Many swimmers have a negative perception of chlorine in pool water due to problems such as strong smells, discolored clothing or hair, or burning/stinging. However, these problems are usually the result of other problems in the water. If other chemicals aren’t balanced properly, then higher & higher levels of chlorine will be needed. Eventually, the chlorine levels will grow to be so high that some of the problems mentioned above begin to occur. With properly balanced water, though, chlorine is effective at low levels and swimmers will never even know it’s there.
One of the main advantages of chlorine is its easy availability. It can be purchased in a variety of forms, but the most convenient is in the form of conventional unscented household bleach.
Brand is not important, but you do want to look at the label and pick the one with the highest percentage of Sodium Hypochlorite. The label to the left is an example of what to look for and 6.0% is a good starting point.
The big advantage of conventional liquid bleach is that it’s easy to find and purchase. You can buy it at the grocery store, discount warehouse, gas station or drug store instead of having to make a special trip to a pool store or wait for it to open. Another option is buying online in bulk. Here are a few options found on Amazon.com:
- Clorox Concentrated Liquid Bleach, 121 oz.
(Available in cases of 1, 2, 3 and 6 with Free Shipping)
- Pure Bright Unscented Liquid Bleach, 128 oz.
(Case of 6 with Free Shipping)
Pool water can also be chlorinated with tablets. These are also convenient, however there is an important thing to be aware of if you decide to use tablets. You will probably notice that the labeling says that the product is “UV Protected”, “Stabilized”, or “Protected from Sunlight”. This means that in addition to chlorine, tablets contain another chemical – Cyanauric Acid (also called CYA or Stabilizer). CYA prevents chlorine from decaying due to sunlight, however it also weakens the chlorine if there is too much of it mixed in. Using tablets is acceptable as long as you intend to also add stabilizer. Once the stabilizer reaches the correct level though, you will want to switch to regular liquid chlorine bleach or non-stabilized granular chlorine. Here are a few options for chlorine tablets available on Amazon.com:
- Clorox Pool & Spa Active99 3″ Chlorinating Tablets
(Available in a variety of sizes with Prime Shipping)
- Swim Best 3″ Commercial Grade Chlorine Tablets
- Clorox Pool & Spa Xtra Blue 3-Inch Chlorinating Tablets
- PuriTech 3″ Chlorine Tablets
(25 lb Bucket w/ Prime Shipping)
- HTH 3-Inch Super Chlorinating Tablets
(Available in 5lb, 15lb, and 24.5lb buckets with Free Shipping)
The main challenge with chlorine is that it is does not have very much staying power. First of all, Chlorine is quickly dissipated by sunlight. By mid-afternoon on a bright, sunny day, chlorine levels can fall off completely. This reaction is slowed by adding stabilizer (CYA) to the water. However, the stabilizer only slows the reaction, it does not stop it. So even with proper levels of stabilizer, chlorine will still need to be replenished regularly.
Chlorine levels also fall off as it kills the algae & bacteria in the water. This is simply chlorine doing its job, there are no additives or chemicals that will slow this process.
Because of these two factors that are constantly depleting chlorine levels, you must regularly test your water and add chlorine so as to keep the levels up.