How Do I Correct Bad Chlorine or pH Balance?

Public pools have done it. Most pool owners have done it. We have done it. If you are like the majority of us, you probably have put too much chlorine into your pool. As you have probably guessed it, it is not very uncommon among the pool community. But, is too much chlorine in your pool a big deal? Let’s look at why adding too much chlorine to your pool water can be dangerous and how you can fix it below.


Why Too Much Chlorine Is Dangerous

Having too much chlorine in your pool water can be dangerous. Exposure to high levels of chlorine can cause lung irritation, skin and eye damage, and provoke asthma. Not only is it bad for your health, but it can be bad for your pool due to the increase in chlorine.

High chlorine levels decrease the pH of your pool’s water, making it more acidic. The more acidic the water, the higher the likelihood of corrosion. This corrosion can affect metal piping, equipment, and the surface of your pool (tiles, liners, concrete, etc.). It can also damage pool accessories and anything else that goes into your swimming pool water.


How to Detect if Your Pool Has High Chlorine Levels

While many people think they can smell or “feel” when their pool has too much chlorine, the only way to know if you have high levels of chlorine is by running a test. Ideally, you should be testing your chlorine level every day, especially if your pool is left uncovered for long periods.

Luckily, chlorine tests are very easy to perform. Multiple companies produce test strips that take only minutes to conduct. There are also other test strips available that can test total chlorine and free chlorine levels.

Here is how to check your water using a chlorine test strip.

  1. Open your pool.
  2. Wash your hands and dry them before handling the strips.
  3. Remove a test strip from the container. Be careful not to touch the pads on the test strips.
  4. Dip the piece into the water, by submerging your arm up to your elbow. This allows you to reach an accurate reading depth.
  5. Keep the strip in the water for a few seconds depending on the individual product instructions.
  6. Remove the test strip.
  7. Hold the strip horizontally, or lay the piece down, making sure the color pads are facing up, and the strip is not in direct sunlight.
  8. Compare the color of the strip to the color comparator chart included with the test strip package.
  9. You should be able to tell if you are high, low, or within the ideal chlorine range.
  10. If the strips you are using also test free chlorine, be sure to check both free and total colors. If free is the same as total, then you are in range.  If the values are different, you will need to shock your pool to achieve the right levels.


Tips for Lowering the Chlorine in Your Pool

If your pool’s chlorine level is too high, you need to treat the chemicals in your pool. First, you need to determine the scale of your levels.

If your levels are only slightly too elevated, then you might want not to use the pool for an hour or so. This time of inactivity typically gets your levels within the appropriate range.

However, if your chlorine level is significantly high, you will need to do a bit more.


Option 1: Stop Adding Chlorine

If you have a chlorinator or a feeder, turn it offer. If you use a floater or tablet in your skimmer, remove it from your pool. If your levels are only slightly too high, the problem will usually solve itself thanks to debris, dirt, bugs, and those using the pool.


Option 2: Let In Some Sunlight

You can also uncover your pool for a few hours and let the sunlight do its magic. Ultra-violet rays that the natural sunlight produces destroys chlorine. In fact, leave your pool uncovered for 2-3 hours, and the direct sunshine of a clear sky can deplete 90% or more of a pool’s chlorine level. If you choose to take this route, make sure you monitor your water regularly so that you can resume routine chlorination when the readings drop.


Option 3: Add Neutralizing Chemicals

If you are in a hurry and need a quick fix, you can add a chlorine neutralizing chemical to your swimming pool water. The most common chemicals are Sodium Thiosulfate and Sodium Sulfite. You can also purchase a pre-packaged Chlorine Neutralizer.

No matter what you use, follow the instructions carefully. Typically, 60 grams will reduce the chlorine by 1ppm in an average backyard pool. Add your neutralizer gradually.

You should also look at your pH levels to see if you need to add in pH, as chlorine reduces the amount of pH in water.


Option 4: Replace Existing Water

Diluting your pool water is another option, but it takes time. Refilling your pool can also throw off your pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and other chemical levels. But, if you choose to take this route, make sure to test all of your levels to achieve the best results.


Get in touch with a Swimming Pool Expert.

If you are having a hard time handling your pool maintenance or have a question regarding your swimming pool, contact Intermountain Aquatech. Our experienced professionals can help you fix your problems and enjoy your pool in no time. Contact us today to get started.

17 responses to “How Do I Correct Bad Chlorine or pH Balance?

  1. To lower the free chlorine level in your pool water, also consider heating your water. Raise the temperature of the pool water to 90°F–10°F above the recommended level for a short period.

  2. How do i do when the pool is basically corrosionated with chemicals and levels of ph have raised and chlorine still high

  3. My chlorine levels are low as I had to waste half the water when I cleaned the bottom after winter already had 5 kgs of chlorine in powder and still too low 90,000 litres of water

  4. Chlorine tablets won’t do much if the ph-level is way too high, e.g. 9.5 instead of 7.5. My pool water (I live in Andalusia) will get much quicker green when the water temperature is 28°C or higher. I use a test set (Cl and Ph) and a bluetooth device that works with an app on my phone. The sun breaks down the chlorine but NOT in 20 minutes as suggested. Maybe in 2 days, when it is very sunny (42°C in the shadow, 56°C in the sun) the chlorine level will decrease from 5 to 3.5. That 20 minutes story is crap. It is nowhere in Europe as sunny as in South Spain. The ph level must be good i order for chlorine tablets to work properly.

  5. What can I do my chlorine level is supposed to be in the yellow range and it is orange?

  6. Your instructions has helped me. Struggled with pool 24 ft above ground sunken 6 & 1/2 ft as my husband passed & had a perfect pool. Reached out 2 pool stores & 2 different tales. Trying to do care my self. You have given me clear directions. Haven’t been able to use pool all summer. Thank you!

  7. I have received 2 different stories. My tester indicates yellow is too high and red is too high. What does this mean and what should I do?

  8. Our swimming pool was closed after Labor Day and the cover installed. During the summer, the temperature is heated to 82 degrees. When the pool cover was installed, the temperature was turned down to 75-degrees. When the pool was being used the Hayward system showed chlorine at 840 and the pH at 7.2. Yesterday the measurements were 435 and 9.1. I increased the chlorine feeder and the acid. Is there something else I should do?

  9. My swimming pool is slightly green ph was correct but after adding chlorine the ph goes high, what can i do

  10. Have a 24×24′ above ground pool, chlorine level is testing orange, rather than yellow?

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