Do Pools Need More Chlorine When It’s Hot?

Do Pools Need More Chlorine When It’s Hot? Chlorine is a necessity for keeping your pool clean, free of bacteria, algae and viruses. Without it, your pool water can become murky, green, and even unsafe. However, too much also leads to trouble. To keep pool water safe and clean, chlorine should be maintained within a specific range. Too much chlorine can irritate the skin, eyes, and even lungs, while too little leaves you with a potentially unhealthy pool. What’s more, chemical needs change depending on the time of year, since heat and UV rays affect chlorine. To maintain the proper balance, consider the following factors.

What Is Chlorine Demand?

Pool service technicians measure two types of chlorine: combined chlorine and free chlorine.

  • Combined chlorine is the fraction of the chlorine that has reacted with organic matter, such as ammonia and nitrogen compounds and is, essentially, tied (“combined”) up. When your pool smells like chlorine, generally it is not because there is too much chlorine in the water but rather due to chloramines, the chemical compounds that result when chlorine meets organic material.
  • Free chlorine is the fraction of the chlorine that hasn’t yet reacted with organic matter; it is still able to disinfect the water.

High levels of combined chlorine indicate that there are too many foreign particulates in your pool water and free chlorine is the chlorine that needs to be replenished. It is important to remember that things like heat, increased bather load, and rain or wash-ins increase your chlorine demand.

How Do Heat and Light Affect Chlorine?

Free chlorine isn’t just lost when it interacts with organic matter; it is lost when it interacts with sunlight as well. Chlorine forms hypochlorite ions in water, which break apart when hit by ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine gas into the atmosphere. The light from the sun can reduce pool chlorination by 90 percent in just a few hours. This is why many pool service technicians add a stabilized chlorine and use a chlorine stabilizer when necessary to maintain the conditioner levels.

Temperature also has an effect on chlorine, as some bacteria and organisms grow better in warmer environments. When temperatures increase, it uses up free chlorine more quickly, potentially turning your pool into a swamp.

Rule of Thumb: For every 10-degree Fahrenheit (6 degree Celsius) rise in temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), you should add as much as 50% more chlorine to your pool water to maintain appropriate levels of free chlorine. This is especially true for those hot tubs that are not always covered, as they tend to run warmer.

Adjusting to Meet Chlorine Demand

It can take more than a week for your pool to recover from an algae outbreak or sudden water cloudiness. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help avoid any loss in the use of your pool:

  • Test Water Frequently: When conditions that require more chlorine arise, you will be able to see your sanitizer disappearing when you test the water. You don’t have to be a certified technician or water chemist to be able to test and know the condition of your pool water. Purchase some dip-strips to easily test your water and take care of any algae or cloudiness before it begins.
  • Inform Service Providers of Pool Parties: While an increase in bathers definitely has an impact on your water’s chemicals, you can minimize that impact. Informing your service technician of any plans you may have involving your pool allows your tech to take preventative steps and keep your pool clean and safe. Don’t wait until the last minute to let your service tech know about your upcoming pool party. They need to find time in their schedules to help you get your pool ready in addition to their regular commitments.
  • Monitor the Pool after a Storm: Even light rainfall can dilute your water and offset the chemical balance of the pool. In addition, be on the lookout for anything that might have gotten washed into the pool, such as fertilizer or other lawn / plant chemicals, as well as leaves and debris blown in by the storm. Some of these may actually render your sanitizer or other chemicals ineffective, so be on the lookout.
  • Prevention is Always Easier: It is easier to simply maintain well-balanced pool water than to clean cloudy or green water. Consistent testing and monitoring ensures that your water stays clean and safe to use, whereas ignoring it can leave you without a pool until you or your technician figure out exactly what is going on.

If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced year-round, a pHin smart monitor constantly analyzes the water and automatically sends exactly what you need to keep your pool and hot tub healthy. Do you need someone to service your equipment? Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

How to Shock a Swimming Pool

The post How to Shock A Swimming Pool first appeared on Swim University.

You should shock your pool every week or two with the correct amount of shock, but what is shock?

