That sometimes-off-putting strong smell that some people associate with indoor pools especially is chloramines and not chlorine. Here’s some help to tell the difference.
Chlorine is a gas that is dissolved into water to kill microorganisms. It is an oxidizer and very powerful disinfectant. Chlorine dissipates rapidly into the atmosphere when water is exposed to air. Chlorine gas is very dangerous, but modified into different products it becomes very effective and safe. Outdoor swimming pools use cyanuric acid (CYA) to bind to the chlorine, stabilize it, and protect it from the degradation of sunlight. Chlorine combined with CYA (50-55%) is trichlor or dichlor pressed in slow-dissolving pucks, sticks or granular shock. (not to be used in indoor pools) Even outdoor saltwater pools produce chlorine gas from sodium chloride using electrolysis.
When the chlorine that is used to kill germs binds with forms of disinfection by-products (DBPs) it forms chloramines.
A combination of ammonia (oxidized nitrogen compounds) and chlorine. When the ammonia binds with chlorine gas it creates chloramine. Chloramine remains in the water longer. In the pool industry we use the chloramine term broadly to describe the byproducts of the off-gas from the swimming pools—the “smell” you may have thought is a chlorine pool. Finding the source of the chloramine (combined chlorine) is important to battle balance. (i.e., drinking water with added chloramines, Urine and sweat from swimmers and ammonia-based cleaning products).
Why is it in my pool?
- Drinking water: Sometimes water treatment plants deliberately add chloramines that last longer in pipes into water for additional disinfecting power. A plus for drinking water but not for swimming pools.
- Cleaning products: Cleaners for pool deck or floors may have chloramines included. Avoid cleaners around the swimming pool that have “ammonia” or “ammonium” in the ingredients list.
- Urine and sweat: As much as we’d like to think this doesn’t happen and we’ve created options to avoid this. It happens especially with competitive athletes, younger children and, let’s face it, some adults. It’s best to be prepared with sanitization, post signs and have easily accessible facilities.
- Lawn care fertilizers
There are many things Watercrafters can do to help you combat the invasion of chloramines.
- Bring your water into our store regularly for FREE professional water analysis or schedule a water pick up for a small charge.
- Speak to one of our retail specialists about high quality oxidizers and sanitizers like Bioguard® SilkGuard Complete® Tabs or Sticks and Poolife® TurboShock. Don’t forget the plethora of other chemicals that help keep your pool clean, balanced and sparkling.
- Ask about our weekly pool maintenance plans with our Pool Care Plus team. Let us take your stress away so all you have to do is enjoy your pool. Call us at 301-948-8111 x120 for more details.