Don't Ask What Your Chlorine Can Do for You, But What You Can Do for Your Chlorine
This year, more than in years past, pool owners need to get the most 'bang for their chlorine buck.' Pool construction is exploding, and the demand for chlorine is at an all-time high. Therefore, getting the most out of your chlorine is imperative. To ensure there is enough chlorine for all, there are several maintenance tips pool owners can do to extend their swimming season into the fall and winter.
A few steps can be taken to reduce chlorine demand quickly. In fact, diligent hygiene and simple changes to the pool's maintenance routine can reduce sanitizer consumption by up to 30% and keep the water sanitized.
Step 1: Balance the Water
Balanced pool water is the best way to ensure chlorine can keep water sanitized. Invest in test strips to monitor the pools' sanitizer levels and use borates. Borates can lower chlorine consumption due to a buffering ability that allows pool water to remain at a more stable pH level for a longer period of time. In turn, borates allow chlorine to be more efficient and effective at sanitizing water.
Step 2: Brush Regularly
What one's dentist says about their teeth also applies to the pool. Although it can be time-consuming, regularly brushing and cleaning the pool is the easiest way to control chlorine consumption. By brushing pool surfaces, contaminants clinging to the surfaces can be removed by the pool's filter, so chlorine is allowed to do the job of sanitizing rather than having to work to combat algae, mold or other bacteria. Regular brushing, skimming and vacuuming will keep the pool water clear and make it easier to keep it balanced.
Keeping filters clean allow filters to operate properly and remove contaminants from the water, so chlorine is not tied up with floating debris. Water clarity is only as good as the filter will allow it to be. Chemicals can resolve many different water quality problems, but the water treatment program won't work if the filter is not working properly. The pandemic has kept people at home using their pools frequently. As a result, filters have been working overtime, so they need even more frequent cleaning.
High levels of phosphates can cause calcium phosphate scale. When it comes to calcium phosphate scale, prevention is the best solution. Maintaining a phosphate residual of less than 125 parts per billion (ppb) is the key to preventing phosphate-related issues. Removing phosphates helps limit calcium phosphate formation and ensures the efficient operation of chlorine generators, which, in turn, ensures optimal chlorine generation.
In keeping with the goal of reducing the use of chlorine, routinely oxidizing pool water with a non-chlorine shock can be beneficial to controlling contaminants, so chlorine works more effectively. Disinfection—also referred to as sanitizing—is the effective killing of germs. Oxidation is the destruction of non-living waste materials like skin, urea and hair follicles.
Chlorine demand is much higher when organic contaminants are present. Therefore, it takes longer to remove demand and create an effective free-chlorine residual. This is why oxidizing with a non-chlorinated shock is so important. Because non-chlorine shock does not contain chlorines, it will not combine with chlorine to create unwanted disinfection byproducts—such as combined chlorine or chloramines. The odor from combined chlorine or chloramines is carcinogenic and causes eye and lung irritation. Higher bather loads can lead to higher demand and more sanitizer consumption. So, it is important to regularly oxidize this non-organic waste to free up chlorine to sanitize.
Like oxidation, another helpful additive to lessen the demand for chlorine is the use of enzymes. As a part of regular maintenance, using a high-quality, broad-spectrum enzyme every week will help break down the organics swimmers bring into the water—which will even help oxidizers work more efficiently. Enzymes naturally break down contaminants, making them easier for filters and chlorine to remove from the water.
With the number of families staying home and using their pools, not to mention the number of new pools installed this summer, chlorine usage has skyrocketed. To ensure there is enough chlorine available to go around, the industry needs to get back to basics and do what it takes to maximize chlorine's utility and keep pool water sanitized. Regular brushing, cleaning filters, removing phosphates, oxidizing, and using enzymes will help keep the customer's pool water balanced and chlorine usage in check. Don't ask what your chlorine can do for you, but what you can do for your chlorine!
John Bokor is the host of Haviland Pool and Spa Products' "Legendary Pools and Spas," a web series that promotes the fun of owning a pool and spa. He is also the company's director of sales and has more than 25 years of experience in the pool retail industry. Bokor, a certified pool operator (CPO), regularly speaks to professional dealers and pool owners within his territory about water chemistry and maintenance.