Summertime is for swimming, but before you plunge into your pool, you’ll need to make sure the water is clean and safe. A critical step in pool maintenance is adding chlorine to the water. But how much chlorine should you use in your pool?
You should use 1–3 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine in your pool. This level effectively kills bacteria and prevents the spread of disease. Levels that are too high or too low pose serious health risks, such as skin irritation or bacteria growth.
The rest of this article will answer the topic’s question and provide some additional information on chlorine and pool care. Read on for more insights into keeping your pool chlorine levels just right.
How Much Chlorine Should I Put in an Above-Ground Pool?
Chlorine is a chemical that disinfects swimming pool water by killing bacteria and other organisms. It’s a critical part of pool maintenance, so you’d add it to the water regularly.
You should put 1–3 ppm (part per million) of chlorine in an above-ground pool. Doing so helps maintain a healthy chlorine balance in the water and eliminates bacteria and other contaminants. However, adding too much chlorine can cause eye irritation, skin problems, and even respiratory issues.
Therefore, always add the right amount. Otherwise, you’d end up with a pool with too much or too little chlorine.
Pro Tip: In addition to chlorine, you may also need to add other chemicals to your pool to maintain a healthy balance. These include algaecides, clarifiers, and pH buffers.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Chlorine Dosage
As I’ve mentioned, having the appropriate amount of chlorine in your pool is crucial for hygiene and safety. But what if you’re not sure how much chlorine to add?
You should consider the following factors when choosing the chlorine dosage for your pool:
- Pool size: The size of your pool matters when it comes to adding chlorine. A smaller pool will need less chlorine than a larger pool since there is less water to disinfect.
- Pool usage: If your pool is constantly in use, you’ll need to add more chlorine than if it’s only used on the weekends. That’s because the more people there are in the pool, the more bacteria and other contaminants are in the water.
- Type of chlorine sanitizer: The amount of chlorine you add to your pool will also depend on the type of chlorine you use. There are three main types of chlorine used in swimming pools: calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite, and trichloroisocyanuric acid. Each type has a different concentration, so check the recommended dosage before adding it to your pool.
- Water temperature: The warmer the water, the more chlorine you’ll need to add. That’s because warm water encourages bacterial growth, so more chlorine is required to kill any bacteria.
- Type of pool: There are two types of pools: chlorinated and saltwater. Chlorinated pools use chlorine tablets or granules to disinfect the water, while saltwater pools use a salt generator to produce chlorine. If you have a saltwater pool, you won’t need to add chlorine to the water, but you’ll still need to test the pH levels and adjust them.
How To Check Chlorine Levels in Your Pool
Now that you know how much chlorine to add to your pool, you need to know how to check the chlorine levels. This step is important so that you can ensure the water is adequately disinfected. Besides, you don’t want to add too much or too little chlorine, do you?
Here are two easy ways to check chlorine levels in your pool:
Use Test Strips
Test strips are quick and easy to use and will give you a quick reading of your pool’s chlorine level. They’re also affordable and can be found at most pool stores.
To check for chlorine levels with test strips, follow these steps:
- Dip a strip into the pool water.
- Wait for the strip to change color.
- Compare the strip color to the chart on the bottle to determine the chlorine level.
Use a pH Meter
Suppose you want a more accurate reading of the chlorine level in your pool. You can use a pH meter. It will give you a precise measurement of your pool’s pH and chlorine levels.
To use a pH meter to check chlorine levels, follow these steps:
- Turn on the pH meter.
- Saturate the electrode with pool water.
- Wait for the pH meter to stabilize.
- Record the pH and chlorine levels from the meter.
Here’s an excellent tutorial on how to test your pool’s pH and chlorine level:
Pro Tip: No matter which method you use, always make sure to keep a written record of the chlorine levels in your pool. This way, you can track how well your pool is disinfected and make any necessary adjustments.
How To Lower Chlorine Levels in Your Pool
If the chlorine levels in your pool are too high, you can take steps to lower them. Leaving the chlorine levels unchecked can cause damage to your pool and equipment. Besides, they pose risks like skin irritation and respiratory problems; therefore, it’s crucial to keep them in check.
