Basic Chemicals Needed For a Pool

Basic Chemicals Needed For a Pool

If you are a new pool owner and you are confused by what basic chemicals are needed for a pool, here is the short list.

What type of pool do you have?

If you have a manually chlorinated pool then you will need different chemicals than a saltwater pool. So first of all you need to determine what type of pool that you have. Saltwater pools have a device attached to the plumbing pipes near the pump and filter that is called a salt cell or salt water chlorine generator. If you have that then you have a saltwater pool and you need to understand how that works. You can check out my post on saltwater pools and then come back here to find out what chemicals are necessary.

Manually Chlorinated Pools

If your pool is manually chlorinated this is a short list of the basic chemicals needed for a pool.

  1. Chlorine – This can be either liquid or solid in form. Most pools use the solid pucks or sticks for convenience and either put them in a floater or a plumbed in chlorine feeder. If you want to use liquid chlorine, you have to buy the gallon jugs and pour it into the pool manually every few days or more depending on how much sun your pool gets.
  2. Muriatic Acid – Muriatic acid comes in 1 gallon jugs usually or you can buy the dry acid also. Usually it is most economical to buy a 4 gallon case at your local hardware store.
  3. Shock - Pool shock is actually a verb as it’s something that you do and not an actual product. Most companies have begun to just use the term “shock” to describe their product so we will go with that also. Shock is usually a powder that’s actually called calcium hypochlorite. This can come in convenient 1lb. packets or in a bucket or pail. Another shock product is sodium dichlor which does the same thing.

Saltwater Pools

With saltwater pools the salt cell generates it’s own chlorine so you do not need to manually add chlorine on a regular basis.

  1. Salt – You will need to buy bags of salt usually 40lbs in size. I would keep a minimum of three bags on hand at all times. You need to manually pour the entire bag into the pool if your salt readings get too low. If you experience a lot of rain or a big flood your salt level will drop drastically and you chlorine production will stop. If you live in an arid climate you probably only need to keep a single bag on hand for emergencies.
  2. Muriatic Acid – Saltwater pools tend to increase the PH over time, so you will be consistently adding acid to your pool water to maintain the proper PH level.
  3. ConditionerCyanuric Acid or CYA as it’s commonly called is necessary to stabilize the chlorine. Without it your chlorine would burn off in a matter of hours in direct sunlight. This usually comes in a bucket.

Chemical Storage

Most of these chemicals are highly corrosive. You need to store them in a safe place away from your cars or other expensive items. A pool closet or deck box works well. Please keep the bucket lids screwed on tight and never store the Chlorine tabs or sticks right next to the bucket of shock as the two do not play nice with each other and could cause a fire if they come into contact with each other.

That’s the short list of the basic chemicals needed for a pool. Pool stores have shelves loaded with the latest miracle products, but the basics always stay the same. If you keep your pool water properly balanced, these will be the only chemicals you will need.


basic chemicals need for a pool

One thought on “Basic Chemicals Needed For a Pool

  • May 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    One thing I failed to mention is the purpose of each chemical I listed, so here they are;

    Chlorine – used to disinfect the water of microorganisms and other bad stuff.
    Muriatic acid – used to lower the PH of the water to a neutral point. Most folks have hard water these days, so this will help combat that.
    Shock – used to occasionally super-chlorinate the water after a pool party or perhaps after a heavy storm dropping lots of organic debris in the water
    Salt- used in saltwater pools to generate chlorine through the electronic salt cell in the system.
    CYA – a conditioner used to protect the chlorine from burning off in the UV rays of direct sun. Most commonly used in saltwater pools.

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