How to add Chlorine and maintain PH in Your Pool
Adding chlorine to your pool:
1. Floating chlorine feeders and automatic chemical feeders, available from any pool supply distributor, slowly dissolve 1- and 3-inch chlorine tablets or chlorine sticks into your pool water. Automatic chlorine feeders are a great help to properly maintaining your swimming pool. Chemical feeders slowly meter out precise amounts of chlorine into your pool water automatically, and offer very precise control over the amount of chlorine being added to the swimming pool. If a feeder is adjusted properly, you may not have to worry about your chlorine level for a week or more.
2. Never simply dump chlorine tablets or sticks into your swimming pool or place them in the skimmer basket of your swimming pool (though there are certain brands made that only dissolve when water is flowing over them). If a chlorine tablet is dissolving in your skimmer basket, all of the water passing through your pool plumbing and circulation system will carry a high level of chlorine. This high concentration of chlorine (which gives the water a very low pH) slowly eats at the inside of the circulation system and can cause premature failure of your pool pump and filter components.
3. Shock the pool weekly. As it works to clean your pool, chlorine binds to other chemicals like ammonia and nitrogen, which not only render it effectively inactive, but also create an irritant that can cause skin conditions like jock itch. To eliminate combined chlorine, apply an occasional shock treatment.
Maintaining PH in your pool:
1. This can be just as important as having chlorine in the pool at all. The pH level in your pool should be about the same as the pH level of human tears, 7.2, though in the range of 7.2 - 7.6 is optimal. Chlorine is about 10 times more effective at sanitizing your water when the pH is at 7.2 rather than at a high ph level of say 8.2. pH can best be measured with a drop-type test kit versus a test strip, which can be easily misread.
Most often you'll find the pH level is high; the best way to lower pH is by slowly pouring "muriatic acid" (AKA Hydrochloric acid) directly into the deep end of the pool while the pool pump is on and the water is circulating. However, granular acid (pH minus or decreaser) is safer to use alternative than muriatic acid.
2. If pH is high, add a small amount of muriatic acid and retest the water after about 6 hours of continuous filtration, readjusting pH as needed. This will prevent "bouncing". If you have a true pH bounce problem, that is typically due to a low total alkalinity issue; once properly adjusted, the pH should maintain itself well over a period of 1 to 3 weeks depending on rain, use, etc.
3. If swimmers are have "burning eyes,” high or low pH is probably to blame, not high chlorine.
4. Test the water at least two times per week to ensure balance. Maintain your pool chlorine (FAC or free available chlorine - the good kind) level at 1-3 ppm at all times and you are guaranteed an easy and low-maintenance swimming season.