Spring, here in Austin, Tx appears to be over. The days are longer and hotter which means summer is around the corner. The trees and pollen off of those trees have completed their yearly assault, and will now provide wonderful shade for those of us who have trees around the pool. The nuisance of the green giants transforms into something more pleasant and useful, by shading, an otherwise blistering pool area. I always remind homeowners when they tell me they are going to chop down the trees that cause them so many problems, about the benefits of lush trees incorporated into their pool setting.
Now that we have made it through the unbearable spring season here in Austin, the next thing we will need to be concerned with is the super long and super hot summer season.
Let’s start by making one simple observation. The longer and hotter the days become along with rising pool water temperatures, the MORE chlorine the pool will require. If you add in the fact that the pool is now being used with some frequency, you should expect a higher chlorine demand. The chlorine demand is the amount of chlorine required to eliminate all contaminants in the water and leave a chlorine residual.
It just makes sense that if people are using the pool, the pool will be contaminated with whatever might be on the people using the pool. If you think about all the different things that might be on a person and multiply it by the number of people, it will far exceed Baskin Robbin’s 31 flavors. This is also the reason many commercial pool settings have a shower at the pool, not so much for you to rinse off after you use the pool, but before you use the pool at all. The point of today’s news bulletin is to give you a heads up on what you should be thinking about as far as a chlorine regiment for your pool.
I have dealt with many pools in the Austin area for many years now, and have come to this reality. If you try to maintain your chlorine levels at ideal, you will be fighting the algae all summer long. Ideal chlorine residual for a pool is between 1.5 and 3 parts per million. Try to keep an ideal level of chlorine in your frequently used pool during the scorching Texas summers and you will be fighting the algae all summer long. Have you ever noticed when at the neighborhood pool that the lifeguards ask patrons to get out of the pool so they can check the chlorine every hour or so? What they are doing is checking and adjusting the chlorine level every time they do that. My point is this, unless you have the time or desire to check your chlorine level with this kind of regularity, then err on the high side when adding chlorine to your pool.
Ideal levels of chlorine residual is just that, in a perfect world, your chlorine levels would always be in the ideal range. Ideally I would be a millionaire and never have to work. Trying to achieve this kind of ideal levels is hard without the continued daily supervision of the homeowner.
I will say this, however, some of these new salt system chlorination devices out these days, do a pretty good job at this task. If you happen to own one, remember to monitor the chlorine residual in the pool on a weekly basis to make sure your system isn’t over chlorinating the pool and adjust as necessary.
Because the salt cell produces chlorine everyday for the duration that the filter pump is running, it can actually achieve a constant level of chlorine residual that will not allow for algae to ever get a foothold in your pool.
For those of us who don’t have a salt system in place, the task of making sure the pool is always well chlorinated is a bit trickier, but there is a simple solution to the problem as well. Don’t try to keep chlorine levels at “ideal”, and figure out how long a slightly elevated amount of chlorine product will get you through the week, and then adjust it until you find a level that is ideal for your real world setting.
Free chlorine residual in a pool has no detectable taste, odor, and causes no irritation at levels as high as 10-20 parts per million. With this in mind you potentially have a big enough range to be able to elevate your chlorine levels to well beyond “ideal” and spent less time fighting the algae. This statement is only meant to make you aware that you can comfortably enjoy the pool even if you were to have a chlorine level somewhat higher than the established “ideal range.”
Along with elevating your chlorine residual to a summertime dosage, you should be proactive and shock the pool after a long weekend or after a day of heavy use. If you have a social event where the pool took center stage, after everyone is done enjoying the pool, your pool will likely not have much to any chlorine and will be very easily overrun by the algae. Algae can coat the entire surface of the pool overnight. In order to prevent an algae bloom of this sort be proactive, drop a few more tablets into the chlorinator and turn it up while the pool is being used. Then shock the pool hard after the party is over, especially if the water has a haziness to it. It would also be a good idea to run the equipment for a 24 hour period after you shock it, this will circulate the chlorine and filter particles. The end result should be a beautiful sparkling pool the next day. Not doing anything about it will inevitably result in an algae bloom.
I will summarize with this simple statement, if you are using the pool, make sure to adequately chlorinate the pool. The chlorine demand is different for every pool out there because the amount of use is different from one pool to the next. The chlorine demand for a pool that is never used will obviously be a lot less than one that is used daily by the entire family and some friends. The chlorine demand for your pool is determined by the amount of use and the environment around it. Yours will not likely be mine, take some time to figure yours out specifically and you will have less down time and more uninterrupted use of the pool.