Most people are aware chlorine is typically one of the chemicals used to help keep swimming pools safe and sanitary for everyone who uses them. However, because chlorine is also present in drinking water, as well as the natural environment, it’s essential for pool owners to understand the chemical and how to use it properly to help keep their pool in good condition. You’ve likely been around a pool that smells strongly of chlorine and may even associate that smell with a swimming pool. Did you know a pool should never smell of chlorine, though? Read on to learn more about this chemical and its use in swimming pools.

What Is Chlorine?

Chlorine can actually be found in solid, liquid and gas forms. Each type has its own uses, including potentially for use in swimming pools. Most people find chlorine in its solid state, in the form of granules or powders. Some people even use cakes of chlorine to treat their pools. While household bleach contains the equivalent of five percent chlorine, the type of chlorine typically used in pools is higher. Chlorinated isocyanurates, which is a dry sanitizer many people use for their pools, can have varying amounts of chlorine, depending on the specific type. For instance, lithium hypochlorinate has between 30 and 35 percent chlorine, while the liquid form, sodium hypochlorinate, only contains between 12 and 16 percent. This means you will need to use less if you choose the powdered form.

What Does It Do?

In general, chlorine is used to eliminate bacteria and other germs that can grow in a pool and create a hazard to those who use it. The chlorine disinfects the pool and then continues to work to kill any bacteria or algae that may try to grow. It also oxidizes, destroying any dirt or other debris that may enter the pool. It’s important to learn what state guidelines address how much chlorine should be used in pools to ensure yours is compliant. When used properly, the chlorine will full disinfect and keep the pool clean, giving you clear, pristine water without the strong smell.

How Much Should You Use?

For the most part, a swimming pool should contain between three and five ppm of chlorine. To determine exactly how much chlorine is required to achieve this ratio, you should take the total number of gallons of water your pool holds. This can be done by determining the volume of the pool and converting that number to gallons. In general, a typical swimming pool will hold about 5,000 gallons of water, while an inground pool may contain up to 31,000, depending on its dimensions. This will tell you how many chlorine tablets your pool requires. You can determine if you’re using the appropriate amount of chlorine by regularly checking the pH level in the pool. This number should fall between 7.2 and 8.0 pH.

Can Chlorine Be Harmful?

If not used properly, chlorine can be extremely dangerous. When you add chlorine to your pool, it naturally reacts with things in the water, such as bacteria, sweat, urine and other organic materials. This is what releases the gas you would typically smell and associate with chlorine. With the appropriate amount of chlorine, this reaction takes place, but the filter safely removes the gas from the pool, leading to pristine, clear water. If your water is blue, although it is a color often associated with pools, there is a good chance you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

How Do You Use It Safely?

To ensure your pool is safe for everyone who uses it, it’s important to take good care of your pool, both during the warmer months when it’s in use and during the winter when you aren’t using it. Proper winterization is essential to ensure you can easily get your pool ready again once the swimming season arrives. It’s also critical to understand how much chlorine you should use and what you should look for that indicates a problem. Hiring professionals, such as Crystal Falls Pools, can help you get your pool in the best condition so you can enjoy your summer at the poolside safely.