Ten Chemical FAQ

How often should I get my pool water professionally tested?

You should test your pool water at least once a week at home, with a quality test kit or test strips.  However, a “PROFESSIONAL” testing station, like we have at Aqua Pool in East Windsor, is much more thorough and uses software to analyze the tests and how each chemical addition affects the others. This should be done ONCE A MONTH and about two weeks before winterizing the pool. We recognize that people are busy or not near our facility.   We recommend that if you know you are heading to an area near us, grab a pool water sample so that you can have it tested in our store.  There is no harm in testing frequently.


What do these chemicals do?

While some chemicals like algaecide are very clear in what they do, the chemicals that most water tests check for are far less clear in what they are.  Here is how each chemical works to keep your pool running the best it possibly can:

  • Chlorine Tablets: Sanitizes your pool, killing bacteria, small bits of organic matter.
  • Chlorine Shock: Same as tablets, but also oxidizes water, keeping the water clean and clear.
  • Cyanuric acid/stabilizer: Supports chlorine, allows the water to hold more of it for longer and use it more effectively.  Especially helps with protecting chlorine from the sun degradation.
  • pH: This is the acidity or alkaline level of your pool, a measurement present for any liquid.  This is one of the most important things to balance in your pool as being unbalanced can cause eye burning, skin irritation, and prevention of other chemicals from working properly.  On top of this, it causes scaling, roughness, and corrosion of pool equipment, especially heaters, when out of range. When not “balanced”, pH can cause many issues.
  • Alkalinity: Supports pH, helps prevent “pH bounce” which causes other chemicals to not work properly as well as erosion of interior finishes and mechanical equipment.
  • Calcium: Protects pool surfaces, equipment, etc. from damage over time from the other chemicals, extending their lifespan.  Also works to prevent scale build up.
  • Salt: Used to produce chlorine in salt pools.


What are phosphates?  How do I get them?  Can I prevent them?

Of all things that get in your pool, phosphates are what you have the least control over.  Phosphates are small organic matter, or organic byproducts that get into your pool.  Phosphates can get into your pool from fertilizer in the gardens (you or even a neighbor), pets swimming in your pool, pollen, bugs, planes flying overhead, dirt getting into the pool, or even your own body.  It is also used by municipal water companies (helps with corrosion of water pipes) so we inadvertently add it when adding water to our pools. While we can’t prevent them getting into the pool, for some this won’t cause any water chemistry problems.  For others, it can be a battle to lower the phosphate levels and hold chlorine.  Phosphates can cause your chlorine to drop significantly and can cause cloudiness or discoloration in the pool water.  Adding phosphate remover can help lower phosphate levels and allow your chlorine to function properly.  If you frequently have phosphate problems, you should consider purchasing phosphate remover to add weekly maintenance doses to treat the phosphates before they become an issue.

How often should I add chemicals to my pool?

Most chemicals should be added only as needed to balance the water after having it tested.  However, there are some chemicals you should add regularly to the pool.  If you do not have a salt pool, make sure you are keeping track of the chlorine tabs in your pool.  You should have one or two tabs per 10,000 gallons of water in the pool (warmer weather, more sunlight = more chlorine needed).  These can be put in the skimmer, a floater, or an automatic chlorinator if you have one.  If you do have a salt pool, you should still use tabs before your salt startup each year to keep chlorine levels at the proper levels.

If you find that you regularly have issues with algae, phosphates, or cloudiness, consider purchasing and adding weekly maintenance doses of algaecide, phosphate remover, or clarifier per bottle instructions.  These should help manage these issues with your pool, and proactively address them before they become larger problems.


Why should I buy chemicals at Aqua Pool instead of somewhere like Costco or BJs?

The way that some stores can offer low prices for high quantities of pool chemicals is by sacrificing quality.  Many of these chemicals are not pool grade, have compositions that aren’t best for pools, or are simply not as potent as chemicals you would purchase in our store.  On top of that, these are often left up for long periods of time without the stock being rotated out, causing them to lose potency due to age.  We regularly rotate out chemicals at Aqua Pool to prevent this very issue.  Using our chemicals guarantees that you are getting quality chemicals every time, and it means we know exactly what is going into the pool whenever you experience chemical issues.


