A pool in your backyard creates a relaxing summertime oasis. You and your family will get hours of enjoyment out of your pool. But you'll need to know how to properly care for it so the water stays clean and clear. If you are new to caring for a pool, you may have some questions about how much bleach to add to your pool. We researched this to get all of the specifics that you need.
To find out how much bleach to add to your pool, you'll first need to test your chlorine levels. The desired level of chlorine is 1-3ppm. Once you've tested your chlorine levels, you can calculate how much bleach will be needed to achieve the desired level. A one-half gallon of bleach per 10,000 gallons of water will raise the chlorine levels by 5ppm. Using this basic math, you can adjust accordingly by how much bleach you need to raise your chlorine level. You may hear the process of adding chlorine to your pool called "shocking" the pool.
Adding bleach to your pool keeps the chlorine levels in a range that will keep your water from becoming cloudy and clean enough to protect swimmers without causing skin or eye irritation. Continue reading to learn all the details you need to know about adding bleach and pool chemicals to keep your pool crystal clear all summer long.
Calculating How Many Gallons Your Pool Holds
What if you don't know how many gallons of water your pool holds? You can use this calculation to find out. Multiply the length of your pool by the width and the depth. This will give you an estimated volume. If your pool is round, multiply that volume by 5.9, by 6.7 for an oval pool, and 7.5 for a rectangular pool. The final result will give you an estimate of how many gallons your pool holds.
Why Chlorine Is Needed
If bacteria grow in your pool water, it will make it unsafe to swim in. Chlorine is a sanitizing agent that kills microscopic organisms that can make your pool water cloudy and unsafe. Liquid bleach is the most common form of chlorine used to sanitize pools. When the liquid bleach mixes with your pool water, it immediately begins destroying bacteria in the pool water, leaving it clean and safe to swim in.
What Happens If You Put Too Much Bleach In A Pool? Too Little?
Adding too much bleach to your pool will affect the water's acidity level, causing it to be more acidic. Water with high acidity can cause skin irritation, skin rashes and itching, and eye irritation. Seriously elevated chlorine levels may even cause lung irritation or lead to an asthma attack for some people.
If you find you've added too much chlorine, leave the cover off your pool and allow it to be exposed to the sun. The UV rays from the sun will lower the chlorine level dramatically after just 24 hours.
Not adding enough bleach to your pool results in an overgrowth of bacteria and cloudy pool water. You may also see algae bloom in your water if your chlorine levels are low.
Using a test strip such as the one below will help you determine if it's time to add chlorine to your pool.
What Is The Difference Between Bleach And Pool Chlorine?
Bleach contains the same chemical as pool chlorine; the significant difference is the chlorine chemical concentration. Pool chlorine will also include some form of stabilizer.
Pool chlorine is made of 65% strength calcium hypochlorite. This form of chlorine is a solid that is easily added to the pool water. Household bleach contains sodium hypochlorite at a 5-6% chlorine strength.
Bleach is easy to use and inexpensive; however, you will need to use more of it due to its weak concentration. To compare, it will take one gallon of bleach to equal the cleaning potential of 3/4 pound of pool chlorine.
Pool chlorine is designed specifically for keeping the water in your pool clean and disinfected. Pool chlorine is supplied in powder or tablet form. Although it is more expensive than bleach, you'll avoid problems with splashes associated with liquid bleach, and tablets are slow releasing, allowing small, steady amounts of chlorine to be released, reducing the need for constant monitoring of chlorine levels.
How Often Should You Put Bleach In Your Pool?
Several different factors will contribute to how often you'll need to add bleach to your pool. These include:
- The number of hours of sunshine the pool is exposed to and how bright the sun is. Higher UV exposure causes chlorine to break down more quickly.
- Leaves and insects in the swimming pool. These use up the active chlorine more quickly.
- The number of hours spent swimming each day. The more swimming there is, the quicker chlorine will degrade.
We recommend testing your pool water at least twice a week to determine the chlorine levels. Add chlorine if needed to keep your reading between 1-1.5ppm. Once you've obtained a good reading, you can usually maintain your chlorine levels by adding chlorine tablets once a week. These dissolve more slowly and will keep your chlorine levels stable.
There are a few additional times you'll need to shock your pool:
- At the start of pool season, when you open your pool for the year
- After a party or heavy use.
- When there have been long sunny periods
- After heavy rain
- When it's time to close your pool
What Time Of Day Is Best To Shock A Pool?
The best time to shock your pool is in the evening after the sun has gone down. If you shock during the day, the sun's UV rays will dissolve the chlorine quickly. By shocking at night, the chlorine can circulate and clean the water overnight. By morning the pool should be ready for you to swim.
Can You Swim In A Pool Right After Adding Chemicals?
It would be best if you waited about two to four hours after adding chemicals to your pool before you swim. This allows full water to pass through the pool filter. You can also check your chlorine levels to make sure they are at 5ppm or lower, but it's best to wait until they fall to 3ppm or lower to prevent any skin irritation. If you get in the habit of shocking your pool in the evening after using it for the day, it should be ready to use again in the morning.
Maintain A Clear Clean Pool
Maintaining a clean, safe pool is not difficult. Learn how to measure your chlorine levels using a water testing strip or device and add chlorine to maintain levels throughout the swim season. Once you've achieved the desired level using chlorine tablets can help keep the levels steady. You can either choose a liquid, granule, or tablet form for the addition of chlorine.
Liquid bleach tends to be less expensive, but you'll need to use more to get the desired concentration. With a little practice, you'll enjoy lounging in and around your sparkling pool all season long.
If you're designing your outdoor space check out our post, "3 Methods To Waterproof Wood Furniture For Outdoors," for tips on outdoor furniture to furnish your pool deck and "11 Incredible Deck Railing Style Ideas" for inspiration on designing a pool deck.