We come across this scenario more often than you might think. Luckily, there is an easy and fast solution. Before we get to that, though, it is important to figure out what is “too high” and why your chlorine is too high, so you don’t end up putting a band aid on an ongoing issue.
How much Chlorine is too much?
The most common recommendation for residential pools is 1-3ppm of chlorine. If you are a little higher than this, up to about 5 ppm, don’t fret. While every state has different regulations for commercial pools, many states allow for 5ppm chlorine in heavy bather loads or spas.
The area between 5-10ppm chlorine is generally only desired while shocking the water, and is higher than recommended for swimming. You may notice faded swimsuits, dry skin, and eye irritation at this level.
Anything higher than 10 should definitely be reduced. Please note there is no concrete rule for exactly how high is “too high” and some people who are more sensitive may want lower levels of chlorine. One way of safely maintaining a chlorine level as low as .5ppm is to use the King Technology Flipping Frog or Spa @ease System.
Here are several reasons your chlorine might be too high:
- Spring Opening: The pool opened for the first time in the spring with high chlorine. This is not necessarily bad. Generally upon closing, the pool the owner or service tech will add a winter shock to the pool. This helps prevent algae from growing in the fall and spring when the pool water is stagnant and is still warm enough to grow algae. Some winters are colder than others and do not allow for algae to start growing. This can leave you with excess chlorine in the Spring. If this is the case and you are not planning to use the pool soon, simply let the chlorine burn off on its own. Do not add more until it comes within level. Starting the heater and keeping the cover open will burn the chlorine off more quickly as well.
- Too Much Shock: You just plain over-shocked the pool. If this is the case and it has already been a couple days to allow the chlorine to wear off on its own, go ahead and treat for the high chlorine. Keep in mind you should wait a minimum of 24 hours after shocking account for the chlorine in the shock wearing off.
- Salt System: Your salt generator is set too high. Because salt pools maintain the chlorine level so much on their own, owners may not realize that the perfect setting for July is too much for September. Others don’t realize it is making chlorine at all. If you have a salt system and your chlorine is consistently high, try turning down the percentage your generator is set to.
- Chlorine Feeder: Your automatic chlorine feeder is set too high. Whether it be a pool frog, New Water System, or any style of automatic feeder, it will continue feeding chlorine no matter what the chlorine level already is. The same goes for floating dispensers. Try turning the dial down to a lower number. This will cause the chlorine to enter the pool more slowly, and will make your chlorine last longer.
- The exception to this is a sense and dispense style feeder, which tests the chlorine for you and automatically adds it when needed. If you are having issues on this style of system, bring a water sample into your closest dealer to verify it is testing correctly and get the system serviced if necessary.
- Weekly Maintenance: You are slowly but consistently adding too much shock or chlorine sticks. Keep in mind the directions for using any system works for most pools, but not all. For example, the directions may say to add two pounds of shock each week and split 3 chlorine sticks between your skimmers. However, if you have an autocover, are swimming rarely, and live in a cooler environment, you may find 2 sticks per week or 1 1/2 pounds of shock are all it takes to keep your chlorine at an acceptable level. Every owner uses their pool differently, and may have to make slight adjustments accordingly.
Now that you know why the chlorine is high, answer this question before treatment: how soon do you want to use it? Unless the chlorine is above 10, it will not damage most equipment or pool surfaces. It is the swimmers you need to be careful for. If you have time to let it come down naturally, remove any chlorine that is feeding into the pool.
- don’t add chlorine sticks
- take out the floater
- turn off your feeder
- turn down your salt chlorine generator
Next, open your cover and let the chlorine gas off naturally. Use of the heater will also use the chlorine up more quickly.
If you are having a party tomorrow or the chlorine is above ten, use Chem-Out for a quick fix. Just be careful not to overdose. You can always add more. For full instructions on how to use Bioguard Chem Out, visit the product page.