Swimming Pool Guides & Reviews by Certified Pool & Spa Operator®
Powder Chlorine vs. Liquid Chlorine What's the difference
Here’s Everything You Need To Know
Swimming pool owners usually ponder over whether to purchase liquid chlorine or powder chlorine for their pool water. If you’re inexperienced at adding chlorine to pool water, then you probably don’t know which type of chlorine to purchase. To make matters worse, there is a lot of conflicting information being passed around about these two chlorine products. So, it is hard to know who’s telling the truth about them.
Basically, there are advantages and disadvantages to using each type of chlorine. But first, you need to consider the type of equipment you have and the limit on your budget. This is very important to do.
Overview of Chlorine
Most swimming pools are disinfected with a chemical called chlorine. This chemical is formulated to sanitize the pool water by killing the algae and bacteria in there. That way, the water can stay safe, clean, and crystal clear for people to swim in.
When salt water is put through electrolysis, it generates chlorine. When bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms are exposed to chlorine, their cellular walls are broken down and oxidized. However, due to the instability of chlorine, it diminishes over time and will eventually become ineffective. For this reason, chlorine needs to keep getting added into the pool regularly.
Chlorine needs to be handled carefully by a responsible person because it is rather hazardous to your health. Follow all the safety measures outlined on the packaging, such as wearing goggles and gloves while handling the chlorine.
To make liquid chlorine, you use caustic soda to bubble up the chlorine gas. It’ll have a roughly 13 pH level. Once you have the liquid chlorine made, you just pour it into your pool water. It is best used in huge commercial swimming pools or any pool which normally has a lot of people in it. Bulk amounts of liquid chlorine can be added to the pool water, which is why bigger pools are better for it. Some people even add drums containing 55 gallons of liquid chlorine to their pool.
On the other hand, for someone who has a small swimming pool in their backyard, the cost of maintaining the pH balance of the water may not be worth it. Even though liquid chlorine is rather cheap to purchase, it also increases the pH level of the water too. Then you’ll be forced to counteract this by purchasing chemicals which increase the acidity of the water. On top of that, the corrosive nature of liquid chlorine could potentially damage the bottom and/or the walls of your swimming pool.
Most private residential swimming pool owners choose powder chlorine from their pool water. Even though it costs more than liquid chlorine, powder chlorine has a low pH level, and it is easier to add to the water. Therefore, you’ll actually save money in the long run because you won’t need to balance the pH levels in the water.
Powder chlorine is available in three types. They are as follows:
1. Dichlor Powder – The pH level is only about 7 or less. If acid needs to get added to the water, you won’t need to add too much. The powder dissolves quickly in the water, targeting contaminants right away. For every pound of dichlor powder, there is roughly 62% of real chlorine. This is a stable product which makes for a great shock treatment. However, it is one of the most expensive products too.
2. Lithium Hypochlorite Powder – Every pound of this powder only has around 35% of actual chlorine. It has a higher pH level of around 11 too. For this reason, you’ll need to add a larger amount of acid to your swimming pool in order to balance the pH levels. On the upside, the powder dissolves even faster than the dichlor powder. If you have a vinyl pool, then you won’t need to worry about the bleaching effect of the powder as much.
3. Calcium Hypochlorite Powder – This is both a cost-effective and popular type of chlorine powder. It has a 12-pH level and is comprised of roughly 65% of actual chlorine. So, you’ll need to add more acid to the water for balancing purposes. Despite its cheaper price, it is not too safe compared to lithium because its fumes are dangerous to inhale.
Your budget and the way you’ll use the chlorine will determine which type you purchase. If you have a large swimming pool or any pool that is regularly used by a lot of people, then choose the liquid chlorine. If you have a smaller pool in a residential backyard, then it is more cost-effective to choose powder chlorine.
After you purchase the appropriate chlorine product, read the instructions carefully prior to adding the chlorine to the water. Make sure your chlorine product is compatible with your equipment and pool in order to avoid damaging them.