Here are a few tips on lowering chlorine levels in your pool:
- Run the pump and filter for a few hours. This will help circulate the water and reduce the chlorine levels.
- Add fresh water to the pool. This will dilute the chlorine and lower the concentration.
- Add a swimming pool chlorine reducer to the water. Doing this will help lower the chlorine levels without causing any damage. An excellent example of a chlorine reducer is sodium thiosulfate.
How To Raise Chlorine Levels in Your Pool
Conversely, suppose the chlorine levels in your pool are too low. In that case, you should take steps to raise them to the recommended level of 1–3 ppm. Leaving the chlorine levels too low can result in bacteria and algae growth, posing health risks.
To raise chlorine levels in your pool, add more chlorine by following these steps:
Determine How Much Chlorine Your Pool Needs
The first step is to determine how much chlorine your pool needs. To do so, follow any of the steps mentioned earlier. Once you’ve determined how much chlorine your pool needs, add it by following steps 2–5.
Note: Before adding chlorine to your pool, make sure you wear protective gear like goggles and gloves.
Add Chlorine to the Pool
Once you know how much chlorine your pool needs, it’s time to add it. To do so, follow these steps:
- Open the chlorine tabs and pour them into the skimmer.
- Slowly add chlorine liquid to the pool while the pump is running.
Note: If you’re using a chlorine floater, add it to the pool according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Add Shock Treatment to the Pool
In addition to adding chlorine, you may also need to add a shock treatment to the pool. Doing this will help raise the chlorine level and kill any bacteria or algae in the water.
Some good examples of shock treatments are sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dosage.
Run the Pump and Filter
After adding chlorine and shock treatment, running the pump and filter for a few hours is essential. This step will help circulate the water and evenly distribute the chlorine and other chemicals.
Besides, it’ll also help remove any debris or impurities from the water.
Note: If you have an automatic pool cleaner, turning it off while the pump and filter are running is good. It will help keep the cleaner from getting clogged up.
Monitor Chlorine Levels in the Pool
After adding chlorine and shock treatment, it’s crucial to regularly monitor the chlorine levels in the pool. Doing so will ensure that the chlorine levels are within the recommended range.
You can monitor the chlorine levels with a chlorine test kit or a chemical feeder. If the chlorine levels are too high or too low, adjust them accordingly.
Tip: Always keep a written record of the chlorine levels in your pool. This way, you can track any changes and make the necessary adjustments.
How Often Should I Put Chlorine in My Pool?
You should put chlorine in your pool every 1–2 weeks to keep the water clean and free from bacteria and other contaminants. Besides, regularly adding chlorine will help prevent algae growth.
However, make sure to check the chlorine levels regularly and add chlorine as needed. If the levels are too high, you can lower them by adding a pH decreaser. And if the levels are too low, you can raise them by adding a pH increaser.
In addition, you’d also brush the walls and floor of your pool every week to remove any algae or dirt build-up.
What Kind of Chlorine Should I Use in My Pool?
You should, ideally, use chlorine granules in your pool. Chlorine granules dissolve slowly and release a steady stream of chlorine into the pool water. They’ll keep the pool clean and contaminant-free. Besides, these granules are less irritating to the skin and eyes than liquid chlorine or bleach.
That said, here’s a rundown of the types of chlorine sanitizers used in pools:
- Calcium hypochlorite: It’s the most common type of chlorine and comes in tablet or granule form. It’s effective at killing bacteria and other contaminants, but it can be harsh on the skin and eyes.
- Sodium hypochlorite: This is a soluble form of chlorine that’s less irritating than calcium hypochlorite. However, it can be corrosive to metal and other pool equipment.
- Trichloroisocyanuric acid: It’s a slow-dissolving tablet that releases chlorine gradually into the pool water. Also, it’s less irritating than calcium or sodium hypochlorite but is more expensive.
How To Maintain Your Pool: 7 Easy Tips
Keeping your pool in good condition is important for the appearance of your backyard and the safety of those swimming in it. A well-maintained pool is less likely to have any problems, such as leaks or algae growth. Besides, who doesn’t love a sparkling pool in the summer?
