In the same way that we use bleach to keep our kitchen counters free from bacteria and our whites white, chlorine plays a vital role in keeping our swimming pools in prime condition. Chlorine is also a useful tool for proper pool maintenance. Let's take a look at the why, how and what of chlorine.
Chlorine Usage 101
Chlorine has been around since the late 1700's and was first used in 1910 to sterilize a pool at Brown University. Since then chlorine has become the primary tool in pool water sanitation. It’s reasonably priced and easy to find, especially here in Central, FL.
Why Do I Need Chlorine?
Chlorine is the critical ingredient in keeping your swimming pool water clean and safe. It is a disinfectant and will kill the bacteria and algae in the pool water. Have you ever seen a pool with cloudy pool water? That is due to an improper pH level which is directly affected by chlorine. It’s also a sign of bacteria. One of the biggest swimming pool safety concerns is bacterial growth because it is harmful to humans causing a wide variety of health issues from ear infections to athlete's foot.
How Much Chlorine Do I Need?
This is where it gets technical. Keeping your pH levels balanced is vital to keeping your pool safe. The amount of chlorine you need is dependent on the size of your pool and whether you have an indoor or an outdoor pool. The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals recommends that chlorine in pools is 2.0 ppm - 4.0 ppm (parts per million). Additionally, the ideal pH level is 7.4 - 7.6. Anything higher is too alkaline, and if it is lower, it is too acidic. Test your pH levels daily to ensure that the chlorine is working effectively.
Pool water that is too acidic can cause pool parts to rust and crack. To quickly get your chlorine levels back to the ideal level you will need to shock the water. Read more about safely shocking your swimming pool here.
What Type Of Chlorine Do I Use?
There are three main types of chlorine for your pool: liquid; tablet; and granular. What kind you use will depend on your budget, manufacturer recommendations, and what you are most comfortable using.
- Liquid Chlorine - while one of the most cost-effective, has a high pH level requiring the addition of acid. You can add liquid chlorine directly to the pool water. So, if you have a large commercial pool, this is your best option.
- Tablets - are the most common form of chlorine by pool owners. Tablets are slow dissolving when placed in a floater or chlorinator.
- Granular - dissolves and activates quickly. The level of available chlorine differs depending on the type of granular you use.
Remember, chlorine is a chemical and needs to be handled appropriately. The American Chemistry Council has valuable free resources including a video on pool chemical safety.
Remember, improper use of chlorine can directly affect your pool pump and other pool parts causing them to wear down quicker and leak. Additionally, if you find that you are having a hard time keeping your pH balanced in your swimming pool, this could be a sign of a possible leak. Identifying and repairing a leak early can save you time and money. Contact Aquaman Leak Detection for all leak repairs. We service all of Florida.