As the weather warms up and summer approaches, it's time to start thinking about opening your pool. After being closed up all winter, your pool may need a little TLC before it's ready for swimmers. Meaning, using the right chemicals is critical. In this article we’ve laid out descriptions of the main chemicals involved and how they are used.
The most common of swimming pool chemicals, chlorine is used to ensure the water is germ-free and safe to swim in. It kills bacteria, viruses and the build-up of human sweat, as well as reducing the growth of algae. Chlorine is dispensed into the pool through a chlorinator and is available in stick, tablet, pellet and granule form.
Chlorine is available in two types: stabilised chlorine and unstabilised chlorine. Stabilised chlorine is used in outdoor pools and contains cyanuric acid. This acts as a stabiliser and stops the chlorine from being broken down by sunlight. Unstabilised chlorine does not contain cyanuric acid and is usually used in indoor pools.
If you add too much chlorine to your pool, it can have some negative effects on the water and swimmers. Firstly, high levels of chlorine can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, causing discomfort and potentially leading to health issues. Additionally, an excessive amount of chlorine can lead to a strong and unpleasant odor that can be difficult to get rid of. High chlorine levels can also cause damage to the pool's infrastructure, including the liner, filter, and pump. Over-chlorinated water can become cloudy and lose its transparency, making it difficult to see the bottom of the pool.
Therefore, it is important to carefully monitor the chlorine levels in your pool and maintain them within the recommended range to ensure safe and enjoyable swimming conditions.
Bromine is used as an alternative to chlorine in both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as spas and hot tubs. The reason for this is due to its broader pH range (which is a benefit in hard water areas) and less odour. Bromine is available in tablet form.
Algaecide is used to prevent the build-up of algae in a swimming pool. This is used as a prevention, not a cure as only shocking a pool will remove algae. It is recommended that at the beginning of every season you should add algaecide to the swimming pool water. Algaecide is available in tablet form.
Flocculants are used to help fix filtration problems. If small particles are escaping the filter, then adding flocculant to the water will help remove them. It works by clumping the fine particles together therefore making the new large particles easier to be picked up by the filter.
These are a set of chemicals that can be used to control the levels of alkalinity, pH and calcium. They will help you achieve a water balance that is neither algae forming or corrosive. You can currently buy calcium and alkalinity builders, as well as pH increasers and reducers. These chemicals should be used carefully and in conjunction with proper water quality monitoring.