Pool Chemical Descriptions

Algaecide

An "as-needed" chemical. If algae does occur, Algaecides are used to help kill algae. The majority of algaecides are liquid, but some types do come in granular form. Once you determine the type of algae (green algae, mustard algae, or black algae), you can purchase the appropriate algaecide and begin the proper treatment. Then read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (most manufacturers of algaecides recommend pouring it straight from the bottle), and other precautions. Note: In conjunction with the algaecide, you will also need to use a chlorine-based shock and engage in a labor-intensive and time-consuming maintenance schedule to eliminate the algae.

Algistat

An optional chemical. Algistats are used to help prevent algae. Some pool owners will use an algistat in conjunction with their other mandatory chemicals in order to help prevent an algae outbreak. Algistats are typically packaged and sold as "Preventative Algaecide," or "Maintenance Algaecide." Algistats are liquid. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (most manufacturers of algistats recommend pouring it straight from the bottle), and other precautions.

Alkalinity Increaser

Used to raise Alkalinity. The scientific name is Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium Bicarbonate is typically packaged and sold as "Alkalinity Increaser," "Alkalinity Up," or "Alkalinity Plus." Sodium Bicarbonate is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions.

Bromine

An alternative to chlorine that pool owners use to kill bacteria, living organisms, ammonia, and any other contaminates (such as dirt, debris, or algae spores) that are in pool water. Bromine does come in granular form, but by far, the most common form of bromine is the tablet. The main reason that bromine is not chosen as often as chlorine in pools is that it is fairly expensive. Bromine's niche is with spas (hot tubs), as it is more stable than chlorine in the hotter water temperatures that are associated with spa use.

Chlorine

The most widely-used chemical that pool owners use to kill bacteria, living organisms, ammonia, and any other contaminates (such as dirt, debris, and algae spores) that are in pool water. The two most common forms of chlorine used by pool owners are granular chlorine (whose scientific name is "Dichlor") and chlorine tablets (whose scientific name is "Trichlor"). Chlorine tablets come in two sizes: 1" tablets and 3" tablets.

Clarifier

An "as-needed" chemical. If water is cloudy, it may be due to thousands of small particles (bacteria, dirt, and other debris) that are suspended in the pool water. These particles are so small that they escape both the chemicals and the filter. If this is the case, a Clarifier is used to restore water clarity. Clarifiers are liquid. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or poured straight from the bottle), and if it should be added before or after shocking the pool; clarifiers are often used in conjunction with shock to restore water clarity.

Cyanuric Acid

Chlorine, by itself, is susceptible to being destroyed by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Cyanuric Acid, which is typically packaged and sold as either "Conditioner" or "Stabilizer" will protect chlorine from being destroyed by the sun. Although both granular chlorine and chlorine tablets contain Cyanuric Acid as an ingredient, the amount contained is merely a trace. Therefore, the periodic addition of Cyanuric Acid ("Conditioner" or "Stabilizer") will be necessary. Cyanuric Acid is granular.

Although cyanuric acid (isocyanuric acid)stabilizes the chlorine level, it does it at the cost of reducing the effectiveness (ORP-Oxidation Reduction Potential) of the chlorine. Cyanuric acid (CYA) is found in dichlor / trichlor tablets. If you choose to avoid cyanuric acid, look for Calcium hypochlorite (solid) or Sodium hypochlorite (liquid). You should test your pH, these two chemicals contain strong bases and will raise pH if used in sufficient quantity. If you do use Cyanuric acid, be sure to test the levels. If the levels are too, high the chlorine will completely lose it's sanitizing ability. Certain new studies are showing that CYA really needs to be maintained at a level no higher than 40 ppm allowing chlorine to perform optimally (high levels of CYA contribute to TDS or Total Dissolved Solids which "interfere" with chlorine activity).

Defoamer

An "as-needed" chemical. Defoamer is actually a rarely used chemical. Defoamer is liquid. As the name dictates, Defoamer will eliminate foam from the pool water. Defoamer is actually used more with spas (hot tubs).

