Maintaining swimming pools can be a complicated task and there are many factors you need to consider to keep your pool running smoothly. A pool is a big investment and you want to make sure it looks great and works well so that you can get the most use out of it. Unless you opted to install a salt water pool system, one step you need to take to keep your pool clean is adding chlorine regularly. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly how to keep this chemical element at the right concentration in your inground pool.
How often should you add chlorine to your pool?
Understanding How Chlorine Works
Before determining how often you need to add this chemical to your pool, it is important that you understand how chlorine works as it relates to pool sanitation. The chemical element naturally occurs as chlorine gas, so when you add it to your pool you are adding a stabilized version of elemental chlorine. When it enters your pool, it will react with water to form hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and other chemical compounds.
The chlorine compounds then react with bacteria in your pool. This process can be complicated. The simple explanation is that the compounds destroy the lipids (fats) in bacteria cell walls. This kills the bacteria, which leaves your pool clean and safe for you to swim in without worrying about harmful germs.
Too Much Chlorine
You may think that since chlorine kills bacteria that can harm you or your family, it is best to add as much as possible. However, too much of this compound in your pool can be just as harmful as letting bacteria thrive. For example, if you add too much of this pool chemical, chlorine gas can start to form at the surface of your pool. This not only smells bad but can actively hurt you by making it difficult to breathe.
The Right Level of Pool Chemicals
Since adding chemicals to your pool is a chemical reaction, it must be done with the utmost care to stay in the right range where chlorine kills bacteria without harming you. Ideally, you should have 3 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine in your pool. This means that for every million molecules in your pool water, 3 of them should be chlorine. Although this seems like a small amount, this chemical is powerful enough that this small concentration is enough to keep your pool clean.
You can test your pool water using chemical test strips, which you can purchase at any pool supply store. These can show you the ppm values of any number of important pool chemicals. They also help you manage pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Each chemical level can be managed by adding different compounds to your pool.
Under normal circumstances, you should add a tablet of chlorine every 3-7 days, depending on the results of your water tests. Tablets are often the best option, as they are easier to handle and measure. Make sure to store them in a cool and dry place. Do not keep them for too long as they become less effective over time.
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Chlorine or Salt Water Systems
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