What Chemicals Will You Find In A Pool?

Going for a swim in your backyard is a great way to cool off after a hard day at the office. Novice pool owners often struggle to maintain their pools in the long-term, though. It’s mainly due to a lack of education. When you buy a pool, it’s rare for you to gain a complete guide to the various chemicals needed to keep it in tiptop condition.

Here’s an introduction to the main chemicals you’ll find in your pool.


Chlorine is the main chemical you’ll find. It’s used to disinfect the water and sanitize it. It’s why you can have guests over for a pool party without worrying about the spread of germs. Chlorine kills all living organisms and prevents contaminants from spreading.

There are multiple forms of chlorine. Look for Granular Chlorine, Chlorine Tablets, or Liquid Chlorine.

Bromine – The Alternative

Bromine is an alternative to chlorine. You might have heard of this chemical from its use in medical centers in the American Civil War. It’s used in the same way as chlorine. At higher temperatures bromine will always be more stable than chlorine, which is why spas tend to use it.

You still need to monitor the bromine levels, though. Any imbalances will diminish its benefits.

Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric Acid keeps everything stable. It protects the chlorine in the pool. The sun’s ultraviolet rays cause chlorine to react and break down. After the chlorine has reacted, it leaves dangerous free radicals behind which can cause a lot of damage to your skin and body. This chemical acts to stabilize the chlorine. It makes any disinfectants more effective and long-lasting.

Shocking the Pool

Chlorine doesn’t get rid of everything. Ammonia is the biggest example of something which isn’t neutralized by chlorine. Instead, it reacts with it to leave chloramines. These will show up on any tests you conduct on the water. There are also some bacteria which won’t be removed by chlorine.

This is why you need to ‘shock’ your pool regularly. It’s a temporary but concentrated form of chlorine. It temporarily raises the chlorine levels to such an extent it kills any organic materials. You won’t be able to swim at this time, though.

There are also non-chlorine forms of shock treatment, such as Potassium Peroxymonosulfate.

The pH Levels

The pH of the water needs to remain around the neutral range. It should be between 7.4 and 7.6. This makes the water ever so slightly alkaline. You should test the acidity of the water regularly. If it’s too high or too low it’s a hazard and it could leave some nasty burns on exposed skin.

There’s no chemical which will instantly place the pH back into its correct range. You’ll have to use something like Sodium Bisufate to decrease the pH or Sodium Carbonate to increase the pH.

It’s a process which can take some getting used to. Get into the habit of testing the pH of the water each time you test for chlorine levels. Ideally, you should test it each time you plan on going for a swim.

This article is authored by Ben Cooke, a successful landscape architect. He enjoys sharing his views and insights through his articles. He says for some excellent water feature options visit InTheSwim.com.

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