As the winter comes to a close, it is time to start thinking about what you need to have ready for spring when it’s time to open your pool. Last year we talked about proper pool chemical storage so now as you go about preparing your equipment and replenishing your stock, refer back to make sure you are practicing safe storage.
There are a number of water sanitizing options available on the market but chlorine is the most common. Often used as a household cleaning agent (bleach), chlorine in its powdered form is added to pool water to create a hostile environment for harmful bacteria to grow in. At the correct levels, chlorine is perfectly safe for swimmers although some people report to have sensitivities to it. In these cases, bromine is a great alternative and is applied to the pool in much the same way.
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) and Sodium Carbonate (soda ash), are both necessary agents in adjusting alkalinity and pH levels in your pool. Baking soda has the ability to raise total alkalinity while soda ash impacts pH levels alone. Used in conjunction with one another, the correct balance can be found through regular testing. Great care needs to be taken in the application of these substances though as water that becomes too alkaline will cloud your pool water while not enough alkalinity can lead to unwanted staining and corrosion.
Algaecides and Algaestats
You guessed it, these two substances are algae fighters. To be more accurate, algaecides are the offensive side of the combination while algaecides play defense. Algaecides use copper and other disinfectants that are adept at killing off algae spores that have already taken hold in a pool environment. Algaestats, on the other hand, are designed to remove phosphates from water, algae’s primary food source, so that algae has no business taking up residence.
Lastly, clarifiers are used as that final refining mechanism to give your pool water the crystal clear finish you are looking for. They are designed to draw together particulate matter in your pool that cause cloudiness and form them into larger clusters that your pool filter can more easily remove. While they are not an absolutely necessary element to a complete pool chemical program, they are an effective finishing touch on an already perfect blue pool.