The most frequently asked swimming pool maintenance questions is … “What type of chlorine should I use?” That’s not always an easy question to answer, and our answer is almost always, “That depends on your pool and on various usage and weather conditions.” Specifically, the type of chlorine you use depends on many factors about your pool — size, depths, filtration system, amount of sun and shade, amount of use and more.
Here are some general guidelines we share with our clients about chlorine:
The best chlorine tabs are 99% pure chlorine with only 1% stabilizer added to bind it. The standard size tablet is 3” in diameter and the weight is about 7 ounces. However, recently, we’ve noticed that many tabs are underweight and are getting thinner and thinner (although still 3 inches in diameter), meaning you will go thru more chlorine quicker with less effect. In addition, more companies are adding greater quantities of fillers to their tablets. Again, that means less chlorine in your pool and more chemicals to make the water hard.
Also known as “shock,” granular chlorine was designed to boost your chlorine levels very high very fast to prevent things like an algae bloom after a storm. Sadly, the quality of this product has been going downhill very fast. We’ve found some brands on the market have gone from 99% to those that have only 24% chlorine. The rest is filler, generally calcium, which causes cloudiness, plus it causes an accelerated rate of total dissolved solids in the water, making the water hard. The harder the water, the more chemicals you have to use, until finally, your pool water must be drained and the pool refilled.
We refer to this as the “cocaine” of chlorine. Once you start, you are hooked! Plus, once you stop, your pool will start to cloud or turn green every 2-3 days. Liquid chlorine has only about 10-12% free chlorine, which lasts only 24-36 hours. Once you pour it in your pool, it starts to burn off immediately in the hot sun. However, liquid chlorine does have its uses, like after a big storm or a pool party, when your pool has received heavy use. In short, we recommend using it only as a boost to your normal pool chemical maintenance. Last but not least, don’t buy liquid chlorine at a grocery or discount store. When liquid chemicals sit in the heat, the chemicals will break down and are less efficient. The big name stores often store products for months at a time in unprotected warehouses.
When in doubt, come into Pool People and ask us what will work for your pool. Located in Glendale, Arizona, Pool People provides regular pool and spa cleaning, pool and spa maintenance, pool remodeling, pool and spa repairs, as well as tile cleaning for residents of the Northwest Valley in Phoenix. We also have a fully stocked pool store at 5830 W. Thunderbird Rd., Suite B-6, Glendale, AZ. We carry the highest quality chemicals, with the fewest fillers possible for the health and well being of you pool.