One question we get quite frequently is, “which pool chemicals do I need to buy for my swimming pool”? Your pool needs the right water chemistry to stay in top-notch condition. Proper maintenance is the key to ensuring crystal clear water and a safe swimming environment for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential pool chemicals, their uses, and general maintenance tips for different types of pools, including inground pools, hot tubs, and spas.

Essential Pool Chemicals and Their Uses

1. Chlorine:

  • Usage: Sanitizes water by killing bacteria, viruses, and algae.
  • When to Use: Regularly, based on bather load and sunlight exposure.
  • How Much: Maintain chlorine levels between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm.

2. Bromine:

  • Usage: Alternative to chlorine, effective at higher temperatures, commonly used in hot tubs.
  • When to Use: Similar to chlorine, regularly monitored.

3. pH Decreaser (Sodium Bisulfate) and pH Increaser (Soda Ash):

  • Usage: Adjusts the acidity or alkalinity of the water.
  • When to Use: As needed to maintain a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8.

4. Alkalinity Increaser (Sodium Bicarbonate):

  • Usage: Stabilizes pH levels and prevents rapid pH changes.
  • When to Use: As needed, typically when the pH is too low.

5. Calcium Hardness Increaser (Calcium Chloride):

  • Usage: Prevents corrosion of pool equipment and surfaces.
  • When to Use: As needed, especially in areas with soft water.

6. Cyanuric Acid:

  • Usage: Stabilizes chlorine, reducing its degradation from sunlight.
  • When to Use: Typically added during spring startup or as needed.

7. Metal Sequestrant:

  • Usage: Prevents staining and scaling caused by metals in the water.
  • When to Use: Regularly, especially in areas with high metal content.

8. Phosphate Remover:

  • Usage: Eliminates phosphates that can contribute to algae growth.
  • When to Use: As a preventive measure or when phosphates are detected.

9. Enzyme Cleaner:

  • Usage: Breaks down oils, lotions, and other organic contaminants.
  • When to Use: Regularly to maintain water clarity and reduce scum lines.

10. Salt:

  • Usage: Used in saltwater pools to generate chlorine through electrolysis.
  • When to Use: Maintained at specific levels for chlorine generation.

11. Non-Chlorine Shock (Potassium Monopersulfate):

  • Usage: Oxidizes contaminants without increasing chlorine levels.
  • When to Use: Weekly or as needed, an alternative to traditional shock.

12. Clarifier:

  • Usage: Clears cloudy water by causing particles to clump together for easier filtration.
  • When to Use: As needed when water clarity diminishes.

13. Stabilizer (Conditioner or Cyanuric Acid):

  • Usage: Protects chlorine from UV degradation, maintaining its effectiveness.
  • When to Use: Added during spring startup or as needed.

14. Scale Inhibitor:

  • Usage: Prevents the formation of scale on pool surfaces and equipment.
  • When to Use: Regularly, especially in areas with hard water.

15. pH Reducer (Muriatic Acid):

  • Usage: Lowers pH levels quickly and efficiently.
  • When to Use: As needed when pH is too high.

16. Flocculant:

  • Usage: Causes small particles to clump together, making them easier to remove by vacuuming.
  • When to Use: As needed for extremely cloudy water.

17. Saltwater Pool Stabilizer:

  • Usage: Helps maintain a stable salt level in saltwater pools.
  • When to Use: Regularly, especially after heavy rain or water loss.

18. Test Strips or Liquid Test Kits:

  • Usage: Essential for regularly monitoring and adjusting chemical levels.
  • When to Use: Frequently, as part of routine pool maintenance.

19. Pool Sanitizer (Ionizers or Ozone Generators):

  • Usage: Alternative sanitizing methods that reduce reliance on traditional chlorine or bromine.
  • When to Use: Integrated into the pool system, reducing the need for other sanitizers.

20. Calcium Hardness Decreaser (Sodium Hexametaphosphate):

  • Usage: Reduces calcium hardness levels in areas with high water hardness.
  • When to Use: As needed to prevent scaling.

21. Winterizing Chemicals:

  • Usage: Specialized chemicals used before closing the pool for winter to protect it during the off-season.
  • When to Use: Prior to winterizing your pool.

22. pH Buffer:

  • Usage: Stabilizes pH levels, preventing rapid changes.
  • When to Use: As needed to maintain a consistent pH.

23. Granular Chlorine:

  • Usage: Quick-dissolving chlorine option for shocking the pool.
  • When to Use: As needed, typically for pool shock treatments.

General Maintenance for Different Pools

Maintaining a sparkling and safe swimming pool involves more than just filling it with water. Proper chemical treatment is essential for water quality, clarity, and bather safety. Whether you have an above ground pool or an inground pool, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps of chemically treating your pool.

 

Pool Chemical Maintenance for Above Ground Pools

Chlorine or Bromine:

  • Usage: Use chlorine tablets or bromine as the primary sanitizers.
  • Application: Place chlorine tablets in a floating dispenser or a dedicated skimmer.

pH Adjustment:

  • Usage: Adjust pH levels using pH increasers or decreasers.
  • Application: Follow product instructions to maintain pH between 7.2 and 7.8.

Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness:

  • Usage: Stabilize alkalinity with sodium bicarbonate and adjust calcium hardness if necessary.
  • Application: Add the required chemicals based on water test results.

Shock Treatment:

  • Usage: Use pool shock to oxidize contaminants and maintain chlorine levels.
  • Application: Perform a shock treatment every 1-2 weeks, especially after heavy pool usage.

Algaecide:

  • Usage: Add algaecide regularly to prevent algae growth.
  • Application: Follow product instructions for dosage and frequency.

Test Strips or Liquid Test Kits:

  • Usage: Regularly test and adjust chemical levels.
  • Application: Use test strips or liquid test kits according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Clarifier:

  • Usage: Use clarifier to improve water clarity by settling fine particles.
  • Application: Add as needed, especially when the water appears cloudy.

Pool Chemical Maintenance for Inground Pools

Chlorine or Bromine:

  • Usage: Use these as the primary sanitizers.
  • Application: In a dedicated skimmer or through an automatic feeder for consistent distribution.

pH Adjustment:

  • Usage: Adjust pH levels using pH increasers or decreasers.
  • Application: Follow product instructions to maintain pH between 7.2 and 7.8.

Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness:

  • Usage: Stabilize alkalinity with sodium bicarbonate and adjust calcium hardness if necessary.
  • Application: Add the required chemicals based on water test results.

Shock Treatment:

  • Usage: Perform regular shock treatments to oxidize contaminants.
  • Application: Every 1-2 weeks or after heavy pool usage.

Algaecide:

  • Usage: Add algaecide regularly to prevent algae growth.
  • Application: Follow product instructions for dosage and frequency.

Metal Sequestrant:

  • Usage: Use a metal sequestrant to prevent staining and scaling from metals.
  • Application: Regularly, especially if you have hard water or metal issues.

Enzyme Cleaner:

  • Usage: Add enzyme cleaner to break down oils and organic contaminants.
  • Application: Regularly for optimal water clarity.

Winterizing Chemicals (Seasonal):

  • Usage: Use winterizing chemicals to prepare the pool for the off-season.
  • Application: Prior to closing the pool for winter..

Remember, these guidelines provide a general overview, and the specific needs of your pool may vary. Regular testing, proper chemical application, and consistent maintenance will keep your pool water inviting and safe for swimmers. Always follow manufacturer instructions and seek professional advice if needed. Happy swimming!