The chemicals used for cleaning your swimming pool, killing bacteria, and sanitizing the water and the filter, like any chemicals in our modern world, are beneficial if handled and used properly, but dangerous, even deadly if they’re handled improperly or carelessly.
Pool chemicals may become a hazard when they become wet even with a small quantity of water or when they are improperly mixed, such as with other chemicals or reactive materials. Although the potential hazards of swimming pool water treatment and maintenance chemical, also referred to as “pool chemicals” have been recognized for some time, news media reports over the last few years still show a significant number of fires, toxic vapor releases, and personnel injuries in which pool chemicals were a factor.
Using Pool Chemicals
Have the right chemical readily available. From time to time, you’ll be faced with water problems that require aggressive chemical solutions. But generally, these chemicals should become part of you pool maintenance routine as you might need to adjust certain levels sporadically. Your product’s instructions will provide appropriate dosage, should adjusting be necessary. Here are most common chemicals you’ll need:
Apply chlorine to your pool. You and your guests won’t be happy with algae and bacteria swimming alongside with you. Chlorine keeps these unwanted guests away. There are a few options out there when it comes to choosing the right chlorine products.
Basic Chlorinating Tabs: these chlorine tablets dissolve slowly, and can be found in 1-inch and 3-inch sizes. They do a great job at keeping your pool clean. Plus, most chlorinating tables contain a built-in stabilizer to shield your water’s chlorine from the sun’s rays. You can use the tablets in your floating dispenser, skimmer or automatic chlorinator.
Liquid Chlorine: in liquid form, chlorine is quite similar to household bleach. But beware, it is also much stronger when it is designed for pools. Applying liquid chlorine is relatively easy, but it has a rather short shelf life. It won’t last for more than a few weeks.
Chlorinating Tabs: some non-basic chlorinating tabs provide a multi-functional approach to pool maintenance. They sanitize the water while also shocking your pool. Shocking your pool gets rid of all sorts of contaminants.
Chlorinating Granules: these granules come in multi-functional varieties that can help you resolve several issues at once, chlorinating, shocking and killing algae with a single, daily application.
Shock Your Pool: performing this task is crucial, as shocking keeps the water clear, and reduces eye irritation and odors from the chlorine. As mentioned, certain chlorine products already have built-in shockers but if you choose to go with ones that do not, here are some shocking products that get the job done.
Basic shock products: basic products take care of killing bacteria, from breaking down cosmetic residue, suntan lotions and any kind of swimmer waste. Using basic products to shock the water tone down chlorine.
Multi-functional Shock Products: These products work fast and restore the water’s clarity by eliminating all kinds of bacteria. These products also balance the pool water’s pH, boost filtration and provide increased algae protection.
Add algaecide to the water: rain, wind and fill water can allow these tiny forms of algae to settle into your pool, making the water quickly unusable and diminishing the efficiency of the pools chemicals. Algaecide effectively inhibit these small plants from invading the pool. Read the manufacturer’s instruction carefully and then pour the suggested amount of algae-cides directly into the pool.
Safety Tips on the Use and Handling of Swimming Pool Chemicals
- Children should never handle pool chemicals, and even teenagers should not be allowed to do so without constant adult supervision.
- Clean tools and equipment used to handle one chemical properly before using them with a different chemical.
- Use only pool chemicals in original labelled containers.
- Keep personal protective equipment clean and available for use.
- Keep children and animals from pool chemicals.
- Spilled substances (e.g: from damaged containers or from slopping handling) must be cleaned up and disposed of properly to avoid creating and inadvertent mixing or chemical reaction.
- Always wear rubber gloves.
- Wash hands immediately after being exposed to chemicals.
- Follow the dosage instructions carefully and store chemicals according to the manufacturers directions
- Never pour or return unused or wasted material to the original package, and do not throw it away in regular garbage.
- Do not light fires when using chemicals.
- Always add the chemical to the water, and not the other way around.
- Only allow those who are trained to handle these materials.
- Put chemicals in a container with no labels.
- Place liquid chemicals above solid or powdered chemicals
- Store chemicals in a shelf or area that is higher than your head.
- Stack chemical containers.
- Store acids and oxidizers near each other.
- Re-use empty containers.
- Keep pool chemicals near any non-pool chemicals.
Storage of pool chemicals
Swimming pool chemicals don’t always last forever. Some of them will even begin self-reacting over time if they’re stored in loose fitting containers due to humidity and moisture creating dangerous fumes in the process. Depending on the chemical, this would have harmful consequences. Check the expiration date or shelf life of every chemical you intend to store. Make sure you understand it before storing it.
Always make sure the top or lid is properly sealed when storing chemicals.
- The CDC recommends that you store them below 95°F/35°C in a container with the manufacturer’s labels.
- Never mix the chemicals – always store them separately.
Pools are one of the most popular places to spend time outdoors when it’s hot out, yet chemicals are also some of the most hazardous materials in our facilities. With preparation, you can be ready for anything that comes to your way.
It’s important to make sure that you train your employees or anyone else on which chemicals to use and the protection required for each.