Chlorine is the most common chemical treatment used to kill bacteria and other disease causing organisms. To kill bacteria and other microorganisms, a measurable disinfectant level must be continually present in the pool water. The most common oxidizer that is used for sanitizing the pool is chlorine. Your water purification routine is very important to maintaining crystal clear water and providing a safe swimming environment for family and friends.
Types of Pool Chlorine
When it comes to Pool Chlorine the most common types are Calcium Hypochlorite (powder), Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid bleach) and Trichlor tablets. These types of chlorine are used for destroying contaminants in the pool water. In practice, chlorine tablets are used for everyday chlorination, because they dissolve slowly, unlike powder or liquid chlorine types.
The process of removing all of the bacteria and killing any contaminants in the pool is called shocking your pool. This is done by adding enough chlorine to your pool to reach a level of at least 10ppm. To shock your pool, a granular or liquid is needed, to raise the chlorine level quickly - tablets would never dissolve fast enough.
One of the most popular alternatives to chlorine tablets for sanitizing your swimming pool is a chlorine generator. With a salt water chlorine generator, you add water softener salt (ordinary table salt) to the pool water and the salt cell creates chlorine from the salty water. The amount of salt you need to add to your pool is roughly 20lbs of salt per 1000 gallons of water.
The advantage of using a salt system compared to chlorine tablets is that there is no odor, no burning of eyes, no discoloring of bathing suits or bleached hair. Salt systems also make the water much softer and more enjoyable to swim in. I have a salt system on my own inground pool and would never go back regular chlorine tablets. You can’t put a price on the health benefits, and also I like not having to buy, store or handle chlorine products.
Economical Chlorine Use
Chlorine is not cheap! With the average inground pool using 4-6 tablets per week, pool owners may be motivated to find ways to reduce their chlorine consumption. Here's some tips to lower your chlorine cost.
- Stabilize It! Using Cyanuric Acid in your inground pool protects your chlorine from the sun. Cyanuric acid is sold by the name "Conditioner" or "Stabilizer". For a residential pool, you want to keep the stabilizer in the range of 30-50ppm. If you do not have the proper amount of stabilizer in the pool water, the chlorine can quickly degrade from UV rays, and you may have trouble keeping a chlorine residual. Using stabilized chlorine tablets, such as TriChlor tabs is also recommended, to help maintain your stabilizer levels.
- Reduce It! If you want to reduce the amount of chlorine, you will need some kind of alternative sanitizer to work with the chlorine. Some of the most popular alternative sanitizers are the Frog System, Nature 2, Ionizers and Ozonators. None of these systems will eliminate chlorine completely, but will significantly reduce the amount of chlorine you need to have in the swimming pool. Adding a secondary sanitizer will allow you to reduce the chlorine level to 0.5 -1.0 ppm, because these systems will kill bacteria and other organisms in the pool water, reducing the workload for your chlorine.
- Feed It! The best way to use chlorine tablets is to use either an inline or offline chemical feeder. Place the chlorine tablets into the feeder and adjust the dial, to control the amount of chlorine that comes out of the feeder. Another way to dissolve chlorine tablets into the pool water is through a floating pool feeder. This floater slowly dispenses the chlorine tablets into the pool water. By adjusting the number of tablets in the chlorinator or floater, and adjusting the water flow through - you can control the dissolve rate.
Shocking Your Pool Effectively
I just click a button on my salt chlorinator to shock the pool, and the salt cell goes into overdrive to pump up the chlorine to the level needed for shocking the pool. For those of you who shock the pool with more traditional means, here's a few pool shock tips.
There are many different types of pool shocks available for shocking the pool - Liquid Chlorine, Calcium Hypochlorite and Lithium Hypochlorite and also a non-chlorine product called potassium monopersulfate. With liquid shock, Lithium shock or non-chlorine shock, you do not need to pre-dissolve, but fro Cal Hypo pool shock, it is very important that you follow package instructions. When pre-dissolving, make sure you add chemicals to a bucket full of water, not the other way around.
Shock your pool every 7-10 days or after a heavy bather load, to kill anything that has been able to resist your daily chlorination routine. Shocking your pool also removes chloramines, or chlorine molecules that have combined with nitrogen or ammonia. Chloramines are no longer effective sanitizers, and are responsible for red eyes, irritated skin and a strong chlorine smell.
In order to properly shock your pool, it's important to reach what's called "Breakpoint Chlorination". This is the level at which everything in the pool is oxidized. If you come close, but do not reach this threshold, you won't break apart the chloramine bond, and some pathogens may escape your shock treatment. Consult the pool shock package directions, know the accurate number of gallons in your pool, and when in doubt, add a little extra (and use the entire bag).
Pool Chlorine Safety
Here are a few pool chlorine safety tips to help you avoid a Haz-Mat situation.
- Always add chemicals directly to the pool, or to a bucket of water.
- do not ever mix any different types of pool chemicals, or allow contamination from leaves or dirt.
- No smoking around pool chemicals, some types can ignite easily.
- Store your chemicals in a cool, dry location - out of the reach of children.
- Be careful opening chlorine buckets or chlorinators, avoid breathing chlorine gas.
- Use complete bags of pool shock. do not store opened bags of pool shock.
Chlorine is a wonderful chemical. I suppose if it weren't for chlorine, we wouldn't have so many inground pools in the U.S., and I'd be out of a job! If you have any questions on using chlorine in our inground pool kits, or in any type of swimming pool, feel free to contact us at 800-983-POOL.
SPP Pool Expert