Chemicals Used in Maintenance of Swimming Pools  

by Pool Builders on 07-30-2013 in Articles

The two most important steps when it comes to the correct maintenance of swimming pools are circulation and sanitation. While all you need to take care of the first step is a reliable filter system, taking care of the second can often be complex. All swimming pools have their own subtle differences, and if you have a problem you can't simply consult an owner's manual. However, if you know just a little bit about how chemicals work that will go a long way toward making sure your backyard oasis remains safe and healthy to use.

Proper Sanitation of Swimming Pools
You more than likely already know that chlorine is the most common chemical used in sanitizing a pool. When it dissolves in water it kills bacteria and other contaminants. However, once chlorine molecules combine with these contaminants and kill them, those molecules become inactive. Weekly shock treatments burn off most of the chlorine and contaminants, with the remainder filtered out by your system.

There are different types of chlorine. They come in sticks, granules and tablets. The active ingredient in tablets and sticks is Tricholor-S-Triazinetrione, while the active ingredients in granules is Sodium Dichloro-S- Triazinetrione. You should try to find a 99.5 percent concentration of the ingredient in granules and a 99 percent concentration in sticks and tablets.

The most commonly used form of chlorine is a tablet, since tablets are slow dissolving and require less maintenance. You can fill a floating or automatic feeder with tablets and you may not need to fill it again for at least a week. However, you should check the water a couple of times per week to make sure your water is in balance.

Chlorine sticks dissolve slower than tablets, and are better suited for above ground swimming pools and spas. The granular form has to be pre-dissolved in a bucket of water before being added. The upside of using granules is that is allows for very precise control over chlorine level. The downside is that is has to be added and tested nearly every day.

If you have a feeder, you need to make sure that you don't simply dump an indiscriminate amount of sticks or tablets inside. Also, don't ever put chlorine in the skimmer basket. These can cause the chlorine level to be too high and corrode the inside of the circulation system. It can also cause filter and pump components to fail prematurely.

This is another popular chemical that kills bacteria and contaminants in a way similar to chlorine. However, bromine is more commonly used in spas and hot tubs because it is more stable in warmer water temperatures and does not emit an odor. Also, it is less irritating to the skin and eyes. Unlike chlorine, bromine remains active after killing contaminants so it can still sanitize. You'll need fewer tablets compared to chlorine. While bromine is less irritating, it cost substantially more.

Check with a professional to learn more about which sanitation method is better for you.

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