Spring Pool Opening Chemical Guide
Spring Pool Opening Chemical Guide
What Pool Opening Chemicals Do I Need?
Swimming pools require balanced water, to prevent stains and corrosion, and to keep chlorine and algaecides working at peak power. Use new test kit reagents or test strips each year, and balance your pool water first, before adding your pool opening chemicals.
To balance your pool water, start by testing your pool water with a Complete DPD test kit, or 7-way pool test strips. Full featured pool water test kits like the Taylor K-2005 shown here, will test for pH, Chlorine, Alkalinity, Calcium and Cyanuric Acid levels. Smaller kits test for just pH and Chlorine.
Pool water balance chemicals, for any pool type include:
- pH Increaser and/or pH Reducer
- Total Alkalinity Increaser
- Calcium Hardness Increaser
- Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer/Conditioner)
Pool pH chemicals like pH Increaser and pH Reducer, are used to adjust pH to the 7.2-7.4 range. Closely related to pH is Alkalinity, which should test in the 80-120 ppm range. Add Alkalinity Increaser to raise and pH Reducer to lower Alkaline levels in the pool. If your pool water tests below 180 ppm, add Calcium Hardness Increaser to raise the level. Cyanuric Acid, also called Stabilizer, protects chlorine from the sun. The recommended range is 30-50 ppm, add 1 lb. of CYA per 10,000 gallons, to increase the level by 10 ppm.
Pool startup chemicals, for any pool type include:
- Pool Clarifier and Stain Preventer
- Pool Shock and Algaecide
- Pool Chlorine Tablets
Our spring pool opening Start-Up Kits contain all of the above, except for the chlorine tablets. Choose a kit based on your pool size to get the four most used pool startup chemicals at a reduced price.
Start Up Chemical Kits include a Stain, Scale and Rust preventer, a concentrated Clarifier, chlorine shock, Algaecide and an oil absorbing Sun Sorb sponge for your skimmer. For larger pools up to 35,000 gallons, the Ultimate Pool Startup Kit includes all of the above, plus Natural Chemistry's Metal Free and Pool Magic Spring & Fall, and a trial pack of EZ Pods.
What Opening Chemicals Do I Really Need?
Pool water balance chemicals to adjust your pool pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid levels as needed, should not be considered optional. Protect your pool surfaces and equipment, and ensure proper sanitation from your chlorine, by testing and adding adjustment when needed.
Aside from that, if you are not concerned about staining, and if your filter is very large and effective, you may be able to skip adding the Clarifier and Stain chemical, and go directly to shocking the pool (after balancing the pH, Alk, Ca and Cya).
If you have never had a bout with algae, you may also skip the final step of adding pool algaecide a few days or a few weeks after adding your pool startup shock. However, algaecide can be a cheap insurance policy against summer storms, hot weather, equipment problems or operator errors that cause the chlorine level to dip. In the absence of chlorine, algae begins to grow in a matter of hours.
For a bare minimum pool start-up chemical treatment, test, balance and shock the pool with granular chlorine. Thereafter, most pool owners use chlorine tablets to maintain a constant chlorine level, shock the pool every 3-4 weeks.
For a bare minimum pool water testing schedule:
- pH and Chlorine - Twice Weekly
- Total Alkalinity - Twice Monthly
- Calcium & Cyanuric - Twice Annually
Test your pool pH and chlorine twice per week, to be sure chlorine levels stay in the 1-3 ppm range as the water temperature rises, and adjust the pool pH as needed to keep it in the 7.2 - 7.6 range. In most cases, the other levels tend to be more steady, or move more slowly.
How Much Pool Shock is Needed to Open a Pool?
SPP spring pool chemical kits include up to 4 lbs of Calcium Hypochlorite pool shock, but you may need more. In a clear and clean pool, the standard pool shock treatment of 1 lb. per 10,000 gallons is usually sufficient. For pools with visible algae or debris, additional pool shock is recommended, keep adding until the water turns a blue-gray color, without any green hue or tint.
- Blue and Clear - 1 lb per 10,000 gal.
- Blue and Cloudy - 1 lb per 8,000 gal.
- Light Green w/ 36" visibility - 1 lb per 6,000 gal.
- Med. Green w/ 24" visibility - 1 lb per 4,000 gal.
- Dark Green w/ 12" visibility - 1 lb per 2,000 gal.
- Very Dark Green w/ no visibility - Drain & Refill
pH levels strongly affect the power of pool shock. At pH levels of 8.2 - 80% of your chlorine killing power is suppressed. Before shocking a pool, adjust pH level to around 7.2, for greatest effect. Also check that your cyanuric acid level is at least 30 ppm before shocking, to protect it from the sun.
Dirty swimming pools filled with leaves, sticks, frogs etc.; any organic matter also consumes your chlorine shock, and can stain pool surfaces. If possible, clean the pool to remove large debris before shocking a pool.
