When to use Sanitizers
Sanitizers are used to keep water clear of bacteria and inhibit/control the growth of viruses, algae and organic contaminants. The two most common pool water sanitizers are chlorine and bromine.
Choose the one that’s best for you
Chlorine is a disinfectant and the most popular sanitizer used in pool water. Chlorine levels are determined with a test kit and measured in parts per million (ppm). The ideal chlorine residual (chlorine residual refers the the chlorine remaining after all reactions and dissipation have occurred) in pool water should be between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm.
Bromine is an alternative sanitizer to chlorine. Bromine levels are measured using a test kit. The ideal Bromine residual is 3.0 ppm. Bromine is not as harsh on skin, eyes, hair and swim wear as chlorine, and does not produce a chlorine odor. Bromine is slower dissolving and is more effective than chlorine in hot water.
We recommend sanitizing with stabilized 3″ chlorinating tabs, 1″ chlorinating tabs, skimmer sticks or 1″ bromine tabs. These can be conveniently dispensed by placing them in a chlorinator, floating feeder, or skimmer basket. If you prefer to sanitize by pouring directly into the water, then Di-Chlor Chlorinating Granules is a good choice. During pool start-up you may need an extra does of chlorine or bromine in order to satisfy the initial demand of the water. Use your test kit often to check your chemical levels and adjust your dispenser as needed to increase or decrease the flow. Factors that affect the amount of sanitizer you need are temperature, pool usage, rainfall and pH. Higher water temperatures, heavy pool usage and heavy rainfall all result in the necessity for increased chlorine or Bromine.
Balancers are used with sanitizers to help prevent algae growth and cloudy water, maximizing the performance of chlorine. Quick and simple testing before problems arise can prolong your pool’s life and provide you season after season of enjoyment.
Maintaining proper levels
PH Level is the acid/base content of water. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Ideally you should strive to maintain pH levels between 7.2 and 7.6 in order to prevent eye/skin irritation, pool surface and equipment damage.
Total Alkalinity is the measure of certain minerals in the water. These minerals act as buffering agents and allow you to readily control your pH. In plaster pools, under normal conditions, a measurement of 100 to 150ppm is ideal. In painted, vinyl or fiberglass pools, a reading between 125 to 175ppm should be maintained.
Calcium Hardness measures the level of calcium and magnesium minerals in the water. These minerals exist naturally in all water, but levels vary greatly across the country. An acceptable hardness level is from 225 to 300ppm hardness for plaster pools and 175 to 250 ppm for vinyl, painted and fiberglass pools. Low levels of calcium create corrosive water which can damage equipment. Raise hardness levels by using calcium boosters. Lower hardness levels by using calcium hardness reducers.
Stabilizer is a chemical that prevents the UV rays of the sun from prematurely dissipating the chlorine level. It is important to test your stabilizer level because stabilizer stays in your water indefinitely. If stabilizer was added in the past, you generically just add it based on the gallons of water added this season. Too much stabilizer can cause cloudy water.
When to use Shocks
Use shock to quickly raise the chlorine level in your pool. Various bacteria and organic pollutants can resist normal chlorination and result in contaminated and cloudy water. This build-up is highest during hot weather and periods of heavy pool usage. Weekly treatments with shock will break up these contaminants. It is best to apply shock in the evening so it can work overnight and be down to normal levels by the next day. Be sure your filter continues to run during this time.
When to use algaecides
Algaecides are used to prevent algae growth and kill existing algae that survive general chlorine dosages. Algae is an aquatic plant that grows rapidly in pool water when a combination of warm water and lack of chlorine or other sanitizing agents exist. The most common types of pool water algae are green, pink, black and mustard. Initial signs of algae growth are slipperiness on pool surface, green or cloudy water, and spots on pool walls or floor.
When to use Enzymes
Enzymes are the all-natural way to clean up the body oil and lotion that can cloud your pool water and leave a ring of scum around your pool. Adding enzymes such as Nature’s Magic to your pool water once a week prevents oil and scum build-up. Enzymes also linger in the filter, keeping it clean.
In the human body, enzymes help us digest food and eliminate toxins. That’s why doctors recommend enzyme rich foods such as yogurt, figs, and bananas.
Your pool water is a fertile environment for living organic matter. Enzymes break down that organic material into their base components and consume the residue. What they are most effective at is destroying oils, fats, detergents, dirt, pollen, and all other sorts of organic material. Since enzymes are used to clean up oil spills, you know they will work on the small amount of oils that produce scum in your pool. Enzymes are also effective in preventing foaming in pools and spas.
When to use stain removers
Stain Removers are used to remedy stains, scale, discoloration and cloudy water caused by metals coming out of a solution (precipitation) in the water.
Scale is when the precipitated metals form hard, white deposits on pool walls and equipment.
Stain is when the precipitated metals have color and are deposited on the pool walls or floor. Precipitated metals may also remain in the water causing cloudiness and discoloration. To remedy this condition, a sequestering agent is required. This will help your filter remove precipitated metals.
When to use Clarifiers
Clarifiers are used to remove particles from the pool that are too small to be caught in the filter system, causing cloudy water. Flocculents or clarifying agents will cause these particles to cling to each other, making them larger, so they can be removed from your water through vacuuming or filtration.
For the A-Z Guide on maintaining your pool in 10 min a week for less than $15 a month click here.