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YOUR SWIMMING POOL OR SPA requires a degree of maintenance to keep the water clean and clear daily, weekly, and yearly. There’s much you can do to keep in pristine, but through negligence and certain pool chemical pitfalls, you can make your life miserable and create a miniature version of the Everglades in your back yard.


In no particular order, these are some of the most common pool chemical pitfalls we’ve seen:

Too much, too infrequently: Pool chemicals are designed to be used in small amounts on a weekly basis. In some cases, especially where the pool is located in a hot climate, pool chemicals may need to be added even more frequently than once per week. A hypothetical situation of this pool chemical pitfall is that the pool owner has determined he needs to add one gallon of chlorine per week. Instead of adding one gallon per week, he adds two gallons every two weeks, and wonders why he has a persistent algae problem. If you add pool chemical infrequently, it costs more and needs to work harder to clean the water. If your dosage is supposed to be a gallon per week and you go on a two week vacation, expect to add three gallons in when you return to compensate for the loss. Avoid this pool chemical pitfall by adding small amounts often!

There is only chlorine: No, there is not only chlorine. This common pool chemical pitfall is the notion that the only thing your pool needs is chlorine. Some locales where the city water is fairly balanced and the climate is cool will fool a pool owner into thinking this is the case. He’ll tell his buddy, who lives in Florida, Texas, or California his “secret formula”, which the buddy will follow – to great failure – because different climates need different chemicals. The main thing to remember here is that pH and alkalinity play a large factor in the health of the pool and the effectiveness of the sanitizer. If you neglect this aspect of pool care and concentrate only on the parts per million of chlorine, your chlorine will have to work much harder to keep the pool clean and you’ll use much more of it. Check and maintain your pH!

Pool Party: Another common pool chemical pitfall is not accounting for the activity within the pool. If you have a pool party and invite fifty of your closest friends, or if you frequently have lots of bathers, you’ll need to add more chemicals. The human body releases all kinds of oils which go into the water, not to mention the potential for urine, dirt, suntan lotion, perfumes, and other chemicals we carry on our skin. Adjust your sanitizer dosage during heavy usage periods and monitor your alkalinity and pH closely when the pool is in frequent use.

What circulation? Add all the chemicals you want – if you don’t circulate the water long enough you’ll have problems. This pool chemical pitfall isn’t really centered on pool chemicals – at least not directly. Still, if you don’t circulate the water in the pool, the chemicals won’t disperse evenly, which becomes more of a problem in larger pools. Keep the water moving, and realize that when it’s hot outside or if you have lots of bathers, not only will you have to add more chemicals, you’ll have to circulate the water more.

Following these simple steps will help you avoid the most common pool chemical pitfalls and keep your pool experience enjoyable and your water crystal clear.

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