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Specialty chemicals: Coming to the rescue

By Marcell Dibrell

Pool service professionals are like water doctors, called to diagnose and cure a myriad of malaises that affect pools and spas. 

Because most service professionals can’t be at every pool as often as some pools require, things can go wrong between visits. Maintaining adequate sanitizer levels as well as proper water balance and filtration is usually all it takes for optimal water quality, but with only weekly visits to each account, this is not always possible. Meanwhile, the goal is to spend as little time as possible at each pool while still maintaining water that is safe and sparkling clear. The incentives conflict with the desired outcome. It is no wonder that things go wrong.  

There are too many external factors that play out over the course of a week that can swiftly dispatch proper sanitizer levels. Wind. Rain. Run-off. High bather load. Children. Dogs. The list goes on…   

With sanitizers so severely taxed, conditions can quickly become just right for an algae bloom. Then there are the preexisting factors in the source water, such as excessive mineral content.

Sanitizers, water-balancing chemicals, and the filtration system are the pool professional’s heavy lifters, but there are just some things that are beyond their capacity. For example, while chlorine is great for killing algae, it doesn’t clear the pool of dead algae bodies. While the filter is there to remove debris, there are some particles too small to be removed. And when the water is high in minerals, there is little that general water treatment can do to prevent stains or scale.

That’s when specialty chemicals come to the rescue.

Specialty chemicals called flocculants are used to get the dead algae bodies to drop to the floor so they can be vacuumed. Specialty chemicals called clarifiers are how to get tiny dirt particles to stay in the filter. Specialty chemicals called sequestering agents make it possible to control metal stains and scale.     

These specialty chemicals go places that generalized water treatment cannot; they compensate for limitations and are the subject of this issue’s featured articles.

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