Pool Chemistry 101 – Part Two in a Series

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Pool Chemistry 101 – Part Two in a Series

BRYAN TEXAS — You’ve chosen a spot for the pool, you’ve budgeted your money for the installation and landscaping; now, what are you gonna put in it? I’ve seen underwater strobe lights, Dallas Cowboy chemical feeders, and magnificent mosaic tile work. But I’m talking about the atomic level.

Ducks in the Pool

Traditional pools in the Brazos Valley use chlorine to maintain the chemical balance for clean water. A good pH level also protects your pool. Chlorine tablets dissolve over a week as they sit in a floating chlorine feeder or an automatic dispenser. Chlorine sticks dissolve slower than the tablets. These work better for smaller pools. Chlorine granules are best for precise measurement, but must be added daily.

The non-chlorine alternatives include Bromine, Persulphates (also known as Active Oxygen), Copper and Silver combination, and Polymeric Biguanides (also known as Baquacil and Revacil). Bromine is in the same family of chemicals as Chlorine. It kills germs and is more tolerant of high pH and high temperatures. This is why it is often used in health spas.

Persulphates (also known as Active Oxygen) kill bacteria and break down germs, but they are not very effective against algae. Pool owners need some other product to kill algae if they use Persulphates. It is generally used just to shock the pool in order to remove microrganisms. This requires more chemicals than chlorine treatments and costs twice as much.

Copper and Silver (also known as Natural Minerals) is a good low-chlorine killer of algae, but a bit slow compared to chlorine. Copper and silver are naturally occurring elements in the earth’s crust so environmental marketers can get away with claiming that they use ‘natural minerals’ to sanitize your pool.

Polymeric Biguanides (also known as Baquacil or Revacil) Baquacil keeps the water sanitized with no chlorine, but it needs help from BaquaCheck and BaquaShock. BaquaCheck is an algicide and BaquaShock is 36% Hydrogen Peroxide solution used as a shock treatment to kill germs. Like all non-chlorine alternatives, it is expensive and has its own rather tricky testing system.

Also new to the swimming pool scene is a salt water treatment. Don’t think beach water – the salt in the pool converts to chlorine to kill contaminates. Remember your high school chemistry? NaCl is sodium chloride. Still, some swimmers experience reactions to chlorine treatments but no problems when they are in a salt water pool. Upfront costs are higher with a salt water system. It probably takes about 2-3 years before the system “pays for itself”. The salt treatments being less cost and fewer administrations over time than would chlorine chemicals.

The drawback to salt water pools is the salty taste. Some pool owners have experienced problems trying to keep the pH levels down or reverting to rules used for chlorine pools. As with all types of systems, you must regularly check the levels and follow the guidelines for your specific water pump.

Enjoy these last two months of hot weather in your pool. Let me know where you purchase your chemicals and who gives the best service in the Brazos Valley! Currently on the market, there are 77 homes for sale in Bryan and College Station with a pool.

Cindy Seaton, REALTOR
Century 21, Beal

For more sales information, click here


  1. Susan Hilton says:

    Cindy – if we decide to get a pool we may have to call you. I had no idea there was this much to think about. Or, maybe I’ll have to hire a professional. 🙂

  2. Joey Condon says:

    i use natural pools called ponds. i cannot see under water but i also dont have to know all you wrote about.

  3. Lisa C says:

    That looks like my kitty! 🙂

  4. I bought a Polaris Saltwater System on Ebay for $800, installed it in about 20 minutes, and literally have not had to touch my pool chemicals since…(going on 6 months)… Prior to the salt system I was spending at least $150/month on Chemicals (rain in winter and heat in summer) and I would still get periodic cloudy water and once came home from a 3 day weekend to a forest green pool… I am not a chemist, and it could just be my inagination, but it also seems like I have to add alot less water (evaporate less???)…Salt is the only way to go!!!

  5. Johnny Eliasson says:

    Where can I buy a good chemistry book covering the chemistry of salt water pools – the clorination process with the reactions taking place there, and the active biocidal reactions taking place in the pool.

  6. swimming tips…

    […]Revacil, Baquacil, Active Oxygen, and salt water pool treatments[…]…

  7. Finally, Mr. McCune says men and women who personal saltwater pools
    should prepare for a higher electric bill.