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FAQ - Chemicals

Does chlorine prevent all recreational water illnesses?

Chlorine in swimming pools kills the germs that may make people sick, but it takes time. Chlorine in properly disinfected pools kills most germs that cause RWIs within minutes. However, it takes longer to kill some germs such as Cryptosporidium that can survive for days in even a properly disinfected pool.

Also, many things can reduce chlorine levels in pool water. Some examples are sunlight, dirt, debris, and material from swimmer’s bodies. Healthy swimming behaviors and good hygiene are needed to protect you and your family from RWIs and will help stop germs from getting in the pool.


How do I clean my stained plaster?

Dirt, rust and other minerals can stain the finish of your plastered pool. If the stain is organic; from leaves for example, a small amount of granular chlorine added at that location and allowed to settle on the stain will usually remove it instantly. Other non-organic stains will not be removed by chlorine.

Do not place chlorine tablets directly into the pool. They will stain and etch the pool plaster. If chlorine doesn't work, acid usually will. Draining and acid washing will remove a thin layer of plaster (and stains), exposing fresh, new looking plaster beneath. Stains can also be sanded with pumice stones or wet/dry sandpaper.


How do I get rid of the ring around my vinyl pool?

Tile is placed around the perimeter of the pool because it is a surface that can be easily cleaned. There are many tile cleanser products available which are applied with a scrubbing pad or brush. Remember to never use abrasive cleaners on a vinyl pool.

You can also try to frequently clean the inside of the skimmer. You can also use an enzyme product such as SeaKlear Enzyme Klear that eliminates oil, lotions and organics in pool and hot tub water.


How long do I have to wait to use my swimming pool after chemical treatment?

Generally it is safe to use your pool after chemicals have dispersed throughout the pool, usually 15 minutes to one hour. If shocking your pool, wait until the chlorine levels drops to recommended levels.

How long should I wait to get into the water after the water treatment?

How long to wait after a treatment depends on the chemicals you are adding. Typically, you will want to wait for the water to turn over one full time (all the water to pass through the filter), which typically takes 8 to 12 hours.


How often do I need to test my pool water?

Weekly testing works for most backyard pools, but the best bet is to test your pH and chlorine levels at least twice per week. Chlorine should be fed continuously through a chemical feeding device to maintain a consistent level.


I still have pool chemicals left over from last season. Are they OK to use?

You should check the expiration date on your pool chemicals and discard and replace any that have expired. Never dispose of chemicals in the household trash or down any drains unless directed by a water treatment facility. Never pour chemicals down a drain or toilet if they lead to a septic tank. Always make it part of your spring pool opening plan to buy new chemicals from your local professional pool retailer.


Is Chlorine safe for swimming pools?

Yes. Chlorine sanitizers are safe when used according to package directions approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chlorine levels within the recommended range for swimming pool water do not pose any known health risks. Chlorine sanitizers have been used safely and successfully as pool and hot tub disinfectants for over a century. The majority of public pools and 9 out of 10 residential pools are sanitized with chlorine.


What causes Chlorine odor, red eyes and itchy skin?

These unpleasant conditions indicate that the pool water has not been properly treated. A common cause is high levels of chloramines, formed when chlorine combines with body oils, perspiration, urine and other contaminants brought into pools by swimmers.

Contrary to what most people think, a strong chemical smell is not an indication of too much chlorine in the pool. In fact, the pool may actually need additional chlorine treatment to get rid of chloramines and sanitize the water.


What does it mean if I smell a strong chlorine odor in my pool or hot tub or it burns my eyes?

A common misconception, even among some pool and hot tub "technicians," is that the strong odor of chlorine means there is too much chlorine in the water. This is absolutely incorrect and in fact, the opposite is true. There is not enough chlorine to neutralize the ammonia in the water. More chlorine-based product should be added to solve this issue.


What is the Correct Balance for My Pool Water?

In order to prevent scaling or corrosive action and to achieve maximum swimmer comfort, pool water should be balanced to the following levels:

Test                                               Range   

pH                                                   7.2-7.6

Total Alkalinity                            120-150 ppm

Calcium Hardness                       200-250 ppm (Gunite)

Calcium Hardness                       175-225 ppm (Vinyl)

Free Chlorine                                1-3 ppm

Free Bromine                                3-5 ppm

Copper                                            0 ppm

Iron                                                 0 ppm


What is the difference between the chemicals that a professional pool supply store sells compared to a big box retailer?

A big box retailer will not stock the variety of chemicals that a professional pool supply store can provide. You may be able to choose from several different brands at a professional pool supply store. Also, most of the highest quality brands can only be found through authorized dealers and NOT in a mass merchant.


When do I need to shock my pool?

Routine shock treatment is necessary to destroy water contaminates that reduce the efficiency of the disinfectant or sanitizer. Contaminates like hair spray, suntan oil, cosmetics and other organic materials react with chlorine and cause eye or skin irritations and an unpleasant chlorine odor. Most often pools are inaccurately accused of having too much chlorine when this problem is present.


Why is it important to be sure that my pool water’s chemistry is correct?

You want to be sure to provide a sanitary swimming environment, balance the water to protect the equipment and pool surfaces and provide inviting, sparkling water to swim in.


Why is there a strong chlorine smell?

A strong chlorine smell, contrary to what may seem logical; often means chlorine needs to be added. High levels of chloramines emit a strong chlorine smell, and chloramines form when chlorine interacts with introduced contaminants, like sweat and body oil. In this scenario, chlorine needs to be added to sanitize the water and get rid of the chloramines.


Why should I purchase pool chemicals from a professional pool store instead of a big box retailer?

The main reason that you should purchase chemicals from a professional pool store instead of a big box retailer is the knowledge and expertise of the pool professionals. Your swimming pool is a huge investment. You want to be sure that you are purchasing the right chemicals and treatment to prevent problems in the future.

In addition, professional pool retailers offer reputable brands that are proven in the industry to function consistently and efficiently. You can damage your liner or gunite pool or hot tub by using poor quality chemicals, which can cost you much more money in the long run. Not to mention the ill effects some of these can have on your skin, hair, and eyes!

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