Test your chlorine level 8-12 hours after shocking, if the chlorine level has dropped to zero, shock the pool again, but with a higher dose (more shock). When the chlorine level stays measurable for over 24 hours, you have successfully oxidized the pool water. Hit it hard the first time, and you may not have to repeat the shock treatment.
What Order to Add Pool Startup Chemicals?
The order that you add your spring start up chemicals is important! And the timing is also important, you need several days to add pool start up chemicals, so they don't interfere with each other. Pool shock destroys or disrupts many other pool opening chemicals, so it must be added separately.
DAY 1: Stain Away and Clarifier: After removing the pool cover, pulling plugs and starting up the filter system, the very first thing is to test and balance the pool water. Add any pool pH, Alkalinity, Calcium or Cyanuric Acid needed, and allow a few hours of circulation for the adjustment to take effect. Test again, and when water balance levels are good, add your Stain Away, a stain, rust and scale preventer, followed by a dose of pool Clarifier. Allow these chemicals 8-12 hours to work before shocking the pool.
DAY 2: Shock the Pool: After a day of filtering, empty the skimmer and pump baskets, and backwash or clean the filter if necessary. Check your pH level again, and be sure it's on the low side, around 7.2. Shock the pool by adding 1 lb to 5 lbs of granular chlorine shock per 10,000 gallons, depending on the condition of the water (see above). Vinyl pools should always pre-dissolve chlorine pool shock into a bucket filled with water, before pouring the solution around the pool edge.
DAY 3: Algaecide: Check that your chlorine level is below 3 ppm before adding algaecide. High chlorine levels can destroy pool algaecides, so wait until the level drops to normal ranges before adding an initial dose of summer algaecide. Algaecide is not used to Kill Algae, that is done by the pool shock chlorine, algaecide is used to control algae and prevent future outbreaks.
Summer Pool Chemicals
After you get the pool cover off the pool and safely stored for summer, and after you've added your water balance chemicals and spring pool startup chemicals, what else do you need?
Primarily you need a means to continuously chlorinate the pool. For most pool owners, from small Intex pools to sprawling inground pools, this is done by using slow dissolving 3 inch chlorine tablets, also known as Trichlor tabs, or in some regions, chlorine pucks. You can also buy 1 inch tabs and chlorine sticks, same stuff in a different shape and size.
How Many Chlorine Tablets Do I Need for a Season?
Most above ground pools need a 25 lb bucket of 3" chlorine tablets, while inground pools are usually better off with the 50 lb bucket. Small Intex pools can usually make it through summer with a 10 lb bucket of tablets.
In most cases, the average pool will use 2 or 3 chlorine tablets per week, per 10,000 gallons of pool water. You can do the math for your pool size to estimate overall chlorine consumption for an entire pool season.
- 10 lb Buckets hold 23 tablets
- 25 lb Buckets hold 57 tablets
- 50 lb Buckets hold 114 tablets
Chlorine tablets are best dissolved in an automatic tablet feeder or chlorinator, installed on the pool return line pipe. Also available are chlorine floaters, or floating chlorinators, however these can drop bits of chlorine or come to rest on a step, which can stain or damage pool surfaces. You should not put chlorine tablets in the skimmer basket, which can damage pipes and equipment over time.
How Much Pool Shock Do I Need for a Season?
Most pools should have a 12-pack, or 12 lbs of pool shock on hand, to use for summer super chlorination, shocking or algae treatment. Larger pools may want to buy the 24-pack, while smaller pools can use the 6-pack of pool shock. We also have bulk pool shock in buckets, not individually wrapped in 1 lb bags, which many people prefer to use.
Shocking the pool weekly is not necessary in most cases. If the pool is not over-used, and stays clean and algae-free, a monthly shock treatment is fine, to remove accumulated chloramines and kill any bacteria or viruses that may have escaped normal treatment.
For a shock treatment for pools that are clean and clear, use 1 lb per 10,000 gallons of pool water. For cloudy water, contaminated water or for algae treatment, more pool shock is needed to achieve the desired result.
Pool shock is also useful to have on hand for cloudy water or algae blooms, and if your pump or filter should develop problems, salt cells and automatic chlorinators stop working. In such cases, you can keep the water chlorinated by adding granular chlorine directly to the pool; using a brush to help circulate the chemical.
Summer Pool Chemical Value Packs
We've bundled up the most common sanitizer and pool care chemicals into 5 different packages, based on pool size. Included is a bucket of 3 inch Tablets, a box of Shock, Stain Away, Clarifier and a trial pouch of EZ Pods. Everything you need for the entire season in one kit, with exception to a water test kit and water balancing chemicals.
We have summer pool chemical kits with 10, 25, 35, 50 and 75 lb buckets of chlorine, so no matter what size pool you have, we have you covered! And, to make our pool season chemical bundles even easier to buy, we've lowered the price, saving you up to 30% over buying the chemicals separately.