You'll find a complete range of pool and spa chemicals and treatment solutions available from your local Irrigear® Independent Experts.
What chemicals can be used in my pool?
To maintain proper water chemistry and ensure a safe and clean swimming environment, several pool chemicals are commonly used. The specific chemicals required may vary, however here are some popular pool chemicals:
Chlorine: Chlorine is the most common and important pool chemical. It sanitises the water by killing bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms and is typically available in a variety of forms, including liquid, granules, tablets, or sticks. It's important to maintain appropriate chlorine levels for effective disinfection.
Pool Salt: Pool salt is typically sodium chloride, however it may also contain other trace minerals or additives that help prevent staining, improve water clarity, or enhance the performance of salt chlorinator systems. Pool salt is converted to chlorine as it passes through the salt chlorinator. It's crucial to use pool salt specifically designed for salt water pools and avoid using other types of salt, such as rock salt or water softener salt, as they may contain impurities or additives that can negatively affect pool equipment or water chemistry.
pH Adjusters: pH levels measure the acidity of the pool water. Proper pH balance is crucial for swimmer comfort, effective chlorine disinfection, and preventing equipment damage. pH adjusters, such as pH increasers (sodium carbonate or soda ash) or pH reducers (sodium bisulfate or muriatic (hydrochloric) acid), are used to maintain the desired pH range (usually 7.2-7.6).
Alkalinity Adjusters: Total alkalinity helps stabilize the pH levels in the pool water. Alkalinity adjusters, such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium bisulfate and muriatic (hydrochloric) acid are used to raise or lower the total alkalinity to the appropriate range (typically 80-120 ppm).
Calcium Hardness Adjusters: Calcium hardness refers to the amount of dissolved calcium in the pool water. It helps prevent corrosion of pool surfaces and equipment. Calcium hardness adjusters, such as calcium chloride, are used to maintain the desired calcium hardness level (usually 200-400 ppm).
Algaecides: Algaecides are chemicals used to prevent and treat algae growth in the pool and work alongside chlorine to inhibit algae growth and maintain clear water. Algaecides come in various types, including copper-based, quaternary ammonium compounds, or polymeric formulations – your local Irrigear expert can assist in ensuring you choose the right product.
Stabilizers (Cyanuric Acid): Stabilizer helps protect chlorine from degradation due to sunlight exposure and helps maintain chlorine levels in outdoor pools. Cyanuric acid is the most common form of stabilizer used, with the ideal stabilizer level typically around 30-50 ppm. Stabilizers are not normally required in indoor pools.
Shock Treatment: Shock treatments involve adding a highly concentrated dose of chlorine or another oxidising agent to the pool water to eliminate chloramines, disinfect the water, and remove organic contaminants. Shocking is usually done as needed, especially after heavy pool usage, rain, or other events that can introduce contaminants.
Water Clarifiers: Water clarifiers are used to improve water clarity by aiding in the removal of small particles and contaminants that can cause the water to appear cloudy or hazy. It's important to note that water clarifiers are not a substitute for proper pool maintenance and water balance, they are intended to complement regular pool care practices, including appropriate filtration, regular cleaning, and maintaining proper sanitizer and pH levels.
It's important to carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions when using pool chemicals. Additionally, having your pool water regularly tested at your local Irrigear Independent Experts or by using a reliable test kit or and adjusting the chemical levels as needed will help maintain a balanced and healthy swimming environment. Consider consulting with your local Irrigear expert for specific recommendations based on your pool type and local conditions.
Do I need to add chlorine to a salt water pool?
Even in a salt water pool, you still need chlorine to maintain proper sanitation and disinfection – however you do not need to add chlorine as a separate chemical unless your chlorine levels are low. Chlorine levels in a salt water pool should typically be maintained within the recommended range of 1-3 ppm.
Salt water pools use a salt chlorinator system to produce chlorine - also known as a salt cell or salt generator - which is connected to the pool's circulation system and contains metal plates or electrodes. As the pool water passes through the salt cell, an electric current is applied to the electrodes, which converts dissolved salt (sodium chloride) in the water into chlorine gas.
