Category Archives: Pool and Spa Chemicals

Pool and Spa Chemicals, Chlorine, Shock, Algaecide, Ph Increaser, Stabilizer every kind of pool chemical you will need to keep your swimming pool water clean and sparkling all summer long.

Swimming Pool Chemistry Dictionary


Chemical Terminology for Swimming Pools – Swimming Pool Chemistry 101


A chemical substance containing hydrogen with the ability to dissolve metals, neutralize alkaline materials and combine with bases to form salts. Acid is used to lower (decrease) pH and total alkalinity of swimming pool and spa water. Examples are muriatic acid (hydrochloric) and dry acid (sodium bisulfate).


The amount of acid required to bring high pH and total alkalinity down to their proper levels. Determined by an acid demand test.


Microscopic aquatic plant life that contain chlorophyll. Algae are nourished by carbon dioxide (C02) and use sunlight to carry out photosynthesis. It is introduced by rain or wind and grows in colonies producing nuisance masses. Algae are not disease-causing, but can harbor bacteria, create a high chlorine demand, and it is slippery. There are 21,000 known species of algae. The most common pool types are black, blue-green, green and mustard (yellow or brown). Pink or red-colored algae-like organisms exist but are bacteria and not algae. Maintaining proper sanitizer levels, brushing and super-chlorination will help prevent its occurrence.


Also called algaecide. A natural or synthetic chemical designed to kill, destroy or control algae.


Also called total alkalinity. A measure of the pH-buffering capacity of water or water’s resistance to change in pH. Composed of the hydroxides, carbonates and bicarbonates in the water. One of the basic water tests necessary to determine water balance.


Introduced into the water by swimmers as waste (perspiration or urine) or by other means. Quickly forms foul-smelling, body irritating chloramines- an undesirable, less effective form of chlorine. See CHLORAMINES or COMBINED CHLORINE.


The amount of chlorine in the pool water that is available to sanitize or disinfect the water. Sometimes called residual chlorine.


The correct ratio of mineral content and pH level that prevents the water from being corrosive or scale forming.


By-products formed when bromine reacts with swimmer waste (perspiration or urine), nitrogen or fertilizer. Bromamines are active disinfectants and do not have an odor.


A mechanical or electrical device for dispensing bromine at a controlled rate. Most often a tank, canister or floater filled with tablets of bromine.


A halogen element in the same group as chlorine and fluorine. Also a common name for several chemical compounds containing bromine that are used as disinfectants to destroy bacteria and algae in swimming pools and spas. Most commonly available as organic bromine in a tablet or granular, or as sodium bromide, a granular salt.


A substance or compound that stabilizes the pH value of a solution. It is also the water’s resistance to change in pH.


The calcium content of the water. Calcium hardness is sometimes confused with the terms water hardness and total hardness. Too little calcium hardness and the water is corrosive. Too much calcium hardness and the water is scale forming. One of the basic water tests necessary to determine water balance. Minimum level is 150 ppm. Ideal range is 200-400 ppm.


Copper algaecides that contain a special ingredient to prevent the copper from staining the pool walls and bottom or producing colored water.


Undesirable, foul-smelling, body-irritating compounds formed when insufficient levels of free available chlorine react with ammonia and other nitrogen containing compounds (swimmer and bather waste, fertilizer, perspiration, urine, etc.). Chloramines are still disinfectants, but they are a much weaker, ineffective form of chlorine. Chloramines are removed by super-chlorination or shock treating.


A mechanical or electrical device for dispensing chlorine at a controlled rate. Most often a tank, canister or floater filled with tablets of chlorine.


A term used to describe any type of chlorine compound used as a disinfectant in swimming pool and spa water or to kill, destroy or control bacteria and algae. In addition, chlorine oxidizes ammonia and nitrogen compounds (swimmer and bather waste).


The amount of chlorine necessary to oxidize all organic matter (bacteria, algae, chloramines, ammonia, and nitrogen compounds) in the pool or spa water.


The amount of chlorine left in the pool or spa water after the chlorine demand has been satisfied.


Also called coagulant or flocculant. A chemical compound used to gather (coagulate or agglomerate), or to precipitate suspended particles so they may be removed by vacuuming or filtration. There are two types; inorganic salts of aluminum (alum) or water-soluble organic polyelectrolytes.


