Good Enough is the Enemy of Great

orenda blog, mediocre pool care, pool chemistry, orenda pool

Anyone can be decent at what they do. Anyone can do the bare minimum and be "good enough." But this way of thinking often prevents people from being great. Being great requires a different mindset entirely.


Covered in this article:

The 'easy' button

We get calls weekly from customers wanting to know which products to pour into their pool, so their problem goes away instantly. Unfortunately, it's not always so simple. Most problems happen because of several layers of factors at once. It's rare that we ever prescribe simply using our products to fix an issue. There is no panacea in pool care.

We always try to identify and address the root of the issue. For instance, we may recommend the white bucket test when your water is discolored so that you can know why. 

This mindset of always wanting the quick fix is what we refer to as 'the easy button.'

Seeking the easy button may lead to 'good enough, but never 'great.'

Pool care may not be easy, but it can be simple

Are you still trying to adhere to range chemistry standards and impose your will upon the water? How is that working for you? Can you maintain your pH between the textbook range of 7.2-7.8 every week? And are you able to do so with 80-120 ppm total alkalinity and 200-400 calcium hardness? 

No? Don't worry. You're not alone. These parameters are pretty much impossible to maintain because they defy physics. Pool care may not be easy, but it can be simple if you obey physics.

Water and air equilibriums

There are essentially two equilibriums to consider:

pool physics, two equilibriums, LSI balance, Henry's Law, pH ceiling

Aim to have your pool fall within the middle of the Venn diagram shown above. To keep your pool within the blue circle, simply obey Pillar 1 and maintain LSI balance year-round. Never overdose acid or pour it in without measuring and diluting first, so you avoid having your LSI go red on the Orenda Calculator™

To keep your pool within the gray circle, obey Henry's Law and recognize that CO2 in your water must equalize with the CO2 in the air above it. Since the amount of dissolved CO2 determines your pool's pH, know that your pH will naturally rise until CO2 equilibrium is reached (this is known as pH(eq)). It's supposed to. Embrace it.

None of us can control pH, but physics can. To see how high your pH can naturally rise, select "show" on the Orenda Calculator to see the pH Ceiling. This number tells you how high the pH will eventually rise to, the point at which CO2 in the water is in equilibrium with the CO2 in the air above the water. Because of this natural pH ceiling, we can contain pH and let physics do the heavy lifting for us.

contain pH with Orenda Calculator

On the high side, as long as your LSI is balanced (green LSI), when your pH reaches its ceiling, your pH is contained, and you stay within the middle of the Venn diagram above. On the low side, your LSI foundation is secure as long as you do not abuse acid and allow the LSI to go red (below -0.30 LSI). Your water now benefits from two forces of physics, which act like a floor and ceiling to keep your chemistry in line.

pH elevator

As long as your floor never goes red (on the LSI) and your pH ceiling doesn't make the LSI purple, you are contained in the middle of the Venn diagram, which is much like an elevator (see above). Your strategy never changes throughout the year, but the parameters (like calcium and alkalinity) may need to change seasonally to adjust for changing water temperatures.

Old school, traditional pool care

What we just explained works incredibly well, but it could be considered heresy when comparing it to industry standards and textbook 'range chemistry.' We teach it anyway because it's what water wants. Water never read the textbooks.


Old school, traditional pool care is about chasing range chemistry targets with pH adjusters like acid and sodium bicarb. It involves reactionary practices like shocking the pool heavily with extra chlorine and using algaecides. When problems occur, the traditional pool pro reacts to them and looks for a product that can quickly clean up the problem...even if it doesn't address the root cause.

The Orenda program is different. It's proactive, not reactive. It's obeying the laws of physics, not defying them. It's a philosophy of minimalism...of removing variables from the water to have the purest, cleanest water possible with the least amount of chemicals in it. 

Proactive Pool Care

Traditional pool care can lead to common problems like overstabilization, staining, carbonate scale, calcite crystals, algae, cloudy water, and more. Proactive pool care avoids these issues by obeying our Four Pillars. Each pillar has a single action step to follow.

Related Course: Orenda Academy - Four Pillars

The Four Pillars

Four Pillars Logo Here are our Four Pillars if you choose to read further into them. Below is a bullet point with the single action step to follow to obey the pillar.

  1. LSI Balance and Calcium Management
    • Action step: Maintain LSI balance year-round.
  2. Organic Waste and Carbon Management
    • Action step: Supplement chlorine against the oxidant demand.
  3. Phosphate Removal
    • Keep phosphates below 500 ppb (µg/L).
  4. Minimal CYA
    • Keep cyanuric acid below 50 ppm.

Six bad habits to avoid

Bad Habits-1Being great at pool care goes beyond the four pillars. It also involves avoiding bad habits. Here are our top six bad habits to avoid.


To quickly summarize, the six bad habits are:

  1. Abusing acid
  2. Chasing pH
  3. Neglecting test kits
  4. Ignoring water temperature
  5. Not knowing the pool volume
  6. Not measuring chemicals

These bad habits are common and costly but cost basically nothing to change. Measuring cups and a thermometer are a few dollars, but everything else is just a behavior change. Make these simple changes and watch what happens.


The fact that you are still reading this confirms that you can be great at pool care. We hope you will not settle for 'good enough because what separates you from being great are just some improved habits and behaviors. That's it. Not calculus, rocket science, or a four-year degree in chemistry. Just improved habits and behaviors. We are here to guide you. After all, we purify water by empowering the people who treat it. So take advantage of the resources provided in our app, blog, help center, Orenda Academy™, Rule Your Pool Podcast, video library, and more. Everything you need is at your fingertips.

Your move.


Leave a Comment