm. See? Easy. The key is keeping it balanced. You don’t want your pool water to be too hard or too soft. Either way, you’re in trouble.”

Your Calcium Cheat Sheet

  • What is calcium hardness?

Although always present in your pool, “hardness” determines how much calcium (or calcium carbonate) exists in your swimming pool water at any given time. An imbalance does not only set the stage for unwanted erosion, but can result in white, scaly buildup that can prove a chore to remove.

  • What causes excess calcium?

Like all your pool’s delicate chemistry, you’ll find this disparity when you are running at a high pH, your temperatures fluctuate, or with excessive evaporation.

  • How do I determine the calcium content?

Pool maintenance may sound challenging to the new pool owner, but just like with most DIY projects today, there are kits and prefab packages (think beautiful backyard gazebos!) that make maintenance and installations a breeze. Check with your pool supplier for the best test kits that not only reveal levels such as chlorine, pH, and alkalinity, but which also give you a calcium reading as well. Simple test strips will do the heavy lifting for you.

  • How do I remove calcium buildup?

As long as you have plaster walls in your pool, you’re good to go with a pumice stone. For any other surfaces, never use such a tool as you’ll do way more harm than good. For tile or other surfaces you’ll need some vinegar, a scrub brush, and a little sweat equity.

  • How do I raise the calcium in a pool?

After determining where you’re at on the scale, you can add a pool water hardness increaser to the water to easily raise calcium levels. Available at your local pool store, this bucket of granules will help cure what ails your pool. (Be sure, of course, to keep this container and any other pool supply chemicals under lock and key to keep children and pets safe.)

  • How do I lower calcium in a pool?

Pool supply provider, In the Swim, recommends sequestering agents to get back on track. These are “chemicals used to bind-up minerals and metals in solution, making it difficult for them to precipitate out of solution to cloud the water or stain the pool. They do not actually remove metals from the water but keep them ‘sequestered’ or locked in solution with tight chemical bonds.”

These solutions also help to fight stains, AND they should be made a part of your regular maintenance routine if you have hard water.

One of the greatest things about an outdoor entertainment space is that you can build it up and out until your heart is content. Whether you want to renovate your patio or finally install the alfresco kitchen of your dreams, your pool is the jewel. That shimmering centerpiece is the hub that pulls all the elements together.

Fortunately, pools are not super hard to take care of – you just want to use the right tools, allocate sufficient time, and set a schedule for staying on top of your pool’s chemistry and care. All of these are worthwhile efforts for sure, because these endeavors yield cherished times with family and friends.

There’s not much better than being able to make wonderful memories to treasure always. If we’ve learned anything of late, it’s that when you seize the day, you’ll live your best life!

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves educating clients on pool care and maintenance. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.