Test the Waters: Take this Quiz On Swimming Pool Chemicals

Let's begin the season with a quick test on swimming pool water chemistry. When you understand the basics of pool water chemistry your season will be more successful and you will save valuable time and money. A pool should not be all consuming, testing your pool water regularly and adding only what is needed can make your swimming season safe and easy. Let's begin:

True or False

1. The pool looks clean, and the water is clear, so it must be safe for swimming.

FALSE-Clear water does not necessarily mean clean water. Clear pool water has been oxidized (organic contaminants have been broken down and destroyed). However, to ensure healthy swimming conditions, pool water must also be sanitized so it is free of bacteria and algae. The only way to determine if water is properly sanitized is to test it using a reliable test kit. Acidity in the pool for those only using chlorine can be corrosive to your pool equipment but also irritate a swimmers skin especially young swimmers.

2. A strong chlorine odor indicates that there is too much chlorine in your pool.

FALSE-A strong chlorine odor indicates that you should test your pool water as it is lower in chlorine. Odors occur when nitrogen containing contaminants, such as perspiration, suntan oils and hair products react chemically with chlorine and produce chloramines. You may see a total chlorine reading but your free chlorine (available chlorine available to sanitize may be 0).

3. Never add water to pool chemicals.

TRUE-This is true. Add pool chemicals according to the labeling instructions. Adding water to pool chemicals can create a dangerous reaction or explosion. The cardinal rule is always add chemicals to water; never add water to chemicals. Another tip is never mix chemicals in metal containers as this also may create a chemical reaction. Use a plastic pale and wooden stirring stick. Do not stir with your bare hands.

4. Pool chemicals should be stored in a closed area.

FALSE-All pool chemicals should be kept in a cool, dry and well ventilated area. Keep them away from children and pets. Lids should be placed firmly on containers and chemicals should never be placed in another container other than how it was sold. Also when storing chemicals, keep each chemical seperate from the other. Do not stack for example an algaecide on top of chlorine tabs. The best thought is to have the minimum amount of chemical that you will need and to not store an over abundant amount that you may lose track of.

5. Shock treatments are meant to "cure" pool water problems

FALSE-while shock treatments do correct some common pool problems, experts recommend weekly shock treatments as an important part of preventive pool maintenance. Some instances where shocking is advised is after a rainstorm, heavy pool use or if water appears dull or hazy. Remember to test PH and Alkalinity as these levels change as well.

6. If you don't get a chlorine reading on your test kit, there is no chlorine in the pool water.

FALSE-Chlorine is a bleaching agent: excessive levels of chlorine can bleach our the test kit reagents resulting in false readings. Reagents have a short shelf life so replace your OTO and PHENOL reagents yearly. If you are using test strips and the chlorine pads appear white yet you feel there is chlorine in the pool there may be too much chlorine and the pads are bleached so try a different testing method.

Your pool should be tested a minimum of two times a week, more if it has rained or other events such as parties and heavy bather loads have occurred. Simple solutions and proper testing can preclude any problems from getting out of hand such as algae blooms, cloudiness, and slimey walls and bottoms. Only add the proper amount of chemicals according to your professional pool dealer and the product labels. As it may be tempting to pour the whole bottle of clarifier in the pool because you have a party in a couple hours you could just be adding to the problem not solving it and wouldn't you want your dollars going to the best remedy?

Remember safety is forefront so if you have a doubt about what a chemical does get more information prior to use. Make sure spills are cleaned up to avoid exposure to kids and pets.

For further pool start up information please visit our archives on how to open a pool and pool water safety listed on our blog
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