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Winter hasn’t officially started yet, but we can feel it in the air, especially in early mornings and dusky evenings when the air gets a bit of cold. If you have a pool in your home, then it is very likely that you have already closed and winterized it. So, we guess it’s the perfect time to learn some essentials about the upkeep of a pool for the next season.
For instance, many people continue to struggle with maintaining chlorine levels in their pools, even after years of having one. If you are one of those pool owners who remained on the fence about getting proper pool chlorination and failed to follow through, continue reading. We are going to discuss how you can keep chlorine levels up in your pool.
But wait, many pool owners think chlorination is just a marketing half-truth to sell yet another product, and it has little to do with the pool’s sanitation. We hope that you are not one of those skeptics. You have landed on this page, so we assume you must have some trust in the sanitizing abilities of chlorine.
Nonetheless, if you still have some doubts, then the following section will dispel them. After that, we will delve into the measures that you need to take to keep your pool chlorinated properly.
How to Keep Chlorine Levels Up
- How to Keep Chlorine Levels Up
Why Is Chlorine So Important for Your Pool?
So, why is chlorine so important? Why can’t we just get around it and use something else? This is what many dog-tired pool owners ask who’ve just had it with constant pool maintenance. Chlorine is one of the most cost-effective ways to sanitize water. One can easily afford chlorine supply to disinfect hundreds and thousands of gallons of water. This is the reason why it is also used by municipal authorities to ensure clean water supply.
Moreover, its sanitizing action is very effective. When interacting with water, chlorine breaks down into two acid derivatives: hypochlorous and hypochlorite. These two chlorine derivates then act as killing agents against bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms that get into pool water from the surroundings and the people using it.
Lastly, chlorine doesn’t pose any severe side-effects to the human body. Even in instances where chlorine levels rise above the prescribed limit, it only causes moderate skin irritation and redness at maximum.
In short, chlorine is the single most feasible substance to clean pool water, and there is no way around it. Now, let’s address the burning question: how to keep chlorine levels up in the pool? If it was as simple as adding more chlorine to the water, then we wouldn’t have to write this piece in the first place.
There is a set of things you need to take up for keeping the chlorine levels up. We are putting down these measures with the assumption that you are opening your pool after a long winter hiatus, ready to face green, stagnant water.
1. Shock Your Pool and Shock Again
Pool shocking has caught up with pool owners in the last couple of years. It is a great way to sanitize pool water in lesser time and with the least amount of effort. However, if you are shocking your pool after a stretch of 4-5 months, then it might not yield you the desired chlorination results. You have shocked the pool, but the testing strips are still not showing the increased active amount of chlorine?
If that’s the case, then it is very likely that your pool is suffering from a condition called “chlorine demand” In which organic/inorganic substances in the water continue to burn through all the available and active chlorine in the pool. These substances include bacteria, algae, cosmetic products, urine, and sweat.
Are you thinking about draining out the pool and starting all over again? If yes, then we would recommend you to hang around and give pool shocking a try. Experts are in agreement that super-shocking is the best way to deal with chlorine demand. To neutralize all the organic and inorganic substances in the pool, you need to use a strong pool shocker product. It would be better if you use a calcium hypochlorite-based product like this one.
1.5 to 2 pounds of calcium hypochlorite is usually enough to shock a medium-sized home pool. However, in case you are dealing with chlorine demand, you will need to add 3 pounds of a strong shocker substance to 10,000 gallons of water.
2. Stabilize Chlorine Levels in Your Pool
You will be able to do this by using products that contain stabilized chlorine. However, you need to ensure that the chlorine product you use has the stabilized kind. Identifying whether chlorine is stabilized or unstabilized can be difficult, thanks to the cunning ways that manufacturers hide the presence of unstabilized chlorine in their products from their customers.
However, some bits of information available on a product’s label can hint to the fact that it contains unstabilized chlorine. These include:
- “10% to 20% available chlorine.”
- “Sodium amount greater than chlorine.”
- “Fast-acting chlorine.”
Besides looking for such phrases on product labels, you can use a pool testing kit for stabilized chlorine. To use the kit, take some pool water in a container and add chlorine to it. If it increases the pH level of the sample radically, then you are using unstabilized chlorine.
Why do we insist on the use of stabilized chlorine?
Chlorine becomes a volatile substance in the presence of sunlight. The UV component in sun rays can actually degrade regular (or unstabilized chlorine) into lesser active forms and substances. In fact, if you put unstabilized chlorine to your unshaded pool on a bright sunny day at, say, 9:00 am, then there are strong chances that this newly added chlorine will be gone by 1:00 pm.