An organic polyelectrolyte used to gather (coagulate) suspended particles in the water.


Undesirable, foul-smelling, body-irritating compounds formed when insufficient levels of free available chlorine react with ammonia and other nitrogen-containing compounds (swimmer and bather waste, fertilizer, perspiration, urine, etc.). Combined chlorine is still a disinfectant, but it is a much weaker, ineffective form of chlorine.


Also called stabilizer or cyanuric acid. It is a chemical that slows down the degradation of chlorine in the water by sunlight. The minimum effective level is 20 ppm as measured by a test kit. Very high levels of Cyanuric acid (above 300 ppm) can slow down chlorine activity or effectiveness. Conditioner does not protect bromine from sunlight.


A chemical compound that contains the element copper. Copper sulfate was one of the original copper algaecides. Too much copper in the water can cause green-colored stains or water. Newer copper algaecides contain an ingredient that prevents the copper from staining but does not affect copper’s ability to kill algae. These special copper algaecides are called chelated copper algaecides.


Also called conditioner or stabilizer, this chemical compound protects chlorine in the water from being destroyed by sunlight. The minimum level is 20 ppm. Very high levels of Cyanuric acid (above 300 ppm) can slow down chlorine activity or effectiveness. Cyanuric acid does not protect bromine from sunlight.


Diatomaceous Earth Filter. A filter designed to use diatomaceous earth (D.E.) as the filter medium. The D.E. is added through the skimmer with the pump on, which takes the D.E. and deposits it on a grid. The D.E. then becomes the filter medium.


Also called D.E. powder. A white powder composed of fossilized skeletons of one celled organisms called diatoms. The skeletons are porous and have microscopic spaces. The powder is added through the skimmer with the pump on, which takes the D.E. and deposits it on a grid. The D.E. then becomes the filter medium.


The common name for sodium dichloroisocyanurate. A fast dissolving chlorine compound containing chlorine and cyanuric acid (stabilizer or conditioner). It has a neutral pH and is quick dissolving, so it can be used for regular chlorination or super-chlorination.


Chemically, sodium bisulfate. A dry white crystal that produces acid when added to water. It is used for lowering pH and total alkalinity. Safer to handle than muriatic acid.


The water that flows out of a pump, filter or heater, usually on its way back to the pool or spa.


A chemical compound added to the water or to the filter that allows the existing filter to become more efficient. Examples are alum, water clarifiers and D.E. powder.


The clump or aggregate formed when suspended particles combine with a flocculating agent. See


The combination, agglomeration, aggregation or coagulation of suspended particles in such a way that they form small clumps (called a FLOC).


The amount of active chlorine in the pool or spa water that is available to sanitize or disinfect the water. Sometimes called residual or available chlorine.


The amount of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water. “Water” or “total” hardness refers to the total magnesium and calcium dissolved in the water. Calcium hardness refers to just the calcium. Measured by a test kit and expressed as ppm. The proper range is 200-400 ppm.


The name given to a family of chlorine containing compounds, including calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite and lithium hypochlorite, that are used as disinfectants and sanitizers in pool and spa water.


A substance that is neither animal nor plant. It is a chemical compound, usually inorganic in nature (no carbon atoms), which occurs naturally. Examples are quartz, feldspar or compounds of crystalline structure. It sometimes includes soluble “rocks” such as limestone. Ground water can dissolve all or a portion of these rocks and the minerals contained in these rocks, thus causing these minerals to be present in tap water. Certain geographic locations contain a high level of minerals which can cause staining and scale problems in pool and spa water.


A term given to a class of chemical compounds that are used to oxidize or shock the water (destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste). They contain no chlorine or bromine and do not kill living organisms. swimmers may re-enter the pool in only 15 minutes after adding a non-chlorine shock.


Refers to volatile, biodegradable and sometimes combustible chemical compounds containing carbon atoms bonded together with other elements. The principal groups of organic substances found in water are proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils. See ORGANIC WASTE.


Also called swimmer or bather waste. All of the soap, deodorant, suntan lotion, lipstick, makeup, cologne, body oils, sweat, spit, urine, etc., brought into the water. They also form chloramines, which are foul-smelling and body irritants. Requires large amounts of chlorine or non-chlorine shock to destroy.


