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How Increase in pH Affects Pool and Spa Water

How Increase in pH Affects Pool and Spa Water



How Increase in pH Affects Pool and Spa Water

Doug Latta, Kim Skinner, and Que Hales, onBalance members, penned down an article in the Aqua Magazine, April issue. In the piece, they contended that the pH limit of 8.0 is very limiting. Furthermore, it is an inconsiderate directive to shut down pools when the pH is 8.0-8.5. The well-advised response is by Richard Young, from the commercial aquatics consultants. The column illuminates key issues concerning pH and Cyanuric acid. In a situation where the pH of the water is 8.0 when added a disinfectant with a lower pH, the after-effects have been debatable for years. Moreover, the article discusses crucial issues on the pH effect after adding a disinfecting compound necessary for the pool and spa water. The name of the disinfecting compound is the hypochlorous acid.

How Increase in pH Affects Pool and Spa Water

Medics and researchers have discovered that the HOCl compound is the activation agent that gets rid of viruses, bacteria, and pathogens. The feature further mentions that the nature of HOCI depends on several factors. CYA, pH, and the minimal effects of high levels of undissolved solids impact the resulting state/form the HOCl. Knowledge of chemistry is relevant to comprehend this information.

Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) and Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

HOCl is a naturally unstable and very reactive compound. The introduction of CYA stabilizes the chlorine compound to reduce the impact of UV sunlight rays. HOCl is an excellent oxidizer and sanitizer because of its unstable nature. Stabilizing it with excess CYA levels (over 20-30 ppm) lowers the chlorine compound capacity to perform its role. Such levels may not affect backyard pools meant for decoration, but the effect differs for public pools and spas.

Your pool and spa water pH affects HOCl. When the pH reduces, more hydrogen ions are present to integrate with the Hypochlorous ions, enabling the formation of HOCl. When the pH increases, the hydrogen ions are minimal. This leads leading to the formation of more hypochlorous ions. This is the ionization of the HOCl process. It explains the definition of pH, which is an inverse logarithm of hydrogen ions in water or as Dr. Clifford White, usually referred to as doctor of chlorination described it, the dissociation of hydrogen ions.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) have a minor impact on HOCl compared to increased pH levels. The disintegration of hydrogen ions is an automatic and natural process. A higher pH reduces the formation of HOCl, while a lower pH increases the HOCl formed.

In summary, this means that when the pH is 8.0 or above, some level of disinfection will still take place. Pool and spa water does not require a lot of HOCl to disinfect. This explains why years back, chlorine residues of 0.2-0.4 were applicable for pH levels 7.4 to 7.8. With chlorine range of 1.0–3.0, the pH levels having little effect on the disinfection rates. Let us find out the reason health professionals prefer high Chlorine levels.

Oxidation of Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)

Oxidation is the elimination of one or more electrons from a compound altering its molecular form. It is a very key process many are ignorant about. Many times, viruses and bacteria get into our pool and spa water. Organic compounds such as urine, sweat, saliva are also introduced and require elimination. Oxidation, in conjunction with HOCl, makes the above process possible.

You may have come across the term oxidation reduction potential (ORP). To illustrate, this is a millivolt measurement produced in water, taking electrons from a calibrated sensor. HOCl unstable nature now plays in during this process. It takes away electrons from another compound, disintegrating/oxidizing it. Oxidation changes some compounds to elements, for example, Nitrogen.

Oxidation reduction potential is the unit that measures chlorine efficiency in most pool chemical control systems. It is more about the quality rather than the quantity of HOCl. For instance, if the measurement is 3ppm with free chlorine present, the OPR reading may be 740mV at a 7.4 pH. If the pH rises to 8.0, the ORP will record a drop of about 40-50mV, and the new reading is 690-700mV. Adding effects of CYA when the levels are over 50ppm or the TDS is high is dangerous, especially when it comes to the increase in pathogens.

World Health Organization prescribes an ORP reading of 650mV as the smallest limit for efficient bacterium destruction. This is approximately 1ppm free chlorine in 8.8 pH water. The rise in pH causes a low ORP reading. The decrease in pH results in a high reading of the ORP. The rate of pathogen destruction is directly connected to the ORP levels. High levels of ORP increase oxidation of organic compounds in pool and spa water. If the organic compounds are not destroyed, they join with the HOCl forming combined chlorine referred to as chloramines that are distinctive organisms.

Increased pH levels cause oxidation of HOCl a rise in the concentration of HOCl ions. This lowers the ORP levels, making the destruction of the microbes slow, though still happen. When the ORP levels are high, the pathogens’ destruction is faster. Researchers concluded a survey on the pathogens’ inactivation at different ORP values to establish these facts.

Finally, the pH values should be at the desired levels to prevent a negative response, especially in active pools.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Latham Pool Products Hires New Chief Information Officer

Kaushal Dhruv joins Latham Pool Products as new CIO.



