Pool Chemical Myths & Misconceptions

Pool chemistry is complicated. There are so many variables to consider, when trying to simultaneously keep balanced and sanitary water, while protecting pool surfaces and swimmers.

That is why myths are common around pool chemical use, or pool chemistry in general. What appears as truth can be false, because as with so many things, Cause doesn’t necessarily equal Correlation!

Today’s post is a curated collection of myths surrounding pool chemistry or pool chemical use. You’ve probably heard of some of these before, and some may challenge your belief system.

  1. A strong chlorine smell is a good way to know the pool is sanitized.

If a pool smells strongly of chlorine – what you smell is combined chlorine, or chloramines. Free, active chlorine has no odor when in the water, but when it combines with nitrogen or ammonia, it becomes a foul smelling irritant. To remove chloramines, and a strong chlorine odor, it is necessary to shock the pool, to a level 10x greater than the level of chloramines, to break apart the combinations.

  1. Chlorine makes the eyes red.

Like smelling a strong chlorine smell, red eyes can be an indication that the pool needs to be shocked, to remove chloramines in the water. Eye redness can also occur from a pool pH level that is significantly higher or lower than the eye pH, which is generally around 7.3. Thirdly, swimming underwater with eyes open for an extended period flushes the eye of tears, resulting in a “dry eye”.

  1. It’s necessary to shock the pool every week.

Shocking the pool is only necessary for 3 reasons, the first of which is to remove chloramines, as described in myth #1. Second reason is to destroy visible algae, and the third reason is to oxidize the water, or kill any pathogens that have managed to escape normal, everyday chlorination. For most people, this works out to once a month being a good interval for shocking, although some low-use pools can go longer.

  1. Test strips are just as accurate as test kits.

Not true! Test strips are very convenient and quick to use for pool water testing, but the results can be vastly different when tested side by side with a liquid drop style test kit. Readings can vary by 20% or more, resulting in inaccurate balancing from adding too little or too much adjustment chemicals. Test kits are OK for a quick test for chlorine or pH, but your pool water is best tested every week or so with a more accurate test kit, like the Taylor K-2005.

  1. All pool chemicals are the same.

A long time ago, 30 years or more – this would have been true, but today chemists have fine tuned pool chemicals to perform better and have less byproducts or unintended reactions. Chlorine in particular can be made more cheaply with poor raw materials or inferior heating, cooling and drying equipment. Water balance adjustment chemicals are not as commonly altered, but can be packaged in lower concentrations or contain impurities.

  1. Green hair is caused by too much chlorine.

Green hair is caused by copper in the water. Dissolved copper can come from heavy use of copper algaecide or from copper pipes or heat exchangers. It will rinse out of the hair with a quick shampoo, but if allowed to dry onto the hair, copper will add a tinge of green to any hair color, but it only becomes noticeable on swimmers with blonde hair.

  1. Dogs or Ducks in the pool won’t affect the pool chemistry.

I can tell you from experience, that regular use of the pool by dogs, or regular visits from ducks or other water fowl can foul your pool water. pH and alkalinity will rise, and all sorts of invisible bacteria enters the pool. Excessively hairy dogs can also clog a pump basket with shedding fur. Ducks also bring in phosphates and dirt, and like to use the pool as a toilet.

  1. Chlorine & Cyanuric acid are components of water balance.

Technically No, although when speaking of water balance, it’s common to group these two to the real components of water balance, which is pH, Alkalinity, Hardness and water temperature. A pool that is in balance will be one that has no propensity for scaling. To really balance your pool water, calculate the Saturation Index, which is easy to do using an online calculator, like this one by King Technology.

  1. Cyanuric Acid works best at 50-100 ppm

Way too high. New information in the last few years has surfaced, regarding the suppressive effect of cyanuric acid (aka conditioner or stabilizer) on free chlorine. One of the ways that cyanuric acid protects chlorine from the sun is to limit its movement or activity. This also hampers it’s ability to sanitize. At extremely high levels approaching 100 ppm, a chlorine-lock phenomenon can occur, where it becomes difficult to build a chlorine residual. Protect your chlorine from the sun, but do it with much less cyanuric acid; maintain the residual in the 20-30 ppm range.

