For most Floridians, the ultimate summer fantasy is picturesque. It includes warm summer skies, a crystal clear healthy pool, and pristine beaches. While our soaring summer temperatures can be uncomfortable, nothing is better than escaping this heat by diving into the cool, blue water of your indoor or outdoor pool. With a healthy pool, you can do this at virtually any time. In the past, we’ve talked about rainwater and how it affects your pool, but did you know that these high temperatures can also affect your pool’s health? If you’re using chlorine in your pool, here are some useful facts that you need to know!
Chlorine and the Chemistry Behind a Healthy Pool
Chlorine has long been used to maintain a healthy pool. Generally speaking, chlorine performs three basic functions, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC):
- Rapid and persistent sanitizing
- Combating the growth of algae
- Oxidizing contaminants
When Chlorine is added to your pool, a chemical reaction occurs that attacks the cell walls of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. Once the enzymes and other structures within the cell walls have been destroyed, they are oxidized and rendered harmless. This is typically a rapid process, but the pH level of your pool, if too high, can slow it down. Sunlight can also affect the speed of this process by increasing it. If oxidization is too rapid, you have to add more chlorine for it to be effective.
Heat and high temperatures have an indirect but no less potent effect.
Heat and the Healthy Pool
Bacteria and microorganisms thrive in warm water. The high heat of a Florida summer is a surefire way for your pool’s temperature to rise. This is especially true if your pool is not enclosed. As the temperature rises, these microorganisms start to have a higher population in your pool, which causes the chlorine in your pool to work overtime.
Once your pool water temperature goes past 80 degrees, it is time to act. Increasing oxidization essentially “burns out” the chlorine. In other words, the warmer the water, the more chlorine you need to add. In order to keep a healthy pool, you will need to adjust to the rise in temperature. According to scienceabc.com, you can follow the general rule of thumb that you will need twice as much chlorine for every ten degrees over 80.
Easy Prevention Steps to Stay Ahead of the Heat
Knowing about the effect of heat is just the first step to keeping a healthy pool during the summer. Whether you’re servicing your pool yourself or have a professional service doing it for you, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs that your pool may need some extra care.
Buy a pool thermometer. This is a relatively simple solution. It’s also something you probably already have. If you see the temperature of your pool reaching or exceeding 80 degrees, you need to take action. Adjust the chlorine level yourself or let your maintenance service know. Be sure to consult your pool manufacturer or pool maintenance service if you plan to do this yourself.
Use your nose. When chlorine breaks down microorganisms, it emits a slight odor. If this odor is very strong, you know that your pool is working too hard. The nose test is a great way to know whether or not you are getting into a healthy pool. The odor should not be overly strong. If it is, you know it’s time to act.
Healthy Pool, Healthy You
During the summer months, your pool is an oasis. It can relax you, help you exercise, and cool you down. Keep your pool healthy, and it will take care of you too. Stay aware of the temperature and other signs that your pool may need some help. Beat the heat. Don’t let the heat beat you!