Pool chemical safety is an important part of pool maintenance. The most common chemicals used in the treatment of pool water are water balancers, sanitizers, algicides, oxidizers and supportive chemicals such as stabilizers, sequestering agents and clarifiers. Each has its own mixing and storage requirements to prevent chemical reactions that can lead to accidents and pool chemical injuries.
Incompatible Pool Chemicals
Most common swimming pool chemicals are incompatible with each other and should never be mixed. Mixing of organic chlorinating agents (such as trichloroisocyanuric acid) and inorganic chlorinating agents (such as sodium hypochlorite) can lead to fires, explosions and chlorine gas release. Adding sodium hypochlorite to pool water containing muriatic acid, a chemical used to lower total alkalinity, can also produce chlorine gas.
Taking precautions to avoid improper mixing of incompatible pool chemicals is important to prevent accidents. These precautions include avoiding concurrent use of hardness increasers (such as calcium chloride) and alkalinity increasers (such as sodium bicarbonate), which can make your pool water cloudy and cause scale to form on your pool surfaces and equipment.
Adding a clarifier (such as aluminum sulfate) alongside a sequestering agent (such as hydroxyethylidene diphosphonic acid) can also result in cloudy pool water. Other ways to ensure safe pool chemical use include avoiding adding shocks to pool water containing high concentrations of metals or enzyme-based products.
What Pool Chemicals Should Not Be Stored Together?
Improper storage of pool chemicals can cause chemicals to react with each other. Storing oxidizers (such as calcium hypochlorite) alongside acids (such as muriatic acid) is particularly dangerous, as these two chemicals can react on contact to produce chlorine gas.
How to Store Pool Chemicals Safely
Safe storage of pool chemicals can be achieved through separating incompatible chemicals using storage cabinets, secondary containment or distance. Only like chemicals should be stored near to each other.
When storing chemicals, always choose a cool, dry and well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight and away from sources of moisture. It's also important to avoid storing liquid chemicals above dry chemicals. If spilled, liquid chemicals may leak into other containers and onto the floor.
Protecting against pool chemical hazards doesn't have to be a challenge. By taking steps to avoid improper mixing or storage of incompatible pool chemicals, you can help prevent accidents and pool chemical injuries.