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    Pool Chemical Overdose

    May 25, 2017

    SPP Pool Chemicals

    Every pool owner knows the nervous energy of pulling back the safety or winter cover for the first time to begin the process of opening your pool. If you do not have a solid safety cover, you may already expect the worst and are just hoping it’s not “as bad as last year”.

    I have an inground pool with a mesh safety cover and every spring my water is almost black as oil, and if it’s been a warm spring the algae has already thoroughly colonized from end to end. It’s easy to panic at this point: You have a pool party in a week, it’s going to be 90 degrees, and you need the filter running NOW. Quick! Give me all the algaecide, all the shock, all the clarifier, we need to get this pool whipped into shape FAST! I may need 2 Pool Opening Kits this year. Now is when we need to stop, take a deep breath and learn to Trust the Process.

    Trust the Process. The worst thing you could do is overcompensate your pool chemical dosages in hopes of expediting the Process. Let’s take a look at what can happen when you don’t follow the directions on certain pool chemicals and add more than what the label’s instructions call for.

    1. pH pHailure

    Odds are that you are going to have to adjust your alkalinity or pH in one direction or another after you initially test your pool water. Following a dosage chart on pH and alkalinity chemicals is extremely important because if either of these gets too far out of whack it can be hard to “un-whack” them. This could lead to corrosive damage to your pool equipment, pool surfaces as well as the handrails or ladders, if your pH is it too low. Too high of a pH level turns to scaling and potentially chlorine lock which we will discuss in a moment. If you overdose on alkalinity increaser you can lock-in your pH, making it hard to change. It becomes a vicious cycle of adjustments that can really rack of the pool chemical costs.

    2. Shock, Shock, and More Shock?

    As with all pool chemicals the amount of pool shock you need to use to open your pool initially is largely dependent on how many gallons of water your pool holds. Plaster and fiberglass pools can take almost as much as you can add, but painted pools or liners can be affected by very high chlorine levels. Repeated or regular use of chlorine shock will compromise the integrity of the liner. It won't hurt to shock a vinyl pool heavily a few times per year (pre-diluted in a bucket of water), just don't make it a weekly habit. Using non-chlorine shock for bacteria and chloramine control however, won't harm a liner at all. If you've overdosed the pool with chlorine, here's how to remove chlorine from pool water.


    In the middle of our list are Algaecides. Again, this is a chemical that is easily overdosed because it’s easy to think, “Well, I have a lot of algae problems, the more the better, right?” No, not necessarily. Think of algaecide almost like soap. If you put too much soap in the washer, dishwasher, or even your bathtub you can work up a lather of foam that can really create a big mess. Just ask the Brady Bunch. They learned their lesson the hard way.

    brady bunch episode of too much laundry soap

    Besides bad smelling and annoying foam from a 50% Quat, an overdose of copper algaecide can also create staining in your pool which leads to more pool chemical purchases - something ALL pool owners hope to avoid.

    34. Lock ‘em Up: Too Much Cyanuric Acid.

    Cyanuric acid also known as stabilizer or conditioner is a wonderful pool chemical that helps you get more life out of your chlorine. It helps prevent chlorine from dissipating from the sun. Which is a good thing, but too much of a good thing... too much Cyanuric Acid can lead to ineffective sanitation, and possibly the dreaded 'chlorine-lock', where you can't get a chlorine reading. If you went digging for shock, and accidentally added CYA by mistake, drain a portion of the pool and refill. :-(

    5. I Can’t See Clearly Now: Too Much Clarifier

    This is probably the easiest pool chemical to overdose your pool water. Typically, pool clarifiers attract colloidal matter in your pool (the stuff that makes it cloudy) and clump together giving them more mass. The bigger the particle, the easier it is for your pool filter to catch. Too much clarifier in the pool can act as a dispersant instead of a coagulant. Be careful not to overdose pool clarifiers, especially if you also use a metal sequestrant (Stain & Scale) product in your pool because it could cause staining. Just follow the label dosage, and resist the urge to re-treat, until 5-7 days has passed.

    Pool Chemical Dosage Chart

    pool chemical dosage chart

    It may be cloudy. It may look like a swamp. It may be green with the consistency of mashed potatoes on the surface but overcompensating your pool chemical dosages can expound the problems creating extra chemicals costs and tipping that delicate balance of working on your pool and simply enjoying owning a pool. Trust the directions on the label and Trust the Process.

    Have you had an bad experiences with overdosing your swimming pool? Is there a pool chemical that is easy to over do? We love to hear from our SPP Pool Community! Drop us a line!

    Blog Author
    Matt Spencer
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