If it wasn’t for swimming pool chemicals you would basically end up with a stagnant pool of water full of algae, bacteria and potentially harmful viruses. Pool chemicals allow you to keep your swimming pool water clean, fresh and safe no matter how many people are using the pool or what the outside conditions are like. To give an overview of the various types of pool chemicals we’ve come up with an article to cover the topic, “Pool chemicals: What do they do?”
Sanitizers are a category of swimming pool chemicals that are needed to keep the water clean and fresh. Most pool owners will use chlorine or bromine to this end. Chlorine neutralizes contaminants through the process of oxidation. Chlorine usually comes in the form of a powder or solid tablets and bars. Chlorine is often combined with cyanuric acid to make it more stable in the sunlight. Chlorine breaks down quite easily in the sun and cyanuric acid reduces the need to repeatedly add chlorine when it’s warm and sunny.
Bromine is another type of sanitizer that takes care of contaminants by ionizing them. Bromine is more stable than chlorine in sunlight and high temperatures. It also lasts longer than chlorine but it’s also more expensive. It’s typically found in tablet form.
Oxidizers are an accessory sanitizer that only needs to be used every few weeks. They’re also known as shocking agents and work to kill any algae or bacteria that are able to survive the daily bromine or chlorine levels. Calcium hypochlorite is a chlorine-based shock that can quickly sanitize while raising chlorine levels. Potassium monopersulfate is a non-chlorine-based shock that allows swimming shortly after application. Lithium hypochlorite is a quick-dissolving chlorine-based treatment that also allows swimming soon after application.
Balancers are used to keep your pH and total alkalinity levels in check. pH increaser is made of soda ash and is useful if the pH levels fall below 7.2. If the pH levels get over 7.6, a pH decreaser composed of dry acid or sodium bisulfate will regulate the measurements. When total alkalinity starts to drop, an alkalinity increaser made from sodium bicarbonate is added to the water. Calcium chloride is applied when a calcium increaser is needed to raise the calcium hardness levels. If chlorine levels become sodium thiosulfate can be used to bring them under control.
There are several types of other specialty chemicals that can be used to kill algae (algaecides,) clear the water (clarifiers and flocculants,) break down oils, scum and odors (enzymes,) remove phosphates that algae feed on (phosphate removers) and keep metals from staining the pool components (sequestering agents.)
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