All About Pool Sanitizers
16 November 2017
Chlorine is the most popular sanitizer used in pool water. Serving as an algaecide, disinfectant and oxidant all at once, it makes it possible for you to bask in your pool safely.
When chlorine mixes with the water in your pool, it breaks down into two chlorinated compounds: hypochlorous acid (the active disinfectant form of chlorine) and hypochlorite. Their relative levels will depend on your pool’s pH, so it’s important to keep it between 7.4 and 7.6 to ensure a high proportion of hypochlorite. This type of chlorine, which you add to the water of your pool, is called free chlorine. When free chlorine mixes with ammonia from organic waste, such as sweat and dead skin, left behind by bathers, the result is called combined chlorine.
Combined chlorine irritates the skin and gives off the strong smell typically associated with chlorine. People mistakenly believe that a strong chlorine odor signifies a high level of disinfection. But instead, it indicates a strong concentration of chloramines, and you should take it as a warning sign that you aren’t giving your pool shock treatments often enough. In fact, this strong chlorine smell is the result of nitrogen compounds binding to the chlorine molecules, rendering them ineffective. All you have to do is use a non-chlorine shock treatment to eliminate them, along with that strong odor. Make sure to wait at least 15 minutes before closing the cover on your hot tub or putting the solar cover back on in order to allow the gas to escape.
Different types of sanitizers
Granular chlorine: This is the least expensive type of chlorine. It has a high pH and requires daily monitoring.
Chlorine tablets: Chlorine tablets have an acidic pH. Since they are stabilized, they only require weekly maintenance. A floating dispenser or chlorinator allows them to dissolve over the course of the week.
Chlorine sticks: These sticks can be used in a dispenser or placed directly in the skimmer basket. They have an acidic pH and are stabilized, so they only require weekly maintenance.
Bromine: Bromine is more expensive than some types of chlorine and cannot be stabilized. It has a low pH and remains very effective when the pH of the water is high.
Salt chlorine system: By using salt, which has a high pH, you avoid the necessity of handling chlorine. However, you should be aware that it’s necessary to change the salt cell after one to seven years of use. These cells are available in either sodium chloride (NaCL) or sodium bromide (NaBR). The sodium bromide system is used more often in hot tubs.