How To Keep Chlorine Levels Up In A Pool?
It’s summer again, and we all know that means getting your pool ready for backyard BBQs and good times spent with friends and family!
As the lucky owner of a pool, you definitely don’t regret your decision to invest in something that makes entertaining a breeze and allows you a bit of enjoyment when the weather becomes stifling. The only issue you have is with your pool’s maintenance.
Aside from those annoying leaves that love to accumulate in your filter, trying to keep those darned chlorine levels up seems to have become your life’s mission.
It seems that no matter how much money and time you spend on fancy pool products, those chlorine levels just won’t budge.
You’d simply give up trying if you didn’t know how important it was to maintain proper chlorine levels. You definitely don’t want your kids and friends swimming in a bacteria-filled cesspool.
I can understand your frustration, which is why I’ve created a list of steps to help you keep the chlorine levels up in your pool so you and your family can start swimming and enjoying the summer again!
To get your pool sparkling again, depending on your pool’s unique situation, you may need one or all of these handy tools.
- Chlorine test strips
- Stabilized chlorine hockey pucks
- Phosphate remover like Salinity Phosphate Remover
- Pool aerator or a pool cooler
- Soda ash
You have to be a bit of a detective when it comes to discovering why your pool is not holding its chlorine levels. Continually shocking your pool again and again to force it to maintain its levels is obviously not working, so it’s time to pursue a different tactic! Use these easy-to-follow steps to diagnose and treat your chlorine-resistant pool!
Part #1: Testing Your Pools With Chlorine Strips
A common problem many pool owners face is that they feel they’re using large amounts of chlorine, shocking their pool repeatedly, yet the chlorine strips don’t budge. You may be tempted to drain the pool and start anew, but such a drastic measure isn’t likely needed.
In fact, your pool may have something called ‘chlorine demand’. Chlorine demand isn’t extremely common, but it can happen, especially when you open your pool for the season.
All that lovely green and stagnant water is practically begging for a good dose of chlorine, so you have to provide enough to get the job done.
Depending on the state of your pool, there could be a lot of organic and inorganic debris floating around that is going to require a hefty dose of chlorine to neutralize.
Calcium hypochlorite pool shock is a good choice for bringing your pool back into balance. Simply add 3lbs per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
Part #2: Add Stabilized Chlorine
You may have had no idea that you could buy both unstabilized and stabilized chlorine for your pool. What’s the difference? Is one likely to explode? Hardly. The key difference is that stabilized chlorine will not degrade when exposed to UV light.
In fact, direct sunlight can degrade all of the unstabilized chlorine in your pool in a mere few hours, resulting in time and money wasted. How do you know if you’re using unstabilized chlorine?
- Is your chlorine only 10-15% available chlorine, and is there more sodium than chlorine?
- When adding your chlorine, does it dramatically increase the pH level of your pool?
- Is your chlorine marketed as ‘fast acting’ because it is pre-dissolved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re probably using unstabilized chlorine. A better solution is to purchase the 1” or 3” tablets (aka hockey pucks) or sticks.
What differentiates them from unstabilized chlorine is the addition of cyanuric acid, which protects the chlorine from the sun. You can purchase whatever one works best for your filter or pool size (although the 3” tablets are the most economical).
The important thing is that these products contain stabilized chlorine, which won’t degrade when exposed to sunlight and will help keep your chlorine levels up!
Part #3: Use Phosphate Remover
At this point you’re pretty sure you’ve added enough chlorine for the size of your pool, and you made sure it was the stabilized version, but it still seems like your pool is a disturbing shade of green after only a couple of days. What could possibly be going wrong?
You may have high phosphate levels, which is a delicious form of food for all of the bacteria you’ve worked so hard to eradicate.
High phosphate levels in your pool can be caused by a number of things including decomposing organic matter, phosphorus-based cleaning products, dirt, and freshwater run off.
You may think that simply adding more chlorine should kill off the algae, but killing algae without balancing the phosphate levels can create a vicious cycle because algae emit phosphate as they die, providing food for more algae to bloom!
To get phosphate levels under control you could adhere to a simple weekly maintenance program by adding a product like SeaKlear Phosphate Remover.
Part #4: Raising Your Pool’s PH Level
This is another potential problem-maker pool owners can overlook when befuddled as to why they have a hard time keeping their chlorine levels up. If the pH is under 7.0, your pool is going to consume more chlorine.
Obviously, you don’t want to create an acidic pool just to reduce the amount of chlorine you’re using (burning your guests’ skin is not being a very good host).
Therefore, optimal pool pH levels range between 7.4 – 7.6 for personal use and chlorine consumption. If you do test your pool and realize the pH is running a little low, there are a number of simple solutions you can implement to bring it up.
Soda ash (sodium carbonate) will raise pH quite quickly without altering alkalinity. Check out this simple video for how to add soda ash to your pool to get those pH levels in an optimal range.
Part #5: Cooling Your Pool Down
In hindsight, overly warm water seems like an obvious reason as to why your pool is burning through chlorine. What thrives in a warm and wet environment? That’s a right, bacterium!
So if your pool is feeling more like a hot tub, you may want to consider figuring out a way to lower the temperature to avoid using copious amounts of chlorine to keep the bugs away.
There are a number of great options including an aerator. An aerator is an attachment that is screwed into the side of your pool, and sprays water back into your pool. This process introduces oxygen into the main body of water, bringing the temperature down a few degrees.
If you’re looking for a bigger drop in temperature (like 10-15 degrees), then consider a pool cooler. A pool cooler cools water via a fan. The cold water is then pumped back into the pool.
The system is expensive, but if your guests start complaining that your pool is feeling more like a bathtub, it’s probably a good investment.
Part #6: Heavy Usage Requires More Chlorine
Maybe this summer your house has become party central. You seem to have all the neighbourhood kids over every afternoon, and family comes over all the time to cool off during this viciously hot summer.
Oddly enough, you can’t seem to keep your chlorine levels up, despite adding the same amount of chlorine you did last year. What may be news to you is that your pool’s chlorine consumption will increase with increased usage.
All those extra hours spent in the pool is going to introduce that much extra sunscreen, makeup, body oils, perspiration, urine, and fecal matter. This is on top of the usual organic debris, dog hair, and bird feces that normally find their way into your pool.
Under heavy usage, you’ll need to increase the amount of stabilized chlorine you add until your test strips indicates you reached between 1.0 to 3.0 parts per million.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! It’s important to keep the chlorine levels in your pool up to ensure your pool doesn’t become a haven for bacteria that could easily make swimmers sick.
But by following these steps, you shouldn’t have an issue maintaining a clear and pristine pool that will make you the most popular home in the neighbourhood on a hot summer’s day!
Let me know what you think about this article by sharing your comments below, and share the article if you liked it!