Aquapool | Chlorine faq

Chlorine faq

03 Jul The Chemical Breakdown: Salt and Chlorine

Although very different systems, there are advantages and disadvantages to both salt and chlorine pools. Here is a breakdown that explains the options you have when building your pool and selecting equipment:


Chlorine pools are the most common type of pools built today. Chlorine filter systems are relatively easy to operate and maintain. In addition, most professional pool supply stores stock chlorine tablets so it’s easy to ensure the proper chemicals are available. How chlorine systems work is that chlorine is added regularly to either a pump unit that circulates your pool water or through a floating disbursement device that has tablets that dissolve over time. Chlorine is added to kill mildew, mold, and bacteria that can grow in your water.

Advantages to chlorine systems:

More efficient at cleaning bacteria
Clears water in 24-48 hours
Easy to operate

Salt pools use dissolved salt instead of chlorine to maintain clean and balanced pool water. With this type of system, a salt chlorinator unit uses electrolysis to slowly add salt to the water to maintain a consistent salt-water ratio. One thing that’s significantly different from chlorine systems is that salt in the water never disappears like chlorine, so you end up having to add small increments to maintain a properly balanced pool.

Advantages to salt systems:

Larger upfront cost but lower maintenance costs
Less exposure to chemicals when swimming
Safer on skin and hair
Less time-consuming in terms of maintenance
Both water cleaning methods produce great results that end in clear, sparkling pool water that you and your family can enjoy. The decision is mostly up to personal preference and what you feel your pool needs are!

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03 Jul The Science of Chlorine

Most pool owners know that chlorine keeps your pool clean. They know that it helps make the water look clear and that it works to kill water-borne bacteria that can be harmful to your health. However, have you ever wondered exactly how it works though? Here’s a brief yet thorough explanation to help you understand what chlorine does to your pool and how it does it.

First, chlorine is typically added to a pool in the form of either a powdered or liquid solution. When added to pool water it breaks into a series of chemicals, two of the most important being hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ion (OCi-). These two chemicals attack the cell walls of bacteria and other microorganisms in order to get to the structures inside the cells that oxidize them and render them harmless. What is unique about the combination of HOCl and OCl- though is that they oxidize bacteria at different rates and therefore pack a powerful one-two punch. The HOCl takes effect in seconds and attacks the bulk of bacteria cells while the OCl- waits in hiding and kicks in after 30 minutes or so to clean up the rest.

Chlorine cannot function properly on its own however. Essential to proper sanitizing is also a balanced pH level of anywhere between 7 and 8 with 7.4 being the ideal. pH levels can be manipulated by the addition of basic solutions like baking soda to raise pH and acidic solutions like chlorine to lower it. Once chlorine is done killing bacteria, the HOCl and OCl- particles begin to disappear by either combining with other chemicals that end up in the water or by breaking down into single atoms through exposure to sunlight and heat. This is a regularly occurring process so pool water must be continuously monitored for chlorine levels and when levels drop below acceptable, chlorine must be added.

The addition of chlorine to pool water has enabled us to keep crystal clear and sanitary backyard swimming pools for our families to safely enjoy but chlorine should still be treated like the acidic chemical that it is. High chlorine levels that are typically present immediately after a pool is shocked should be avoided as the solution will attempt to attack the cell walls in a swimmer’s skin, just as it does in a bacteria cell, and can cause irritation and rashes. Chlorine can also off-gas with the then airborne chemical hovering above the surface of the pool and cause breathing difficulties especially for children and those with chronic respiratory illnesses. For these reasons, the swimming pool industry has begin to develop chlorine alternatives that may be safer for human exposure like salt water sanitizing systems, the addition of alternative chemicals like bromine, or even ozone generating machines that are installed in-line with your pool’s plumbing.

The bottom line is that chlorine and other sanitizing agents make it possible to enjoy clean and clear water, especially during the summer months when contaminating factors like higher rain fall and more regular pool parties can dirty up your pool water more often. Remember though that water chemistry is just one part of a proper pool maintenance routine. Don’t forget to keep a close eye on filters and pumps to prevent potentially costly future repairs!

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03 Jul The 411 on Chlorine

Chlorine is the essential ingredient for keeping any pool clean and sanitary for your swimming pleasure but did you know that there are many different types of chlorine? Finding the right one to use for your pool water may be a trial and error experience but the information below should be able to help you make decisions on what will work best to maintain your waters.

Liquid Chlorine
Arguable the most commonly used type of chlorine; liquid chlorine is the choice selection for large public pools and high-traffic private pools (like swim clubs and other aquatic centers). Since the delivery format of this chemical is already liquid, it easily mixes with water and requires very little pool-pump action in order to disperse throughout the pool. Also, a large amount of this type of chlorine can alleviate and augment a heavy pool-cleaning schedule.

Chlorine Tablets
Chlorine tablets are used in small to medium-sized private pools. Chances are this is the format of chlorine most pool owners are familiar with! Chlorine tabs go into floaters as well as off-line and on-line feeders (not just floaters). These feeders vary but some can hold a week’s worth of chemicals or others, a few months worth for those that travel regularly.

Powdered Chlorine
Getting into the powdered format of chlorine is for heavy use pools that are in need of a deep cleaning. However, there is an upside to this format of delivery, since the powder concentration is so strong, it’s also known as a powder shock when it hits the pool. Shocking a pool is NOT just a once a month process. It can be an every other week process, but should be adjusted based upon bather load and weather to maintain the clean and clear waters you are looking for.

Granular Chlorine
Granular chlorine works like the chlorine tablets above but instead of a floating dispenser, the chlorine can be put directly into the pool water. It will then settle on the bottom of the pool and dissolve to do its work.

When asking yourself what type of chlorine is right for your pool, you should consider the size and location of your pool. Then examine cost and quality of the chlorines suitable for your equipment and use and you should have your answer. If you select a type of chlorine and are unhappy, you can always change methods.  Whichever you choose, the mainstay is that chlorine is critical to ensuring a safe, clean, and swim-ready pool!

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