  1. The ideal pH level is 7.5.

I think that this one came about because we often hear that the pH range of 7.2 – 7.8 is appropriate, and 7.5 is exactly in the middle of the range. However, 7.5 is high by many pool operator’s standards. Chlorine is much more active at a level of 7.2 – 7.4, and is still above the 7.0 mark, below which the water becomes acidic and may become aggressive towards pool surfaces and equipment. If it seems like a small movement, keep in mind that pH is a logarithmic scale, and each 1/10 movement in either direction is an increase or decrease of 10x.

  1. It’s OK to swallow pool water, if it’s chlorinated.

Normal levels of chlorine (1-3 ppm) won’t cause any problem if pool water is swallowed. But it’s not the chlorine we are concerned with, it’s the lack thereof – your pool water at any given time is never 100% sanitized. There are always pathogens and contaminants in the water that have yet to be eliminated, especially surrounding swimmers, who may ingest their own body waste, or that of others, if they swallow pool water. Keep your mouth closed while swimming.

  1. It’s OK to test your pool water monthly.

That may be OK for cyanuric acid levels, and maybe for calcium hardness levels, but pH and alkalinity drift more rapidly than that, and should be tested at least weekly, if not every few days. If you are in the habit of taking a water sample to the pool store every 4-6 weeks, you could be damaging your pool surfaces or creating unhealthy water by not testing and adjusting more frequently.

  1. Filtration has nothing to do with water balance and sanitation.

Filtration and circulation does have a profound effect on water balance and sanitation. Keeping the water moving avoids pockets of dissolved solids or pH fluctuation. A good filter can reduce the chlorine demand, by removing small particles from the pool, which reduces the amount of work required of the sanitizer. If you don’t believe me, cut back your filtration time to 8 hours per day, and watch your levels closely.

  1. Clean and clear water is a good sign that the water is healthy.

It is a good sign, but not necessarily accurate. Pool water can be clean and clear but whacked on pH, alkalinity and hardness, or low on chlorine. Bacteria and viruses are invisible, and just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not present in the pool. Alternatively, a pool that is cloudy or hazy, or even green – does not mean that the pool is unhealthy to swim in, but can still be sanitary while turbid.

  1. Pool salt systems are a chlorine-free alternative.

False. Salt systems create chlorine. They are an alternative to chlorine tablets or other forms of packaged chlorine, but a pool salt system is a chlorinator. This myth may come from the idea that the ocean’s saltiness is what keeps the water clean. Some people think that all you need to do is pour salt in a pool and you can go chlorine-free. Add salt without a salt cell, or a small electrolysis machine, and all you have is salty water.


I hope you enjoyed this look at some common misconceptions around pool chemistry. Here’s one more, I’ll be you know this one – there’s no chemical that changes the color of the pool water in the presence of urine. But, you can continue to promote that myth if you want – anything to convince kids not to pee in the pool – which is bad for water balance, and creates chloramines.


Pool Safety Barrier: The Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking about getting a swimming pool built on your backyard, you have one more decision to make: do you need a pool safety barrier or pool fence for it?


Swimming Pool Safety Barrier: Pros

Most pool builders will advise you to build a safety barrier for your pool, regardless of whether your household includes children or not. The pros – according to pool building experts – boil down to three considerations: safety, access and risk reduction.

Safety is the main goal when getting a pool safety barrier for your pool or spa. After all, water can drown members of your household or your guests, regardless of age, height or level of inebriation. A misstep around your pool can be disastrous. A barrier around it is a preventive measure.

When it comes to access, you need to consider that you won’t always be around to watch over young family members, guests or even unwanted intruders. You can’t always be playing lifeguard, making sure everyone’s alright and no one is doing any risky behavior around the pool. Limiting access through your safety barrier is a solution. It limits these possibilities. It also limits your liabilities should the untoward happen.

Risk reduction is always a goal when you have a potentially hazardous addition to your household. This isn’t about overthinking you decision to install a swimming pool or spa. It’s just being real: you will have an accessible pool of water, of considerable depth, at home. There are always risks there, regardless of how careful you and members of your household are. Get a swimming pool fence and reduce these risks.

