Pool Spa Life
Pool Spa Life

Water Quality

When it comes to enjoying your swimming pool in a safe and hygienic environment, one of the most important things to consider is your water quality.

When we talk about water quality, we're referring to the chemical, biological, and physical constitution of your swimming pool water. Just about anything that goes into your pool can interact with water quality and can affect pH levels, alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine levels. Finding and retaining the right balance of these elements is crucial to keeping your pool in top shape.

Signs of Poor Water Quality

There are signs that can indicate poor pool water quality that, as a spa owner, you should be aware of. These are:

  • Cloudy or murky water: Water that is cloudy or hazy can indicate poor water quality due to high levels of bacteria, algae, or other contaminants.

  • Strong chlorine smell: A strong smell of chlorine in the pool area can indicate that the pool water is not properly balanced, and there may be an excessive amount of chloramines in the water.

  • Skin irritation or rashes: Irritated or itchy skin after swimming can indicate that the pool water is not properly balanced, and there may be high levels of chlorine or other chemicals in the water.

  • Algae growth: The growth of algae in the pool water can indicate poor water quality due to high levels of organic matter, such as leaves, dirt, or other debris.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Check the Quality of My Pool Water?

To check the quality of your pool water, you can perform a simple water test using a pool water test kit or strips. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Purchase a pool water test kit or strips: You can find spa water test kits or strips at most pool supply stores or online.

  2. Collect a water sample: Use a clean container to collect a water sample from your pool. Do this away from any return jets or skimmers to get an accurate reading.

  3. Test the water: Follow the instructions on the test kit or strip to test your pool water for pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. Some kits may also measure other parameters such as total dissolved solids (TDS) or cyanuric acid (CYA).

  4. Interpret the results: Once you have completed the test, compare the colour of the test strip or the value on the test kit to the recommended range for each parameter. If any of the values are outside the recommended range, you may need to adjust the water chemistry using appropriate chemicals.

  5. Take corrective action: Depending on the results of the test, you may need to adjust the water chemistry by adding chemicals to balance the pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels.

It is recommended to test your pool water at least once a week, or more frequently during periods of heavy use or extreme weather conditions. Regular testing and maintenance of your pool water will help ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

What Is the Australian Standard Swimming Pool Water Quality?

While there are different elements of water quality that can be measured, one metric that many pool professionals use to determine water quality is pH levels.

In Australia, the recommended pH level for a pool is 7.0 to 7.8, although it is recommended to sit between 7.2 and 7.6 to be safe. Additionally, fibreglass pools are recommended to be between 7.2 and 7.4, according to SPASA. While spas are recommended to be between 7.2 and 7.6.

How Can Pool Water Quality Be Maintained?

To maintain good pool water quality, test your water weekly using a test kit or strips, and adjust your water chemistry with chemicals such as pH increaser, pH decreaser, alkalinity increase, calcium hardness increase, and chlorine. 

Clean your pool regularly, including the surface, walls, and filter system, and use a pool cover to prevent debris from falling in and reduce evaporation.

By following these tips and performing regular maintenance, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

Why Is It Important to Maintain Good Pool Water Quality?

Maintaining good pool water quality is important for several reasons:

Health and Safety

Poor water quality can cause skin irritation, eye redness, and other health issues. Maintaining proper water chemistry helps prevent the growth of bacteria, viruses, and other harmful organisms, ensuring that the pool is safe for swimming.


Balanced water chemistry also ensures that the water feels comfortable to swim in. Water that is too acidic or alkaline can cause skin irritation, while water that is too hard can make the water feel uncomfortable to swim in.

Equipment Longevity

Good water quality also helps to prolong the life of your pool equipment. When water chemistry is imbalanced, it can cause corrosion or other damage to your pool equipment.


Balanced water chemistry helps keep the pool looking clean and clear. Cloudy or murky water can be unattractive and uninviting to swimmers.

What Should Be Done If Pool Water Quality Is Poor?

If you have already tested the water and know that the water quality isn't in the desired range, here are the next steps you can take:

  1. Identify the water chemistry parameter(s) that are out of balance: Based on the results of your water test, identify which parameter(s) are outside of the recommended range.

  2. Adjust the water chemistry: Use appropriate chemicals to balance the water chemistry. For example, if the pH is too high, add pH decreaser to lower it. If the chlorine level is too low, add chlorine to bring it back up to the recommended range.

  3. Run the pool filter: Turn on the pool filter to circulate the water and distribute the pool chemicals throughout.

  4. Retest the water: After adjusting the water chemistry and running the filter, retest the water to ensure that the water chemistry parameters are now within the recommended range.

  5. Continue to monitor the water: Once the water chemistry is balanced, continue to monitor the water regularly using a pool water test kit or strips. This will help you identify any future issues and address them promptly to maintain optimal water quality.

Check out the rest of the Pool Spa Life website If you want to learn more about caring for your pool or spa. Or why not go one step further and chat to a pool professional at the Pool & Spa Lifestyle Expo?

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