In these tough economic times [sorry] we are all looking for different ways to save money. The pool area shouldn’t be exempt from these cost cutting measures. Would you like to know ways to maintain your pool and stretch your chlorine dollar? Here’s 5 ways to reduce your chlorine costs -and- your work load.
1. Test your pool water
Let’s start off with the easy one. Testing your pool water. If you test your pool daily (or at least weekly!) with a good test kit or test strips you can keep an eye on your chemicals and it’s easier to correct an imbalance that could potentially be costing you money. The levels you should be maintaining in your pool are:
- Free Chlorine 1-2ppm
- pH 7.2-7.6
- Alkalinity 80-120ppm
- Stabilizer/Conditioner 30-60ppm
- Calcium Hardness 200-350ppm
2. Use Stabilized Chlorine
What type of chlorine are you buying? Do you know what is in it? Is it stabilized or unstabilized? These are all questions that you should be asking when you are purchasing chlorine for your pool. If you have an outdoor pool you should be purchasing a stabilized chlorine.
Why stabilized you ask? Stabilized has a conditioner in it which will protect your chlorine from the sun’s rays. (Sun isn’t only damaging to our skin.) Conditioner is commonly referred to by two other names Cyanuric Acid and Stabilizer. This works just like a sunscreen for your chlorine preventing it from being broken down by the sun.
Conditioner is not a product that more is better but if you keep you the level between 30-60ppm your chlorine will be protected without being affected. Too much conditioner will hinder the effectiveness of the chlorine in your pool. It’s important to monitor the level of cyanuric acid. Test for CYA levels at least monthly to get the most from your chlorine dollars.
Read the Label
Some types of chlorine tablets and dichlor shock already contain conditioner, maximizing your chlorine dollar. If it does, the package label will say that it’s “Stabilized” chlorine, which means that cyanuric acid has been added. Cyanuric acid, or CYA is the chemical name for the stuff commonly sold as Conditioner or Stabilizer.
While you are looking at the label make sure to look at the amount of available chlorine. When buying chlorine tablets, the label should say 90% available – if it is lower you are adding a diluted version of the same chlorine into your pool, with more inert ingredients (fillers). Many times these lower grades will be cheaper per pound and rightfully so because they are putting less chlorine, and more fillers into your pool. When that happens you are not only getting less chlorine per pound, but a portion of that reduced chlorine is used up attacking the fillers that have now been put in your pool. These fillers will also contribute to a higher TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level in your pool.
3. Alternate Purification methods
Buying the proper grade of chlorine is not the only way to stretch your chlorine dollar. Help out your chlorine by adding a mineral purification system. These are not filters but purifiers, made by Nature2 or Frog that allow you to reduce your chlorine range down to 0.5-1ppm, which makes it hardly noticeable. Your chlorine is supplemented by copper and/or silver purification. These minerals are unnoticeable to you but deadly to bacteria and microorganisms. Many pool owners even note that their pool water feels softer and looks more sparkly. Adding a Nature2 Express unit (pools up to 25000 gals), will take over more than half of the sanitizing responsibilities, reducing chlorine demand.
Another method of alternate pool or spa purification is using Ozone to remove many of the contaminants and microscopic “junk” in your water, which reduces the amount of chlorine needed to do the job.
4. Eliminate Organics in the Pool
The final way to save your chlorine dollars is by eliminating organics. Organics are products such as sunscreen, body oils, cosmetics, hair products, sweat, urine (yes people pee in pools), and pollen. Chlorine is not effective at breaking up organics; they take a long time and are inefficient and expensive.
Natural Chemistry has been making enzyme based products since the late 1980’s. Enzymes are formulated to attach to an organic and break it down to carbon dioxide and water. In each bottle of Natural Chemistry there are thousands of different enzymes, are all specially formulated to pair up with, and destroy, a specific type of organic compound.
Now for the even more unbelievable part, these products are all natural and some of the safest chemicals anywhere. Their first product is still their number one seller Pool Perfect, and it really does make your pool perfect. Natural Chemistry supports environmental responsibility with pool chemicals. Read more about their Earth Initiatives are and try it for yourself and I guarantee you will be coming back for more.
5. Filter your pool efficiently
For clean and clear pool water, we need a combination of Sanitation, Circulation and Filtration. Maximizing filtration and circulation will improve the water quality, and require less sanitation.
Tips to improve circulation
- Create a circular flow pattern around the pool
- Adjust suction valves to pull water from all areas
- Brush and Vacuum the pool regularly
- Operate an automatic pool cleaner
- Keep skimmer baskets and pump basket clean
- Backwash the filter when the pressure gauge tells you to
Tips to improve filtration
- DE filters are best, removing the smallest particle size
- Use Filter Clean on sand and cartridge filters
- Run the filter long enough to filter all water in the pool daily
- Run the filter during the day, when the sun helps things grow
- Don’t backwash too much, only when the gauge tells you to
- Use a Clarifier to help filter fine particles
There are always ways that you can save money so why not look at your pool as one of those as well. Sometimes the place that you would most like to relax can also be the place that you can have peace of mind that you are spending the least amount of money you need to and actually have a safer pool. Finally, be sure to remember that these tips can also work on your spa or hot tub as well! Until next time, safe and economical swimming.