Chlorine is the most popular pool sanitizer for good reason. It is very safe. It can even be consumed in drinking water at lower doses. It is both effective and inexpensive, too. Though the past few months have seen some challenges with chlorine supply, historically it is easily available, making it convenient to use as well.
How to make sure your pool is properly chlorinated
Chlorine is a chemical element on the periodic table, but you don’t need a degree in chemistry to understand how it works. Pool chlorine can be either stabilized or unstabilized. If you have an outdoor pool, it’s important to use stabilized chlorine. Otherwise, the chlorine will break down in the sun and become ineffective.
The target chlorine amount in your swimming pool should be between 3 and 5 parts per million (ppm). (To be sure that COVID-19 and other pathogenic viruses can’t survive in your pool, the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of .5 ppm.) You don’t want to put in excess chlorine in your desire to kills viruses! If the chlorine in your water is above 5 ppm, you may prevent virus transmission, but you will also cause irritation to your eyes, nose, lungs, and throat. It’s best to use enough chlorine to be safe while guarding against using so much that you inadvertently cause other health problems.
I’m still really concerned about Covid-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated:
“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfections (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”
To ensure proper operation, maintenance, and disinfections, be sure to do the following:
- Regularly clean your swimming pool’s equipment and make sure everything is in perfect working order.
- Run the pool pump for the correct amount of time each day. While it can vary, this is usually around 8- 12 hours per day during daylight hours.
- Ensure that you are properly sanitizing and disinfecting your pool.
What form of chlorine works best?
Sodium hypochlorite is solid chlorine and calcium hypochlorite is liquid chlorine. Outdoor pool owners have the option of liquid chlorine, granules, or chlorine tablets. Tablets are usually your best bet because they are easy to use and budget-friendly. They also dispense chlorine at a steadier rate.
Chlorine tablets come in one-inch and three-inch sizes. If you are needing to chlorinate a hot tub or a very small pool (less than 5,000 gallons), the one-inch tablets will work well. For larger pools, the three-inch size will usually work better. They sanitize a 5,000 gallons per tablet, so fewer are needed in order to sanitize your pool. It’s better to slightly over-chlorinate than to under-chlorinate, so round up to the nearest 5,000 if needed.
If you are not sure how many gallons of water your pool contains, here is a formula:
[Pool Length in Feet] x [Pool Width in Feet] x [Pool Depth in Feet] x 7.5 = [Volume of Your Pool in Gallons]
Can I just drop the tablets in and be done?
If it was as easy as simply tossing chlorine tablets into a pool, pool service companies wouldn’t exist! However, there are a few ways that disperse chlorine throughout your pool quickly and easily.
An automatic chlorinator hooks up to your return line to sanitize the water before it enters your pool. A big, convenient perk of this option is that it allows you to load the feeder with tablets in bulk. You won’t need to count tablets. After setting it for a chlorine level of .5 ppm to 3 ppm, you simply let it do the work. Be sure to have Executive Blue Pools test the chlorine levels in your water to be sure that your automatic chlorinator is set properly. The climate and environment, frequency of use, and the natural water quality in your area are all variables that can affect chlorine requirements and usage.
The pool skimmer is built into the side of the pool and looks like a little basket-lined bucket. It is vital that the correct amount of chlorine is being put into your pool skimmer. Executive Blue Pools does not recommend putting chlorine tablets directly into the skimmer. Adding chlorine tablets to the skimmer basket allows for intense amounts of chlorine to run into the pool equipment. This can possibly damage the equipment and cause corrosion into the system.
If you do not have an automated chlorinator, we recommend that a pool owner buy a floater. They are very inexpensive, but many pool owners do not care for the way they look. Looks aside, while this option is easier, it can also drive your energy costs up. You will need to keep in mind the cost involved in running your filter. A convenient option that can save you money in the long run is to invest in a variable-speed pool pump.
A note about pool shock
While you will not need to use pool shock as regularly as chlorine, every one to two weeks is a good idea in order to protect against the COVID-19 virus. You will want to add it at dusk or in the evening. Otherwise, the sun will burn out the compound that makes it effective.
Confused? Have questions? Would rather have Executive Blue Pools handle pool cleaning and sanitizing? Give us a call at 469-340-2757.