The chlorine gas generated by the salt chlorinator dissolves in the pool water, creating hypochlorous acid, the active form of chlorine responsible for sanitizing the pool. This process produces a continuous supply of chlorine as long as the salt chlorinator is functioning correctly and the salt concentration in the water is within the recommended range. The recommended salt concentration in a salt water pool is typically around 2,500 to 4,000 parts per million (ppm).
While salt water pools generally require less frequent manual chlorination compared to traditional chlorine pools, they still rely on chlorine for sanitization. The advantage of a salt water pool is that it uses a self-generating system, reducing the need to manually handle and add chlorine regularly. However, it's important to regularly maintain and monitor the salt chlorinator and chlorine levels to ensure effective pool sanitation. If the chlorine levels are too low, additional chlorine, such as liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets, may need to be added to supplement the output from the salt chlorinator.
How often should I test my pool water?
To maintain proper water chemistry and ensure a safe and clean swimming environment, it's recommended to test your pool water regularly – even in winter! It is easier to maintain a healthy pool than to try and revive an unbalanced pool. It's a good practice to test your pool water at least once a week, and more frequently during periods of heavy pool usage or adverse weather conditions. Testing every few days or daily is especially important when you first open the pool for summer, after heavy rainstorms, or after adding chemicals or making adjustments to the water balance.
What should I test my pool water for?
pH and Chlorine Levels: pH and chlorine levels are critical parameters that should be tested regularly. pH levels should ideally be maintained between 7.2 and 7.6. Chlorine levels should typically be maintained within the recommended range of 1-3 parts per million (ppm). Test these levels at least once a week, or more frequently if necessary, to ensure proper disinfection and water balance.
Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness: Total alkalinity helps stabilize the pH levels, while calcium hardness prevents equipment corrosion and surface damage. Test the total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels every 1-2 weeks to ensure they are within the appropriate ranges (alkalinity: 80-120 ppm, calcium hardness: 200-400 ppm).
Cyanuric Acid (Stabiliser) Levels: If your pool uses stabilizer (cyanuric acid), test its concentration every 1-3 months. The recommended stabiliser level is typically around 30-50 ppm. Ensure that the stabiliser concentration is within the appropriate range to protect the chlorine from degradation due to sunlight exposure.
Additional Testing: Depending on your specific pool and circumstances, you may need to test other parameters such as total dissolved solids (TDS), phosphates, metals, or other chemicals. Consider consulting your local Irrigear expert or referring to your pool manufacturer's guidelines for any additional testing requirements.
Remember to follow the testing instructions provided with your pool test kit and record the test results. Regularly monitoring and maintaining proper water balance will help ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience while prolonging the lifespan of your pool equipment – your local Irrigear expert is here to help you maintain a safe and optimal pool!
Irrigear Independent Experts.
With Australia's largest network of owner-operated stores, at your local Irrigear you'll find in-depth knowledge of local conditions and the expertise you need across all areas of water and fluid management – backed by brands and products you know and all important on-ground service and support.
Advice. Products. Solutions. Australia-wide.
Locally source pool and spa chemicals and treatments as well other related products and solutions from the leaders in pumping, irrigation, filtration, water and fluid management — Irrigear® Independent Experts.
- What chemicals can be used in my pool?
- Do I need to add chlorine to a salt water pool?
- How often should I test my pool water?
- What should I test my pool water for?
At your local Irrigear Independent Experts you'll find access to some of Australia's leading pool checmical and treatment solutions, designed and proven for Australian environmental conditions:
- Pool Pro
If you're thinking about how a pool chemical and treatment solution might fit into your next water management project, make Irrigear the place to find the best advice, know-how and product availability in Australia.
Irrigear Independent Experts – local expertise backed by the best brands and products available in the industry.
- Project Advice & Consultation
- System Design
- Product, System Recommendation & Supply
- Parts & Equipment
- Testing & Maintenance
Find an Irrigear® store near you