Chlorine is a disinfectant that makes a swimming pool safe – or does it?
While it’s true that chlorine helps get rid of harmful contaminants and microorganisms, it may not be as safe as we thought it would be.
As chlorine levels go higher, the water becomes more toxic to humans. Breathing problems, skin infection, eye irritation, and hair damage are just some adverse effects of chlorine. Wearing high-quality swimming equipment, like swimwears, swim caps, and goggles may not be adequate for protection since you could get sick by merely inhaling the chlorine fumes.
A rule of thumb: If you can smell the strong chlorine odor in the pool area and if the water makes your eyes sting, it means the concentration is quite high, and thus unsafe. If you own and maintain a swimming pool at home, read on to know some smart ways to lower your pool chlorine levels while still keeping the pool free of contaminants.
1. Let the sunshine in
One simple way to lower chlorine levels is to uncover your pool and swim under the bright, blue sky. Sunlight has the ability to break down chlorine quickly. In fact, a single sunny afternoon can significantly reduce 90% of your pool’s chlorine.
If you own an indoor pool, try to have a good ventilation system to control the humidity and reduce chemical odors. Open the windows for the light and air to come. Install some skylights.
2. Consider a chlorine neutralizer
When your food is too sour for your taste, you tend to add a dash of sugar or salt to make it more bearable. In the same way, you can shop for chlorine neutralizers to eliminate chlorine levels. Head to your local pool supply shop. While you may find the same chemical in other stores, the ones sold at legit pool supply stores are at specific concentration intended for pools.
Sodium thiosulfate is probably the most preferred chlorine neutralizer. Generally speaking, you need about 0.5 ounces (15mL) of this chemical per 1,000 gallons (3,800 L) water.
Hydrogen peroxide is another great option. It is usually cheaper and it breaks down easily into harmless substances. However, this chemical may be less effective if the pool’s pH is below 7.0.
Ask the store personnel when you’re not sure what to get. Handle the chemicals with care. It’s always safer to add the neutralizer in small doses and have a precise calculation of the amount you need. Then give the pool time to adjust before plunging in.
3. Invest in ultraviolet lamps
Ultraviolet (UV) lamps specially designed for swimming pools can neutralize most pool contaminants. They harness the power of ultraviolet light to break down some of the most dangerous microorganisms that lurk in a chlorinated pool while lowering the chlorine usage and other toxic by-products.
Of course, they aren’t a complete alternative to chlorine when it comes to keeping the pool safe and clean. In most cases, you still have to add chlorine though you won’t have to worry about its adverse effects on your health.
There are two main types to consider:
Medium-pressure UV lamp
This versatile lamp is your best choice when you want to eliminate a significant amount of chlorine. A medium-pressure UV lamp is effective in breaking down chloramines, or the substances that usually cause bloodshot and stinging eyes, irritated skin, and strong chemical odor. While it works best with lowering chlorine, it may not be the best option for disinfecting.
Low-Pressure UV Lamp
Also called a “purifier”, low-pressure UV lamps are favored for its great disinfecting ability. They are also generally cheaper and longer lasting than their medium pressure counterparts. However, you still have to use a smaller amount of chlorine to make it more effective. It’s not a deal-breaker though if you have a good swim cap, swimwear, goggles, and other protective swim gear.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Swimprint, a go-to shop for swimming enthusiasts, specializing in swim caps in the UK. While she’s fascinated in writing articles focused on sport fashion, health, and wellness, she swears to never give up pizza.
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