Archive for the ‘Swimming Pool Chemicals’ Category

Keeping Cool & Staying Safe This Summer

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Last month brought us a wave of unsettling news stories and media warnings as to the dangers of being a weak swimmer, and the risks of drowning across the nation. Make sure that you and your family are kept safe this Summer while you beat the heat by brushing up on your swimming skills.


Swimming lessons are a compulsory part of primary school education today, with children in Key Stage 2 (aged between 7 and 11) required to be able to swim unaided for at least twenty-five metres. Despite this statutory requirement of the National Curriculum, it is still speculated that one in every three primary school leavers is unable to swim. Research conducted by breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s, in association with the Amateur Swimming Association, has revealed that 200,000 students will finish year 6 this year without the necessary training to swim safely unassisted.


Of these children, 80,000 will not even have been offered swimming lessons.


Swimming Pool Safety

Teaching them to enjoy the water safely is one of the best gifts you can give your kids

This lack of concern shown for the importance of teaching kids to swim is contributing to a worrying rise of drowning-related deaths. Every year, the United Kingdom loses over three hundred children younger than age five in swimming pool accidents – with over three thousand others ending up undergoing emergency treatment following a narrowly-averted tragedy.


Keep your kids safe this summer – enrol them in a swimming class, if they’re young or inexperienced in the water, and speak to the headmaster or headmistress of their primary school, to confirm that swimming lessons are provided for students. Most importantly, though, never leave young children unattended in (or even near!) a swimming pool.


Children can drown in less than two inches of water, and may be unable to raise the alarm, if you are too far to see what’s going on. Never allow children to be left alone near a swimming pool, unless the pool is completely inaccessible (behind a fence or a locked gate, etc.)


But kids will be kids – and in case your little ones do manage to slip past you into the swimming pool area, keeping some basic but essential supplies close at hand down by the pool can avert disaster. Ring buoys are a flotation device that can be thrown to toddlers (or any swimmer) in trouble to prevent them sinking below the surface, and a reach pole is used to pull struggling swimmers to the side.


As vital as it is to teach children of the dangers the water can pose, it’s equally important to teach them not to fear swimming unduly. Splashing around in a pool is one of the greatest and simplest joys a child can experience, and swimming is a skill that can be of huge benefit later in life. It would be a great shame to have that experience go to waste.

swimming pool winterisers – a cost comparison

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Every autumn pool owners buy their winterising chemicals but how many of them study the label and take note of the recommended doses?

Winterising chemicals can come in 5 litre, 3 litre, 2 litre or 1 litre bottles and they all have different pool volumes that they can dose.

Despite what it may say on the lablel, winterisers will last for about 3 months so to get 6 months of protection you will need to dose your pool twice. Once in October and again in January.

The contents are mostly water with the “good stuff”, the algicide, in varying concentrations. So to cut through the confusion we have come up with our pound cost dosage comparison. We have standardised our pool volume to 10,000 gallons and our longevity to one 3 month span.

You don’t have to use winter algicide, some summer algicides will do the winterising job just as well so we have included them too.

Reading across the table Perfect Super Concentrate comes in a 1 litre bottle and will treat 26,000 gallons. That means you need  0.4 litres to treat 10,000 gallons. At a cost of £24.00 for 1 litre that means it costs £9.60 to treat 10,000 gallons. Compare that to the popular Kleen Pool Brand and you’ll see it costs £22.50 to treat 10,000 gallons.  Worse still is Clear n Clean at £30.00 per 10,000 gallons.  That is why we don’t sell them!

Chemical name Container size Gallons container will treat Litres required to dose 10,000 gallons Container
Cost per 10,000 gallons
Perfect Super Concentrate 1 litre 26,000 0.4 £24.00 £9.60
Champion Winterclear 5 litres 12,000 4.2 £21.00 £17.64
Blue Horizons Wintertime 5 litres 15,000 3.3 £21.00 £13.86
Fi-Clor Winteriser 3 litres 19,000 1.6 25.00 £13.15
Kleen Pool 1 litre 5,000 2.0 £11.25 £22.50
Clear n Clean 1 litre 6,000 1.6 £18.00 £30.00
Blue Horizons Algimax 2 litres 20,000 1.0 £18.50 £9.75

We sell the top 3 on the list. Two dedicated winterisers (Perfect Super Concentrate and Fi-Clor winteriser) and the all year rounder Blue Horizons Algimax Eliminator.

What is Available Chlorine?

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

On the label of most swimming pool chlorine products you will see a reference to “Available Chlorine”. This short article will attempt to explain what that is.

In its natural state of 100% purity chlorine is a gas but  swimming pool chlorine is often refered to as “granular chlorine” or “shock chlorine” or “chlorine tablets” “or “liquid chlorine”.  In order to get from a highly poisonous gas to a stable white powder you have to add stuff. The more stuff you add the lower the content of chlorine becomes until it is low enough to remain stable in the container and for general handling.

Chlorine Tablets contain chlorine in the form of trichloroisocyanuric acid (short name “trichlor”). This is the most concentrated form of swimming pool chlorine with a 90% available chlorine level.

