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Maintaining Dissolved Solids for Optimal Pool Maintenance

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At the heart of every sparkling pool is a combination of periodic checks and adequate maintenance. One of the parameters that require regular monitoring is the water’s total dissolved solids (TDS) level. Understanding and keeping this crucial component within appropriate levels is essential for optimal pool maintenance.

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Understanding Dissolved Solids

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) represent the sum of organic and inorganic substances present in a liquid in suspended form. This includes anything present in the water aside from pure H2O molecules. Dissolved solids in pool water can come from a variety of sources, ranging from human sweat and body oils to chemicals used for water treatment, airborne contaminants, and mineral content in the fill water. In a swimming pool or spa, the TDS can consist of ions such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates, among others. Though these likely sound familiar as they are also critical for human health, they should be within a specific range in your pool water.

The Importance of Dissolved Solids in Pool Maintenance

The level of total dissolved solids in your pool water is critical for several reasons. First, when the TDS level becomes too high, it can reduce the effectiveness of chlorine and other chemicals, making them less efficient at keeping your pool clean and safe. This decreased effectiveness can lead to issues such as cloudiness, stains, scaling, and algae growth. Second, high TDS can affect the comfort and health of swimmers. It can cause skin and eye irritation, making the swimming experience less pleasurable. Third, very high levels of TDS can potentially cause corrosion or scale buildup on your pool’s equipment and surfaces, leading to costly repairs and replacements.

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Maintaining Optimal Levels of Dissolved Solids

The recommended TDS level for a standard pool lies between 1000 and 2000 parts per million (ppm). Spa water tends to have higher levels, typically between 1000 and 3000 ppm. To ensure these levels are maintained, regular testing and appropriate measures are necessary.


  1. Regular Testing: Regular testing is the foundation for managing TDS levels effectively. Testing kits are readily available and make it a simple process to check TDS levels. Ideally, pool owners should check TDS levels about once a week during swim season and a minimum of once a month during off-seasons.
  2. Partial Draining and Water Replacement: If you discover through testing that the TDS levels are much higher than the recommended range, dilution is the simplest way to bring it down. This process involves partially draining the pool and replacing it with fresh water. However, remember to balance and treat the new water to match the required standards.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Maintain your pool regularly by cleaning the filters, skimming debris, and balancing pool chemicals. These actions can go a long way toward preventing buildup of dissolved solids.
  4. Professional Evaluation: If the TDS levels continue to be high despite your interventions, consider seeking professional advice. Pool professionals have the knowledge and experience to evaluate the situation correctly and provide the best solutions.

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When to Call a Pool Service Specialist for Dissolved Solids Problems

It’s crucial to know when to bring in a professional pool service specialist if you’re experiencing issues with Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). There are several situations where professional help might be necessary, including:

  1. Persistent High TDS Levels: Despite regular testing and fresh water replacement, if the TDS levels continue to rank higher than the recommended 1000-2000 ppm, it’s time to call a pool specialist. It could indicate an underlying issue with your pool that needs a more comprehensive diagnosis.
  2. Pool Water Clarity Issues: High TDS levels can impede the effectiveness of sanitizing agents, leading to cloudy water, persistent algae growth, or the presence of other microorganisms in the water. If these issues persist even after the normal cleaning and chemical treatments, it would be beneficial to contact a professional.
  3. Corrosion and Scaling: Consequences of a high TDS level can be damaging to your pool infrastructure over time. If you notice white crusty buildups on tiles, scaling on the pool walls, or signs of corrosion on ladders, railings, or other metal parts, it’s advisable to call a pool service specialist. It could be an indication that high TDS levels are damaging your pool equipment and surfaces over time.
  4. Irritation and Discomfort: High TDS levels can cause eye and skin irritations for swimmers. If these symptoms are consistently reported by the individuals using the pool, a pool specialist should be contacted. They can provide a comprehensive water test and suggest remedies.
  5. Difficulty in Balancing Pool Chemistry: Balanced pool water is critical for safe and enjoyable swimming. If you’re frequently struggling to balance the water chemistry despite following recommendations, professional help may be needed. Difficulty in maintaining the ideal chlorine, pH, calcium hardness, or alkalinity levels could indicate an underlining TDS issue.


Although maintaining pool water quality may seem like a daunting task, it is crucial for the longevity of your pool and safety of its users. By recognizing these signs and calling a pool service specialist when needed, you can ensure a healthy and enjoyable swimming environment.