Pool Water Guide

Main Content Starts Here


The term "pool chemistry" may give you high school flashbacks, but don't worry, you don't have to be a science wiz to understand the basics. To keep your pool water crystal clear and sparkling clean this season, here are five hints your pool water needs attention.

To begin, here are routine activities you can take to help keep your pool water in check:

  • Test your pool water with your at-home test kit at least once a week or bring a pool water sample to your local pool store.
  • Keep your pool clean of dirt and debris.
  • Circulate your pool water – the longer you keep your pool water stagnant, the more out of balance your pool water will become.
  • Before you kick off the pool season and before you close your pool, check your pool equipment and schedule maintenance to verify your pool water hasn't impacted your pool equipment.


Occasionally when you walk into the pool area, you will find a pool with the classic "pool smell," but it's not the chlorine you smell. It's the result of chloramines, a chemical compound that occurs when chlorine and other pathogens are combined, making chlorine less active.

Chlorine isn't always a one size fits all solution.

Chlorine is the most common and well-known pool chemical and is an excellent sanitizer if the conditions are right. However, an imbalance in pool water could make chlorine less effective, which can cause murky water, algae bloom or an unappealing "pool smell.

Let your chlorine do the talking.

If your pool is strongly smelling of chlorine, take a sample of your pool water to your local pool store. They have several different testing methods to detect what is causing your pool chemistry to be out of whack.

If you are looking for a local store, use the Find a Dealer tool.


Calcium is the white, chalky buildup you sometimes see around your pool, especially on tiles and equipment. That pesky calcium buildup is known as "scaling," giving you clues to your pool water's pH levels.

pH isn't always a basic science.

When water is too acidic (below 7 pH), it can cause damage to the pool surface and equipment.

However, if the water is too alkaline (above 7.8 pH), otherwise known as "basic," it can cause skin rashes, cloudy pool water and scaling. When scaling builds up in your pool, water flow can also become restricted and can reduce chlorine's effectiveness at keeping your water sanitized and clean.

Finding a neutral pH balance between 7.4 and 7.6 is key to a safe and enjoyable pool.

Pentair is here to help you to monitor your pH.

Ask your pool professional if these two pool products can help you stay informed regarding your pool water.

  1. The IntelliChem® Water Chemistry Pool Controller to help you monitor and regulate your pool's pH levels.
  2. ChemCheck® Water Quality Monitoring System can assist in analyzing your pH and Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP), an electronic method to test the chlorine effectiveness in your pool.


If your alkalinity level is too low, your pool's pH can fluctuate, causing potential damage to pool walls, equipment and swimmers.

However, if your alkalinity is too high, you may experience unsightly cloudy water and scaling, and your chlorine may not be sanitizing appropriately, either.

Alkaline and feelin' fine.

Having your appropriate alkalinity level in your pool water will help keep your pool chemistry stable and will help prevent pH fluctuations.

To find out the alkalinity of your pool water, you need to use an at-home test kit. A more accurate option is to bring a sample of your pool water to your local pool store. Pool stores have high-quality water testing tools to give you a step-by-step process to improve your pool water.


Soft water will seek minerals from other sources, like your pool walls or the soil found behind your pool's plaster, fiberglass or vinyl liners.

It's all a balancing act.

Like in the shower in your home, pool water can be hard or soft.

When water is too soft, it can become corrosive, potentially causing damage to tiles, plaster and metal in your pool.

On the flip side, too hard water can become cloudy, which looks unappealing and can also cause water to scale. If not taken care of, scaling can even block water flow.

The ideal calcium hardness range to achieve "just right" pool water is 150-400 ppm.

We have the app for that.

Pentair has water sanitation products connected to the Pentair Home app, where you can check your pool water from your smart device.


When chlorine is exposed to the sun, it can destabilized within 45 minutes. Cyanuric acid, otherwise known as chlorine stabilizer or conditioner, prevents the sun from neutralizing chlorine immediately. Many pool owners lean on chlorine tablets, including cyanuric acid, to maintain a chlorine residual.

Chlorine tablets aren't always the END-ALL-BE-ALL.

Over time, when these tablets are incorporated too frequently into your pool water, your pool's overall cyanuric acid levels may become too high, rendering chlorine ineffective and leading to chlorine-related problems.


Consider an alternative to chlorine tablets like a salt-chlorine generator to make chlorine within your pool. Another alternative is to add an Ultra-Violet (UV) system to help your chlorine be more effective and control chloramines.

You're Not in This Alone

Make the most of your swim time with Pentair pool sanitation options.

Need help? Find a dealer in your area and ask about your pool water needs.

Disclaimer of Endorsement: The information provided on this website, blog, or advertisement does not, and is not intended to, constitute endorsement, affiliation, authorization, or recommendation by Pentair, its directors, or employees. This information is for general informational purposes only. It is the responsibility of the reader, user, or browser to verify the professional and services you intend to hire.

Back to top of page