Pool Chemistry Simplified

Pool Chemistry waterfall - Hive Outdoor Living

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!

Pool Chemistry Simplified Sconces - Hive Outdoor Living

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Tampa Bay Pools Memory Maker

Cute Kid Memory Maker - Tampa Custom Pools Spas - Hive Outdoor Living

While it is quite accurate that family vacations and weekend getaways can, and do, create cherished memories, it is also true that when you Create Your Own Backyard Paradise you establish a staycation where those family memories can be made on a daily basis. Tampa Bay pools by Hive Outdoor Living are genuine memory makers!

Create Your Family Memories

There are several things in life that make it rewarding and fulfilling. At the top of the list, for many, that includes not just quality, but abundant family time. One of the absolute best ways to achieve that goal is having a home environment most conducive to making memories. In our opinion that begins with, at a minimum, a family swimming pool.

From that basic starting point, the features and options are virtually endless. For instance, you could add a spa to your pool, or incredible water descents, fountains, waterfalls, fire features, dramatic lighting effects, laminars or deck jets, basketball, volleyball. How about an Outdoor Kitchen? And, the list goes on.

If You Can Dream It,
We Can Build It For You

Suffice to say that Hive Outdoor Living is ready to help make your dreams come true.

Hive Outdoor Living is the premier Greater Tampa Bay 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 family memories.

The 3D design tour we offer is a special service to our customers and will assist you in visualizing how your backyard environment will be transformed into your personal resort. 

Our Goal is to Exceed Your Expectations

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Vanishing Edge Pool

Lakeside vanishing Edge Pool - Hive Outdoor Living

One of the more unique and interesting design features is the vanishing edge pool, also known as an infinity pool. Constructed correctly, the pool’s edge, when looked at straight on or at various angles, appears to simply disappear, blending the environment with your water surface.

The effect seems to make your pool extend into infinity, hence it’s infinity pool nickname, and the elements with which your water blends could be the skyline, trees, or a bay or lake.

If your pool will have a view of a lake or other body of water, a beautiful city skyline, or sitting atop a hilltop, the scenery becomes quite spectacular.

Hive Outdoor Living, Tampa Bay’s #1 custom pool builder, has created numerous pools of this type and each of them have their own remarkable impression, created with the flow of water disappearing over the edge combined with a picturesque background.

In effect, a vanishing edge pool generates the wonderful illusion of your body of water combining with its scenic environs. The water that flows over the edge is caught in a water trough below, where it is collected, then recirculated and filtered back into your pool.

The best pools of this type are constructed and positioned hiding the catch basin from the primary viewing spots in your yard. And, as you can probably imagine, building a pool with a natural slope might add to the ease of construction. That is mostly true. However, the right pool engineering can create this pool marvel even on flat land, where the edge drop is less but the effect remains.

A disappearing edge tends to highlight the surroundings and might be the exact feature you need to Create Your Own Backyard Paradise, making it an oasis for family and friends to enjoy life and leisure virtually any day of the year.

Your Vanishing Edge Pool
Paradise Is A Phone Call Away


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

The Wonder of Water Descent

Water-Descent - Hive-Outdoor Living

A swimming pool sheer water descent, essentially a very particular form of waterfall projecting away from the pool wall, is a feature that provides unique effects and a form of natural wonder, suitable in virtually any pool setting.

This special form of water arc is a clear sheet of water resembling the look of glass that can be creatively personalized to your own taste and style. They can be installed with nearly any swimming pool design and the elements of simple beauty they provide include placement, quantity, height, width and arc.

Considering you may opt for single or multiple descents, wide or narrow water flow, curved or extended edges, a near-perfect smooth arc or one that resembles a thundering mountain waterfall, mid-wall or arcing from the top of a wall, the ambiance and aesthetics are almost limitless.

And, as with so many pool water effects, the constant additional circulation assists in pool chemical distribution and in keeping your pool water clean, while the white sound produced by a sheer descent is soothing and tranquil to the senses, making relaxation after a hard day’s work that much better.

With proper maintenance to ensure no build-up of calcium or mineral deposits, a pool water descent is sure to add years of additional enjoyment and pleasure to your backyard paradise.

One More Way To
Create Your Own Paradise

Water Descent Light Blue Interior - Hive Outdoor Living

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To Enclose Your Pool Or Not

To Enclose Your Pool Or Not - Hive Outdoor Living

To enclosure your pool or not is a common question we often hear at Hive Outdoor Living

The short answer is, “It depends.”

On what does it depend? Several points, actually.

An enclosure can actually assist you in many ways taking care of your pool. First and foremost, perhaps, is that an enclosure will dramatically reduce the amount of debris from entering your pool water, especially leaves. And, while many people have an automatic pool cleaner installed, when a lot of leaves and other types of debris enter your water it can take a while before your water is once again crystal clear.

An enclosure will help extend the amount of time to enjoy your pool. This ties into helping keep it clean, simply because you are spending less time getting leaves out of your pool so you can actually enjoy swimming.

As well, screened enclosures assist in filtering some of the UV rays from the sun. This can result in being able to enjoy your pool for longer lengths of time with a little less worry about sunburns.

