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Types of Swimming Pool Chemicals

Updated on March 3, 2016

There are several categories of Swimming Pool chemicals, each performing one type of function or another. In order to effectively use these chemicals, there is a dire need that you understand the specific function of each type. There are six categories of chemicals used to maintain a Swimming Pool. They are:

1. Sanitizers:
Sanitizers are chemicals that are used to kill micro-organisms in the pool like bacteria, viruses, algae, amoeba, e.t.c There are several types of sanitizers, but the most commonly used is chlorine. Chlorine is popularly used because of its efficacy in killing contaminants and the fact that it is affordable. Chlorine upon being applied to the pool water will produce hydrochloric acid by reaction with the water. This hydrochloric acid is able to penetrate the cell walls of all kinds of harmful micro-organisms and kill them in the process. There are two ways in which chlorine can be used to control microbial activities. One of them is to use it as an ongoing control wherein the chlorine is applied regularly in small and moderate quantities. On the otherhand, chlorine is popularly used for pool shock treatments. Chlorine shocking treatments is the act of raising chlorine levels of water ten times the ordinary requirements. Chlorine shocking occurs when there is a dire need for an extra santization, for instance, when algae growth is very visible and the water is practically green. Bromine is yet another pool sanitizer which keeps the pool water clean and healthy by killing all micro-organisms in the water. Biguanide is another sanitizing pool chemical which is considered to be highly swimmer friendly and equally efficacious. It effectively kills all types of micro-organisms. Moreso, it remains in pool water longer than other types of pool sanitizing substance.

2. Algaecides:
Algaecides are compounds specifically created to control the growth of Algae in the swimming pool. Most often than not, the growth of algae is caused by lack of proper circulation of water. The algae scourge is so common that even properly maintained pools do experience algae growth. This is because its spores can be blown into a swimming pool by wind or by swimmers. Once your pool is contaminated with the micro-organism, they start to grow and expand. If proper care is not taken, your pool water will completely change color and it can also clog the pool filter. This is why Algaecides are recommended for frequent use in the pool. Swimming pool algacide usually produces a hundred percent result within 24 hours of its use. Consistent use of the chemical will ensure that your pool never becomes so bad that you would need a shocking treatment. There are various types of this chemical, one of them is Quaternary Ammonia. This is the most common type used in pools. It is great for swimming pool maintenance. It is produced in liquid form of varying concentrations usually between 5%-50%. however, the chemical must not be overdosed as it can cause foaming on top of your pool water. Another type of algacide is Polyquats. Polyquats is used for stubborn algae growth. It usually comes in different concentrations ranging from 50%-60%. It is more expensive than Quaternary Ammonia but more effective. Metallic is another variant, however metallic is so strong that improper usage can cause permanent staining of pool surface. Borates is a special variant because of is mode of operation. Borates inhibits algae growth by stopping its ability to process carbondioxide. Sodium Bromide is another variant that is highly effective in fighting mustard and black algae.

3. PH Control Chemicals:
PH measures the degree of acidity and alkalinity of your pool. The PH scale uses a measurement of between 1.0-14.0 Whereby when your pool water reads between 7.0-8.0, it indicates that your pool PH is neutral. PH control chemicals are designed to either increase or decrease the PH of your pool depending on how the PH currently reads. Sodium Carbonate and Soda Ash are popular variants used to increase the PH of pool water. Both chemicals are most commonly found in powdery form but also available in liquid. On the otherhand, Sodium Bisulfate is used to lower the PH of your pool water.

4. Oxidizers:
Oxidizers are used to burn up trash in the pool. Trash like body oil, tan oil, skin sweat, skin cells are burnt using oxidizing chemicals. The importance of oxidizers is that they help to clear the water and ensure that the pool is clean. When chemical oxidization takes place, they produce nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases. Monopersulfate is a commonly used oxidizer that produces an instant reaction. Sodium di-chor is another oxidizing chemical.

5. Clarifiers:
Clarifiers are chemicals that act as coagulants on particles in the water so that the particles solidify and can be removed by the filter. When your swimming pool water becomes cloudy or unsightly, a clarifier can be applied. Applying a clarifying chemical ensures that these impurities making your pool unsightly can be easily filtered out. There are several types of clarifiers, the most common type being the polydadmac. The polydadmac is an ammonium chloride with a very high positive charge density. Another commonly used clarifier is the Chitosan.

Tips on using Clarifiers:
(i) Read and follow label instructions accurately in regards to dosage, water balance and application method.
(ii) Do not overdose your pool with clarifiers as this can lead to increased water turbidity.
(iii) Operate the filter 24 hours per day during treatment with clarifiers.

6. Stabilizers:
Stabilizers are pool chemicals that make other chemicals function effectively. Take for instance, if you apply chlorine or bromine to your pool as a sanitizing agent. If you apply either of them during the day and the sun comes up, it a matter of a few hours the chlorine and bromine will be rendered practically useless by the heat from the sun. This is where stabilizers come in. A popular stabilizing substance is the Cyanuric acid. It is very effective in protecting chlorine and bromine. Stabilizing chemicals ensure that other chemicals function appropriately in your pool.

Which of these chemicals does your pool require?

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