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Questions To Ask About Chemicals

If you’re the new owner of a swimming pool, you’ll no doubt have a ton of questions on it’s operation and maintenance, but one trip to the local big box store will have you convinced that you need to hire a professional to treat your pool. You’ll be greeted with a dizzying array of pool chemicals from hundreds of different manufacturers. Some will have numbers, some will have letters, and they will all have conflicting packaging. No doubt, you will have some questions to ask about chemicals.


Take heart, however. All is not lost. You CAN maintain your own pool, it’s not nearly as hard as you might think. The first question to ask about chemicals is this one: Which chemicals are essential to the operation of my pool? Most pool chemical manufacturers make dozens of products. Most of them are non essentials, things like clarifiers, UV inhibitors for chlorine, and exotic algaecides. True, they have some nice features, but remember, we said essential.


The answer to this question is simple – your pool will absolutely require pH balancer, sanitizer, and algaecide at the very minimum. These three elements are critical to a clean pool. Questions to ask about chemicals with regards to what these do are simple. The pH balancer keeps the water at an acceptable balance between being too alkaline and too acidic. Without pH balancing, your sanitizer won’t work as well. Your sanitizer is a chemical such as bromine or chlorine, and disinfects the pool ensuring bacteria don’t flourish. Algaecide is a chemical that keeps algae populations in check in order to prevent an algae bloom. All in all, these three chemicals are the key to your pool’s cleanliness.


Another excellent question to ask about chemicals is: Are pool chemicals harmful? This is an extremely common question, especially for pool owners with children. First, we must look at storage of pool chemicals. You want to ensure that these chemicals are stored in cool, dry places that are well away from where children are present. Also, they should have adequate ventilation, and most importantly, they must be stored in such a way that if one or more of the containers is spilled or pierced, they will not mix with each other. Pool chemicals are highly reactive, and oftentimes with each other, and can create harmful gasses if mixed. Keep them stored separately.


The next facet of this discussion is whether they are harmful to your body while in the pool. The answer to this is most definitely not, assuming you’ve added the right amount. Even at shock levels, chlorine is not truly harmful to swimmers because the pool contains so much water to dilute it – it’s simply just more of an irritant. There are two types of aversions to pool chemicals – allergies, which can be harmful, and irritants. Some bathers are allergic to chlorine in any amount, and thus much use bromine instead. Even salt water pools use a natural source to produce chlorine, so that may not always help. Irritants are another story altogether, and while a person may not be allergic to chlorine, he or she may be easily irritated by it as sanitizers are typically harsh on mucous membranes. If this is the case, use the minimum amount of chlorine needed to keep the pool clean or switch to a different sanitizer.


The questions to ask about pool chemicals are easily answered and you’ll find that the more you delve into this world, the more comfortable you’ll feel about maintaining your own pool, and the more satisfaction you’ll derive in seeing a sparkling clean pool – that you maintained.


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