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Our APi tech department gets several calls asking about CHLORINE LOCK, what the heck is it? And how do I fix it? Usually, chlorine lock is caused by one of two things. One being a stabilizer level of over 100ppm, and the other being a high combined chlorine level (over 1ppm), causing a strong chlorine smell, and possibly green or cloudy water that doesn’t change after shocking. As we have discussed in earlier RICK’s REMEDIES, stabilizer is the suntan lotion for your chlorine that protects your chlorine from UV rays and is a necessary component of balance. Unfortunately, many things you add to your pool contain high levels of stabilizer, and you are often unknowingly raising the stabilizer level too high, causing over stabilization, or CHLORINE LOCK. The main culprits are Trichlor tablets or Dichlor granules. Trichlor may be as much as 40% stabilizer! And DiChlor follows closely behind.



Unfortunately, the most economical way to reduce stabilizer is to drain off water! You may have to drain off as much as 1/3 of your pool water to get the level below 55ppm. This will take the handcuffs off of your chlorine and let it get back to work.


If your stabilizer is under 55ppm you don’t have a chlorine lock, you just have high combined chlorine. If this is the case (which it often is!) you need to shock your pool and reach break point chlorination to remove the smelly combined chlorine. As we discussed earlier in RICK’s REMEDIES break point is achieved by super chlorinating the pool to 10 times the calculated combined chlorine. Remember TC-FC=CC.

Here is an example! Using the formula above we calculate a combined chlorine of 5ppm. If your pool is 10,000 gallons. To remove the combined chlorine, you must reach 50ppm of chlorine for a short period of time. 49ppm will not work and will make the problem worse, so always error on the high side!

So, what are your options to reach 50ppm of chlorine in 10k gallons?

5# 73% calcium hypochlorite

10# dichlor (remember this will also raise stabilizer)

5 gallons of liquid pool shock

Each of these options will reach breakpoint!


Another alternative is to use a non-chlorine shock! These products will remove combined chlorine without reaching breakpoint. Although there is no rule of thumb, you can apply and test repeatedly until you reach the desired reading of combined chlorine of less than 1 ppm.

Ricks Rule Of thumb:

Did you know EZ-POOL, PEPPER! And EZ SPA all contain Non chlorine Shock?

Testing Pool Water

The Truth About Alkalinity-The Soother

Recently our Customer Experience Team has been getting several inquiries regarding pH drift. Of course, our first question is “what is your alkalinity reading”? As we have discussed in previous editions of Rick’s Remedies alkalinity “sooths” pH to keep it from going all over the place! When we ask this question, the answer is typically, “well, it is right in range between 80-120””… perfect right? No, not always!  What we measure is Total Alkalinity with our test kits. Total alkalinity is the sum of Cyanurate Alkalinity and Carbonate Alkalinity. High stabilizer levels (The Protector) can affect our Carbonate Alkalinity which we can refer to as “Adjusted Alkalinity”.   

Ricks rule of Thumb: for every 100ppm of stabilizer deduct 30ppm of alkalinity from your alkalinity reading on your test strip.

Here’s a quick example:

Measured alkalinity 120 ppm

Measured Stabilizer 200 ppm

Adjusted alkalinity = 120-60

As you can see in this example Adjusted Alkalinity is 60 ppm, this puts us out of the recommended alkalinity range of 80 ppm-120 ppm, which can make our pH difficult to control.

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • High stabilizer levels are caused by stabilized sanitizers such as Trichlor (3 inch tabs) or Dichlor (granular shock from big box stores) to reduce the amounts of stabilizer introduced to your pool consider liquid shock or calhypo shock.
  • Read your test strip instructions to make sure you are letting them process the correct amount of time before doing your visual reading.
  • Make sure your test strips are stored in a cool place
  • Check the expiration date on your strips to make sure they are fresh

Enjoy your pool!

Rick’s Remedies – Oxidizer: The Helper

In our last discussion we discussed Chlorine, “The Cleanser”.  Sanitizers, such as chlorine and bromine are necessary for all pool water, but the job we ask them to do is heavy.  While they are busy killing viruses, bacteria and organics, some tasks may slip through the cracks. This is where oxidizers come into play and fulfill their role as “The Helper”.  Although sanitizers may be considered oxidizers, there are other products that specialize in oxidation. To put is simply (which is what Ricks Remedies is all about) oxidizers remove the bodies or debris left after chlorine has inactivated it. A good example is algae. Once its dead, it is no longer green, however the leftover particulate remains in the water.  This particulate must be broken down into its base materials to be filtered or evaporated from your pool. An appropriate dose of an oxidizer will rid the water of that cloudy flat look, and make it sparkle like a diamond!   Another advantage of the most common oxidizer, potassium monopersulfate, also known as nonchlorine shock, is that it can remove chloramines without reaching breakpoint (see “Chlorine-The Cleanser”). So, I recommend adding a weekly dose of an oxidizer to your regime to keep your water smelling good, looking good, and feeling good!


Ricks Rule of Thumb. Did you know that EZ-POOL, PEPPER and EZ SPA all contain oxidizers?

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