Clean Pool Water

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Have you ever wondered where that “pool smell” comes from? What about red eyes after swimming?

Most people assume that both are indicators of over chlorinating your pool. But often the truth is quite different. The smell is actually not chlorine, it is from chloramines. Chloramines are produced when the chlorine combines with organic material introduced to the pool. These nasties - if allowed to build up - can destroy your pool blanket, pool liners and some plastics!

Chlorine is essential to ensure that your pool is disinfected and safe to swim in. Without disinfection you are at risk of developing all manner of infections from tinea, to swimmers’ ear or even diarrhea and other gastroenterological diseases. When we can smell chloramines, we are smelling the chlorine doing its job; disinfecting the pool by reacting with that organic matter.

Organic material? From where? I can hear you asking.

Every time you enter the pool you introduce organic material. Oils from your skin, perspiration, skin cells and worst of all, urine. All of these contribute to the organic load in the water that must be treated.

Chlorine is a powerful and effective disinfectant. In your pool, what we refer to as chlorine is present in two forms; hypochlorite ion which is added to water as calcium hypochlorite - this in turn reacts with water to form hypochlorous acid. The amount of these two forms of chlorine are what we measure when we test our pool water for chlorine.

Chlorine has an affinity for ammonia, so that "pool smell" is the hypochlorous acid binding to the ammonia and forming chloramines.

So when we smell chlorine, we often assume that we can smell too much; maybe someone over dosed the pool. Wrong! When we smell chloramines, the pool may actually need more chlorine!

So, if you want to use less chlorine and smell less chloramines, the solutions are simple:

  • Have a quick shower before you enter the pool - this reduces the organic burden that each of us can introduce to our pools by washing off any accumulated perspiration and oils and on our skin and hair. 
  • Always remove yourself from the pool to go to the toilet, and ask the children to have regular breaks when they swim to avoid any "accidents".
  • Never allow any one to swim in the pool if they have diarrhea or other gastric condition, as the material here is slow to break down and may infect others for some time.

Follow these simple rules and you'll be enjoying a fresh smelling & hygienic pool all summer long!

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