What Are My Ideal Pool Levels?

What is the ideal pH level in a pool? How do I know if my CYA level is correct? Please help me understand what levels should be in my pool!

Over the years TFP has developed these levels to help pool owners maintain their pools under ideal circumstances. We ensured the levels will be easy to follow and leave the user with a clear pool while also making sure pool equipment and surfaces are protected.

TFP's Recommended Levels

Use the selector below to choose your pool type and chemistry; we'll show you the recommended levels for it, as well as some helpful information to keep you on track with your levels!

Pool Type
Pool Chemistry

Vinyl pools with liquid chlorine

Ideal Levels

Free Chlorine: Maintaining an appropriate Free Chlorine level is the most important part of keeping your water in balance. It is important that you do not allow FC to get too low, or you run the risk of getting algae. The level of FC you need to maintain depends on your CYA level and how much you use the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

pH

Acceptable Minimum:
7.2
Ideal:
7.6-7.8
Acceptable Maximum:
8.0

Total Alkalinity

Acceptable Minimum:
50-60
Ideal:
60-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Calcium

Acceptable Minimum:
0-50
Ideal:
50-550
Acceptable Maximum:
550-650

Cyanuric Acid

Acceptable Minimum:
30-40
Ideal:
40-50
Acceptable Maximum:
50-60

Additional notes

(show/hide)

Low Calcium Levels

In very rare cases users may find themselves with extremely low Calcium Hardness levels. Levels at or around zero can damage some metal parts over an extended period of time and should be avoided when possible.

High Chlorine Loss

Pool owners who use liquid chlorine under some conditions may notice a large chlorine loss on a day to day basis. It is very common for a manually dosed pool to lose 2-4ppm Chlorine daily however some users may experience a larger drop, especially in areas of a high UV index. To help combat this issue users may consider maintaining a slightly higher than recommended CYA level such as maybe a 60ppm level to help protect the chlorine.

High Calcium Levels

High calcium levels under extreme conditions can cause scale on the walls of a vinyl pool. This issue is very rare with vinyl pools and often is caused by users using Calcium Hypochlorite on a frequent basis.

Vinyl pools with a Salt Water Generator

Ideal Levels

Free Chlorine: Maintaining an appropriate Free Chlorine level is the most important part of keeping your water in balance. It is important that you do not allow FC to get too low, or you run the risk of getting algae. The level of FC you need to maintain depends on your CYA level and how much you use the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

pH

Acceptable Minimum:
7.2
Ideal:
7.6-7.8
Acceptable Maximum:
8.0

Total Alkalinity

Acceptable Minimum:
50-60
Ideal:
60-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Calcium

Acceptable Minimum:
0-50
Ideal:
50-550
Acceptable Maximum:
550-650

Cyanuric Acid

Acceptable Minimum:
60-70
Ideal:
70-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Additional notes

(show/hide)

High Calcium Levels

High calcium levels under extreme conditions can cause scale on the walls of a vinyl pool or on the cell of a Salt Water Generator. This issue is very rare with vinyl pools and often is caused by users using Calcium Hypochlorite on a frequent basis. If however a user struggles to stay within our guidelines due to their fill water being high in calcium a user should consider using Borates in their water as well as attempt to keep their pH levels low.

Plaster pools with liquid chlorine

Ideal Levels

Free Chlorine: Maintaining an appropriate Free Chlorine level is the most important part of keeping your water in balance. It is important that you do not allow FC to get too low, or you run the risk of getting algae. The level of FC you need to maintain depends on your CYA level and how much you use the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

pH

Acceptable Minimum:
7.2
Ideal:
7.6-7.8
Acceptable Maximum:
8.0

Total Alkalinity

Acceptable Minimum:
50-60
Ideal:
60-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Calcium

Acceptable Minimum:
250-350
Ideal:
350-550
Acceptable Maximum:
550-650

Cyanuric Acid

Acceptable Minimum:
30-40
Ideal:
40-50
Acceptable Maximum:
50-60

Additional notes

(show/hide)

High Chlorine Loss

Pool owners who use liquid chlorine under some conditions may notice a large chlorine loss on a day to day basis. It is very common for a manually dosed pool to lose 2-4ppm Chlorine daily however some users may experience a larger drop, especially in areas of a high UV index. To help combat this issue users may consider maintaining a slightly higher than recommended CYA level such as maybe a 60ppm level to help protect the chlorine.