Shock Treatment – The addition of an oxidizing compound or a mixture of oxidizing compounds to the water to destroy chloramines and other undesirable compounds. – Bioguard

When you add chlorine to your pool, the chlorine molecules attach themselves to bacteria and other unwanted material, and it forms a chloramine. Chloramines are essentially dead chlorine. They do nothing and you should get rid of them – this is where shock comes in.

Shock oxidizes the chloramines turning it into a gas. When you smell chlorine, you are smelling chlorine that is NOT in the water because it’s oxidized.

Now that we’ve given you the reason on WHY you should shock your pool, let’s talk about how to shock your pool.

4 Types of Pool Shock

There are 4 different types of pool shock on the market today:

It is important to understand the difference between these 4 types of shock, as they all work differently.

Calcium Hypochlorite

This is the most popular chlorine pool shock. It contains about 65% available chlorine and is cheaper than the rest. When adding to the water, you must first pre-dissolve each pound in a 5 gallon bucket of water to prevent bleaching. This type of shock is slow dissolving, so it will not completely dissolve before it hits the bottom of the your pool. Once added, you will need to wait 8 hours before swimming.

  • 65% chlorine
  • Pre-dissolve required
  • 8 hour wait time
  • Adds calcium to the water
  • Add at night

Lithium Hypochlorite

This type of shock is commonly used in areas that have a high amount of calcium in the water since this shock doesn’t use calcium. It contains about 35% available chlorine and is more expensive than using calcium hypochlorite. The one positive is you don’t have to pre-dissolve this type of shock, but you still need to wait 8 hours before swimming.

  • 35% chlorine
  • No pre-dissolve
  • 8 hour wait time
  • Add at night

Di-Chlor (Grandular Chlorine)

Grandular chlorine is simply 60% chlorine that you can pour directly into the water. You will need to wait 8 hours before swimming again, but no need to pre-dissolve and it contains cyanuric acid (chlorine stabilizer) that protects the chlorine from being burned off by the sun. It’s more expensive than calcium hypochlorite, but you can use it for regular chlorine dosages and shock treatments.

  • 60% chlorine
  • No pre-dissolve
  • 8 hour wait time
  • Adds cyanuric acid to the water
  • Add at night

Potassium Peroxymonosulfate (non-chlorine shock)

Non-chlorine shock is typically used in bromine pools, but you can use it in chlorine pools as well. You do not need to pre-dissolve and it only takes 15 minutes before you can swim again. However, this type of shock can get very expensive.

  • No chlorine
  • No pre-dissolve
  • 15 minute wait time
  • Add anytime

How to Shock a Pool: Quick Tips

  • Always use gloves and protective eye wear.
  • Add 1 pound of shock a 5 gallon bucket of water about 3/4 full.
  • Always add shock to water not water to shock.
  • Wear clothes you don’t care about – they might get bleached.
  • Warm water dissolves shock faster than cold.
  • DO NOT add shock directly to your skimmer!
  • Use a wooden stick and slowly stir in the shock making sure it dissolves completely, or as much as possible.
  • Slowly pour the bucket of pre-dissolved shock around your pool. You may have some undissolved shock at the bottom of your bucket. In this case, just dip your bucket in some pool water give it a slow swish around and pour it back into the pool to help dissolve some of that shock.
  • DO NOT mix all the bags together in one bucket.
  • Always shock at dusk or night time. The chlorine works better when it’s not being burned off by the sun.
  • Shock should also be added every week to ensure a clean and algae-free pool.

Once your pool is restored to order, ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced, consider a pHin smart monitor. This little device constantly monitors your water and automatically sends you the exact chemicals you need to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy.

3 Easy Ways to Extend the Life of Your Hot Tub

The lifespan of a hot tub can vary greatly, depending on its quality and price tag. A low-end hot tub may only last five years, while a high-quality one may still be bubbling away twenty years later. But the single most important factor in determining the life of your hot tub is not the manufacturer’s warranty: it’s how well you take care of it.

This article breaks down some simple pHin tips that will keep your hot tub clean and enjoyable to use for years to come.

  1. Keep Your Water Balanced

Imbalanced water is not only unsafe to soak in and unpleasant in appearance; it can also corrode the equipment and electrical or even scale up your hot tub’s pipes.  This will shorten the life of your tub. Test the water every few days to ensure that all chemical concentrations are well within their limits.