Swimming Pool Safety Barrier: Cons

The only con on the list is the cost. You can expect to spend at least $1,000 on a pool fence. Variations on your spending depends on the materials used and your pool builder. You can choose from aluminum, steel, glass and PVC/Vinyl fencing.

A DIY installation pool fence is an option when you want to save on cost. However, many pool builders will dissuade you from doing so. After all, you’ve come this far in putting together your dream pool. Why choose a safety barrier that isn’t put up by experts, and may look lopsided and can even be compromised when it come to stability and reliability?

Pool Building Tips to Remember

Remember that a pool safety barrier is an important investment. So, when you can, get the best one for your pool. According to the International Code Council (I.C.C.), a pool fence should be at least 48 inches tall, with picket spacing that’s less than 4 inches and a self-latching gate. For more of the required standards, please check this out: http://apsp.org/standards.aspx

You might think of just installing a pool cover as an alternative to a pool fence. You need a pool cover, yes. But this is not an alternative to a pool fence. A cover is not made to withstand the weight of a typical adult.



Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Summer is just around the corner and that means the season for swimming is almost here! While this is a fun and popular recreational sport, it is important to do so safely. Before heading to the beach or the pool, be sure to follow these important swimming safety tips. This will ensure a safe swimming experience for all.

  • Only swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards. (If swimming in a pool at home, make sure children are supervised by adults at all times.)
  • Always swim with another person. Never swim alone.
  • Always supervise children whenever they are near water. Never leave a child unattended and make sure all supervising adults are not distracted.
  • Make sure all young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Remember, however, that these alone are not life-saving devices.
  • Teach everyone in your family how to swim and make sure they can do so independently.
  • Make sure home pools have a safety barrier around them to prevent young children from wandering into the pool.
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen and avoid long exposure to the sun during hours of direct sunlight.
  • Avoid running around the pool to avoid injury from slipping.
  •  Avoid eating food or drinking alcohol when swimming.
  • Never dive into water without knowing its depth. (Look for depth markers in a pool)
  • Avoid horseplay in the water. Someone could really get hurt.
  • Never swim during a storm.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Make sure there is always an adult close by that knows CPR and first-aid.

Swimming can be a wonderful and relaxing activity on a hot summer day. However, it can also be a real danger. Every year, drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death in children under 14. Even people that know how to swim can drown, so it is important to always follow these safety rules before jumping in the water. Summer is a time for play, laughter, and relaxation. Help ensure a fun and safe summer by obeying safety rules around the water.


5 Health Benefits of Swimming

Similar to common aerobic activities like jogging, walking and biking, swimming has huge health benefits. What’s more, swimming works your whole body from your core to your legs and arms. This torches calories and engages a variety of important muscles; an easy swim can easily burn up to 500 calories. You can look forward to all that and more if you make swimming a regular part of your healthy life.

Low Impact

Unlike running, swimming is easy on your body. With what is essentially neutral gravity, your body becomes nearly weightless. When you’re not pounding the pavement your body is able to stay aligned and strong. So, if you love swimming, you can do it every day; all gain and almost no pain.

Improved Endurance

Improve or build your endurance without ever hopping on a bike or putting on a running shoe. “In one study of sedentary middle-aged men and women who did swim training for 12 weeks, maximal oxygen consumption improved 10% and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat which indicates heart strength) improved as much as 18%,” according to WebMD.com.

More Family Time

The best part about swimming: the whole family can swim together. If you have a pool outback, make it a tradition to swim every Saturday morning in the summer—if you’re in a warmer climate you can make this a year-round affair. Follow your swim with a big family breakfast for a great start to your day.

More Group Workout Options

If you don’t like working out alone, join in a group water aerobics class or invite some friends over to workout at your house. And you don’t just have to swim laps; there are a number of exercises you can do in the water that build muscle strength. Try leg kicks, underwater walking and pool-side crunches to give your body something new to do.


A run is a run and a bike ride is a bike ride. But in the pool you can try a variety of stroke and swimming techniques to activate new muscles and improve your overall body strength. Try a mix of backstroke, which improves your posture, and breaststroke, which strengthens your hips and inner thighs. Other swimming techniques include the butterfly, freestyle, side stroke and more.


