Chlorine is the miracle chemical that keeps your pool and spa clean, but managing the level is tricky. If it’s too low, bacteria can grow, while adding too much can damage your pool. How does chlorine really work, and how can you achieve the perfect balance? Let’s find out by debunking some popular myths
How Chlorine Works
Chlorine is a sanitizer that kills bacteria and algae through oxidation. When added to your pool, it breaks down into different compounds that bind with substances in the water, neutralizing them within seconds. As molecules are bound, however, fewer are available and the level of “free” chlorine drops while the level of used, or combined chlorine, rises.
How can you tell when your pool water needs more? One way you can’t tell is by smell. In fact, if your pool has a heavy chemical odor, chances are there’s not enough free chlorine in the pool. The only reliable way is to test it with a kit that measures free available chlorine.
Under Chlorinated Pools
When there’s not enough chlorine in your swimming pool, microorganisms including bacteria and algae flourish. Not only will the pool look dirty, but it could harbor disease-causing pathogens that make swimming unsafe.
Water quality experts recommend keeping the concentration of free chlorine in your swimming pool between 1-3 parts per million. The best way to do that is to monitor levels and add more when it drops. Adding pool shock to over chlorinate your pool temporarily after use or a heavy rainfall is a must as is regular pool maintenance and keeping your water well balanced. Factors such as pH, hardness and the amount of organic debris in your pool affect how well chemicals work.
Over Chlorinated Pools
Adding too much chlorine to swimming pools is not only needlessly costly, but it can be as harmful as not having enough. It bleaches clothing and pool surfaces and can damage expensive equipment such as heaters. Swimmers may complain of eye redness or skin irritation, and if levels are high enough, it can cause respiratory issues. More isn’t always better.
Lowering the Chlorine Level in a Pool
- Stop adding chlorine. Remove tablets from floating chlorine tablets from dispensers and check the levels daily before adding more.
Uncover the pool. Sun and warmth speed chemical evaporation.
- Add water. The concentration of chlorine rises when the water level falls. If there’s no rain in sight, add fresh water with a garden hose.
Use chemicals. Over-the-counter chlorine neutralizers, including sodium thiosulfate, ascorbic acid and hydrogen peroxide, are among the fastest ways to reduce high levels if you can’t wait to use your pool.
Managing pool chlorine as part of your maintenance routine is a DIY job, but for expert advice and a hassle-free summer, consider hiring the professionals at Marine Blue Pool Service.