What does chlorine do and why is it SO important?
Chlorine is the waters sanitation in a swimming pool. Without chlorine to sanitise the water, bacterial growth will be abundant in the water leading to health issues from swimming in the water.
There are a number of different sanitisers available in the marketplace;Liquid Chlorine (Sodium Hypochlorite)
- Calcium Hypochlorite (Cal-Hypo)
- Lithium Hypochlorite (mainly used in spas)
- Salt Chlorination
- Magnesium Chlorination (NEW)
- Bromine (mainly used in spas)
- Ozone (chlorine or bromine still required)
- Ionisation (chlorine still required)
The role of a sanitiser (or disinfectant) is to destroy bacteria as quickly as it is introduced into a pool. The sanitiser must be continually present in the water in a measurable and active residual amount to do this. Between 2-3 ppm (parts per million) is the ideal range for chlorination.
Possible affects of low sanitiser levels;
- Unsafe water (bacterial growth)
- Cause of ear, throat and bowel infections etc
- Algae bloom – cause of green, mustard and black spot algae
- Cloudy water – build up of contaminants
- Build up of chloramines
- Cause of eye, skin irritations
- Smelly water
People often assume because they can smell chlorine that there is plenty of chlorine in the water – this assumption is WRONG. The smell of chlorine is actually chloramines (trihalomethanes), which are carcinogenic. These chloramines cause sore eyes and a strong chlorine smell and are the result of a lack of chlorine.
The waters PH level can also affect a pool or spas sanitation levels. The higher the PH level the less efficient the sanitiser will become. A PH level of 7.4 is chosen as the ideal because it is the best compromise between having a sufficient percentage of chlorine present as hypochlorous acid (the killing form of chlorine) and it is non-corrosive towards swimmers, pool surfaces and equipment.