Clean Pool Water

UV sterilization is another way to disinfect as water circulates through a pipe and is sterilized by UV light instead of chemicals. UV sterilization does not inhibit algae and does not break down dissolved nitrogenous nutrients that are responsible for algae growth, so you still need to use some type of oxidizing sanitizer. While not as expensive as ionizing systems, cost can be an issue. The advantage is, again, less chemical usage/storage.

Standard Chlorine Disinfectant

In the standard chlorine disinfectant procedure, chlorine is fed into the pool water. Chlorination kills the harmful microorganisms that cause ear-, eye- or upper-respiratory infections and acts as a rapid and persistent sanitizer, which is effective in killing off algaecides and other contaminants.

Since this by far is the most common method, here are some things to consider for your pool:

* A strong chlorine smell is not an indication of too much chlorine; it is a red flag indicating a super dose of chlorine is needed–typically called “shock treatment.” The additional dose destroys organic contaminants and oxidizes ammonia while the nitrogen compounds rid the pool of irritating chloramines odor.

* Another term for shock treatment is “superchlorination.” In this situation five or more chlorine products are added to the pool water. This is used to rid the pool of algae and bacteria that might be hiding in filters or hard-to-sanitize areas.

* Other disinfectants are used, such as bromine and ozone. These can be generated on site by passing an electrical current through the pool water itself. It is important to maintain a safe concentration of disinfectant.

Standard Chlorine, Best Practices

The most important thing to remember is to keep the water pH in a range of 7.2 to 7.6. Anything higher will reduce the sanitizing power of chlorine, while a lower pH will cause eye discomfort to the swimmer. As a rule, non-chlorine sanitizers are less harsh, but anything overused will result in side effects.

How Much Of What?

Test your water regularly and work to maintain these tolerances:

* Free chlorine–1.0-4.0 ppm

* Combined chlorine–none

* PH–7.2 to 7.8 (ideal range is 7.4-7.6)

* Total alkalinity for liquid chlorine, cal hypo, lithium hypo—80-100 ppm

* Total alkalinity for gas chlorine, dichlor, trichlor and bromine compounds—100-120 ppm

* Total dissolved solids–not to exceed 1,500 at pool startup

* Calcium hardness–200-400 ppm

* Cynauric acid–30-50 ppm

As a general rule, you should:

* Store chemicals in a dry, cool and shaded area.

* Remember to read all manufacturers’ instructions carefully.

* Never mix different types of chlorine or other chemicals together–they should be added separately.

* Avoid breathing in any fumes or vapors when using chemicals.

* Don’t buy more pool chemicals than needed for one season–they lose effectiveness over time.

* Make sure all chemicals are inaccessible to children.

* Save on chemical costs by adding chlorine for a shock treatment after dark; use during the day will be lost to sunlight (outdoor pools).

In general, a well-managed pool will be without smell or taste, and the water will be crystal clear.

Helen Downey is a freelance writer in Medina, Ohio. She can be reached via e-mail at



* Kayak Pools Midwest. Phone: 800-315-2925. E-mail: info@KayakpoolsMidwest.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

* Zodiac Pool Care. E-mail: info@clearwater-usa.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

* Michael Littlewood. Phone: 01460 241847. E-mail: e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

* Natural Swimming Pools. E-mail: e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

* Woodhouse Waterscape. URL:

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