The importance of clean water in your pool

Properly caring for your pool is essential and neglecting your water will not only make your pool look bad, but also carries potential health risks! Dirty or "unbalanced" water can lead to skin rashes, respiratory allergies, redness and itching of the eyes, and many more problems. "Bad" water can also damage the pool equipment by creating limestone deposits in piping and filters, bleach your liner or corrode the tiles. All of this could potentially become very painful for your wallet.

When speaking about the cleanness of water and its chemical composition, we are primarily talking about disinfecting water - destroying the biological pollutants such as bacteria, algae and their excretions. Disinfecting the water can be achieved through chlorination, ozonation (treatment with ozone), ultraviolet irradiation and electrolysis. Chlorination is by far the most common method of destroying biological pollutants in swimming pools and unlike other methods, chlorination also treats the underwater surfaces in addition to the water itself.

Chlorination does not only kill bacteria, but it also oxidizes organic pollutants which are too small to be picked up by the filter and makes them large/heavy enough to be successfully filtered out.

However, it's important to use chlorine properly. Many pool owners dislike the unpleasant odor or the irritation of mucous membranes caused by heavy chlorination. It's a little known fact that chlorine itself doesn't actually smell bad and when used sparingly will not irritate your eyes and other sensitive areas. The smell comes from chlorine-ammonia compounds, which form when chlorine binds itself to ammonia molecules - a common byproduct of bacterial lifecycles. In other words, if your water is already clean, pure chlorine will not smell.

But isn't chlorine used for disinfecting pools? What good is the fact that it doesn't smell in clean water if my water is dirty? Well, there's no way to avoid it completely. If your water is dirty or its pH levels are outside of the recommended range (7.2 - 7.6), the pH levels need to be balanced and then the water must be "shocked" with chlorine. This will smell, but it should kill any bacteria in your pool and clean the water so subsequent lighter chlorination procedures will not create the undesirable odor and the water in your pool will remain clean.

It's also worth noting that the solubility of chlorine in water declines at higher temperatures. At 0 degrees celsius 14.8 grams of chlorine can be diluted in 1 liter of water, at 20 degrees - 9.6 grams, at 25 - 6.5 grams and at 40 degrees (not that your pool is likely to get this hot!) - only 4.6 grams. When adding chlorine to water, do not add too much because the excess will not dissolve.

If all of this sounds too complicated (and it is, considering that whenever you add chlorine to your pool you also need to account for the residual chlorine already in the water), pool maintenance professionals always know how much and what kind of chemicals to add to your pool. So save yourself some time and do not overpay for chemicals - hire a professional to do your pool maintenance. You'll love your clean pool!