Maintaining the proper chemical levels in your pool is key to keeping the pool and the people who swim in it healthy. Plenty of things can go wrong when the chemicals are out of whack, and one of those things is the presence of hard water. So what is hard water, and how do you prevent it? – or get rid of it if it's already an issue? 

The skinny on hard water
Hard water occurs when there is too much calcium and magnesium present in the pool. According to San Francisco Gate, the top three things a pool owner has to worry about with regard to keeping the chemicals in the pool balanced are hardness, pH and chlorine. Hard water can cause damage to your pool and result in white residue left on ladders, pool decks and other surfaces. This is known as "scaling" and is the result of calcium hardening on a surface. 

According to Pool Center, water balance is a term used to describe water that is neither scaling nor corrosive. Balanced water will dissolve the substances introduced to it and they will remain in the water until it becomes saturated. Once the water has reached this point, the substance will no longer dissolve and it will solidify somewhere. Just as you don't want hard water causing scaling, you need to be mindful of soft water, because it can be corrosive. 

How do you treat hard water?
Test kits are available that will allow homeowners to test for hard water, but it's best to leave the treatment process up to the professionals at Poolman in Phoenix, San Diego and Dallas. Although it may be tempting to try and fix the issue yourself, one wrong move or forgotten step and it's time to hit the reset button- you'll have wasted time and money. 

San Francisco Gate reported that most pools need to be drained about every two years, but if you're trying to fix a hard water problem it's likely you'll need to drain a portion earlier. The hardness can be reduced by adding soft water to the mix. Test the water again a week after the pool has been treated to make sure it's been sufficiently softened.

Can hard water impact your healthy?
Although pool water is obviously not for drinking, in the course of swimming over an entire season it's likely that some pool water will be inadvertently swallowed by swimmers. A report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that, if swallowed, hard water can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.