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How does chlorine keep pool water clean?


1589 day(s) ago

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cabbagehead
When chlorine is added to water, it breaks down into hypochlorous acid (HOCl or HClO,) and hypochlorite ion (OCl-.) In seconds, HOCI destroys lipids that form cell walls. Once in inside the cell, it can react with proteins and DNA. Over the following half-hour, OCI- produces a similar reaction. These chemicals also make the water more alkaline, slowing new bacteria growth. Pure water has a pH of 7, while properly treated pool water will have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8.

Eventually these chemicals break down, making them harmless to bacteria. Chlorine tablets are designed to slowly dissolve in water, maintaining chemical levels in the water. Between 1 part per million (ppm) to 4 ppm of chlorine in its original form, called Free Available Chlorine (FAC,) is recommended. If there isn't enough FAC present, the chlorine breakdown won't be completed, forming Combined Available Chlorine (CAC.) These chemicals give pool water a "chlorine" smell. CAC levels should be below 0.2ppm. CAC can be lowered by increasing FAC to finish the breakdown. In some cases, large amounts of FAC must be added to "shock" the water. Test strips are available to measure FAC, CAC, and pH so pool owners can adjust chlorine levels for their specific needs.

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