What Chemicals Do I Need For My Pool?

When it comes to pool maintenance, many people think that it is a daunting task to make sure that the pool is safe and clean, having the right amount of chemicals in it. But in reality, maintaining a clean pool is quite simple, only requiring proper planning and time balance.

What chemicals do I need for my pool? These are chlorine, bromine, alkali, and sodium bicarbonate. You also need to know the proper pH levels and calcium hardness. Adding the cyanuric acid and algaecide will also come a long way in terms of pool maintenance.

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If you wish to find out some of the basic chemicals that are needed to run your pool, read on. The following are the chemicals necessary to make sure that your pool is running fresh and clean.

Perfect Chemical Balance For A Pool Start-Up

To figure out which chemicals you need to open up your pool, you need to know what you are working with. First, you should check the pH level of the water, it should be around 7.2 to 7.6, and the alkalinity should be about 80 – 120 ppm. The calcium hardness should be around 180 – 220ppm, and the Cyanuric Acid should be 30 – 50 ppm. Last but not least is the chlorine, it should be 1 – 3 ppm.

Once you have all the information regarding your pool before startup, you can start planning what chemicals are needed and adjust the amount that you need. The amount of chemicals for pool water will depend on what is the current state of the water.

Each compound that you are trying to add in your pool must do something to the water to achieve the target level. Just be careful not to overload your pool at once. It can damage the balance of each chemical.

What Chemicals Are Needed?

Water is the base when you are finding the right chemicals you need for a pool startup. It is very important to perform a cleaning process before you fill in the water inside.

By doing this, you are eliminating possible contaminants in your water. It is why a lot of new pool owners opt for a pool maintenance service by professionals to ensure chemically balanced water during start-up.

Take note that if you are using freshwater as the water source, it won’t be the perfect pool water at first. It isn’t also advisable to use purified water too, so this is very important that you have it settled in before you start up your pool.

Testing the water will probably be the first step, which is by doing a small test on a small amount of water. But it is advisable if you can, to have a go-all-in full water test because you need to know what it is that you are starting with.

Chemicals Needed In Pool Maintenance

Once you have it all figured out with whatever water source you want in your pool, it is time to think about the chemicals. Using the right chemicals will get your water to the right level of pool water. Once that is settled, the rest of the season can go well.

It is regardless if you have regular maintenance daily, weekly, or even monthly. It is essential because if you don’t succeed, you could drag out the entire start-up, and it will be a waste.


Chlorine is vital as it acts as your primary sanitizer. It is stabilized and comes in either a tablet or a granular form. One chlorine dosage can last anywhere from 3 to 7 days, killing all algae and bacteria.

For a chlorinated pool, the chlorine level should be at 3 -5 ppm, and if you are using a chlorine tablet, each 3-inch tablet can add up to 5 ppm of free chlorine per 10,0000 gallons of water. It is advisable to at least use two chlorine tablets for every 10,0000 gallons per week.

For instance, if you have a 10,000-gallon pool, use two chlorine tablets per week. For a 15, 000-gallon pool, use at least three chlorine tablets per week and for a 20,000-gallon pool, use 3 – 4 chlorine tablets per week.

There are two chlorine levels you should be aware of, free chlorine and combined chlorine. Free chlorines means the chlorine that is currently present in the water. On the other hand, combined chlorine is the chlorine that is combined with contaminants rendering it useless as the sanitizer. The sum of these two is the total chlorine.


If you are hesitant to use chlorine, you can use bromine as a good alternative. Bromine, which also comes as a 1-inch tablet and granular form, is more stable compared to chlorine.

Bromine works better at higher and hotter water temperatures, which is why it is perfect for a spa. But on the other hand, bromine is not stabilized. It can burn easily when the sunlight hits it. It makes Bromine perfect for indoor use.

Bromine has two downsides, and the first one is that it is way more expensive than chlorine. The second one is that it is not sunlight friendly. Cyanuric acid partners with bromine to help protect it, and as a result, you consume more of this product than chlorine. To use bromine as a sanitizer, you should have a 3 – 5 ppm-level.

Sodium Carbonate To Balance Water pH Level

pH level is the measure of the water’s total acid and alkalinity balance. If you end up having a lower pH balance, that means that it is acidic. The pH level of a pool needs to be maintained anywhere from 7.2 to 7.8. It is essential because if the pH is too low and acidic, it can easily corrode your metal equipment and can cause etching on the surface materials.

It can also affect the human body by skin rashes leading to skin irritation. If the pH level is too high, it can cause scaling on the pool surface, and the plumbing equipment can affect the water.

