Frequently Asked Questions About Pool Chemicals

Pool chemicals are important to the safety of your pool. Things can get complicated and confusing, especially when figuring out what chemicals are needed and how much is needed to attain that optimum balance between comfort and sanitation.

Below are frequently asked questions about pool chemicals that may help you both care for your pool and enjoy it:

Why does my pool have a strong chlorine smell?

Surprisingly, a strong chlorine smell is an indication that there isn’t enough chlorine in the pool and that more needs to be added. The smell comes from chloramines, the by-product of combining chlorine with contaminants such as sweat, urine, and body oils. These chloramines emit the strong chlorine smell and indicate that your pool isn’t well sanitized. Adding additional chlorine will eliminate the chloramines, sanitize your pool and get rid of the smell.

Why is it important to be sure that my pool water’s chemistry is correct?

The perfect balance of your pool chemicals is threefold: it gives you a pleasant swimming experience, sanitizes the pool water and protects your pool and equipment so they work properly. Any imbalance, whether something is too basic or acidic can negatively affect one or all three of these elements.

When do I need to shock my pool?

It is necessary to regularly shock your pool. A good indicator of when the right time to shock your pool is the presence of a strong chlorine smell. The presence of chloramines (which emit the strong chlorine smell) is a sign that your pool water is no longer clean and sanitized. The strong chlorine smell is the result of chloramines interacting with outside contaminants such as sunscreen, hairspray, body oils and urine. The chloramines also contribute to red, stinging eyes.

What is the correct balance for my pool water?

Figuring out the amount of chemicals and the proportion of chemicals can be difficult, but the perfect balance will achieve the perfect balance of an enjoyable and sanitized swim. The basic guidelines for proper chemical balance in pools are the following:

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Total Alkalinity: 120-150 ppm (parts per million)
  • Calcium Hardness: 200-250 ppm or 175-225 for Vinyl pools
  • Free Chlorine: 1-3 ppm
  • Free Bromine: 3-5 ppm
  • There should not be any copper or iron present

I still have pool chemicals left over from last season. Are they OK to use?

You should use your pool chemicals by their expiration date. Using chemicals that are past their expiration date may not be effective and can alter the balance of your pool water if mixed with other chemicals. You should never dispose of expired pool chemicals with your trash, down the drain or toilet. Instead, contact your local waste management department or hazardous waste facility.

How long do I have to wait to use my swimming pool after chemical treatment?

You should wait to use your pool until all chemicals are fully dispersed, usually between 15 minutes and one hour depending on the size of your pool and how often your pool is used. If you shock your pool, you should wait until the chlorine level drop to the recommended level.

How long should I wait to get into the water after the water treatment?

When treating your pool water, you will need to wait longer to use your pool. It is recommended that you wait until after all the water has circulated once through the pool filter (usually 8-12 hours, depending on the size of the pool and what chemicals are used).

How often do I need to test my pool water?

It is highly recommended that you test your pool’s pH and chlorine levels at least once a week, and preferably twice a week in the summer months when your pool is used most often.

A pool is a big responsibility that requires regular, constant care, attention and maintenance. Knowing your way around pool chemicals will help make your pool maintenance experience easier and more efficient.

For more information about pool chemicals or pool maintenance in general, contact Sunplay Pools today. We are your one-stop-shop for all your pool, swimming and hot tub needs.

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