Chlorine is by far the most popular sanitizer used in swimming pools. It is a powerful disinfectant that reliably destroys the bacteria, algae, and other contaminants that are commonly found in pool water. Chlorine is also used in municipal water systems to treat drinking water so that it is safe for consumption.

In 2020, chlorine consumption increased dramatically, largely because people spent so much more time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Homeowners used their existing pools more, and many purchased new pools so that they would have a safe place to escape the summer heat. This increase in chlorine use, combined with the shutdown of one of the largest producers of dichlor and trichlor tablets in the nation due to a massive fire following a hurricane, has led to a chlorine shortage that is expected to affect consumers during the 2021 pool season and beyond. With the expected shortage of chlorine this year, there has never been a better time to learn how to have a pool with sparkling clean water, while using less chlorine.

Add Chlorine Stabilizer to Your Pool

Stabilizer, also called conditioner, protects the chlorine in your swimming pool from the sun, dramatically slowing down the rate at which it evaporates from your pool. Less evaporation means chlorine levels remain in the recommended range for longer, so you have to add chlorine less frequently. Cyanuric acid is the active ingredient in most chlorine stabilizers. Keep stabilizer levels at 40-60 ppm for best results.

Balance Your Pool Water

Well balanced pool water can go a long way in helping to decrease chlorine usage. Maintaining the proper pH of 7.2-7.6 not only helps to prevent eye and skin irritation and corrosion in your pool, it also provides the ideal environment for your chlorine to do its important work of sanitizing the water. In fact, with each slight increase in the pH level of the water above 7.4, chlorine becomes less and less effective. Similarly, maintaining the optimal alkalinity level is important, as it affects your ability to control the pH level. Ideally, alkalinity should fall in a range of 80-120 ppm.

Don’t Over-Chlorinate Your Pool

The recommended chlorine level in a swimming pool is 1.0 - 3.0 ppm Try keeping your pool’s chlorine level at the low end of this range, around 1.0 ppm. This can save you lots of money and decrease your chlorine consumption significantly. Shock the pool on an as-needed basis to kill bacteria and remove chloramines, the eye-irritating by-product created when chlorine bonds with organic matter in your pool water. Another bonus: water with lower chlorine levels is gentler on eyes, skin, hair, and clothing.

Add Chlorine After Sundown

When you add chlorine to your pool is almost as important as how much you add. Wait until the sun has gone down to add chlorine or chlorine shock, as the UV rays from the sun will cause it to dissipate quickly from your water, decreasing its effectiveness. Always run the pool filter overnight after adding chlorine in order to evenly distribute the chemical throughout the pool water.

Store Chlorine Properly

When stored properly, chlorine tablets can last 3-5 years. So find a cool, dry, well-ventilated place to store your chlorine. Do not leave it in direct sunlight under any circumstances. Even if the chlorine is in a bucket, the heat from the sun will cause it to degrade faster.

Try a Chlorine Alternative

Bromine is a chlorine alternative that is frequently used in hot tubs and indoor pools. It is less harsh on eyes and skin than traditional chlorine, and it does not produce a chemical odor. While bromine dissipates in the sun faster than chlorine, an attentive pool owner can have great success with bromine in an outdoor pool.

Use a Salt Chlorine Generator

Salt chlorine generators are increasingly popular in swimming pools because they produce a softer water quality and do not have the chemical odor of traditional chlorine pools. With a salt chlorinator, salt is added to the pool instead of chlorine. Through a process called electrolysis, the generator produces chlorine from the salt. This eliminates the need to purchase chlorine, but well balanced water and the addition of algaecide are required. While these systems save you money on chlorine, they do cost more money up front, and salt cells need to be replaced from time to time.

Optimize Your Filtration System

When your pool pump and filter are working correctly, water is cleaned more efficiently, decreasing the presence of dirt, debris, and organic matter that contaminate the water. To optimize your filtration system, be sure to clean your filter regularly, at least twice a year, and backwash sand and DE filters whenever pressure levels fall below the normal range. Ensure that pool pumps are working properly and clean skimmer baskets regularly. Use a pool clarifier to help your pool filter trap even the tiniest microorganisms in your water.

With these helpful tips, you can learn to use less chlorine throughout the current shortage and for many, many years to come, while still maintaining a sparkling clean swimming pool. Doing so will save you money and help the planet. For help conserving chlorine in your pool, or for questions about any of our pool products, contact us today at 800-574-7665 or visit us online at