Pool Chlorine Makes a Difference in Water Quality. Choose Wisely.
In a previous blog, I assumed that most readers don’t want a rehash of high school or college chemistry. I’ll stick to that and gently discuss why some pool chemicals are better than others that appear the same. However, an explanation is required.
Saying ‘All Chlorine is the Same’ is like saying ‘All Cars are the Same’.
Or houses, boats, golf clubs, and ice cream. Some things are just better than others, but for many pool owners, chlorine is just chlorine. I’ll admit there are more glamorous subjects, but pool owners, it’s important to understand all chlorine is not equal. When I tested water and gave recommendations, I specified that dosages were based on our chemicals, not the economy brands. It was the old apples vs oranges analogy. Often, it came down to two important criteria. First, how strong is your chlorine, and secondly, how old is it?
Free Chlorine vs Total Chlorine. Big Difference!
Now for the chemistry, but don’t panic. This is short but important so hang with me. When chlorine is added to pool water, it has a level of free chlorine. This is the chlorine that works to kill unwanted microorganisms and remove contaminants. Total chlorine is the amount of chlorine that is in the water. But not all of this is working chlorine. It includes spent chlorine that has already bound to contaminants, forming chloramines. Consequently, these chloramines do nothing to help keep your water clean or clear. In other words, if you start with weak chlorine that has a low active chlorine level, that’s strike one. Do nothing to rid your pool of chloramines, that’s strike two. Most importantly, act before you reach strike three: A green, algae-infested mess. I’ll address that in the next section.
Read the labels. Find the active chlorine concentration and the other ingredients contents. Excellent others are sodium tetraborates and cyanuric acid. Borates inhibit the ability of algae to reproduce, while cyanuric acid helps keep free chlorine in the water. Stronger chlorines tend to be sodium based, but there is a large calcium hypochlorite class, too.
Cal-hypo has a lower active chlorine ingredient, but it does help avoid a soft water problem. Soft water can cause dramatic shifts in pH, often making it impossible to keep water properly balanced. Subsequently, a good calcium level can act as a buffer and help keep other elements of water balance in line. However, water can only contain so much calcium before it begins to come out of solution. As a result, pool owners using lots of cal-hypo might experience cloudy water, flaking, scaling, or even clogged filters. Bring Eastgate Pools & Spas a water sample for a thorough analysis and let us help you keep your water properly in-line.
Pool Shock. The Not-So-Shocking Truth.
Pool shock, also known as liquid chlorine, can go bad, and a lot quicker than you think. This liquid is important in reducing chloramine levels and adding a sudden burst of chlorine to the water. It’s great for rescuing water about to go into an algae bloom. Furthermore, it is a recommended weekly maintenance product designed to head off problems before they occur. The rule of thumb is to add one gallon, once a week, for every 10,000 gallons of water. If you don’t know your pool’s gallonage, your Eastgate Pools’ professional can help you get the number right. Just let him/her know the pool’s dimensions, including average depth.
So how does liquid chlorine shock go bad? Answer: By not getting used. Shock is a gaseous product. Simply put, the longer it sits, the more it gasses-off, getting weaker by the day. During peak summer months, Eastgate Pools & Spas replenishes inventory quickly because we must. Our customer base counts on us to provide strong, fresh pool shock so we sell a lot. This necessitates re-ordering often and consequently, we keep inventory fresh.
Now…about those discount brands found…in discount stores. Many languish, lonely and forgotten, stacked in an aisle or on a shelf for weeks or even months. What started as a 10% sodium hypochlorite solution ends up in pool water at around half strength. As a result, pool owners need to double the dose to get the same effect as Eastgate Pool’s fresh shock. And if they don’t…? Hello algae and a green pool. Hey, I like pond water, too. I just don’t want to swim in it.
To Sum Things Up…
Pool ownership isn’t rocket science, but it helps if you understand the basics. Then again, if you don’t want to mess with water chemistry, let Eastgate Pools do the job for you. It’s as simple as bringing us a fresh, arm-length, deep water sample. Select a clean container (no pickle jars, please) and bring it to us with your pool dimensions or size. If you purchased your pool from Eastgate Pools, we’ll have it all on file. We will perform a thorough, professional water analysis and guide you through any issues you have. No issues? That’s even better, so let us help you keep it that way.
We had a great customer that lived less than a mile away from the store. For seventeen seasons, he brought us a water sample three times a week and never had a problem. To clarify, not one time in seventeen years. Once, I asked him why he brought us a sample so often. His reply was that it saved him money by not wasting it on rescue chemicals. His cost for all those tests? Zilch. They’re always free, no matter how many we do for our customers.
As for cars, is a 2021 BMW the same as a 1981 four-door hatchback? With all due respect, I’ll take the BMW. Is all chlorine the same? That’s a resounding ‘no’! Therefore, why not go with the good stuff that is proven effective. Not sure where to start? Bring us that water sample.