On the other hand, stabilized chlorine is reinforced by cyanuric acid that gives it a shield against UV light. In other words, stabilized chlorine doesn’t break up at a rapid rate, resulting in sustained chlorination of the pool.
Here is one stabilized chlorine product you can consider.
3. Keep an Eye on Phosphate Levels
You have super-shocked your pool and also added a suitable amount of stabilized chlorine to it. Still, these two steps don’t stop you from seeing a subtle shade of green in the pool. This indicates that your pool isn’t algae-free yet.
So, what now?
We know that it gets quite frustrating when you think you have done enough, but it still falls short. After reading this piece, you can mentally prepare yourself to expect such a thing after a couple of days or a week after the fresh chlorination. The water turns green despite a sufficient amount of active chlorine when there is a high amount of phosphate present in the pool. Phosphate helps to keep the algae and bacteria alive.
But how did phosphate end up in the pool? There can be various reasons for this.
- Some organic matter is decomposing in the pool
- Freshwater is being added to the pool
- Using cleaning and bleaching products rich in phosphate
- The dirt and dust ending up in the pool through feet
Most importantly, phosphate ends up in your pool due to a catch-22 situation. When chlorine exterminates bacteria and algae in your pool, these microbes die and produce phosphate, thus leaving behind food for the remaining bacteria to sustain and reproduce. This is the reason why you can’t keep the chlorine levels up just by adding more chlorine. At the same time, you also need to treat your pool for high phosphate levels so that algae can’t find the substance to multiply further.
There are some good phosphate remover products available in the market like this one. During the period when the pool is fully active (in daily use), add phosphate remover once a week as per the directions are given on the label. This weekly job will cut the food supply to algae and other microorganisms tainting your pool.
4. Low pH Means Low Chlorine Levels
This is another issue that comes up with pool chlorination. If there are no visible signs of algae in the pool and you are using a stabilized product but still encountering depleting chlorine levels in a very short duration, then it might be due to low pH levels of water. Keep in mind that pool water with a low level of pH (acidic medium) consumes more amount of chlorine.
You need to increase the levels of pH a bit above the neutral value of 7 to get around this problem. Use simple pool alkaline products to maintain the pH levels between 7.4 and 7.6. But don’t go overboard with the use of alkalinity-increasing solutions. Water with high alkalinity (8 and above) is also detrimental to the skin. It can rob your skin off the healthy natural fats that keep it wrinkle-free.
It would be better if you test the pH of pool water after 1 to 2 hours of adding an alkalinity increaser. It will give you a good idea about how much alkaline solution should be added to neutralize the low levels of pH of pool water.
5. Simmer Down Your Pool
If you live in a region where summers get quite hot and muggy, then pool water can also get a little bit of heat even if it is shaded. It is difficult to keep the chlorine levels of warm water up for a very obvious reason. The warm and wet environment devises a perfect breeding setting for bacteria. A high proliferation rate of bacteria means the pool will use up active chlorine more rapidly. So, there are strong chances that microorganisms will take over your pool even if you have chlorinated it.
So, how to deal with the heat affecting your pool’s condition? Sadly, there is no chemical substance that can bring the temperature of your pool down. However, you have these two devices to cool the pool off.
- Pool aerator
- Pool cooler
Pool aerator is actually a spray that just moves the water vertically and exposes it to the fresh air and oxygen. In a small pool, a single powerful aerator can make a difference in reducing the water temperature.
And if you have the budget to spare, then you can mull over the option of installing a pool cooler. A pool cooler is a system that circulates the pool water by cooling it down while creating spraying walls of cool mist. A cooler doesn’t just keep the pool cool and subsequently maintain its chlorine levels, but it also transforms its appearance. A pool with sprouting cool water looks stunning and also makes the pool a lagoon of comfort and coolness in sweltering summer.
Common Sense: Heavy Use = More Chlorine Needed
Last but not least, you just need to take the use of the pool into account with respect to chlorination. If your pool becomes a hot spot for your friends or your children’s friends during unforgiving summer afternoons, then it’s only natural that the unwanted organic and inorganic matter in the pool will double up and will eventually result in depleted chlorine levels. When your pool is facing “rush hours” on a daily basis, you need to keep your stabilized chlorine and strips ready all the time.
Regularly check the chlorine levels and whenever the pH strips indicate the reading lesser than 1 part per million, add stabilized chlorine to the pool.