With a pool in your backyard you have something better than a gym. You can get a full body workout, with no harmful impact to your knees or hips, in a short 30 minute period.


Common Swimming Pool Maintenance Mistakes

As a pool owner, it’s critical that you maintain your pool throughout the year, especially if it’s open year-round. However, many pool owners fall prey to the same, easy-to-make mistakes, which results in damage to the pool, equipment and safety of your water. Avoid these four common swimming pool maintenance mistakes this season.

Draining the Water

Do not drain more than one-third of the water from the pool. Draining a vinyl liner swimming pool can cause the liner to dry out or shrink.  This would cause far more headaches than solutions and typically results in needing to replace the liner. Draining your vinyl liner pool may seem like a good idea when opening it for the summer, however, you can do all the cleaning and maintenance necessary with the water still inside.

Not Monitoring throughout the Season

So you took all the necessary steps to prep your pool for summer, but you haven’t tested your water in 2 months. Unfortunately, water testing is an integral part of pool maintenance and must be done at least once a week; if your pool is used nearly every day, you should check the water twice a week. You may need to add more chlorine and balance out the pH, among other things that could be specific to your pool. Keeping your pool water maintained with regular water tests will ensure clean, clear water all season long.

Turning off Your Pump

When there is no water flowing in your pool (your pump is off), the pool can become a breeding ground for bacteria growth.  When your pump is running and water is flowing, your filter is able to do its job and water is not allowed to settle which helps keep bacteria from growing.  Sunlight assists bacteria in growing, so especially in the hot summer sun, it is very important to keep the water flowing to ensure bacteria does not have a chance to grow.

If you want to save money where you can, leave the pump on for 7 to 8 hours per day (during the daytime) and closely monitor the water to be sure bacteria isn’t growing and that water levels are remaining the same. If there are issues with imbalances, return to a 24-hour pump schedule to be sure the water stays clean.

Ignoring Your Filter

You must keep your filter clean throughout the pool season.  Frequency of cleaning will vary depending on the filter type, amount of pool use, and the number of contaminates in the area.  A good rule of thumb is to clean/backwash the filter when the gauge on the filter rises about 10 PSI more than what it was when it was clean.  Different types of filters will have different PSI reading when they are clean of any debris.  Be sure to note what your filter’s “clean” PSI reading is so that you can clean/backwash the filter at the appropriate time.


How Swimming Can Help with Injuries

Woman Swimming

Swimming is the second most popular sport in the United States, and for good reason! The benefits of swimming and its positive effect on your health are countless. Some of these benefits include weight loss, decreased risk of heart disease, improved strength and flexibility, and even its ability to act as a mood enhancer. With all of these great benefits, it’s no wonder swimming is commonly used as a source of rehabilitation for many injuries. It is often used to treat patients suffering from arthritis, back injuries, knee injuries, and those suffering from chronic pain.

If you suffer from arthritis or other chronic pain, swimming can be a great exercise because it provides resistance to make your muscles work harder, but it is gentle on your joints. Also, you are more buoyant in water which allows you to move stiff joints more easily. In addition, this buoyancy allows your body to move more freely and work muscles in a different way. Since the water supports the weight of your body, you can get an aerobic workout with very low impact on your joints.

Swimming can also be used to relieve back injuries as well. Unlike running or other types of aerobic exercise, there is almost no impact on your spine while swimming. As a result, you can work the muscles in your back without putting a great deal of strain on the area. Swimming provides a great way to work your core muscles which will help to relieve some of the pressure on your back. In much the same way, swimming can be used to treat knee injuries as well. Again, the low impact on your joints makes swimming ideal for those with knee pain.

Pool therapy is highly recommended for a variety of different injuries. It can help to strengthen and improve your muscles with little or no pressure on your body. Whether you are looking for a way to rehabilitate after an injury or to provide relief for osteoarthritis, swimming can be very beneficial. Unlike other forms of exercise, swimming can be done well into your senior years. This makes it an ideal form of therapy for patients of any age. Not only is swimming ideal for rehabilitation, but it is also an excellent way to keep your body in shape at any time. Swimming is an excellent sport that can provide numerous benefits for you and you health!