Next comes Shock Chlorine which is calcium hypochorite (short name “cal hypo”). The strength of this can vary, as a minimum it is 65% available chlorine, but some of the fi-clor  superfast blends are 75% available chlorine.

Granular chlorine has a few different chemical names but is best known as sodium dichloroisocyanutrate (short name “dichlor”). This has 55% available chlorine.  Granular chlorine and chlorine tablets contain cyanuric acid which is a stabliser to stop the chlorine being burnt off by the sun.

Liquid chlorine, like shock chlorine, does not contain cyanuric acid stabiliser. Liquid chorine is sodium hypochlorite and contains about 15% available chlorine. Other forms with 10% or lower concentrations are available and are used by dairy farmers for sterilisation and in household bleach.

How salt water chlorination works in swimming pools

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Most people will know that that the best chemical for killing algae and bacteria in swimming pool water is Chlorine.

Most people will know that salt is Sodium Chloride, a Sodium atom bonded to a Chlorine atom. Chemical Symbol NaCl.

Most swimming pool owners know that they have to regularly buy “Chlorine” granules and throw them in their pool to kill algae and bacteria to keep their pool water clean and safe to swim in. It gets used up and you have  to go and buy more.

The more savvy pool owner will know that one of the types of  “Chlorine” he could use is actually Sodium Hypochlorite and when he adds it to water Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) is formed and that is what actually kills stuff.  Sodium Hypochlorite  sounds a bit like Sodium Chloride – salt. Well it is close, but just putting salt in your pool will not kill bacteria  – you have to “hypo” it. To “hypo” it you have to add an Oxygen atom.  If you mix a lot of water (H2O) and little salt (NaCl) together and pass and electric current through it, greatly simplified, an Oxygen atom and a Hydrogen atom join up with a Chlorine atom and you get H + O+ Cl = HOCl, hypochlorous acid. Bingo! All bacteria dead and lovely clean pool water. That really is just about all there is to salt water chlorination except read on because it gets even better.

Strickly speaking it is not Chlorine that kills bacteria or algae it is the Oxygen that does the killing by oxidising the bacteria, the same reaction as burning something. Burning, setting fire to and oxidising are all the same thing, either way the bacteria is dead. So the Hypochlorous acid gives up its oxygen atom to burn the bacteria and the chlorine atom goes back in to the water. That is until it finds its way back to the electrodes of the salt water chlorinator and re-forms in to HOCl again and goes off looking for more bacteria to kill. Self regeneration, a never ending supply of hypochlorous acid means you never have to add sanitising chemicals to your pool water again.

So it is not hard to see why salt water chlorination is an ever more popular way to sanitise a swimming pool. Just add salt to the water and fit a set of clever electrodes called a salt water chlorinator and you can have pristine clean pool water and no need to add sanitising chemicals ever again. The high electrical current between the electrodes will also kill any algea spores in the water so although the hypochlorous acid would have got them anyway the electrodes killing them off mean you can lower the chlorine level down to about 0.5 ppm.

That is a brief explanation of how salt water chlorination works in swimming pools. Read the next article for the pros and cons of actually buying, fitting and using one.

The pros and cons of salt water chlorination for swimming pools

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

In Australia and South Africa nearly all the domestic swimming pools are sanitised using salt water chlorinators. In the UK very few swimming pools use salt water chlorinators. The Aussies think we are crazy not for using salt water chlorination, so what are the pros and the cons?

At PoolStore we have recently become converts to the idea of salt water chlorination. This is mainly down to the introduction of a new product that means you can retro fit a salt water chlorinator to your pool wheras before the units were installed when the pool was first built or had to be installed by a pool professional.

The biggest and most obvious advantage of salt water chlorination is that you never have to add any chemicals to your pool ever again. Cleaning chemicals that is – chlorine, algicides, clarifiers will be a thing of the past. All you will need is pH balance chemicals now and then. No more pulling back the cover and finding the water has gone green since you last looked at it. Provided you don’t switch it off your salt water chlorinator will keep your water pristine clean all season.

The water will “feel” much nicer. This is a difficult concept to explain but the water will feel softer and more inviting. Because the salt content is much closer to that of your eye water, red eyes and eye irritation will be greatly reduced. Your fingers will not go as “wrinkly” due to the salt content and you will not come out of the pool smelling of chlorine.

So with pristine clean water for ever and no chemicals what could possibly be the downside to salt water chlorination? Well not much really. Despite what the manufacturers might claim, the water does taste salty. Not very salty,  at 10 times less salt than the sea it is not unpleasant, and after a few weeks regular users will get used to the taste and barely notice it at all.

The installation process involves putting a lot of salt in your pool. Eight 25kg bags for a 50m3 (11,000 gallon) pool. But at least you only have to do it once. You will need to keep a few bags of salt on hand because as you top up after backwashing or evaporation you will need more salt sooner or later.

The biggest disadvatage is the cost. For a 12 x 24 pool a salt water chlorinator will cost about £850.00 and the salt will cost about £100.00.  That is about 10 years worth of chemicals but factor in never having to go out there and dose your pool, except for the pH now and then, and the pay back may well seem to come a lot quicker.

We like the Zodiac EI salt chlorinator because it can be retro fitted to just about any pool.

The Zodiac EI salt water chlorinator is our favourite