How to Lower Chlorine Levels in Pools

Everyone’s favorite part about summer is swimming. It is a relaxing feeling to be able to enjoy your weekends floating about and feeling the cool water surround your body. If you have a pool at home, it’s even better. Unfortunately, the sacrifice you make as a pool owner is spending a decent amount of your time maintaining it.

There is a constant set of responsibilities you must do to keep the pool in its best condition for swimming. Having an unmaintained pool is a great way to expose your pool party guests to harmful bacteria, which can lead to skin irritation or worse.

Chlorine is the chemical that is used in a pool to keep it clean. The level of chlorine always needs to be under your complete control. However, sometimes, circumstances happen, and the chlorine level gets too high. If this has happened to you, it is time to do what is necessary to lower the chlorine, especially if you plan on swimming soon.

aerial pool view

Why Chlorine in Your Pool Is Important

You may know of chlorine as the round tablets you put in your pool every week, but do you really understand why it is so vital to have chlorine in your pool in the first place?

To have a full understanding of why chlorine is important, you first need to learn what chlorine is and how it affects your pool water chemically. When you add chlorine to your pool, it reacts with the water and breaks up into hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion.

These chemicals take immediate action by attacking bacteria and microorganisms, rendering them harmless. They also sanitize your pool water and keep other unwanted bacteria and algae away. Because of this, a pool owner needs to add chlorine regularly to keep the water clean and safe for swimming.

Another important fact is that chlorine has a direct relationship with the pH level. An inaccurate pH level can prevent the chlorine from doing its job. On the other hand, if too much chlorine is present, the pH level will decrease, creating even more problems.

round pool aerial view

Always remember to check both during your regular pool maintenance and take any necessary actions needed to keep the pool in good condition. Otherwise, algae and bacteria will thrive, and your pool will start to look like a swamp.

Causes of a High Chlorine Level in Pool

The reason for high chlorine is simple: you added too much. You may not notice it right away, but once most or all of the chlorine tablets dissolve in the water, the chlorine level will increase dramatically. If you are regularly checking the chlorine level of your pool, you should notice the increase soon after it happens. In which case, you would have to decide how you want to go about lowering it.

Another possible reason why the chlorine in your pool has increased is because of the recent use of pool shock. Pool shock is for getting rid of algae using a quick but strong dose of chlorine. Usually, pool shock only slightly moves the chlorine level above normal since the level was low before using the shock.

But, if you used the pool shock when you didn’t need to, or you used it right as an algal bloom was in the beginning stages (aka your pool was just barely green), the chlorine level could’ve risen too high.

If that is the case for you, wait at least a few hours up to a day before attempting to lower the chlorine level so that it can do its job at killing algae and bacteria that is lingering.

Remember: if your pool smells like chlorine, this does not mean it has a high level of chlorine! When a pool is not taken care of properly, bacteria and organic materials that enter the pool from swimmers form into something called Chloramines, which produce a chlorine-like smell. If you noticed this smell coming from your pool, check the chlorine level; it most likely is low, not high.

Keep reading for further information on how to lower chlorine levels in pools.

Is a High Chlorine Level in Pools Dangerous?

A high level of chlorine in a pool is not going to harm or seriously injure you. However, it is likely to cause skin irritation and breathing problems if the level is very high. It can be dangerous for people who have asthma.

How to Lower Chlorine in Pools

Lowering the chlorine in your pool may take a bit of time. You have two options for routes to take for reducing the chlorine:

  1. Drain and dilute
  2. Use a chlorine neutralizer

Drain and Dilute

If you have no desire of going to the store or are unable to at the moment, you can drain water from your pool and then refill it for a dilution effect. Do not drain your entire pool! This will result in the removal of all the chlorine! You shouldn’t have to drain even half; you only need to let out about a fourth of the water before refilling; it doesn’t take much to dilute the chlorine.

Chlorine Neutralizer

Chlorine neutralizers work faster and use up less of your time compared to what you would spend draining your pool. A chlorine neutralizer is sodium thiosulfate, which cancels out the chlorine and neutralizes it. It takes just a small amount to balance out the chlorine level of an entire pool. Read the instructions on the container carefully, so that you don’t overcompensate for the high chlorine.

In The Swim Chlorine Neutralizer

in the swim chlorine neutralizer

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Remember Regular Chlorine Testing!

If the method you chose to use for reducing the chlorine in your pool worked only partially, you could let the pool sit for a few days, and the sun will do the rest of the work for you.

Once the chlorine level is back in its rightful place, continue your pool maintenance like you usually would and don’t let the chlorine get too low otherwise you will have a more significant issue arise with the growth of algae.

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