Calcium Hypochlorite (Pool Shock)

Pool Shock refers to a granular oxidizer, this is a powdered form of chlorine, used for pool water stabilizer. It is unstabilized and can only stay in the water for one day or so.

Calcium Hypochlorite is the most economical pool shock you can buy.  As experts recommend, the pool needs to be shocked at least once a week because adding shock treatment can spike the chlorine level to 10 ppm.

A single 1lb bag of pool shock can increase the pool’s free chlorine by ten ppm per 10,000 gallons. You can use one bag of pool shock for every 10,000 gallons of water per week or as needed.

For instance, pool shock dosages for a 10,000-gallon pool should be one bag per week. For a 15,000-gallon pool, you should use 1 to 2 bags per week, and for a 20,000-gallon pool, you should use 2-3 bags per week.

For usage, you might need to wait for at least 12 -24 hours for the swimming to be resumed. Pool shock can either be a liquid or a granular based, and it can be available in the non-chlorine form. This particular type of shock is an oxidizing shock and can be used as a shock and swim. It means you can swim in the pool after using it 15 minutes later.

Sodium Bicarbonate (Alkalinity Increaser)

Alkalinity or total alkalinity is the measure of alkaline in the water. Alkalinity can have a great effect on the pH level of the water bit these two are not the same. Two different chemicals adjust them.

When the alkalinity is on the proper range, it will help the pH level from bouncing in and out of range. The alkalinity level needs to be within the range of 80 – 120 ppm.

If you have a low alkalinity level, it can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, green water, etched or stained pool floor, and walls. In contrast, high alkalinity can cause some cloudiness in the water and influence the chlorine level to lose its efficiency as a sanitizer.

If you want to adjust the alkalinity, you can use one pound of sodium bicarbonate. It can increase the total alkalinity by ten ppm for every 10,000 gallons. You can use baking soda since it is technically the same thing.

Dry Acid (Alkalinity Decreaser)

If you put too much and you have a high level of total alkalinity, you can use the alkalinity decreased to lower them. Use 2 pounds of dry acid for every 10,000 gallons to decrease TA by 10ppm.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium is essential for pool water, and if the level of calcium is too low, the water is considered to be soft. Soft water means that it is very corrosive, and it will dissolve calcium and other minerals from plaster pool surface to metal equipment.

These equipment are heaters, pumps, and salt cells. On the other hand, if the calcium level is too high, it can be considered hard water. Hard water means it can cause scaling on the pool surface and equipment. It is primarily the heat exchanging surfaces. The calcium works by hardening by around 200 to 400 ppm.

Just like alkalinity level, you can use a calcium hardness increaser to affect the soft state of your water’s silkiness. Any higher than 400 ppm, and you will notice a difference in the texture of the water. You should use 1 lb. of calcium hardness increaser, and it will raise the hardness by 8ppm for every 10000 gallons.

Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

Cyanuric Acid is most commonly known as a conditioner, and it is the sunscreen for your chlorine. It is because chlorine is very sensitive when it comes to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Slow dissolve chlorine tablets and granular chlorine contain cyanuric acid, but there will be a time when you have to add it manually to the water. You need to be aware that the ideal range for the cyanuric acid is between 30 ppm to 80 ppm. Using one pound of cyanuric acid will raise CYA levels to 12oom for every 10000 gallons.

Metal Remover

Metal remover is essential, primarily if you use tap or well water. It is because those water resources contain traces of iron and copper. If you use a copper-based algaecide together with improper water chemistry, this can lead to corrosion of heat exchanger.

As a result, it can be either green, brown, or purple/black color. If you have metals in the water mixed with chlorine, you will end up having green hair. Using a metal remover, it can deactivate and remove all traces of metals from the pool water or the water resource in general.


The main reason why you have algae in your swimming pool is the improper handling of the chlorine levels. It is combined with other hospitable conditions that allow all algae to live. Algae is a plant that needs food, water, and light to strive. Using an algaecide will help prevent the algae but not kill them.

Algaecide works well if you properly balance your water, and the initial dosage is 12 oz for every 10,000 gallons of water. The maintenance dosage is 3 oz per 10,000 gallons per week.


Overall, the chemicals in your pool are essential for getting everything off on the right track. If you do this the wrong way, your pool will start to turn into a lengthy ordeal, and you do not want that.

However, to get this chemical balance, you need to have a clean slate. It can cut down contaminants in your pool water in the first place and will let the chemicals do their job.

Also, it is a very complicated job, and as a new pool owner, you will find it very intimidating and exhausting. It is why many people call in some pool maintenance service to help them up when starting and closing their pools.

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