We have a small 512 gallon pool for our family (2 adults and 3 preschoolers). It’s too much water to dump and refill every night. What chemicals do we need to keep it healthy? We are new to this and not sure what is needed and what is just an "extra". Thanks for your help!


There are so many pool chemicals out there that it is hard to know what the basic needs are. In fact, books have been written about this question. Here's my quick response. The two most important parameters are sanitizer and pH. Sanitizer - Swimming pools require some form of sanitizer, such as chlorine to protect swimmers. The sanitizer kills all bacteria, algae, disease-causing organisms, and any other uninvited guests (except for in-laws) that might find their way into your pool. pH - This is the most critical water balance parameter. The lower the pH, the more acidic the water. Balancing the pH prevents corrosion and scale build-up on equipment. It also helps your other chemicals work properly to keep the water clean and clear and protects the swimmers' skin and eyes from irritation. There are other factors to consider, especially if you will be reusing the same water all season, which is certainly possible. Total alkalinity - This is the measure of the alkaline buffers in the water that prevent pH from fluctuating suddenly. Always check and adjust the alkalinity before you balance the pH. Cyanuric acid - Also known as stabilizer or conditioner, this chemical is important for outdoor pools that use chlorine. Cyanuric acid protects the chlorine from the sun's UV rays so that it lasts longer in your swimming pool. Last but not least, you should test your water twice a week to make sure your chemicals are properly balanced. Test strips are simple and easy to use for this purpose. When these parameters are not balanced, that is when problems occur.

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