Every pool owner dreams of soaking in a pristine backyard oasis.
But, learning about swimming pool chemicals can feel daunting to first-time pool owners. Fortunately, maintaining your pool is actually very straightforward once you get the basics down! The key is knowing what, when, and how much of each chemical is needed to keep your pool running smoothly.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about swimming pool chemicals so you can rest assured that your pool is clean and safe to enjoy!
Which Pool Chemicals Do You Need?
One of the most important pool chemicals is pool shock which works as a sanitizer to rid your pool of organic contaminants, like bacteria and algae. Shock works as a powerful oxidizer, deactivating and destroying unwanted contaminants. It’s also known as granular chlorine and is used to boost the chlorine levels in your pool and break apart chloramine, the molecule that turns your eyes red after swimming.
How often should you shock your pool?
Ideally, you should shock your pool on a weekly basis or when chloramine levels exceed 0.3ppm (you can use this test kit to determine chloramine levels) to keep your water sanitary.
Additionally, you should give your pool an extra ‘shock’ after periods of unuse, like at the start of the spring season, or after heavy pool usage when levels of contaminants are high.
Pro tip: it’s best to shock at night because the sun can deactivate it and to allow enough time for the treatment to work before swimming.
Unlike shock, pool sanitizer is used for more frequent, weekly pool upkeep. It helps keep was clear and contaminant-free, prevents waterlines, and reduces unpleasant odors between seasonal pool-cleaning sessions.
The most popular pool sanitizer is chlorine tablets, but it also comes in granular, stick, and liquid forms. Most people choose chlorine because it’s an inexpensive and highly effective method of keeping your pool bacteria-free.
Bromine is a popular alternative to chlorine sanitizers. While it’s more expensive, bromine is preferable for people who experience skin and eye irritation with chlorine-based sanitizers. It also has a less harsh smell.
You can also opt for natural, enzyme-based chemicals like Spa Perfect, which contains SMARTymeTM technology.
pH Balancers and Stabilizers
If you can recall from chemistry class, pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a substance is. Similarly, alkalinity is how much acid is needed to lower the pH of a solution to a specific value. This is important because just like the human body, your pool functions at an optimal pH (7.2-7.8).
If your water is too acidic, it can corrode your pool’s hardware and cause skin, eye, and nose irritation. If your pool is too alkaline, it can cause scale build-up and cloudiness. More importantly, unbalanced pH can decrease the effectiveness of your sanitizer and inhibit the disinfecting process.
The pH of your pool is constantly changing with use which is why it’s important to always have water balancing chemicals on hand. We recommend you test your pool water at least every two weeks and use a pH increaser or a pH reducer to balance out the pH.
You can also use a stabilizer to extend the life of a chlorine-based sanitizer. Stabilizing chemicals protect the chlorine molecules from being quickly degraded by the sun’s UV rays. This makes maintenance easier and saves you money in the long run. (Note: stabilizers do not work on bromine sanitizers)
Other Pool Chemicals
Other helpful chemicals to have on hand are pool algaecides, stain removal and prevention, and sequestering agents.
Pool Maintenance Schedule
- Run your pool pump: we recommend running your pump at least 12 hours/day to filter out contaminants. This also helps circulate your pool chemicals, making them more effective.
Twice a Week
- Skim and brush: this can vary depending on the season, but taking time to skim off debris helps keep water clean and clear and extends the life of your pool chemicals. Weekly brushing is also important for preventing algae growth, staining, and scuzziness.
- Balance the pH: you should be regularly monitoring your pool’s alkalinity to ensure a safe environment for bathers. There are pool maintenance kits available to help you figure out how much of each chemical your pool needs. You may need to add chemicals daily if your pool gets a lot of use.
- Run the vacuum: this helps prevent staining and keeps dirt and debris from building up in your pool and clogging the filters.
- Test your water: we recommend using an at-home water testing kit to monitor the bacteria levels in your pool to ensure your pool is safe to swim in.
- Check your filter: naturally, your filter will collect debris and fine particles. Taking the time to regularly backwash and soak your filter prevents it from becoming clogged and ineffective.
- Shock your pool: the best way to prevent cloudy, foamy water is to regularly shock your pool to kill bacteria. You should also add extra shock after heavy use.
- Get your pool professionally inspected (optional): seasonal inspection of your hot tub is a great way to ensure your pool keeps running smoothly. Professionals have a trained eye and can detect minor problems before they become larger issues, saving you money and all the hassle.
Jacuzzi Hot Tubs and Backyard Living in Surrey, BC
Are you a new pool owner looking to get the most out of your pool? In addition to this guide for swimming pool chemicals, you can check out Jacuzzi Backyard Living’s blog for more helpful tips and tricks that make pool maintenance a breeze!
Do you still have questions? Check out our FAQ page, or give us a call to learn more. Our knowledgeable experts are happy to help address any of your questions or concerns.