What to add to water in a pool?

A backyard pool is a dream of many people. Once we manage to build or install such an artificial basin, we should make sure that the water is clean and clear right from the first filling. What does pool maintenance involve and what chemicals should be added to the water? The answers can be found in this article.

Published: 12-05-2023

Why is the maintenance of pool water important?

Why is regular disinfection and treatment of pool water so important? These routine activities help us keep our reservoir in perfect condition. Chemicals ensure that the water is free of bacteria, fungi and algae, which cause cloudiness, discolouration and unpleasant odours in the pool.

If a pool is not properly maintained, worms, chironomid larvae and mosquitoes will start to grow inside it. Water heated by the sun is also a perfect environment for E. coli bacteria, which can cause severe food poisoning. In addition, bathing in dirty water often results in skin irritation, infections in the intimate and other parts of the body, and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eyes. In extreme cases, contact with contaminated water can also cause mycosis, trichomoniasis, or parasitical infection in the form of enterobiasis.

To remove all microorganisms and impurities, it is enough to regularly use appropriate single- or multi-purpose preparations. They will ensure safety and comfort during swimming.

Clean water in a pool with no chemicals: is that possible?

You are wrong if you think that it is enough to regularly remove leaves and sand grains to keep your pool clean. Mechanically treated water still contains bacteria and fungi that are invisible to the naked eye. A destructive effect on water quality is constantly exerted by high temperatures, UV radiation, and wind that carries various microscopic contaminants. Under the influence of all these factors, water changes its composition, pH and smell, which cannot be controlled without special means.

There are various chemical formulations used for neutralising microbes in pool water. However, many home pool owners consider them too strong and aggressive. Chlorine or multi-purpose capsules used improperly can damage the walls of your pool and cause poisoning in humans and animals. Can we then do without pool chemicals? The answer is no, as the filtering devices alone are not enough to disinfect water and maintain the appropriate pH level. Even ecological products, such as pool salt, are classified as chemicals.

Today the preparations containing active oxygen are considered to be the best alternative to chlorine. The main difference between them and the chlorine is that they do not have an unpleasant odour and are safer for children and allergy sufferers.

What does active oxygen do in a pool?

Active oxygen is a water-soluble chemical agent intended for use in the dosing systems of both private and public pools. Today the product can be purchased in various forms: as a liquid, granules with an activator, or as oxygen tablets. What effect does it have? Preparations with active oxygen work in much the same way as chlorine, i.e., it disinfects the water and quickly removes all bacteria, fungi and algae. Water affected by active oxygen quickly regains a neutral smell and excellent clarity, plus it is clean and free of pathogenic microorganisms.

Preparations with active oxygen are usually multi-component products. This means that they contain certain additives that combat some types of algae that are resistant to oxygen. After using such preparations, the water changes its colour from greenish or pink to transparent.

What is better for a pool: chlorine or oxygen?

Many garden pool owners try to find the answer to the question what is better: active oxygen or chlorine? Both chlorine and active oxygen have some pros and cons that we should be aware of before we start using the chosen formulation. In terms of effectiveness, chlorine is ranked first as the best measure against waterborne microbes. It is indispensable in the long-term maintenance of a pool. So far, there has been no better method of purifying pool water than shock chlorination. When the pool is very dirty, active oxygen alone will not eliminate large clusters of microorganisms.

However, we should note that in the case of small, backyard pools that are used mainly by children, it is better to use active oxygen. It proves to be good especially in the maintenance of water that is regularly replaced. Active oxygen is often the only effective solution when the pool is used by people who do not tolerate contact with chlorine. Water purified by active oxygen does not irritate the skin and does not cause itching.

Multi-purpose chemicals: what are they?

In the last decades, the manufacturers of pool chemicals have developed many interesting solutions and ready-made, multi-purpose pool water cleaners. They are generally available as capsules, powders, fluids or tablets, containing:

  • chlorine or active oxygen,
  • anti-algae agents,
  • anti-scale substances,
  • pH regulators,
  • water clarifying agents.

In addition to their fungicidal and bactericidal properties, multi-purpose pool chemicals also facilitate the process of binding dirt particles. This process is called flocculation and allows us to safely and precisely remove impurities, for example with the use of pool filters. Multi-purpose pool chemicals are therefore a great solution for those who do not want to use several different products to maintain their home pool.

What to put in the pool: practical tips

Continuous monitoring of pool water is crucial if we want to maintain its cleanliness and ensure safe swimming. If we are unsure of what products to use for our pool water, we should pay attention to its colour and smell:

  • water having a green colour requires the use of anti-algae and shock chlorination products as well as pH regulators,
  • water that is yellow or orange in colour should be treated with L-ascorbic acid,
  • if the water emits the odour of decay, we should use shock chlorination or active oxygen.

If the pool is used frequently, we should constantly monitor and check the pH level and chlorine content. If the pH is outside of the range of 7 to 7.4, we should use appropriate pH-plus or pH-minus formulations. If we have no time for daily maintenance of our pool, we should use floaters (dispensers, dosing buoys) that gradually release disinfecting and conditioning substances.

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