Swimming Pools - Sanitize For Safety

by Pool Builders on 06-18-2009 in Articles

Swimming pools and Spas all require some form of sanitizer to keep them safe for swimmers and bathers to use. There are all sorts of contaminants that can make their way into the water, dust, insects, algae, sand, general rubbish that gets blown about and then into the pool/spa. Tree's can drop sap and leaves into the water. Swimmers may leave behind hair, dried skin, suntan lotion, cosmetics, sweat and even urine. All in all without the use of a sanitizer our pools and spas would quickly become quite a nasty and harmful mess to use.
So, what is a sanitizer?

A sanitizer is a chemical that destroys dirt and kills microorganisms.

There are a number of sanitizers in use today, with the three most common ones being chlorine, bromine and biguanide. A sanitizer has three important functions:
1. To sanitize. This means to kill all bacteria, algae and disease causing organisms. The sanitizer provides sanitizer residual which stays in the pool for a period of time to keep destroying any newcomers.
2. To oxidize. To destroy all the dirt and inorganic matter in the water. A sanitizer will oxidize material such as ammonia, nitrogen containing contaminants and swimmer waste.
3. To disinfect or to kill living organisms on contact. A disinfectant kills 99.9% of living organisms instantly.

Chlorine and bromine are the only two sanitizers classified as disinfectants.

Think of a sanitizer in the same way you think of petrol for your car. Every time you get in your car and drive it you use some petrol. The same goes for your pool/spa. Every time you (and those uninvited guests) get into the pool/spa a little of the sanitizer is being used. So, just as you need to fill your car up regularly, you also need to sanitize regularly. The trick is to keep the sanitizer at the right level. If the level falls to low, bacteria and other contaminants will remain in the pool, possibly spreading disease and infection. If the level is too high, the chemical balance of the pool can cause irritated skin, eyes and ears. It can also damage your pool/spa and its equipment.

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