Pool Disinfectants 101

by Pool Builders on 02-02-2012 in Articles

When purchasing sanitizing chemicals for your pool, it's important to find out how many gallons of water are in your pool as this can determine how much of the sanitizing product you need. This shouldn't be too hard to figure out if you have documents from the pool being built or have a box from an above ground pool. If not you can multiply the length times the width times the depth and then the total answer by 7.5. If you have a strange shaped pool it could be a little more difficult. See if you can find a similar pool online and use those figures. If it is a circular pool you will have to multiply the diameter by the depth and then multiply that answer by 5.9. To find the gallons for an oval shaped pool, multiply the length by the depth and width and multiply that answer by 5.9.

Once you have the number of gallons your pool holds you can better follow the directions that come with the various sanitizer products on the market. Before you begin dumping any chemicals into your swimming pool you need to test the water for its pH level. This level should be stable between 7.2 and 7.6 pH level. If the pH is too high or too low then the amount of chemical to be used as listed in the instructions will not be effective and you will not be able to determine how much more or less you need. An imbalanced pH level can also cause harm to your swimmers or corrode pool equipment.

While iodine is a great chemical that can be used for its disinfectant abilities, it is not the most commonly used product because its use must be highly supervised and regulated. If too much is used it can be harmful to skin, hair and eyes and it can also change the color of the water and pool equipment. Iodine should only be used by professionals and only when no other chemicals will work.

A much more commonly used product is bromine. This powdery chemical usually comes in the form of a stick and is placed in the water to emit hypobromous acid which acts as a strong sanitizer. If your pool's pH level rises due to a number of circumstances, the acidic bromine becomes less effective. So if using bromine to sanitize your pool be sure to keep a watchful eye on the pool's pH level and adjust bromine accordingly. Because chlorine is much more able to continue working no matter what the pH level is, it is often the more popular choice. However, keep in mind that chlorine is much more likely to cause skin and eye irritations than bromine is. Many people still continue to choose chlorine over bromine because it is much cheaper and it does not require so much of the actual product to be used. Pools that are in direct sunlight also fare better with chlorine because continuous sun exposure lessens the effectiveness of bromine.

Chlorine is also a popular choice because it comes in many forms including liquid, power or dissolvable tablets and nuggets. Chlorine works rather quickly once applying it to the pool and works to kill and eliminate any organic matter or developing organisms. Liquid chlorine is probably the most popular form of chlorine used by both pool owners and professional cleaners as it dissolves the quickest and simply needs to be poured in. While the pH level does not affect the effectiveness of chlorine you should still keep an eye on the pH balance as chlorine can increase alkaline.

If you are still not sure which option for pool sanitizing is best for you, consult a sales person at your local pool supply store as they probably have had a great deal of experience will a wide variety of situations. If you don't feel confident making these decisions or handling chemicals you can hire a professional pool cleaner.

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