Pool Chemistry Simplified

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Let’s face it. There is nothing quite so inviting on a hot day as a crystal clear, well-maintained swimming pool.

One significant key to that is your pool’s chemistry. At Hive Outdoor Living, #1 Tampa Bay Pool Builder, we want you to thoroughly enjoy your pool and hope to make taking care of it a little bit easier.

Let’s Simplify Your Pool Chemistry.

Probably due to the word “chemistry,” many people may feel that keeping their pool’s chemicals in balance to keep the water as pure and clean as possible might end up being quite a chore, a challenge.

That is not really the case.

The real challenge is after your pool water chemicals get totally out of balance and, as a result, generate costly repairs.

Pool Chemistry rests primarily on two points. First, the chlorine level to kill bacteria, germs and stop algae. And second, the pH of the water – the balance between alkalinity and acidity. Depending upon where one lives, you would add water hardness and possibly the levels of iron in the water.

The actual meaning of pH is the “potential or power of Hydrogen.” The range of pH extends from 0 (acid) to 14 (alkaline), with 7.0 being neutral.

For example, at 77°F pure water is at a pH 7.0, or neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline. This is also referred to as basic.

Pool Chemistry Simplified covers your pH and Chlorine levels.


First, to dispel certain folklore.

There are those who blame things such as urination in a pool for their burning eyes. That is simply not the case. That specific phenomenon is, in most cases, caused by the pH level of the water in which one is swimming.

The pH of your eyes is between 7.0 and 7.3.

Here is an example of burning eyes sensation when one is not in a pool. Have you ever been exercising, or working hard, causing you to perspire quite a bit? Then, all of a sudden, a few drops of sweat from your hair/scalp hits your eyes. Presto! Eye burn.

That is because the pH of your hair/scalp is in the pH 5 range. However, the sweat that is produced lowers to near that pH prior to hitting your eye. At a pH of 5, your hair and scalp are approximately 100 times more acidic than the pH of your eyes. Thus the burning sensation.

Now that that point is out of the way…


Aside from burning our eyes, pool water that is either too acidic or too alkaline causes certain chemical reactions that can harm your pool/spa and/or your system.

When pool water pH is too high, i.e., too alkaline, the water can become cloudy and, worse, scaling can develop in your pool equipment and on the surface of your pool.

Too low of a pH, too acidic, can and does corrode metal in your pool equipment and can cause skin irritation.

As well, a pH that is either too high or too low reduces the effectiveness of chlorine, your primary defense against algae and pathogens.

If your pH is too high, chlorine cannot kill pathogens. If your pH is too low, chlorine dissipates much too rapidly to be effective.

The pH level in your pool should be somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6 (though some will say 7.2 to 7.8 is acceptable), slightly on the alkaline or basic side.

The pH of swimming pool water can be easily tested with a simple test kit. One popular, inexpensive kit is the Taylor Residential Test Kit. This kit measures Total Chlorine or Bromine (if you decide to use this instead of chlorine) and your pool’s pH level.

Ideally, the reagents, the liquids, used for testing should be stored indoors in their plastic container, keeping them away from severe temperature fluctuations. Taylor formulates its reagents to remain effective for at least one year.

Therefore, a good practice is to purchase new reagents at the beginning of each swimming season. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you can swim year-round, then choose a specific annual date to change to new reagents.

The most popular forms of chlorine used today are granulated powder (referred to as Dy-Chlor) or tablets/sticks (Trichloro-s-triazinetrione or trichlor).

Chlorine tablets and sticks are very highly-concentrated, offering around 90% chlorine, and take time to dissolve. They are typically placed in dispensers sitting on top of your pool water, though some people place them in their skimmer basket area. Granular chlorine, which is around 56%^ pure chlorine, is scattered over your pool water surface.

The choice for chlorine form is dependent upon several factors, particularly pool usage and air and water temperature. After a short time, whichever form you decide to use, a common routine will generally arise and, if followed, will provide a clean environment.


The following are instructions for use with the Taylor kit. Other manufacturer’s may vary slightly, so check their instructions.

For chlorine, fill the left cell with pool water, add five drops of the R-0600 solution, cap and invert (do not shake) the water. Compare the color against the chart. The ideal range of Chlorine in your pool is between 2-4ppm (parts per million).

For pH, fill the right cell with pool water, add five drops of R-0014 solution, cap and invert (do not shake) the water. Compare the color against the chart. The ideal pH range for your pool (and spa) is between 7.4 and 7.6.

If your tests show both within those ranges, you are good to go.

If your Chlorine test shows a level below 2ppm you will need to add some chlorine. However, if it is above 4ppm, you should wait and let the level go down before swimming. If you don’t want to wait a few hours, you can add a neutralizing chemical, such as sodium thiosulfate or sodium sulfite.

If your pH is above or below the range, you need to adjust it by adding liquid muriatic or dry acid to lower the pH or soda ash to raise the pH. Be sure to follow the directions for either one, so as not to add too much.

Testing should be done at least twice a week. In hotter temperatures, testing more often helps ensure your pool maintains it’s sparkling luster.

A clean pool makes for a healthy pool.


That’s really all there is to it.

Get a test kit and the required chemicals and reagents.

Test at least twice a week and adjust the levels, as needed.

Keep your pH ideally between 7.4 and 7.6.

Ensure that your chlorine level is between 2-4ppm.

Swim and enjoy!

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Contact us today for a FREE estimate (813) 579-2444.

