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Quick tips: Understanding oxidisers

The aim of every pool owner is crystal clear water with a minimum of fuss and sometimes, reaching that goal takes a little bit of chemistry. Knowing the causes and available treatments of specific water conditions will help clear up any issues in no time at all.

Pool water tends to accumulate a build-up of organic waste material, which includes skin cells and skin oils, sunscreen, perfume and residue from other personal hygiene products like shampoo and deodorant, as well as external environmental materials including dirt and dust, leaf litter and small insects.

Over time, that build-up of matter will turn the pool water cloudy and may create an unpleasant odour. It will also lead to skin and eye irritation for pool users if left unchecked. This is where oxidisers come into play.

Using an oxidiser, also referred to as a ‘shock treatment’, will break down the organic waste and make the water safer, cleaner and more comfortable to swim in. Oxidisers also remove chloramines, which are formed when free chlorine reacts with nitrogen-based materials in the water. Chloramines – not chlorine – are responsible for the distinct ‘chlorine’ smell is often associated with swimming pool water that stings and irritates the eyes and skin.

Regular oxidation is the key to sparkling pool water that is free from impurities, so it should be an important part of your pool and spa sanitation routine. Oxidisers are available in two different forms: chlorine and non chlorine-based.

Chlorine-based oxidisers

Chlorine based products come in liquid and solid granular forms. Whichever you choose, it’s important to ensure that the correct amount of product is added to your pool or spa water.

Granular chlorine products are sold in a size that is suitable for an average (50,000 litre) residential pool and indicate this on the product packaging. Liquid chlorine must be accurately measured and dosed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended dosage rates.

Pros of chlorine-based oxidisers

  • An effective method for eliminating chloramines and organic waste material

  • Granular product is conveniently sold pre-packaged, meaning no measurement required.

Cons of chlorine-based oxidisers

  • Ineffective if incorrectly measured or wrong dosage used

  • Renders the pool unusable for six to eight hours after dosing

Non chlorine-based oxidisers

Some pool owners would rather a non chlorine-based choice, opting to use a Potassium Peroxymonosulphate product instead. Yep, this sounds like Year 10 science all over again, right? Well, that’s just a fancy name for a non chlorine-based soluble powder that you scatter across the pool water surface (scattering is also known as ‘broadcasting’). Easy.

Pros of non chlorine-based oxidisers

  • An effective method for eliminating chloramines and organic waste material

  • Fast dissolving, so the pool can be used 30 minutes after dosing

Cons of non chlorine-based oxidisers

  • Can be a little more expensive than chlorine-based options

As with any chemical queries, if you aren’t sure about the best option for the specific conditions in your pool, speak with an expert local SPASA member.

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