High Calcium Levels

High Calcium levels in a plaster pool can easily create scale on the walls of the pool. In cases where calcium levels cannot be kept within TFP’s Ideal Levels a homeowner may need to use more advanced methods of pool care. Users with high Calcium Levels should read more about CSI to assist with their pool care.

Plaster pools with a salt water generator

Ideal Levels

Free Chlorine: Maintaining an appropriate Free Chlorine level is the most important part of keeping your water in balance. It is important that you do not allow FC to get too low, or you run the risk of getting algae. The level of FC you need to maintain depends on your CYA level and how much you use the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

pH

Acceptable Minimum:
7.2
Ideal:
7.6-7.8
Acceptable Maximum:
8.0

Total Alkalinity

Acceptable Minimum:
50-60
Ideal:
60-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Calcium

Acceptable Minimum:
250-350
Ideal:
350-550
Acceptable Maximum:
550-650

Cyanuric Acid

Acceptable Minimum:
60-70
Ideal:
70-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Additional notes

(show/hide)

High Calcium Levels

High Calcium levels in a plaster pool can easily create scale on the walls of the pool. In cases where calcium levels cannot be kept within TFP’s Ideal Levels a homeowner may need to use more advanced methods of pool care. Users with high Calcium Levels should read more about CSI to assist with their pool care. Additionally owners of Salt Water Generators who commonly have high calcium levels in their pools may see scale on their Salt Water cells. To combat this issue users should consider using Borates in their water as well as adjust pH and TA to lower values to reduce their saturation index.

Fiberglass pools with liquid chlorine

Ideal Levels

Free Chlorine: Maintaining an appropriate Free Chlorine level is the most important part of keeping your water in balance. It is important that you do not allow FC to get too low, or you run the risk of getting algae. The level of FC you need to maintain depends on your CYA level and how much you use the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

pH

Acceptable Minimum:
7.2
Ideal:
7.6-7.8
Acceptable Maximum:
8.0

Total Alkalinity

Acceptable Minimum:
50-60
Ideal:
60-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Calcium

Acceptable Minimum:
250-350
Ideal:
350-550
Acceptable Maximum:
550-650

Cyanuric Acid

Acceptable Minimum:
30-40
Ideal:
40-50
Acceptable Maximum:
50-60

Additional notes

(show/hide)

High Chlorine Loss

Pool owners who use liquid chlorine under some conditions may notice a large chlorine loss on a day to day basis. It is very common for a manually dosed pool to lose 2-4ppm Chlorine daily however some users may experience a larger drop, especially in areas of a high UV index. To help combat this issue users may consider maintaining a slightly higher than recommended CYA level such as maybe a 60ppm level to help protect the chlorine.

Fiberglass pools with a salt water generator

Ideal Levels

Free Chlorine: Maintaining an appropriate Free Chlorine level is the most important part of keeping your water in balance. It is important that you do not allow FC to get too low, or you run the risk of getting algae. The level of FC you need to maintain depends on your CYA level and how much you use the pool. See the FC/CYA Chart.

pH

Acceptable Minimum:
7.2
Ideal:
7.6-7.8
Acceptable Maximum:
8.0

Total Alkalinity

Acceptable Minimum:
50-60
Ideal:
60-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Calcium

Acceptable Minimum:
250-350
Ideal:
350-550
Acceptable Maximum:
550-650

Cyanuric Acid

Acceptable Minimum:
60-70
Ideal:
70-80
Acceptable Maximum:
80-90

Additional notes

(show/hide)

High Calcium Levels

Owners of Salt Water Generators who commonly have high calcium levels in their pools may see scale on their Salt Water cells. To combat this issue users should always attempt to keep their Calcium levels within TFP’s guidelines. If however a user struggles to stay within our guidelines a user should consider using Borates in their water as well as adjust their pH and TA to lower values to reduce their saturation index.