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The Chemistry of Swimming Pool Maintenance

A swimming pool can be a necessity or a luxury, depending on where you live. But whichever it is you’re going to need to perform regular maintenance to ensure it stays in tip-top condition.

Simply scooping the leaves out occasionally isn’t enough to keep your pool clean and safe. You need to understand the chemistry of swimming pool maintenance.

Even if you haven’t yet got one but are considering getting a pool or spa then this is the guide for you!

It’s worth noting that poor pool maintenance can result in a number of health issues, including diarrhea.

The Role Of Chlorine

Chlorine is a common addition to your swimming pool. It reacts with water to create hypochlorous acid. This attacks bacteria in the pool by destroying their cell walls. This effectively neutralizes the bacteria and helps to keep your pool clean.

However, it is worth noting that chlorine does have side effects:

  • Skin & eye irritation.
  • Distinctive aroma.
  • Respiratory issues.

The trick to using this chemical properly is to monitor your pH levels.

PH Levels And Your Pool Water

pH 7 is considered neutral; this is the same pH as your body. Your pool should be at a pH of 7.4 or slightly lower. If the pH is any higher than this and it will start irritating your eyes.

However, if you let the pH get too low then it can damage the pool liner and even damage the mechanical components of the pool.

You will need to dip a pH test strip into the water to see what pH level the pool is at. This should be done on a daily basis. It is also a good idea to do this before and after you add chlorine.

Choosing the Chlorine

You can purchase chlorine tablets, liquid or in a granular form. All of them will kill the bacteria in your pool.

The most popular choice is tablets; these are the cheapest option and disperse slowly. Liquid is more expensive but can be added via a chlorinated which will control the measurement for you.

Granular chlorine is as effective as the other types but you’ll need to dissolve it in a bucket of water first.

Cyanuric Acid

This can be added to your water to help prolong the life of your chlorine. However, too much of this will reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine.

It is therefore important to keep the amount of cyanuric acid at less than 40 ppm.

Choose Your Feeder

You can choose floating feeders to put your chlorine tablets in; allowing your tablets to dissolve slowly.

The alternative is a chemical feeder that will measure precise amounts of chlorine into the water for you.

Shocking The Water

It is a good idea to shock the water once a week.

This is designed to break up the clumping caused by chorine binding to other chemicals in the water.

The result is a clean and safe pool to use.


This should be measured according to what the bottle says. You normally add it the morning after you’ve done the chlorine. It works to prevent algae forming on the surface of the water.

Just remember to test the pH regularly.


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Henry Doe is a seasoned DIY enthusiast and home improvement, blogger. With over 10 years of experience in renovating his own home, he has honed his skills in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. Henry's passion for creating beautiful and functional living spaces has led him to share his knowledge and experiences with his readers through his blog, "Home Sweet Home DIY." His goal is to inspire and empower homeowners to tackle their own home projects, big or small. When he's not hammering and sawing, you can find Henry hiking in the mountains or sipping on a latte at his local coffee shop.