How should I transport pool chemicals?

Generally, when transporting chemicals there are three major things to keep in mind:

First, ensure that you minimize the chance of spilling chemicals in your vehicle.  You want to keep chemicals upright and supported.  It is best to put them in a place where they can’t move or tip over when driving.

Second, keep in mind that some chemicals have vented caps, and you don’t want them sitting in the car for too long or tipping over.  Chemicals with vented caps include liquid shock, liquid stabilizer, and muriatic acid.  Take extra care to make sure that these chemicals won’t fall over when driving and consider your schedule before making your purchase.  If you make stopping at the pool store your first in a string of all day errands, it’s best to come back another time for chemicals like this or make a quick stop back at the house before continuing.  You don’t want to breathe in any fumes from these chemicals.

Third, always check for signs of leaking chemicals before putting them in the car.  If a chemical like chlorine or muriatic acid leaks in your vehicle, they can cause significant damage.  Muriatic acid will corrode your vehicle, and chlorine will bleach anything it touches, so be very careful to ensure that what you put in your vehicle isn’t leaking.  If you notice leaking chemicals in our store, let one of us know so that we may safely dispose of them.

How do I add chemicals to my pool?

Most chemicals can be poured directly into the deep end of your pool with the pool running, however there are some like calcium that have special ways of being added.  We will instruct you on how to add each chemical when we give you the results of your water test; We will also write them down for you on your result sheet.  If you forget or lose the results, you can always double check the chemical container or call the store, and we will be happy to go over previous results and how you should balance the pool.

While some chemicals can be added to the pool at the same time, these are rare cases that you are unlikely to encounter.  Unless we instruct you to do otherwise, we recommend giving the pool 2-4 hours to run before adding other chemicals.


How long should I wait to swim after adding chemicals to my pool?

The general rule for most chemicals would be to wait 3-4 hours after adding them to swim, but there are some that may take more time before you can swim.  When you have your water tested by us, we will go over how long you should run the pool before you swim.  If you want to swim at a certain point, you can always ask us to work out a plan to add the chemicals in a way that works best for your schedule.


How should I store pool chemicals?

When storing chemicals, there are a few rules that you want to follow.

Rule number one is to never store liquids above powders or solids.  If the liquids leak onto the powders, those chemicals become unusable and can create an unstable chemical reaction.  It is better to store powders above liquids if necessary, or to not store chemicals on top of one another if possible.

Rule number two would be to not store shock and muriatic acid right next to each other.  While these don’t need to be stored on opposite sides of your shed or garage, it is best to not have them directly next to each other as muriatic acid and chlorine can create an unwanted chemical reaction.  Consider separating them by another chemical such as salt or a bucket of alkalinity.

Rule number three is that you shouldn’t store chemicals directly inside your home.  Between vented caps letting out chemical fumes and the risk of causing corrosion, storing directly inside your home is a bad idea.  We recommend storing chemicals in an area that is vented, away from items prone to oxidation or corrosion, and protected from the elements.  Great places to store these include a shed or deck box.


I only added the chemicals I was told to, and my pool is cloudy, why is this?

Some chemicals may make your pool temporarily cloudy; this is perfectly normal.  One common example of this is phosphate remover, which clumps up phosphates so they may be filtered.  This frequently causes white clumps that look like toilet paper or cloudiness, which should remedy itself once the pool has run the full 24-hour course and the filters are cleaned.  If you follow the steps we give you after testing the water and the pool is still cloudy, feel free to call us and talk it over and we will be happy to find the cause of the cloudiness and help you resolve it as soon as possible.

*Check the pH. Often we balance the water, or shock a pool, as per the analysis recommendations, and some of those chemicals (chlorine shock in particular) will raise the pH. Once the pool is balanced it is not uncommon for the pH to be high and by simply lowering it, the pool will clear up.