Swimming Pool Chlorine | How Does Chlorine Work?

Understand Pool Chlorine & Proper Swimming Pool Shock Treatment For Inground, Above Ground & Salt Water Swimming Pools. 

Swimming Pool Chlorine

Mastering pool chemistry is not all that difficult.  In fact, I taught over 35 lifeguards at the YMCA in Oregon the ins-and-outs of pool water chemistry and how to maintain a 100,000 gallon commercial salt pool.  Believe me, if they can get it and do it, you can as well.  It just takes the right information and a little diligence.

Your swimming pool water chemistry must be met for your chlorine to work properly.  It's the most widely used and one of the more cost effective ways for disinfecting.  This is of the utmost importance in properly balancing your pool water chemistry.  Chlorine is the sanitizer for the pool water and should be kept at 2 - 4 ppm.

How To Test Your Pool Chlorine

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Pool Chlorine Uses

There are three main areas for your pool chlorine and they are to sanitize, oxidize, and kill organic matter in the pool.  Organic matter can consist of many things such as algae spores, bacteria, swimmer's waste, oils, grass clipping, leaves, dirt, and pollen.  To keep it simple, let's just say it kills stuff.  Other benefits include:

  • Kill off any microorganisms
  • Protect your swimmers from waterborne illness and pathogens
  • Great for inground pool maintenance and above ground swimming pool maintenance
  • Protects your pool water filters and pool filter system
  • Killing algae and controlling all kinds of thing such as cloudy pool water, an algae swimming pool, green pool water, blue-green algae, pink algae, yellow algae, white water mold, etc...
  • Keeps your pool water balance in line and for general pool water care
  • Works great for swimming pool shock
  • It comes as pool chlorine tablets, liquid, and chlorine powder (calcium hypochlorite/granules)
  • Safe to use for super chlorination with your salt water pool systems and general salt water pool maintenance. Just be sure to turn off your salt cells (swimming pool chlorine generator) before you shock it.
  • May be purchased at places that carry wholesale pool chemicals or swimming pool supply and chemical stores
  • Use it for pool opening or at your swimming pool closing
  • Relatively low pool maintenance cost when used properly
  • Keeps the residual chlorine demand in check

 Pool Chlorine Safety

Pool chlorine is great at killing organic matter, but it needs a bit of help to become active enough in order to perform its functions.  You should not add this sanitizer until your pool pH and total alkalinity are correct.  If your pool pH is over 8.0, it becomes less than 25% active.  A proper balance of pH and alkalinity using muriatic acid (pool acid) will ensure proper sanitizing.  The dangers include:

  • Hazardous material spill
  • Chemical explosions
  • Swimming pool rash
  • Chlorine poisoning of swallowed
  • Chlorine rash
  • Chlorine sensitivity
  • May cause swimming pool stains if not added properly
  • Not considered a chemical free pool

Pool Chlorine and Chemical Safety

Remember when making any adjustments always have safety in mind and:

  • Always take the proper precaution with any kind of swimming pool chemical. Remember to read the manufacture’s labels.
  • Always turn off your salt water generator before doing a swimming pool shock
  • Use heavy duty rubber gloves and goggles and keep all chemicals out of reach of children and pets
  • Remember that salt water swimming pools are not considered chlorine free pools. They still produce hypochlorous acid (chlorine generator pool).  A good salt pool chlorine generator will still give you great swimming pool care and maintenance. 

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Free Chlorine & Your Pool

Free chlorine is amount of active chlorine ready to do its job.  In the hot summer months your sanitizer can degrade rapidly. The sun will wreak havoc on your pool and for this reason any adjustments should be done in late afternoon or early evening hours.  This allows enough time for it to go work immediately and start sanitizing your pool.  It should be either broadcast (Calcium Hypochorite) or poured (Sodium Hypochlorite/ liquid) evenly, starting in the deep end and kept at 2 - 4 ppm. 

If you have an outdoor pool and you're using it up like crazy I would then encourage you to check your cyanuric acid (pool stabilizer) level. Too little, below 20 ppm, and your pool chlorine will hit bottom.  Too too much cyanuric acid, above 70 - 80 ppm, and it can't do the job.  One of the best ways to add cyanuric acid to you pool is with chlorine tablets. You can also use granular chlorine like sodium dichlor or trichlor.  The range for CYA is 30 - 50 ppm.  If you have one of the many kinds of small swimming pools or kiddie pools, just a tiny bit is needed to keep them sanitized. 

Word Of Caution About Your Pool Chlorine

If you're having problems with your swimming pool chemistry, you're not alone.  Thousands of pool owners just like you are having the same issues.  But there's nothing wrong with you.  You're NOT wrong. What you're TOLD is wrong. The information you're getting about your pool simply goes against the Universal Laws of Pool Chemistry & Physics that apply equally to every salt and chlorine pool in the world.  Any advice given to you about your pool will either CONFIRM or CONTRADICT these applicable Universal Laws of Pool Chemistry

Folks, this is absolutely 1st Grade stuff.  Easy beyond belief!!  If you can add chlorine, sweep, and empty the skimmer basket, you can have a perfect pool!!    

What Other Visitors Have Said

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No Free Chlorine & High Alkalinity & pH is High 
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I have a OVAL 12X 24 = 8334 GALLONS = 7372 CAPACITY pool. Since July 8, I have been trying to tame this monster. The water looks crispy clean …

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I have a question about swimming pool chlorine. I know there's a couple different ones out there but which one is the best to use, the liquid or granules? …