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An Introductory Guide to Pool Chemicals

Your pool is important to you. It provides you the backyard summer escape you’ve always dreamed about. Your kids love the pool, your neighbors love the pool, but after all of those bodies jump in and out you may begin to wonder how clean your pool actually is. Sometimes the water looks a little off, giving you a pretty clear indication something is amiss, but sometimes a pool can be dirty without looking bad. It is important to stay on top of your pools’ chemistry, to avoid water that can make swimmers sick. The only approved way to keep your pool clean, clear, and safe is with chemical treatments.

There are literally hundreds of different blends and brands of chemicals, minerals, oxidizers and sanitizers on the market, but today we want to introduce you to two common pool chemicals: chlorine and bromine.


This is the most commonly used chemical for pool treatment. A correctly chlorinated pool will be free of bacteria and properly sanitized. Stabilized chlorine products are special in that they are protected from UV degradation which aids in keeping your pool cleaner longer. The safe free chlorine levels for a swimming pool are between 1-3 parts per million (ppm).  It is important to be sure you are testing free chlorine as chlorine in a combined state (also called chloramines) does not keep the water safe.


Bromine is more commonly used in spas and hot tubs but can also be used in pools. Bromine is more stable than chlorine is in warmer water which is why it’s the preferred choice in hot tubs and heated pools.  It also remains effective at killing bacteria through a wider range of pH, so if the water were to become a little too acidic or basic, bromine is still effectively keeping the water safe and clean. Bromine has been shown to be gentler on sensitive skin, and produces fewer odours. In addition, bromine systems are regenerative; when a bromine pool or spa is shocked, bromine salts in the water are reactivated to go back to work killing bacteria.

The choice in chemicals is always at the discretion of the pool owner, but Purewater recommends that you seek the advice of a water chemistry expert if you are unsure what method to use. Keeping your pool clean and safe need not be full-time job, but the cleaner your pool is, the more enjoyable it will be for the swimmers.

If you have questions about the proper types or level of chemicals in your pool, the experts at Purewater would be happy to provide you with all the instruction you need. Once you are ready to tackle chemical balancing yourself, you should invest in test strips so you can stay on top of water management. You can also bring a sample of pool water into our store – we have the region’s most accurate pool and spa water testing lab and provide FREE expert analysis. From there, our water chemistry pros will help steer you in the right direction for chemical treatment and general pool care.

Be certain to maintain your pool’s chemical balance on a regular basis to keep the summertime fun going all season long!


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