If you’ve been around pools for very long, you’ve certainly heard of chlorine, but what exactly is it? You know it’s important, but how does it actually work? While you don’t need a degree in chemistry to be a pool owner, it is helpful to know what you are putting into your water.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is a chemical element found in everything from table salt to bleach, and it is among the most produced chemicals in the United States. Used in the manufacturing of almost every product at one step or another, chlorine can be found across various industries. In the pool sanitation industry, chlorine is the most common cleaner used to purify water of contaminants that can be harmful to humans.
How Does It Work?
When used in swimming pools, chlorine works to kill and prevent bacteria, algae, and viruses. It does this by oxidizing microorganisms through the process of a chemical reaction. Your pool cleaner breaks down into different compounds including hypochlorous acid, which is the fast-acting element of your chlorine sanitizer. This acid attacks the cell wall of hazardous microorganisms and destroys the enzymes inside the cell. Afterward, it is either broken down or combined with another compound and deactivated.
It is important to monitor the pH level of your pool because this will tell you whether or not you have the right amount of chlorine. If the pH is too high (or above 8), you need more hypochlorous acid to bring it down closer to the neutral level of 7. An ideal reading is 7.4, which is the pH level of human tears and the healthiest for your body.
Ultimately, when it comes to using chlorine, the name of the game is safety. Cleaning your pool is a good idea, but it is also wise to be careful with the chemicals you use. Store your chlorine properly, keep it away from children, and never mix different types of chlorine together.
When treated with care, chlorine is nothing to be afraid of, and it can make your pool crystal clear and bacteria-free. With a good understanding of how chlorine works and why you should use it in your pool, you will be able to better achieve the results you are looking for.