4 Ways to Reduce Chlorine Levels in Your Swimming Pool

The addition of chlorine is an important maintenance aspect to above ground and in-ground pool ownership alike.  Sometimes the chlorine amounts in your swimming pool can become higher than the recommended levels, resulting in a less-desirable swimming experience. A few signs of high chlorine can include burning sensation in eyes, nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lung irritation, or skin rash.

Before we get started, it’s important to dispel a couple of myths about chlorine…

MYTH #1 Red eyes are caused by too much chlorine. Not true. Typically red eyes are due to your pH being too high or too low. Test your water and ensure your pH is between 7.2 – 7.6.

MYTH #2 A strong chlorine smell means you have too much chlorine in your pool water. Not True. A strong chlorine smell is actually from chloramines. That means that your chlorine is working hard to sanitize contaminants in your pool water.

Proper chlorine levels can vary depending on a few factors, so it’s best to consult a Zagers pool expert for advice on how to measure chlorine levels and maintain a healthy pool. Once you’ve tested the water of your pool and determined that the chlorine is too high, here are a few ways you can bring it back down.

1. Stop Adding Chlorine

The simplest step to bring down chlorine levels is to stop adding chlorine into the pool. Whether you have a chlorinator, chlorine feeder, or salt water chlorine generator, turn them off.  If you put chlorine sticks in your skimmer, remove the sticks or reduce the amount of sticks you’re using. This quick step will likely return chlorine levels back to normal.  This method is especially effective if your chlorine levels are only slightly above normal.

2. Remove the Pool Cover

Another method to decrease chlorine levels in your pool is to remove the pool cover. If you have one, open it up and let the sun shine down. Sunlight is known to lower chlorine levels in relatively short periods of time. Keep in mind that if your pool is not in the sun or if you are using Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) this method will not be as effective.

3. Use Chemical Agents to Reduce Chlorine Levels

If the first two methods aren’t producing the results you’re looking for, there are chemical agents that can help. Neutralizing Chemicals are a great option if you need the pool to be available within a short period of time. It is important to follow instructions when using any chlorine neutralizing chemical, as misuse can lead to chlorine levels and pH levels being significantly decreased. Two different chemical agents that can reduce chlorine levels are Sodium Thiosulfate and Pool-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide (specific to pool treatment). Be sure to test your water after using one of these agents as they tend to impact pH, sometimes dramatically.

4. Drain Some Water and Refill the Pool

If time is not a consideration, draining and refilling some of the pool water is also an option. Keep in mind: This may affect your pool’s chemical balance (pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness). In the event that you decide to drain and refill your pool, here are a few guidelines:

  • Drain and replace about ⅓ to ½ of the pool water. If your pool has a liner, NEVER drain your entire pool.
  • Use one or more garden hoses and drop them into the side of the pool to replace the water.
  • Test the chemical levels and adjust accordingly.
  • Chlorine levels can take some time to return to normal levels.

Keep Testing 

No matter which method you choose, always re-test chemical levels afterward to ensure that the chlorine level has decreased, and no other chemical levels are too low or too high. 

Need help? Bring in a water sample to any of Zagers’ locations to get it tested for free and receive expert advice on how to resolve your water chemistry issues.