Of course, living in Florida means there are times of hurricanes and strong winds. Pool enclosures have been designed to generally handle winds up to 120-130 miles per hour, so chances are they will be able to withstand most anything nature throws our way.

One of the biggest benefits, however, has to do with being far more comfortable around your pool because their are fewer bugs and insects hoovering around you and your family. While the pests are still able to enter your screened-in area, that generally only occurs when a door to the outside of the pool perimeter is open while they are nearby and they manage to sneak into the enclosed area. Otherwise, your screen is able to protect you from insects and bugs to a very large degree and this definitely increases the amount of fun time for you and your family.

Depending upon your design, your screened-in pool becomes an actual extension to your home and living space when connected to your patio roof. You may be able to walk out of your slider and are instantly immersed in your backyard paradise.

To be fair, there are a couple of other, possibly less desirable, factors to consider.

Screened enclosures are not necessarily maintenance free. Over time, an enclosure may develop mold or mildew which would need to be pressure washed. While the amount of time this would take is far less than cleaning leaves every day, it is something to take into account.

The other, which does not happen that often, is when a screen gets torn or damaged. An example may be if a heavy branch were to break free from a large tree and fell into the screen. Not an easy fix when over the pool, but not an impossible task, either.

At Hive Outdoor Living we will help you Create Your Own Paradise, with or without a screened enclosure. The choice is entirely up to you. And, if you decide to install an enclosure, there are different styles from which to choose.

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

Fire Pits Take Away The Chill

Fire Pits take away the chill - Hive Outdoor Living

Here in the Greater Tampa Bay Area, swimming can be a year-round activity. Yes, even when the days or evenings can be a little brisk.

One way to combat that cool temperature or breeze is with a fire pit or fire bowl.

A fire pit, or even a fire bowl, is a great way to stay warm when you wish to enjoy the day or evening but the temp is just slightly below your liking. It also offers a dual purpose as possibly becoming the center for your outdoor entertainment area.

One of the wonderful advantages to a fire pit in your backyard is that they take up a relatively small amount of space for the benefit that they provide. And the options of materials for your pit ensure that it will complement your decor and style; brick, stone, pavers, concrete, steel, as well as retaining wall blocks.

Whether you have a pool already or not, a fire pit can be installed just about anywhere. The most popular tend to be gas powered pits, though you could opt for wood, if you so desire. As well, your pit can be either above ground or flush, being built below ground.

Gas burning fire pits are typically easier to maintain (i.e., no ashes or debris to clean). As well, they don’t spark or produce embers or smoke. Wood-burning pits do provide the often well-remembered campfire aroma and can be changed according to the wood that is burned.

One option to consider is if anyone would like to sit on the edge of the pit for a quicker warm-up. If that is the case, your fire pit should be between 18 and 22 inches high with enough area for someone to comfortably sit.

A ground level fire pit with a deck of some type around it offers ground seating, reminiscent of sitting on a beach with an open fire blazing.

We will work with your ideas for where and which type of fire pit to install, from the more simple to the elaborate, including its shape, such as square, circle, rectangle or even something custom. There are, of course, planning department regulations we will need to take into account, but that should not deter or stop you from having a fire pit or bowl to enhance your lifestyle.

At Hive Outdoor Living we provide virtually everything in order to Create Your Backyard Paradise, including custom pools, spas, decks, screen enclosures, landscaping, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and fire bowls, gazebos and more.

Fire-Pit by Pool - Hive Outdoor Living

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Landscaping To Reflect Your Lifestyle

Landscaping to Reflect your Lifestyle - Hive Outdoor Living

It is never too late for landscaping

When planning for your custom swimming pool, or even when you already have one installed, there is a way to complete your backyard paradise to reflect your lifestyle…landscaping and all that it can entail.

The options to transform your backyard into a unique environment are almost limitless, including, but not limited to: patios, walkways, gazebos, trees and foliage, planters, ponds, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits, screen enclosures, and much more. There are also numerous water effects and a variety of lighting to consider.

Fortunately, here in Tampa Bay, the #1 pool builder, Hive Outdoor Living, can handle pretty much any request or desire you may have with professional installations that will provide years of satisfaction.

Water effects offer both soothing and dramatic backgrounds, as well as highlights. The sound of running water from a water fall, water bowls or a sheer descent provides a calming affect, as well as a bit of an external noise blocker. Add some colorful lighting, which can be both inside the pool water as well as solid or colored laminars that create a beautiful arc of water that enters your pool.

There are items you may select that will provide you a dual purpose, such as filling planters with fragrant Lavender, Marigold, Scented Geranium and Peppermint to assist in repelling mosquitos. Trees and gazebos add dimension to your yard as well as some very welcome shade during the brightest part of the day.

An outdoor kitchen, with an adjacent dining area and possibly a nearby fire pit with seating around it, makes an ideal area to relax after a day at work, as well as the favorite location to entertain family and friends, pretty much any time.

However you decide to accentuate your home surroundings, rest assured that the experts at Hive Outdoor will work with you every step of the way to Create Your Own Paradise.

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