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Pool maintenance 101: Understanding total dissolved solids

It’s not a very “sexy” subject, but if you own a swimming pool you will want to know about total dissolved solids. The swimming pool service contractors from Best Pro Pool Service in Merced, California offer this pool maintenance 101: understanding total dissolved solids (TDS) to any pool owner who wants to understand what goes on in the pool water.

At its most basic, total dissolved solids are the total of all the materials that have dissolved in the water (dead skin, bacteria, hair spray, etc.). The range is typically 250 parts per mission or higher.

Ask your pool contractor how much is too much when it comes to TDS. There is no universally accepted right or wong number. The TDS in your pool water is made up of myriad compounds, and that makes it difficult to pinpoint a PPM range that is too high or too low.  We know that when the total dissolved solids exceed more than 1500 parts per million, we see issues with the water quality and that can impact your swimming enjoyment.

Pool maintenance 101: Understanding total dissolved solids

One thing to note is that if you are using a pool sanitizing system of chemicals based on chlorine or using a bromine generating piece of equipoment, the pool water will have higher total dissolved solid levels than will a pool that doesn’t use chlorine or bromine.

Salt, used in pool water, is a highly soluble chemical and won’t cause problems that a pool contractor typically sees with high total dissolved solids. Salt, though, can add to the levels of TDS, just as any chemical will. When we test the water for the total dissolved solids in the pool, we take into consideration the bromine generator, chlorine and/or salt that is used — we will gather a baseline TDS reading and the way in which we clean and maintain the pool will be based on that unique number.

If the total dissolved solids in your swimming pool water reach levels that are “too high” you will notice that your water is no longer sparkling clean — it will look hazy and cloudy. Another issue with high TDS is that it will be more difficult to maintain proper water balance, the sanitizer won’t work as well and you may notice foamy water.

The only way to reduce total dissolved solids is to drain a portion of the pool water then replace it with fresh water. This can be time consuming and potentially costly. Unfortunately sequestering agents will not help when TDS levels are too high.

If we are cleaning and maintaining your pool, we will track the TDS levels and will keep you apprised of a time when the total dissolved solids will require a partial drain and refill of the pool.


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