An Introduction To Chlorine Use In Home Swimming Pools

by Pool Builders on 02-02-2012 in Articles

Some of the main reasons chlorine is such a popular choice is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to other chemicals, it helps keep the water safe and it comes in a variety of forms. Chlorine can be purchased in the form of a liquid, gas, tablets, granules or powder. Keep in mind however, that chlorine in gas form should only be used by experts as it can be very dangerous. The other forms can easily be purchased from your local pool supply store and be put in to your pool quite easily. The liquid form is probably the most commonly used form of chlorine and is often the least expensive. The liquid form also disperses in the water more quickly which means it can begin to eliminate bacteria from the water almost immediately.

The most commonly found liquid chlorine products are somewhere between 10 and 15 percent concentrated. This concentration percentage helps determine how much of the product you will need to use. The general rule is, the higher the concentration is, the less you will need to use. When it comes to the dry or solid forms of chlorine, there are three main types: calcium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite and chlorinated isocyanurics. The concentration of the dry types have a much higher concentration. For example, the calcium hypochlorite granules or tablets have a concentration of about 65%. Options for dispersal include simply tossing the product into the pool, mix the product in a bucket with water then pouring it into the pool or purchasing a floater in which you place the product and it floats around the pool dispersing it as it goes. If you choose to mix it with water first you will need to add 10 quarts of water for each 8 ounces of chlorine product, unless the directions on the bottle state otherwise.

The dry form of chlorine called lithium hypochlorite comes in the same forms as calcium hypochlorite but has a much lower pH level. This means it is not as important to check the pH level of your pool after applying the chlorine. The third type of chlorine, chlorinated isocyanurics dissolves quickly and is more resistant to lots of direct sunlight than the other types of chlorine. This type is also less likely to change the way the water feels by an increase in calcium hardness that can sometimes occur with other types of chlorine. The only draw back of chlorinated isocyanurics is that it sometimes emits a very strong chemical odor.

Be sure when mixing dry chlorine with water before putting it into the pool you add the chlorine to the bucket of water, not pour water over the powder or tablet. Do not mix chlorine in metal containers, but plastic or glass should be fine. You only have to mix the water-chlorine combination for about 30 seconds, but then be sure to let it set for about 30 minutes without direct sunlight hitting it. You can then pour it into the pool.

No matter which type of chlorine you choose to use, each one contains a chemical called hypochlorous acid, which is actually what kills any bacteria or algae cells and obliterates any organic particles or containments. The pH level has an effect on just how effective the hypochlorous acid is and how much is emitted. Be sure to test the pH level of your pool both before and after applying the chlorine product and consult the packaging for instructions.

While many people have the idea that chlorine always makes a pool have a strong chemical odor, this is not always the case. In cases where chlorine gives off a strong odor it is not because there is too much chlorine in the water it is because there is not enough residual chlorine in the pool. The water in your pool often has some amount of ammonia in it. This can come from body oil, sweat, urine or any particles from pesticides or lawn care that might have gotten into the pool. When that ammonia mixes with the chlorine it produces chloramines. This chemical mixture causes the strong chemical odor as well as skin and eye irritations. If putting in chlorine when the pool water has a low pH, this reaction can also occur.

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