Here are some additional tips for maintaining your pool:
Keep the Pool Filter Clean and Free From Debris
As any pool owner knows, keeping the water clean and inviting is a top priority. A vital part of this is maintaining a clean filter. A pool filter helps remove dirt, debris, and other contaminants from the water. It also helps circulate the water and keep it circulating properly.
However, a dirty filter can quickly become clogged, reducing its efficacy apart besides posing a health hazard. As such, it’s vital to check and clean the filter regularly. Here are a few guidelines on how to do so:
- Remove the cartridge and clean it with a garden hose. Do this if your pool filter is a cartridge filter.
- Remove the top and clean the sand with a vacuum cleaner, or shake it. Do this if your pool filter is a sand filter.
- Remove the grids and clean them with a vacuum cleaner or by brushing them. Do this if your pool filter is a DE (diatomaceous earth) filter.
Balance the pH Level in Your Pool
The pH level shows the acidity or alkalinity of the water. According to the American Chemical Society, you must maintain a pH level of 7.2– 7.8 in a pool. Anything outside this range is harmful to swimmers.
Suppose the pH level of your pool is too high; it can cause scaling (a build-up of minerals on the walls and floor of the pool) and staining. It can also be harmful to the skin and eyes.
And suppose the pH level of your pool is too low; it can cause corrosion (a deterioration of metal and other pool equipment) and cloudy water. It can also be harmful to the skin and eyes.
To adjust the pH level of your pool, add a pH decrease if it is too high or a pH increase if it is too low.
Vacuum the Pool Regularly
Another crucial part of keeping your pool clean is vacuuming it regularly. It will help remove any built-up dirt or debris from the bottom and sides of the pool. You can use a manual or automatic vacuum for this purpose, but do check the filter frequently to ensure it’s not clogged.
If the pool is filthy, you may need to vacuum it more than once a week. In addition, you can use a net to remove any large debris from the water’s surface.
Clean the Skimmer and Pump Baskets Regularly
The skimmer baskets and pump baskets help collect dirt and debris from the pool water. It’s essential to clean these baskets regularly, as they can quickly become clogged.
To clean the skimmer baskets, follow these steps:
- Remove the baskets from the skimmer.
- Rinse the baskets with a garden hose.
To clean the pump baskets, follow these steps:
- Remove the baskets from the pump.
- Rinse the baskets with a garden hose.
Test the Water Levels Regularly
It’s essential to test the water levels in your pool regularly, especially if you’re using chlorine as a sanitizer. This step will help ensure the chlorine levels are correct and that the pH level is within the desired range.
You can use a pool test kit to test the water levels. Using a test kit is a convenient and affordable way to test the pH level, chlorine level, and other aspects of your pool’s water chemistry.
If you don’t have a test kit, I recommend getting this WWD POOL Water Test Kit from Amazon.com. It’s a great value and comes with all the tools you need to test your pool’s water chemistry, including a pH and chlorine meter, test tubes, and a storage case.
Keep the Deck and Surrounding Area Clean
It’s also essential to keep the deck and surrounding area clean and free from debris. It will help prevent accidents and will make the area more attractive.
You can clean the deck and surrounding area with a broom or a pressure washer.
Note: If you have a pool cover, it’s essential to remove leaves and other debris from it regularly. Doing so will help keep the cover in good condition and prevent it from becoming clogged.
When it comes to maintaining a clean and healthy pool, chlorination is critical. Chlorine is a powerful sanitizer that can help kill bacteria and algae. However, it’s essential to use the correct amount of chlorine and balance the pH levels in the pool.
In addition, vacuum the pool regularly, clean the skimmer baskets and pump baskets, and test the water levels. By following these guidelines, you can keep your pool safe for swimming.
- American Chemistry Society: Swimming
- New York State Department of Health: The Facts About Chlorine
- Water Safety Magazine: Chlorine, by Any Other Name, Is Not the Same
- Springer Link: Impact of Swimming Pool Water Treatment System Factors on the Content of Selected Disinfection By-Products
- SFGATE: Amount of Chlorine To Use per Gallon of Pool Water
- ResearchGate: Chlorine in Swimming Pools
Having a swimming pool comes in handy for many reasons in the summertime. As you consider adding a swimming pool to your backyard, there are some factors to address. One