Having a regular supply of the necessary pool chemicals is essential to keep your swimming pool in good condition. However, to keep the chemicals themselves in good working order, it's important to store them correctly. This is doubly important because some of these chemicals can be dangerous if not handled and stored safely. Here are some frequently asked questions about where and how to store pool chemicals.
Where Should Pool Chemicals Be Stored?
The best place to store pool chemicals is in a cool and dry location. Your storage area should also be well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of gasses that may be hazardous.
Note that for various reasons, storing pool chemicals in the garage should be avoided. One reason is that over time, gasses such as chlorine will hasten metal rusting. Another is that gasses may build up in a poorly ventilated garage.
Can Pool Chemicals Be Stored Outside?
If you live in an area where the temperature is moderate, without extremes of heat or cold, then it's fine to store pool chemicals outside. However, if your climate is subject to extremes, indoor storage may be preferable to prevent chemicals from reacting to heat or freezing.
What Kinds of Storage Containers Are Best?
Pool chemical storage is safest when the chemicals are stored in the containers in which they were bought. It's not necessary to transfer chemicals to different containers because the product packaging is designed to provide safe storage.
In some cases, it can be dangerous to transfer pool chemicals to new storage containers. This is because some chemicals may react with certain kinds of plastics or metals to form gases or other compounds.
Also, note that containers should be properly sealed after every use. Some pool chemicals may react if they come into contact with one another; for example, chlorine and muriatic acid react to form dangerous chlorine gas if they are directly mixed. Solid and liquid chemicals can also react dangerously as dry solid formulations often react strongly with water.
The safest option for storing pool chemicals is to put the sealed containers into hard plastic bins with tight-fitting lids. Ideally, use several bins so that you can separate liquids and solids, and so that reactants such as chlorine and muriatic acid can be stored separately. Containers should be stored off the floor, but low to the ground to minimize potential falling damage. To avoid exposure to any gas that builds up, open the containers in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors while standing upwind.
Are Pool Chemicals Heat-Sensitive?
Some chemicals do react with heat, so it's safest to store pool chemicals away from all heat sources, including sunlight. If pool chemicals are stored outdoors, it should be in a cool and shaded area.
It's also important to note that some pool chemicals are rapid oxidizers, which means that they convert and release oxygen. This reaction speeds up when heat is applied, so these chemicals have the potential to release large amounts of oxygen in the presence of fire.
Can Pool Chemicals Freeze?
In most cases, pool chemicals are more sensitive to heat than to cold. Some kinds of chemicals can withstand freezing, but it's generally best to avoid exposing chemicals to extremely cold temperatures, as some may lose strength after cold storage.
Check Your Products for More Information
While these are some good general rules to follow for safely storing pool chemicals, hazards can vary according to the different products you use. Most pool chemicals come with a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) that provides details of hazards and safe handling practices, so check these to make sure you're staying safe.