The addition of chlorine is an important maintenance aspect to above ground and in-ground pool ownership alike. Sometimes the chlorine amounts can become higher than the recommended levels, resulting in a less-desirable swimming experience. In the event your pool has a chlorine level that is too high, here are a few guidelines as to how you can reduce the level of chlorine in your pool.
The proper chlorine level can vary depending on a few factors, so it’s best to consult your local pool expert in order to maintain a healthy pool. They will also be able to dispense advice on the best way to measure chlorine levels in your pool. A few signs of high chlorine can be burning sensation in eyes, nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lung irritation, or skin rash. Once you’ve tested the water and determined that the chlorine is too high, here are some suggestions as to what you can do to bring it back down.
Let’s also dispel a couple of myths…
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.
Ok, let’s now take a look at 4 different methods you can use to lower your chlorine levels.
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 are 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.
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.