The Chemistry of Swimming Pool Maintenance

Swimming is one of the best activities you can undertake. It is good for your joints, muscles and stamina. It is also an excellent way to cool off on a hot summer’s day. The heat and the fun you can have with your children is a contributory factor in the fact that there are in excess of 5 million in ground pools in the US. Of course, the majority of these are in the southern states.

Keeping Your Pool Clean

It is important to keep your pool clean. If you don’t perform regular maintenance you will almost certainly contact a recreational water illness. These can range from diarrhea to ear infections to respiratory issues. You may even find yourself liable for other people’s health problems; if they can prove they are a direct result of your pool. This is why it is always best to use a registered swimming pool cleaning firm to maintain your pool throughout the year.

Understanding the Chemical Process.

Being concerned about adding chemicals to your water is understandable. After all you and your family swim in this water. However, this is an essential part of keeping the pool water clean.

Here’s how the chemicals work:

Chlorine is the most popular chemical for cleaning pools. It is a powerful disinfectant. It reacts with water to form a substance known as hypochlorous acid. This will kill the water borne bacteria which find your pool a perfect home. It does this through oxidizing the cells, effectively causing them to disintegrate.

Introducing Chlorine To Your Pool

However, chlorine is also an irritant to human skin. Different people will have different levels of sensitivity. If maintaining the pool yourself you will probably use a tablet form of chlorine. Professionals may use a gaseous form. This chemical should be added just after the filtration process. This will ensure it spreads evenly round the pool and not concentrate in the cleaning pipes.

The Complications With Chlorine

Chlorine dissolves in sunlight and also reacts with other elements in the water. To prevent it dissolving your chlorine tablet should contain a stabilizing agent. Cyanuric acid is a common one. But the real issue with chlorine is the fact it binds with other substances, such as ammonia. This ruins its effectiveness as a disinfectant. In fact, this binding process produces substances called chloramines. These are the chemicals which are responsible for the chlorine smell you get at a pool. The stronger the smell the less effective the chlorine is!

A secondary Chemical Reaction

The chloramines need to be taken care of! This is achieved by adding an extra strong dose of chemicals; it will destroy the chloramines leaving your pool clean and disinfectant. Professionals refer to this as shock treatment.

When You Apply

The trick to knowing when to apply your chemicals is to monitor the PH level of your water and the free chorine in the water. You can purchase test kits from any good swimming pool store or online. You can then use the results of these tests to decide if you need more chlorine or it is time to do a shock treatment. Knowing you have clean and chemically balanced water means you can enjoy using your pool; safe in the knowledge it won’t make you ill!


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