What Chemicals Do You Need for a Pool

The upkeep of a pool doesn’t resume only to physically removing bugs, leaves, or debris that end up in it, you also need to keep the water clear. Keeping it transparent might seem an easy task at first, but in reality behind the crystal-like aspect lies a cocktail of chemicals. If kept balanced, the chemicals ensure no bacteria or microorganisms can live in the water.

However, when the balance is upset, negative reactions can cause damage not only to the shell itself but also to the plumbing system, resulting in high repair bills. Although pools differ in size and capacity, therefore they require a customized chemical mix, the ingredients are quite similar if not the same. In this article, we’ll provide you with all you need to know about your pool chemicals to keep the water pristine.

There are a few key aspects you have to keep in mind when shopping for pool chemicals: what are their roles, which one suits the pool condition better, and the interval they require for administration.

I. Sanitizers

First and foremost, before you even consider balancing the water, you have to make sure it is of any impurities which consist of algae, bacteria, pathogens, or any kind of body lotions, hair, and oils. To help you get rid of the aforementioned ‘invaders’ you’ll need sanitizers.

  1. Chlorine – one of the most well known and widely utilized sanitizers, it is an excellent ally against grime, kelp, and alga. It also comes in several different forms, for increased convenience, therefore catering to all pool owner’s requirements and needs. You can find it in forms of:
    • Tablets: easy to use, they are placed directly in the skimmer basket or a floating chlorinator. Due to their slow dissolution rate, the chlorine will be dispersed in time.
    • Liquid: spilled directly into the basin, it offers a swift action with fast results. But it needs to be quickly disposed of, or utilized as its lifespan is not long.
    • Powder: although similar to tablets, this granulated form is spread throughout the basin, directly over the waterbody, offering fast results.

  2. Another means of obtaining chlorine is to employ a saltwater chlorinator. This will offer the required amount of chlorine, by converting salt into chlor.

  3. Bromine – bearing quite a lot of similarities to chlorine, since they are made of the same chemical compounds, it is also utilized similarly to it. However, the key differences lie in its price (quite a bit higher), and its gentleness (not as damaging to eyes and skin). Although it fares better in higher temperature, thus its prime utilization for hot tubs and spas, it also comes in pool-friendly forms like powder and tablets.

  4. Due to its instability in sunlight it is better suited for indoor basins rather than outdoor ones.

  5. Hydrogen Peroxyde – another noteworthy sanitizer, especially if you wish to avoid chlorine. However, it works best with outdoor basins, as it requires the UV light from the sunrays to start the chemical reaction to destroy bacteria.

If you don’t want to involve chemicals into your pool water, consider utilizing an ionizer or an ozonator. Environmentally-friendly, they can sanitize the water as efficiently as their chemical counterparts.

II. Algaecides

While the sanitizers destroy bacteria, including algae, algaecides are better suited as a prevention method rather than a means to get rid of them. They come in two types, those which are based on chromium and those that are chrome-free. Depending on how much metal the pool as in and around it, you should use one over the other, as too many metal-based chemicals can hurry the oxidation process, therefore resulting in prematurely damaging the plumbing system.

– stops the processing of carbon dioxide, therefore prevents the alga growth altogether
– improves water clarity
Bromine Salt
– highly effective against black and yellow kelp
– can be successfully combined with shock treatments
Quaternary Ammonia
– the most frequently used method to combat algae
– has liquid form, for faster utilization, and includes different types of concentration
– if used excessively, it can produce above-water foam
– higher in concentration than ammonia, (from 50 to 60%)
– highly efficient in killing as well as preventing alga
– doesn’t foam
– more expensive than its counterparts

III. Water Balancers

An important aspect of water-care includes a neutral pH, and even level of alkalinity, and a reduced level of hardness. All three factors play major roles in preserving that delicate balance, ensuring safety for both swimmers and pool systems.

  1. pH – it lets you know the level of acidity present in the water. The optimal level should be 7.4, with a margin of error of 7.2 to 7.6. If the level remains between these parameters, the pH won’t affect the reaction between the other chemicals. For example, a higher level might create cloudy water, skin rashes, and even prevent chlorine from acting as it should, whereas a lower level can damage the plumbing system, the basin shell as well as gaining acidic nature. To decrease the pH level, you should try sodium bisulfate. It can be found in liquid form as well as a powder and doesn’t influence too much the alkalinity level when utilized. To increase the level, sodium carbonate or even soda ash can boost up the level. And since these two as well have two forms, liquid, and powder, you can easily place them in the pool.
  2. Alkalinity – it is directly linked to the pH level, acting as its buffer zone, therefore preventing the pH from changing its values. Alkalinity should also be stable, between 80 and 120 ppm, to ensure no damage is done to the basin shell or pool systems. If the level drops below 80 ppm, the most efficient and effective way of rising it back is to utilize baking soda, scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate. However, keep in mind that a higher level might produce scaling, so when you wish to lower its level, muritatic acid or sodium bisulfate are the go-to options. It is recommended to follow the instructions they come with, and respect the safety protocols to avoid serious health issues.
  3. Water hardness – is directly linked to calcium hardness. If it goes beyond 220ppm, it will sooner or later create scaling, basin shell damage as well as plumbing damage. To reduce it there are three simple methods: drain and replace the water with a new one, utilize pool flocculants and clarifiers, and last but not least, use muriatic acid. If you wish to raise the level back up, all you need to do is add a calcium increaser solution.

Final Thoughts

The hardest part for balanced water chemistry is at the beginning when you’re trying to mix and match all the substances so they fit together. Once the balance is achieved, maintaining it is less troublesome and less stressful. With regular upkeep and weekly water tests, you’ll surely be able to preserve the water transparent and clear. It just takes a bit of patience and practice.

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