Enzyme Cleaner

An "as-needed" chemical. Enzyme cleaners are liquid. Enzymes are used to breakdown and eliminate the water line (also called the water ring or scum ring) that is often seen just above the surface of the water. Products such as suntan lotions, underarm deodorants, and women's make-up, as well as body oils and dirt, can attach to the pool walls (just above the surface of the water) to cause this water line. The Enzyme cleaner will react with these products, body oils, and dirt to break them down into their simplest state-liquid-in order to eliminate the water line. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (most manufacturers of Enzyme cleaners recommend pouring it straight from the bottle), and other precautions. Typically, foam will appear immediately after adding an Enzyme cleaner. This foam is okay-it signals that the enzymes are reacting with the water line to break it down into the liquid state for removal. Many pool owners wisely implement an Enzyme cleaner in their routine maintenance schedule.

Filter Cleaner

Filter Cleaners do not have a direct effect on water chemistry. They do, however, clean the filter, which does have a direct effect on water chemistry. Filter Cleaners can be liquid or granular. Make sure you purchase the specified Filter Cleaner for your type of filter. Then, read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add and how it should be added.

Hardness Increaser

Used to raise Hardness levels. The scientific name is Calcium Chloride. Calcium Chloride is typically packaged and sold as "Hardness Increaser," "Hardness Up," or "Hardness Plus." Calcium Chloride is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions. Note: There is no product that is packaged and sold as a Hardness Decreaser. If your Hardness level is too high, you will have to drain your pool, either partially or completely, in order to lower the Hardness level.

Metal Sequestering Agent

An "as-needed" chemical. Metal Sequestering Agents can either be liquid or granular. Metal Sequestering Agents are used to treat odd tints to the color of the pool water, stains, or the formation of scale. These odd tints, stains, and scale can either result from the minerals that are present in the tap water that is used to fill the pool (such as copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, or calcium) or result from poor water chemistry. If an odd tint, any stains, or the formation of scale are present, the condition can easily be rectified by re-attaining and maintaining proper water chemistry and by using a Metal Sequestering Agent, which will rid the water of these excess minerals. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or poured/broadcast straight from the bottle/container), and other precautions. Issues such as "minerals," "the presence of metals," "odd tints," "stains," and "scale" cause much confusion.

Muriatic Acid

An alternative to lower pH and Alkalinity. Muriatic acid is in liquid form. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or poured straight from the bottle), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions. Be extra careful when handling muriatic acid.

pH Increaser

Used to raise pH. The Scientific name is Sodium Carbonate. Sodium Carbonate is typically packaged and sold as "pH Increaser," "pH Up," or "pH Plus." Sodium Carbonate is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions.

Shock

Shocking a pool is mandatory with chlorine, bromine, or any other alternative. As a pool owner, you will become familiar with shocking your pool. Shock is a granular compound. If you use chlorine, you will want to predominantly use a chlorine-based shock (such as Calcium Hypochlorite or Lithium Hypochlorite). But, you can supplement your shock schedule with a non-chlorine shock periodically. If you use bromine, you will want to predominantly use a non-chlorine shock (such as Potassium Peroxymonosulfate). But, you can supplement your shock schedule with a chlorine-based shock periodically. If you use an alternative to chlorine (or bromine), then check with the pool professionals that sold you the alternative to assure that you are using the appropriate type of shock. There is controversy in the industry as to how often you should shock your pool-some say weekly, some say twice per month, some say monthly, and some say only as needed. We will analyze this controversial topic in detail in poolmanual.com. Read the instructions on the label for all pertinent application information.

Soda Ash

An alternative to raise pH. Like Sodium Carbonate (pH Increaser), Soda Ash is also granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be add (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the package), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions.

Tile Cleaner

A cleaner to clean the walls (and tiles, if applicable) of concrete, gunite, shotcrete, or fiberglass pools. This product is fairly effective for eliminating light dirt, discolorations or stains. The product is safe to mix with your pool water. But, if the pool structure (walls or floor) of any type of pool is extremely dirty, discolored or stained, then contact us for assistance.

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