Kaushal Dhruv named new CIO of Latham Pool Products
Photo: Latham Pool Products

Fiberglass pool and vinyl liner maker Latham Pool Products has decided to hire a new Chief Information Officer for their corporation.

Kaushal Dhruv the new CIO will provide support and leadership to both the IT (Information Technology) team as well as the project management staff. Latham President/CEO Scott Rajeski is Kaushal’s direct report.

“We are on an exciting growth journey, complete with changes that will continue to propel Latham’s position …”

Kaushal Dhruv new CIO for Latham Pool Products

Kaushal comes from a diverse background in technology where he had 16 years of experience consulting with CIO and CTOs of Fortune 500 Companies. Kaushal was also Director of Technology for KPMG. Kaushal is extremely well educated. He has a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from the University at Mumbai, a Masters in Information Management from Syracuse University as well as a Masters in Engineering Management from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, and a Bachelors in Computer Engineering from the Pune Institute of Computer Technology.

Said Latham Pool Products CEO, Scott Rajeski:

“[Kaushal’s] extensive experience and knowledge provide Latham with the proper leadership to continue driving our progress in North America and abroad.”

More about Latham Pool Products
Find products, contact information and articles about Latham Pool Products

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Pool Water: Why Swimmer Hygiene is Important



Pool Water: Why Swimmer Hygiene is Important

A majority of swimmers are aware of the job pool professionals do, in maintaining pool water hygiene standards. Pool hygiene is not only bent for pool cleaners but also the swimmers. Some swimmers are ignorant of the roles they ought to play in the maintenance of pool hygiene levels for a safe and healthy experience.

Pool Water: Why Swimmer Hygiene is Important

Good swimmer hygiene practices enable the swimmer to maintain high standard quality pool water. This reduces the spread of contaminated water-related illnesses. Some practices include having a bath before entering the pool, avoiding excreting in pools whether by urinating or defecating. Also, do not take a swim if you are experiencing diarrhea.

The Water Quality & Health Council first investigated the subject of swimmer hygiene in the year 2009. The survey featured issues such as pooping and peeing in the swimming pool. The WQHC released its study findings in 2011, after a public lobby.

The research revealed that 47% of Americans agree to unhygienic practices in public pools. This featured 17% who admitted to urinating in the pool, and 35% concur that they do not take a shower before getting into the pools.

In 2012, WQHC conducted similar research and discovered that 68%of the United States citizens, still don’t shower before a swim while 44% find a pre-swim bath as unneeded.

Effects of poor swimmer’s hygiene 

The pool water chemistry is usually altered by components such as body oils, urine, sweat, fecal substances and cosmetics. Sweat and urine, which are nitrogen compounds, react with the chlorine ions in the water forming irritable chloramines. The effects of chloramines like itchy skin, red, irritated eyes are at times confused for high levels of chlorine by swimmers.

Poor hygiene practices are a major contributory factor in high chloramines levels. Swimmers who add to this water impurities exhaust-free chlorine levels. They end up risking their well-being and exposure to waterborne sicknesses.

A swimmer often gets an ear infection in the canal. This develops when the micro-organisms in contaminated pool water penetrate in the ear canal. The micro-organisms create an enabling environment favorable for bacterial growth and infecting the skin. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 2011, states that swimmer’s ear infections recorded 2.4 million hospital visits and about $500 million yearly healthcare expenses between 2003-2007.

There is a common myth that pool water contains a dye that turns to red, circulating those that pee in the water. However, the swimmer’s red eyes are the only sure way to determine contaminated water.

The use of an EPA- registered sanitizer & regulating chlorine levels between 1 to 4 ppm, gets rid of the majority of popular water bacteria even those that cause swimmer’s ears and red eyes.

Promoting Good Swimmer Hygiene Practices

Take a pre and post-shower: 

Health department codes encourage swimmer hygiene by advising on a pre-swim shower. To achieve these facilities require to have a clean, user-friendly bathroom. Dirty facilities can discourage swimmers from using their facilities, therefore breaking this important hygiene rule. Pre-showers removes any contaminants from your body, such as body lotions and sweat, to avoid transferring them to water. A 

study in Netherlands 2012, discovered that a 1-minute bath removes the most of body’s impurity. A post-shower eliminates any impurities from the pool water from your body.

Regular restroom breaks:

Frequent bathroom breaks for children and adults can help reduce urinating and defecating in the pool water. Lack of these facilities around the backyard pool area or if they are poorly maintained can be a leading factor as to why swimmers opt to excrete in the pools.

Avoid consumption of pool water:

Sometimes water can get into the swimmer’s mouth unintentionally, especially for young kids. When this happens, you shouldn’t consume the water as it contains harmful chemicals not meant for human use. Consuming pool water can lead to stomach complications as well as vomiting and diarrhea.

Do not swim when unwell:

Swimmers who are unwell should keep off the pool area until they feel better. Such can include those who are vomiting or diarrhea to avoid contaminating the pool water before they could get to the restroom. Moreover, those with an open wound, especially from a surgical operation, ought to avoid swimming until the wound is comply healed and covered. This is due to the pressure of pool water which can worsen the open wound, causing complications. Furthermore, bacteria in the pools can come into contact with the open wound leading to a serious condition.

