“Ewwww, what’s that smell?!” Have you ever found yourself asking this question poolside? If so, rest assured you are not alone. Just like any other body of water, a pool is susceptible to various problems. Typically, it’s nothing too serious and can be fixed with some chemical adjustment. It is important to note, anytime you feel your water chemistry may be off, take a sample into your pool supply store and let them give you a true water analysis.
So, what is that smell? Most likely it is chloramines. What are chloramines? Chloramines are created when the chlorine in your pool meets contaminants that contain ammonia and/or nitrogen. Both can be found in things like urine and sweat, even saliva or rain. The biggest misconception about the “smell of chlorine” is that it is indicative of a well sanitized pool, when actually, the opposite is true.
Buckle your seat belt, we are about to have a crash course in basic water chemistry! Chloramines form by replacing the hydrogen or ammonia atoms with chlorine atoms in certain compounds (urine, sweat, rain, saliva, etc). As the free chlorine is captured in other compounds, it is no longer available to serve its principle function as a disinfectant. The end result? A pool high in chloramines with less sanitary water.
How can you tell if you pool is high in chloramines? Outside of smell, you may find that your bathers complain of irritated skin and eyes and even difficulty breathing. The water may also appear cloudy. The best way to solve this problem is to do a super shock on your water. This will initiate something called breakpoint chlorination, which is necessary to eliminate the chloramines. During this process, chlorine is burning up the chloramines through oxidation and removing them from the water.
To be sure this problem isn’t a recurring one, it is important to keep your water balanced. In addition to maintaining your chlorine levels, be sure your pH and alkalinity are within the recommended parameters as well. Finding a reputable and knowledgeable dealer can be the difference between an enjoyable pool season and a miserable one. If you need help finding someone in your area, visit us online www.apiwater.com and let us send you to one of our many authorized retail locations. Until we meet again, stay safe and enjoy your pool!