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Adding Chemicals
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Adding Chemicals


Adding chemicals to your pool is a common and necessary part of swimming pool maintenance. The way that you add chemicals to your pool water can be just as important as what chemical you use. Adding chemicals improperly can reduce their effectiveness, or even damage your pool! Most pool chemicals come in concentrated form and need to be diluted, then circulated into the entire pool. Here are some general guidelines for adding chemicals:

General Tips on Adding

Adding chemicals to your pool is a common and necessary part of swimming pool maintenance. The way that you add chemicals to your pool water can be just as important as what chemical you use. Adding chemicals improperly can reduce their effectiveness, or even damage your pool! Most pool chemicals come in concentrated form and need to be diluted, then circulated into the entire pool. Here are some general guidelines for adding chemicals:

  • Many pool chemicals can be dangerous if not handled properly! Always read the safety labels before using any pool chemicals.
  • Safe storage of chemicals is very important! Many pool chemicals will react with each other if they are not stored properly. Chlorine is very reactive, especially with acid. Chlorine should always be stored away from all other chemicals. Even different types of chlorine will react if they are mixed together, never store chlorine tablets in the same container or area as chlorine shock.
  • Make sure that the pool pump is running before you add chemicals, and that it will continue to run for a few hours to circulate the chemicals into the pool.
  • Distribute chemicals around the entire pool, don't just add them to one spot (unless it is a localized treatment such as a stain removal). By adding chemicals evenly around the edge of the pool and adding more to the deep end than the shallow end you give the chemicals a head start toward being evenly diluted in the entire pool.
  • Add chemicals near pool returns (where the water blows back into the pool). This will help to spread the chemical and mix it into the pool water. Never add chemicals to the skimmer unless the product's label tells you to. Many pool chemicals will cause damage to your pool equipment if they run through the pump before they are diluted. Undiluted acid is especially harmful to equipment such as pumps and heaters.
  • When you are adding a granular chemical it can be helpful to first dissolve the chemical in a bucket of water, and then spread it across the surface of the pool. This will keep it from sitting directly on the pool plaster or liner where it can cause stains or other damage.
  • It is generally a good idea to clean out your pump basket and skimmer basket before adding chemicals. Backwashing your filter is also helpful, as it will increase your circulation. You also don't want to backwash immediately after adding a chemical so that you don't throw away what you just added.

Adding Chlorine Tabs

Believe it or not there is a right way and a wrong way to add tabs to your pool. Many people (including some pool professionals) add chlorine tablets directly to their skimmer baskets. Adding tabs here means that the chemical will flow through the pool pump, filter, heater etc. This will cause damage to the pool equipment over time due to the acidity of the tabs. Every swimming pool should have a chlorinator in order to avoid this unnecessary damage to the equipment.

There are two main types of tab chlorinators: floating feeders and flow through feeders (erosion feeders). Floating chlorinators are simply plastic floaters that hold tabs and allow them to dissolve directly into the pool. Flow through feeders attach to your pool plumbing and feed chlorine into the pool when the pump is running. These feeders add chlorine to the plumbing after the equipment so the chemical will not cause damage to the equipment.

Before adding chlorine you should always check the chlorine level of the water using a test kit. Adding chlorine without testing first is a sure fire way to over chlorinate your pool and waste expensive pool chemicals.

Adding Shock

There are many types of shock meant for super chlorinating your swimming pool. Circulation is very important for shocking, so be sure the pump is running before you add shock. Some types of shock are granular and require mixing with water in a bucket before pouring into the pool. This is known as a slurry, and is very effective for super chlorination because it ensures the chlorine will be diluted in the pool water very quickly. Liquid chlorine is also a common form of shock, it requires no pre-diluting. Always stay out of the pool for at least 24 hours after adding shock, and test the water with a test kit to make sure the chlorine has come down to a normal level.

Adding Acid

Swimming pool acid can be dangerous to handle. Be very careful not to spill any acid when adding it to your swimming pool. Acid will eat up decks, sidewalks, plaster, metal, and almost anything else it comes in contact with.

  • Bend down and add acid as close to the pool water as you can so that it doesn't splash up onto the deck and cause staining.
  • Adding acid around the whole pool is crucial, as concentrated acid can cause stains on the pool plaster. The exception to this is when you are adding acid to lower alkalinity. To lower alkalinity, you want to add the acid in "columns" (mostly in one area) as far from the pool wall as you can reasonably add it.
  • The pump MUST be running when adding acid, and must continue to run for at least 2-3 hours to allow the acid to mix evenly into the water.
  • Be sure that you add acid away from pool suction lines such as the skimmer. Acid will damage pool equipment if it flows through your plumbing.
  • Don't add acid over very shallow parts of the pool such as steps and benches because it can stain the plaster.
  • Do not swim for at least 3-4 hours after adding acid. Swimming in concentrated acid can cause skin irritation.