Monday, June 18, 2012

Pool Chemical Myth-Busters for Summa-Time husband and i have owned/run a pool business for the last 10 1/2 years...i also took the LA Health Department class on water safety...but - i never took the, i am not licensed...but owning a pool business for 10 years should make me licensed by some loop-hole i think...i don't often share that world here...but this weekend i was having a discussion with mamas who were talking about pools and pool chemicals and i realized there are a lot of commonly believed myths about pools and chlorine, so i just thought it would be super nice of me to share some of that here...hopefully you learn something new...but if you already know it all - call me - we will put you to work!

1. Myth #1 - My hair/ My daughter's hair turns green from the chlorine

Actually - the green is from copper piping in the pool, NOT chlorine...well - i guess it is partly chlorine's fault since it erodes the copper from the copper piping, thereby causing copper elements to be in the water...but newer pools are all built with PVC generally. You only find copper piping now-a-days in older pools. (something to back me up here)

2. Myth #2 - I can smell the chlorine - that means there is too much chlorine in the pool.

This is the most common misnomer with pools...the smell that you are smelling is actually the result of all the chlorine being used up...that means - GET OUT OF THE POOL/SPA! this is a bad sign. When chlorine is in the water - you should not be able to smell it. Chloramines are the active chlorine that attach itself to bacteria - the smell you smell is the chloramines being all used up. when a pool or spa gets to this point you need to "shock" the water with a bunch of chlorine to "oxidize" the pool and re-generate the cleaning/sanitizing agent in the chlorine.

Bryson at 3 Weeks
3. Myth #3 - Salt Water pools are Chlorine Free

Lately the salt water pools have become our biggest nemesis. A normal salt water pool works with a "saline generator" - basically it generates the sodium chloride (salt) and releases the most corrosive form of chlorine - chlorine gas. you basically are turning salt into chlorine...but the highest corrosive form of chlorine. so you will most likely see deterioration happen a lot quicker on all of your pool equipment. Plus you are releasing chlorine gas!!

i must say that if you are able to maintain your chemical levels perfectly (which is extremely difficult to do with most salt water pools) you will not see as many problems...they will happen about the same rate as a chlorinated pool, however - if you are thinking of installing a system because it will save you money - double think...(and read this and this and this)

4. Beware of all "Kiddie" Type Anything - Pools or Fountains

My husband is usually pretty okay about our kids and public pools - he can usually tell just by the clarity of the water if there is enough chlorine and if it is properly maintained (NOTE: if the water is cloudy, especially to where vision to the bottom is impaired DO NOT go in!) but...the one thing he has always steered clear of is kiddie pools and fountain things...fountains that spit from the ground...types of things.

Now - dont get me wrong - I am sure Disneyland has properly chemmed water...i am sure big water parks have all types of electronic chemical systems...but i am talking about the ones at little parks or the ones in outdooor shopping malls - those types of husband used to check them - he used to service some of them and they never would have enough chemicals in them.

A basic understanding of chlorine...chlorine 101 - heat zaps any spa, any heated pool, any body of water under the sun - unless maintained on a regular basis will lose chlorine fast. especially a shallow body of water like a kiddie pool...that stuff needs chlorine continuously - and hopefully they have strong chlorinators attached to them, but just looking at them grosses me out. Also a fountain that has a low gallon amount being constantly exposed to the heat.

Because he used to clean pools, we would have little test strips - mainly he would use them if we ever rented a house with a pool where our kids would be in a lot, but they are not that expensive and come in a little plastic bottle the size of an aspirin bottle and can put your mind at ease super easily.

Hope that information over-load helps a little! Feel free to ask any other questions you may have and I will edit the post to answer them!


Paige said...

Ok. So this is a good start, but what if your concern is actually the chlorine? I'm concerned about the chlorine exposure just as much as the bacterial...

Paige said...

(Not so much for the toddler, as for the newborn ;)

CarleeKajsa said...

so...i totally understand the effects of chlorine...with newborns i would say - express your caution..that picture of bryson was in a saltwater pool actually...we rinsed him off immediately...

i think our skin is meant to repel - and i think a rinse after time in the pool or spa is mandatory...other than that i don't see any problems occurring if you are conscious on their time in the pool and their intake.
the problems start to occur when they can swim and demand to be in the pool for hours...

Angie said...

thanks for sharing this, Carlee!

sam said...

Thanks for nice sharing and i will expect from you such awesome sharing.