Chlorine (Cl) is a chemical element that is toxic to bacteria. Chlorine is added to salt water swimming pools either as sodium salt NaCl or as a chlorine based molecule such as chloramine in liquid or powder form. Chlorine kills all the bacteria in a pool so it is important to keep the level of this chemical in check. Chlorine works as a gas that is dissolved in the pool’s water.
How much chlorine do I need?
The amount of chlorine used in a commercial swimming pool is anywhere from one parts per million to eight parts per million. The average pool should try to maintain a level of four parts per million just to make sure that there’s a little room to move when the levels of the chlorine may be low.
This is the ideal range for most swimming pools and you want to check the salt or chlorine level of your pool frequently so that the balance of the chlorine never drops or is interrupted as it may become difficult to fix it.
If you keep the level of the chlorine and one or two parts per million then you run the risk that any storm or rain coming through can dramatically lower the Ph in the water by nearly 80%. Chlorine is not only used for bacteria but it also helps stabilize the Ph.
Colour of your water
Chlorine is also used to keep it that nice blue color so without checking it regularly you could find it unsafe to swim in a matter of weeks. Your pool will initially go cloudy and then algae will start to grow on the walls of your pool and finally the water will go green.
What to do if my chorine is low
If you have a lower amount of chlorine in your pool then you could turn to mineral packs. Slow release chlorine packs deliver chlorine over a period of time. It is ok to shock your pool with a dose of liquid or powder chlorine.
This is safe for your pool but may not be safe to swim in so check your levels carefully before returning to the water. If you have a salt pool and chlorine is low consider increasing the level on your chlorinator or adding more salt.
There are two reasons as to why you might have to put salt into your pool. Either you completely drained the pool or you have read the chlorinator control box and it said it was low. The salt level required to maintain a safe pool is 2,500 to 4,400 parts per million.
When you have reached 5,000 you will begin to actually taste the salts that’s in the pool. If your pool chemistry is correct you should not be able to taste salt.
Salt has a simple formula when deciding how much you need. Read the instructions on your salt or chlorine supply for specifics:
Volume = width x length x depth of the shallow end plus width x length x depth of the deep end
The important thing about salt is that it needs to dissolve, so brush it around until it full dissolves into the water. Of course the quicker way to do this is to walk around the perimeter to evenly distribute the salt. You need to run this pump for 24 hours at least so the salt can spread evenly throughout the pool. With regular salt, nearly 70% of it will dissolve before it hits the bottom.
How do I measure salt or chlorine levels
By far the easiest way to do this is with test strips. You can get ones that test salt level and ones that test chlorine levels from your pool supply shop. You simply dip them in and look at the colour change. Easy!
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This is a guest post. Article written by Warren Isaac of Warm Springs Pool and Spa Repairs