Chemistry,  Features,  Nature

Your Pool is Gross!

How many of you have left home for a week to return to the horror of a cesspool in your backyard.  It is not a pretty sight, nor is it easy to contend with.  Unfortunately for the majority of pool owners, maintaining a constant eye on your pool chemistry is not feasible. For those of us that don’t have a PhD in Chemistry, getting our poolside oasis back to its former glory can be painful and time consuming.  The balancing act of chemicals, pH and chlorine is crucial for your pool to remain a happy place where folks want to take a dip.

Get the pH in Balance

Getting your pH into “the zone” and keeping it there is one of the never ending struggles most pool owners face with pool ownership.  pH is so important because it affects almost all other chemistry values in the pool.  If the pH is too low it is considered acidic; this can damage the pool, the liner and cause eye irritation.  If the pH is too high it’s considered basic water which can irritate your skin, reduce the effectiveness of chlorine in the pool, cause scale buildup and create cloudiness in the water.  It’s recommended to target between 7.2 and 7.8 for your pH level but we feel it’s better to target a specific value as this will have a less dramatic effect on the LSI calculation for the pool.  Ideally the zone we want to be targeting is 7.4 on a scale of 0 to 14.


Another key chemical aspect of the pool that needs tending to is the sanitizer levels.  Whether you are using a generation system like a salt water generator or adding chemicals directly, understanding the ability of your pool to destroy the nasty organic matter that makes its way in is very important.  Using oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) or redox, you can understand how capable your pool is at disinfecting, regardless of the sanitizer being used.  Ranges are typically measured between -1000 mv to +1000 mv by passing a weak electrical current through the water; If the value is positive, the water is an oxidizing agent (as in sanitizer). But if the value is negative, it is a reducing agent, which means its a safe playground for microbes, their cousins and likely all their friends as well.  

The recommended zone for ORP in pools is between 650 mv and 750 mv, but as with pH targeting a single value will help stabilize the pool water (and LSI calculations).  Shooting for the middle makes sense and operating at a 700 mv ORP is a value that we think makes sense.

Here is a list of pathogens/indicators and how long it takes to break down at different levels of ORP.

Survival in seconds (s) or hours (h)at ORP (mV)
Pathogen/Indicator < 485 550 to  620> 665
E. coli O157:H7 > 300 s < 60 s< 10 s
Salmonella spp. > 300 s > 300 s< 20 s
Listeria monocytogenes > 300 s > 300 s< 30 s
Thermotolerant coliform (aka. poop) > 48 h > 48 h< 30 s

How can The Attendant Help

When utilizing the chemical management and auto dosing capabilities of The Attendant, it will measure, record and react to the ever changing chemical makeup of your pool water.  Target values (or ranges) can be set, and the system will make every attempt to keep the water quality in order and correct by dosing when needed.  If the water is unable to be corrected via auto dosing, The Attendant will notify the pool owner and the appropriate pool pro team (if configured) that some form of corrective action is needed to get the water back up to snuff. The Attendant will also make recommendations based on what it’s reading and some common pool chemical management best practices.

For peace of mind and to get some free time back in your life, let the Attendant tend to your pool chemistry…so you don’t have to.