Educating the public:

WOHC advises of incorporation of swimmer hygiene education, especially in health classes or swimming lessons. Pool staffs can use educational posters available from CDC, to create awareness to the swimmers.

Good swimming hygiene practices are for the benefit of all to enjoy the amazing summer experience by the pools.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Pools Installation: Growth of Pool and Spa Business despite the Pandemic

Pool and spa business is prospering amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Summer is approaching, and consumers want to enjoy an exquisite backyard pool installation



Pools Installation: Growth of Pool and Spa Business despite the Pandemic

Reports indicate that the pool and spa business is prospering amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Summer is approaching, and consumers want to enjoy an exquisite backyard pool installation experience in their staycation. Consumers demand on pool maintenance products and services, renovations, new structures is on the rise. Social distancing rules affected so many businesses in their sales, but not all industries felt the wrath. The pool and spa industry survived the heat due to the following factors;

Pools Installation: Growth of Pool and Spa Business despite the Pandemic

1.  New pool installation

The demand is high because it is the only option to enjoy summer. Most clients are contacting contractors to have pools installed in their backyard.

2.  Existing pools

Homeowners want to bring the summer experience closer by improving their backyard experience. This is because they have to stay indoors and have no other option. Maintaining their pool throughout summer created a niche that the professionals in this industry took advantage of.

High loan application demands

Sarah Bess, the marketing director of Lyon Financial, specializing in loans for outdoor improvements, focusing on the pool, admits to the increase in business sales during this time. She adds that they expected a 20% increase in their sales this year. Then in March, the outbreak happened to create a lot of uncertainties and confusion. The sales went down for a short period, and it was discouraging. In April, there was a sudden and unbelievable rise in sales. The customer demand was too high, and the company was making good proceeds. This situation required that they add 10–15 employees to meet the customers’ demand.

If the sales happen to decrease in June or July, it still won’t take them back to where they were. The increase came about by the idea that clients have an exceptional backyard. It is not all about the pools, but the outdoor experience. Other industries that deal with the construction of the outdoor kitchen, covered porches, gazebos, etc., recorded a great increase in sales. Customers want to invest in their backyard pool installation for summer as well as for future security.

Safety precautions and retail businesses

The health crisis affected retail businesses. This is because of the social distancing rule, and clients find it hard to go to the stores to buy goods. Some retail stores adjusted to the situation to ensure they maximize their sales. They adopted methods such as delivery & curbside pick up. Companies such as Aqua Tech in Winnipeg, Manitoba, dismiss claims of the effects on retails stalls. For them, they adopted the use of contactless water testing. It is advantageous because they can still stay indoors, manage time, and it’s effective for clients. They hope to continue with these services even after the pandemic. Aqua tech, now offers services like chemical only pool maintenance & water sample pick up for those unable to go to the stores. They are dealing with the situation in ways that are appealing to the customer. The crisis was a concern, but they have managed to keep up with the sales. Previously, they only received 2-3 calls a day, now they receive 5-10 calls in an hour. Additionally, the employees have had to organize themselves effectively.

Economic achievements

Richard’s Total Backyard in Houston, Texas, set a new financial record in April. It is now a trend in all these outdoor products industries. Cristina Nikolov, a social media marketing manager, recalls a company meeting held at the beginning of March. They had lost hope there would be anyone willing to contract with them at this time. She even told the staff members that they should prepare for bad times.

Then came the Easter Weekend, and the flow of work was unexpected. It was a hectic month for the company, and she would now ask designers to be fast so that they can meet all the clients. Julie Richard, the Vice President, said that the surge was a result of the client’s mindset. No one is certain about the future or when the lockdown will come to an end. This uncertainty has had clients opt to improve their backyards so that whatever happens, they can still enjoy their time from the luxuries of their own home. Employees and designers have had to work overtime to manage all the clients. The month of April is the best financial year in the Companies history. It is not only pools that are marketable, but also hot tubs. For Richard, he just put up a message to reach out to clients that they can have their hot tubs installed and enjoy their stay at home. That opened up a big business opportunity for the company. Crews are sent daily to install hot tubs or renovate them for their clients on weekends to reduce the workload.


The government has been supportive of this course of a backyard experience. Many companies have earned a good sum during this time because the government has allowed them to maintain their operations.The owner of Berggren’s Backyard Oasis Pool Construction in Wenatchee, Micheal Berggren, also experienced the same surge in his business.

The governor of his state realizes the importance of pools in summer and can carry out their business with support from the state. They were able to do four times what they do in a year in equipment sets and cover replacement. He, however, still hopes that things will return to normal because of a few strains caused by the changes. They have to get frequent permission from the state authorities and following up with all the safety measures. He does appreciate this time as well, that was a boost to his business. He notes that the most important thing is that people get paid their salaries to feed their families.

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