Your pool is designed to hold the same water for many years. You filter it and chemically treat it over and over again. During this period of time the water can drift out of balance and cause corrosion, scaling or even stains to appear. You can easily prevent these problems by paying attention to the basics of water balance. A good quality test kit will measure the key components of water balance-pH, Total Alkalinity, and Acid or Alkali Demand. Use your kit often until you become familiar with you pool and supplement your tests on occasions to verify your readings and spot trends that could lead to potential problems.
Now that your pool water is balanced and stabilized, it's time to sanitize it with chlorine. There are many types of chlorine and your professional pool dealer or serviceman will explain them to you. The most economical and convenient choice is Stabilized Chlorinating Tablets of Sticks. This type of chlorine is applied weekly and is not affected by sunlight like HTH or liquid chlorine. You can dispense Tablets or Sticks by placing them in a chlorinator, a floating feeder, or a skimmer basket. Again, your dealer or serviceman will guide you to the approach that is best for you pool.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has determined that you must maintain a level of 1.0-1.5 ppm of available chlorine at all times to continuously kill bacteria, algae and other micro-organisms that try to inhabit you pool. By using slow dissolving Tablets or Sticks you will be able to give your pool 24 hour protection. During pool startup you may need extra doses of chlorine in order to satisfy the intial demand of the water. This demand could include contaminants such as organics and debris that build up before you started using chlorine. Use your test kit ofter to check you chlorine level and adjust your chlorinator or floater as needed to increase or decrease the flow.
A few important factors affect the amount of Tablets or Sticks that you will consume. They are: Temperature, Bathing Load, Rainfall and pH. The warmer the pool water the greater the use of Tablets of Sticks. In fact, pool water at 80-85 degrees F will require twice the chlorine of pool water at 60-65 degrees F! The greater the bathing load, the greater the use of Tablets or Sticks. Heavily used pools increase the load of contaminants such as perspiration, mucous and tanning lotions, all of which consumers chlorine. The greater the rainfall, the greater the use of Tablets or Sticks. Rain washes air born contaminants such as pollen and algae spores into the pool and tends to lower the pH of the water by contributing "acid rain", a chemical reaction between rain and air pollution. Finally, low pH causes chlorine to be "overactive" and dissipate too quickly. Proper control of Total Alkalinity will prevent low pH and save on chemical costs.
If you prefer to sanitize your pool water by hand, Stabilized Chlorinating Granules is the proper choice. These granules are rapidly and completely soluble in all water temperature and provide the same 24 hour protection that you get from Tablets or Sticks.
Various contaminants such as swimmer waste, lotions and oils can resist normal chlorination and start to build up in the pool water. This build up usually occurs during hot weather and periods of heavy bathing when you filter is already working overtime. A weekly Shock treatment, when applied according to label directions, will oxidize or burn-up these contaminants. A Shock quickly raises the chlorine level to overcome the contaminants for a period of 12-24 hours. It is best to apply Shock in early evening so that it can work overnight and be burned down to normal levels the next day. Be sure to continue to run you filter during this period of time.
Algaecides are excellent treatments to prevent or kill algae growth when used with chlorine. As a preventative, algaecides act as an insurance policy in you pool, killing algae spores as they enter the water. Algae spores are constantly entering your pool from rain, wind and dust storms and they multiply rapidly in sunlight and warm water. Routine chlorination cannot, at times, cope with the rapid growth of an algae "bloom", the visible outburst of algae. These algae can appear green, brown, black, mustard or even pink in color.
By the time algae has bloomed there millions of algae cells in every gallon of water!
Your professional pool dealer or serviceman has a variety of algaecides for all kinds of algae and will recommend the best choice for wither prevention of killing needs.