Swimming Pool Equipment

Swimming Pool Equipment - Hive Outdoor Living

A Clean Pool is Healthy and Inviting
Pool Equipment Makes All the Difference

At Hive Outdoor Living, #1 Tampa Pool Builder, we take pride in each and every pool and spa that we install for our customers.

One of the reasons we are the best at what we do is that we do not cut corners, especially when it comes to your pool equipment.

In order to have a sparkling clean pool and/or spa, it is necessary to install the absolute best pump, filter and automation equipment, with the result that your pool/spa stays clean and sanitized, day in and day out.

The pump is the heart of the system as its function is to circulate the water so it can be cleared of debris. We have been using the industry leader’s (Pentair) swimming pool and spa pumps for years. Aside from performing the job of water circulation flawlessly, their pumps earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® designation due to being between 30%-72% more energy-efficient than their competitors in the industry.

The purpose of the pool filter is to keep your pool water clear and clean. There are many types of filters on the market and the Pentair cartridge filter does an amazing job of removing airborne dirt and leaves, organic matter, bacteria and algae. The Clean & Clear RP Cartridge filter has a surface consistency to block and trap particles as small as 20 microns. On top of that, it is relatively easy and quick to remove and rinse clean.

Despite the year-round warmer temperatures in Florida, most people opt for a heater to ensure they can enjoy their pool in total comfort. Of course, if you are getting a spa, this piece of equipment is a must. Pentair MasterTemp heaters are efficient, convenient and extremely reliable. With a user-friendly LCD display, these pool heaters are easy to operate as a home heating system and the MasterTemp Heater is Eco-friendly and is certified for low NOx emissions, outperforming pool industry standards

One of the keys to years of enjoyment is your pool’s water chemistry. There are pH and sanitizer levels at which your water must be maintained to prevent the growth of algae, as well as keeping water safe for your eyes. The liquid around the eyes is generally between 7.0 and 7.3, which is pH neutral. Any significant fluctuation from those readings will cause your eyes to sting, similar to when water dripping from your hair reaches your open eye, as the pH of hair and scalp oil is generally acidic, between 4.5 and 5.5, in order to prevent fungi and bacteria from growing. The Pentair IntelliChem® Water Chemistry Controller works to keep the pH and chlorine levels of your pool in balance.

Many people enjoy swimming at night and, to ensure safety, the Pentax MicroBrite Color and White LED Lights provide exceptional brilliance, lighting uniformity and some amazing colors. To add some spice, there is the option of Pentair GloBrite lights. These high-performance LED lights utilize the most advanced technology with five brilliant fixed colors and offer seven dazzling pre-programmed light shows.

Another very useful device is the Pentair IntelliLevel™ Water Leveling Monitor, utilizing multi-sensory technology to ensure that your pool water level stays at a safe level for operational efficiency. When water levels are too high there can be overflow and a waste of water. When the level is too low there is a danger that not enough water reaches the pool pump and filtration system, which can cause equipment damage. It is simple to set up and use and has built-in safeguards to notify you in case of any failure to operate properly.

And, of course, having a device clean and vacuum your pool is an added plus. The fully-programmable Pentair Prowler 920 Robotic Pool Cleaner is top of the line and provides high-caliber cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming, to the tile line.

One last thing to mention is the installation of your equipment. When you select Hive Outdoor Living to build your pool, rest assured that your equipment not only functions properly, but that it flows perfectly. By that we mean that all pipes leading into and out of the equipment area follow a logical pattern for optimum efficiency and are clearly marked for ease of identification.

The above cover the basics of an ideal swimming pool equipment and device set up. Of course, there are many additional options to enhance your outdoor living area, such as enclosures and screens, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, fountains, waterfalls, grottos, caves, jet sprays, etc.

From your new pool design to your entire outdoor environment, Hive Outdoor Living can, and will, make your dreams come true.

Prepare to Create Your Own Paradise.

Contact us today for a free estimate! (813) 579-2444

There’s a Great Pool for You


At Hive Outdoor Living, we truly believe “There’s a Pool for You.”

Regardless of the size of your backyard living space or the budget that you have allocated for a custom swimming pool, it is our belief that every backyard, especially here in the Greater Tampa Bay area, should have a pool.

There are numerous reasons why. We’ll cover a few.

Swimming pools bring families together, add a tremendous amount of pleasure, and create an at-home staycation or holistay environment. A pool is an investment in years of enjoyment and fun, likely creating memories to last a lifetime.

There is, as well, the health aspect of owning your own pool.

There is ample evidence that swimming is one of the best, if not the best, exercise. The great thing is that, other than competitive swimming, it does not feel like exercise.

The benefits of swimming are incredible: it is low-impact, yet builds and maintains muscles (especially as we age); it improves lung capacity, thus processing oxygen much more efficiently and assisting in immunity to illness; it can help reduce stress, both physical and mental; to name a few.

Tampa Pool Builder - Hive Outdoor Living freeform pool jet sprays

What could be better than having a closer family and all members being happier and healthier?

The beautiful thing about a Hive Outdoor Living custom swimming pool is that we have created numerous backyard paradises for people in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

That is why we believe that there is a pool for you.

From traditional rectangular or kidney shaped pools, to ones that are free form, using the natural contours of the property and dwelling to define its outline and configuration.


We are a Greater Tampa Bay Area pool contractor with a sole purpose in mind…to provide you and your family with the highest quality outdoor living environment at the best possible cost, using proven materials and equipment, to ensure years of enjoyable and gratifying satisfaction.

Prepare to Create Your Own Paradise.

Contact us today for a free estimate! (813) 579-2444