Maintain your pH between 7.2 to 7.8, with a chlorine level of 1.5 – 3.0 PPM (Part Per Million) or a bromine level of 2.0 – 5.0 PPM and a total alkalinity of 80 to 120 PPM. Also, you want to keep an eye on the “total hardness” level, which is a measurement of how much calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are in the water. This should be kept between 100- 250 PPM for an acrylic hot tub finish, and 250-450 PPM’s for a plaster finish. If the hot tub’s calcium level is excessive or you visually detect a scale-like crust at the waterline, you can use a product to assist in preventing scale in hard water environments.  

But while balanced water is great for your hot tub’s parts, the gases released every time you add large amounts of chlorine or bromine to your hot tub are hard on your hot tub cover. Save your cover’s underside from peeling or going brittle by leaving your cover off for twenty minutes after shocking your tub. This will prevent a buildup of chlorine gas.

pHin Tip: You may also consider adding a floating blanket to further prevent sanitizer gasses from deteriorating your expensive hardtop cover! A floating blanket increases the thermal insulation threefold by creating an insulative, dead airspace between the convention cover and the floating blanket.

But won’t the tub lose a lot of heat that way? Given the fact that you shouldn’t soak in your hot tub for at least twelve hours after you shock it, it makes sense to turn the temperature down to 101F for a while. This will not only save you energy, but also gives your heater a break, thus extending its life. Next time you want to use your tub, simply turn it up again to your desired temperature an hour beforehand. 

  1. Keep Your Water Clean

Keeping your water clean is actually quite different from keeping it balanced. You may think you’re quite clean when you step into the hot tub, but the reality is that the average body is coated in perspiration, natural oils, cosmetics, and other body contaminants. 

Showering before using your hot tub is an excellent way to prevent this. Not only will this reduce the ‘chlorine-smell’ (a result of chlorine broken down while fighting contaminants) but less body oil in the water will keep your filter running well.

Regularly removing your hot tub filter and cleaning it according to the manufacturer’s instructions is another great way to extend the life of your hot tub. A clean filter is more effective and results in less stress on the pumps. 

pHin Tip: Do not use household products to clean your filter as they often contain ingredients which are not compatible with hot tub chemistry. This often results in uncontrollable foaming.

There is a limit, however, to how clean you can keep your water with regular hot tub use, and eventually the old water will become difficult to balance. Some suggest changing it as often as every three weeks, while others claim that you can keep it clean for months with the right maintenance habits. As a general rule, if your water is starting to foam, look cloudy, or leave a ring around the edge of the tub, it is likely time to change it. A good rule of thumb is 3 months. 

Those who live in colder climates should keep in mind that it’s not wise to drain a hot tub when the temperature is below freezing. Frozen water expands by nature, which can crack pipes and do all kinds of damage. Try to time your water changes accordingly so that you’re not stuck with gungy water in the middle of February.

  1. Pamper Your Cover 

The hot tub cover will typically begin to show its age far before the rest of the tub, so it’s extra important to give it the maintenance it needs. Tips to extend the life of your cover include:

  • Protect it from the sun and elements. Hot tub covers that are protected by a gazebo or similar shelter will last longer.
  • Do not allow anyone to sit on the cover, even pets or small children. This will cause it to sag or break. Hot tub covers are built to keep heat in, not to support weight. 
  • If you live in a climate with cold winters, brush any accumulated snow off the cover. Be sure to use extra caution to avoid tearing or damaging the cover.
  • If possible, remove the inner foam sections from inside the cover and flip them once a year. This will help prevent sagging. 
  • It is recommended that you regularly treat your hot tub cover with some kind of vinyl protectant. Research your specific cover type and learn the best way to protect it.

Don’t Procrastinate

Everyone knows that problems ignored are far more likely to get worse than better. Tears in your hot tub cover can start the spread of mold and mildew. Under-chlorinated water can become contaminated with algae. Dirty filters are not going to magically clean themselves. All these problems, if not dealt with, will shorten the life of your tub. 

Treat your hot tub well, and you should be enjoying warm and relaxing for years to come.