Pool Leak??


How do I test for a leak in my pool?

Spring is officially here and the temperatures are warming up. Summer months are right around the corner. Normal evaporation during the summer months is typically less than ½” per day. Anything more than ½” per day may indicate a leak. Your pool will experience a larger amount of evaporation if it has a vanishing edge or has a large water feature. Pool water evaporation increases with the number of water features on your pool, as well as, the frequency of operation of your water features. Also, the pool may require more water during times of heavy use.

We recommend that you perform a bucket test if you think your pool is leaking.


1) Turn off the auto-fill if you have one.

2) Place a white plastic bucket on the 1st or 2nd step of the pool entry.

3) Mark the side of the bucket with a sharpie as close to the water as possible without touching the water.

4) Remove bucket and fill with water from a garden hose to the mark on the side of the bucket.

5) Put the bucket back on the same step in the pool (now both water inside and outside bucket should be the same).

6) Turn the pump off and leave it off for 24 hrs.

7) Measure from the line on the outside of the bucket to the water level in pool.

8) Measure from the mark to the water line on side of bucket.

9) Record measurements.

10) Perform the same test while the pump is running for 24hrs. If the measurements are the same or similar there is not a leak. If the measurement on the outside of the bucket is greater than the measurement inside the bucket then it is possible there is a leak.


Call Water Savers Co service team with your results. We are here to serve you!


Myth & Fact


When I smell the strong odor of pool chemicals, it means the swimming pool water is very clean.
The heavy chemical odor is not from chlorine. It means that unhealthy chloramines have formed in the water, created from the mix of chlorine and contaminants. Chloramines are not as effective in disinfecting swimming pool water. A well-maintained pool has little odor.

Water Savers Co.

16570 Aston Irvine, CA 92606

(949) 955-1233


5 Ways to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean and Shimmering

Avoid the dreaded realization that your pool has been affected with algae or the chemical levels are all out whack with proper maintenance. Here are five ways to keep your pool clean all season long.

  1. Use Prevention Products

With a few products you can prevent problems from starting in the first place. Keep these in your pool-cleaning bin so they’re always on hand when you need to clean.

Water clarifier: If you notice the water getting cloudy, use this product. It helps bind small particles to large ones, which are easier for your filter to handle. Follow the directions closely, as too high of a dose can actually worsen the problem.

Filter cleaner: At least twice a season, clean your filters. When you remove oily film and dirt your filter works more effectively.

Floc: These products help weigh bacteria and debris down so they’ll sink to the bottom. Once there, it’s easier for you to clean with a quick run of your pool vacuum.

  1. Clean it Weekly

Sometimes it can feel like keeping your pool clean is a chore not worth the time. However, if you can set aside an hour or two every week, and build it into your evening or weekend routine, a weekly clean doesn’t seem so bad. From cleaning the pool cover to sampling the water, don’t miss a single step.

  1. Keep it Balanced

Get into a habit of testing and balancing your pool water in specific increments.

Check pH levels daily, and balance the pool as needed. Your pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Any higher and the chlorine stops working, which makes the water more susceptible to algae. If the levels are too high, restore them with a dose of sodium ash, or sodium carbonate. Add this as is directed by the manufacturer.

Once a week, or every other week, check for total alkalinity (TA). When in a normal range, the TA helps stabilize the pH and prevents rapid changes in pH levels.

  1. Chlorinate

Chlorine is a critical component in pool maintenance. The first step in chlorinating your pool is choosing the type of chlorine you want to use. You can choose from tabs, liquid and granules. Liquid chlorine has a shorter shelf life than other forms, while the granules can shock, chlorinate and kill algae at one time. Follow the manufacturer directions for how to use the product most effectively.

  1. Perform Monthly Tests

Once a month, run a few tests on your pool to be sure your weekly methods are working and that your pool is safe for swimming. When you do, check for:

Calcium hardness

Filter cleanliness; these should only need to be cleaned every 2 to 4 months

Liner cleanliness; wipe down the sides and then vacuum to remove any particles


Basic pool maintenance ensures that your pool stays clean all season long. Use these five methods to avoid algae growth and cloudy water.