Chlorine (Cl2) is one of the ten highest volume chemicals manufactured in the United States, but it is a naturally-occurring chemical element. It is produced from ordinary salt by passing an electric current through a solution of brine (common salt dissolved in water) in a process called electrolysis. Chlorine has a strong, stinging odor that is similar to bleach and is detectable at low concentrations. It is added to swimming pool water to sanitize it and discourage the growth of algae. Chlorine kills bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, as well as germs that cause viruses such as diarrhea and swimmer’s ear. However, a few germs are chlorine tolerant, like Giardia Hepatitis A, and Cryptosporidium.
What does shocking a pool mean?
Shocking is the process of adding chlorine to your pool in order to break apart chloramines. Chloramines are also known as combined chlorine. They are formed when chlorine mixes with the nitrogen in sweat, body oils, and urine. This is a natural chemical process and is actually a byproduct of chlorine doing its job. Shocking your pool will raise your chlorine level quickly in order to kill algae, bacteria, or other harmful pathogens. The amount of shock needed to remove bacteria depends on the level of bacteria present in the water. The pool water will need to be tested for bacteria so enough shock is used to raise the pool water’s chlorine level to 30 ppm.
It’s important to note, however, that shock is only a temporary solution. It raises the chlorine level for a short period. Proper, regular maintenance of your swimming pool is required for it to be both safe and comfortable for you to swim in it.
Slow-release chlorine tabs
Chlorine tablets are a safe, effective, and affordable way to sanitize your pool. A single 3-inch tablet can sanitize up to 5,000 gallons of water. As they are designed to gradually dissolve, chlorine tablets release chlorine in your swimming pool as they get smaller and smaller. They are easy to use, which makes them a common option for many pool owners. Unlike granular or liquid chlorine, there’s no measuring required with tablets. You can simply add the number of tablets needed for your pool size and let them do their job.
You should ensure that you use the correct form of chlorine tablet. While most chlorine tabs are designed to be placed in a floater or automatic chlorinator device, some are formulated only to dissolve when running water flows over them.
Keeping your salt cell clean helps extend its lifespan significantly. If you have a saltwater pool, you will need to make sure your salt cell and board are functioning and producing the appropriate level of 3000ppm salt in the pool. The salt cell should produce 3-5ppm of chlorine. If not, you should clean or replace the cell.
The main problem experienced with salt cells is calcium buildup. This is also referred to as scale. Scale impairs the ability of the cell to create chlorine effectively. To help reduce buildup, maintain the following levels:
- pH between 7.2 and 7.8
- Calcium between 200 and 400 ppm
The salt cell should be cleaned every 500 hours if your pool is properly maintained. This equates to approximately every three months.
The best way to keep your pool sanitized is to properly maintain the free chlorine concentration and pH. To do this, it is vital to regularly test and adjust both the free chlorine concentration and pH. Certain germs can survive for extended periods in even well-maintained pools, so it is also important for swimmers to follow the steps for healthy swimming, such as avoiding swimming when sick with diarrhea and showering before entering the pool.
Combining good chlorine and pH maintenance with healthy swimming practices helps prevent the spread of bacteria and germs that cause swimming-related illnesses. Would you rather leave cleaning and sanitizing your pool to the professionals? Executive Blue Pools provides weekly pool cleaning service to keep your pool clean, safe, and properly functioning.