Understanding your swimming pool's chlorine levels and activity is an important part of keeping your pool clean and safe. At the Great Backyard we are asked questions about chlorine almost every day. Understandably so, because Chlorine is available in so many strengths and formulas. In this post we will attempt unravel the chlorine mystery!
What Is Chlorine and How Does It Work?
Chlorine is a chemical element, number 17 on the periodic table. Chlorine ahs many commercial uses. It is an important ingredient in hot tub and swimming pool sanitation. When chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid know as hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid kills bacterial and viruses in swimming pool and spa water by destroying their cell walls, enzymes and other cellular structures. Between 3 and 5 parts per million chlorine at a pH of 7.2 - 7.4 is recommended for optimal sanitizing.
Types of Chlorine
There is a wide variety of hot tub and swimming pool chlorine products. In the end, these products all do the same thing, sanitize your water. The type of chlorine you use is up to you as long as your system is compatible. Let's explore the popular pool and spa chlorine products available today.
Liquid chlorine is a fine way to quickly raise the chlorine levels of you pool or hot tub. Liquid chlorine can sanitize a swimming pool in 15 minutes with good water circulation.
Although liquid chlorine does act very quickly, it lacks a chlorine stabilizing ingredient causes chlorine concentration to rise and then fall quickly. As a pool owner, you would need to apply liquid chlorine to your pool daily to maintain good sanitization.
Liquid chlorine is great for quickly shocking your pool or hot tub but it is not typically recommended as a regular water treatment solution. Liquid chlorine can also quickly raise the pH of your pool or hot tub.
Chlorine granules are a good way to sanitize your pool or spa. However, granules should be added to water regularly. Chlorine granules dissolve quickly which is good for sanitizing but not great for chlorine stabilization. Chlorine granules do work and some pool owners like this method of chlorination but it does require daily water testing.
Chlorine tablets are the most convenient way to add chlorine to you swimming pool. Chlorine tablets are made with a built in stabilizer. Typically, chlorine tablet manufacturers add cyanuric acid (CYA) as the chlorine stabilizer. The stabilizer slows the release of chlorine as the tablet dissolves.
Chlorine tablets are popular because they dissolve slowly dispersing chlorine to your pool. This prevents spiking of chlorine levels and big swings in pH. There are two highly effective method of chlorinating your pool with chlorine tablets, in-line chlorination and using a floating chlorine dispenser.
In-line chlorination dispenses chlorine into your pools return line just before it enters the pool. This is a great way to add chlorine to your pool because it is easy to regulate and easy to measure. In addition there is a nice set it and forget it quality to the in-line method. You can add up to two weeks of chlorine to you in-line feeder. Just check your pools chlorine levels every couple of days and that's it!
Using a floating chlorine dispenser is another great way to chlorinate your swimming pool. You can purchase a floating device that holds 3 inch chlorine tablets in a carriage underneath the floating element. As it floats around your pool with the circulation it slowly dispenses chlorine into the water. This method is simple and fun. You can by floaters in all shapes and forms. Some even have lights and fountains!
Chlorine tablets can be purchased in 3-inch and 1-inch sizes. 1-inch tablets ate good for hot tubs and pools of 5,000 gallons and below. 3-inch tablets are great for all pools over 5,000 gallons.
What is chlorine shock? Chlorine shock contains high levels of water
sanitizing chemicals, typically chlorine but you can find chlorine-free shock formulas. Shock treatments are formulated to quickly raise levels of sanitizing chemicals. This action deep cleans your water, killing algae and bacteria and other pathogens.
Chlorine shock is made for occasional use to support regular water conditioning. Shock is not intended for daily use but is a support technique for regular water maintenance.
You will need to consider shocking your pool when the water is cloudy, green, or your see algal growth, after heavy rain, and following a pool party. Otherwise, your regular maintenance routine should be sufficient to maintain healthy swimming conditions.
Chlorine bleach has a much lower chlorine concentration than liquid chlorine. Clorox is an example of over the counter chlorine bleach. It is not recommended to use chlorine bleach for pools because it is difficult to measure the amount of chlorine you are actually adding.
Although there are other swimming pool sanitation methods, chlorine is the most popular and most effective. It is a very important part of swimming pool maintenance. A clean. clear, pathogen free swimming pool is an oasis in the summertime. Make sure you understand your pool's water chemistry. Test your water regularly and keep your chemicals at recommended levels and your pool will be a great source of family fun!
Rookie Move - Beginner Lesson
Four years I purchased a home with a backyard swimming pool. I had never owned or cared for a swimming pool in my life. Near the beginning of my first summer of ownership I had an incredible algae issue. Reluctantly, I resorted to hiring a pool company to give me a fresh start. The company I hired recommended placing 3-inch chlorine tablets into my strainer baskets. It made sense to me because the baskets have great flow and the tablets were safe and out of sight. However, I later learned that my tablets dissolved rather quickly in the baskets and I was delivering highly acidic water directly into my pump and filter. This puts an unnecessary burden on your pools most important systems. This method is not recommended! But, hey, you live and learn.