To rid the water of ammonia, nitrogen compounds and swimmer waste (organic compounds). These organic compounds disable chlorine, are body irritants and have a foul smell. Removal is accomplished by super-chlorination or by shock treating with a non-chlorine oxidizer.


A shocking or sanitizing compound that removes or destroys built-up contaminants and chloramines in pool water. Most chlorinating, brominating, and oxygenating compounds are considered oxidizers. Usually the fast dissolving oxidizers which contain chlorine, such as hypochlorites, are typically used to “superchlorinate” the water.


A term used to indicate the level of acidity or alkalinity of pool water. The pH being too low causes etched plaster, metal corrosion and eye irritation. The pH being too high causes scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency and eye irritation. The ideal range for pH in swimming pools is 7.4-7.6


An abbreviation for parts per million. It is a weight-to-weight expression. It means 1 part in 1 million parts, such as 1lb of chlorine in 1 million lbs. of water. Many of the common pool water tests, as well as acceptable ranges, are stated a ppm. For example, free available chlorine should be kept between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm; total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm; and water hardness should be between 200 and 400 ppm.


The amount of measurable bromine/chlorine remaining after treating the water. The amount of bromine/chlorine left in the pool or spa water after the bromine/chlorine demand has been satisfied.


The precipitate that forms on surfaces in contact with water when the calcium hardness, pH or total alkalinity levels are too high. Results from chemically unbalanced pool and spa water. Scale may appear as gray, white or dark streaks on the plaster, fiberglass or vinyl. It may also appear as a hard crust around the tile.


The practice of adding significant amounts of fast-dissolving oxidizing chemical to the water to destroy ammonia and nitrogen compounds or swimmer waste.


A family of chlorine pool sanitizers that contain conditioner (cyanuric acid) to protect the chlorine from the degrading UV rays in sunlight. Most common types are sodium dichlor and trichlor. The granular form is dichlor, which is fast-dissolving and can be used for regular chlorination or super-chlorination by broadcasting into the pool or spa. Tablet or stick form is trichlor (which is usually used in a chlorine feeder- either the floating type or an in-line erosion type) used for regular chlorination only.


A discoloration or a colored deposit on the walls or bottom of a swimming pool or spa. Most often, stains are metals such as iron, copper or manganese. They may appear as green, gray, brown or black. They may even discolor the water. Sometimes a sequestering agent or chelating agent will remove them. If not, usually an acid wash is necessary to remove them from the walls and bottom. The metals get in the water because the pH was too low or someone has added a low pH chemical directly into the circulation system. The low pH chemical dissolves a small amount of metal from the equipment. The metals come out of solution and deposit or stain the surfaces of the walls and bottom of the pool. Stains are sometimes confused with scale.


The practice of adding an extra large dose of chlorine to the water to destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste, which can build up in the water. This level of chlorine is required to destroy all of the combined chlorine in the water which is called breakpoint chlorination.


The total amount of alkaline materials present in the water. Also called the buffering capacity of the water. It is the water’s resistance to change in pH. Low total alkalinity causes metal corrosion, plaster etching and eye irritation. High total alkalinity causes scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency and eye irritation.


The total amount of chlorine in the water. It includes both free, available and combined chlorine.


Total Dissolved Solids is a measure of the total amount of dissolved material in the water. It is comprised of the spent or carrier chemicals in the water every time chemicals are added, as well as the hardness, alkalinity, chlorides, sodium, magnesium, calcium, etc. The maximum amount in pools is 2500 ppm. Maximum in spas is 1500 over starting TDS. The only way to effectively lower TDS is to drain part or all of the water and replace it with low TDS water.


A slow-dissolving tablet or granular, stabilized organic chlorine compound providing 90% available chlorine. Used for regular chlorination but must be dispensed using a floating feeder or an in-line feeder (chlorinator). Trichlor contains an ingredient that prevents the chlorine form being destroyed by UV rays of the sun. Trichlor has a pH of 2.8, and regular trichlor tabs should not be placed in the skimmer as the low pH will corrode the metal components in the equipment.


The cloudy condition of the water due to the presence of extremely fine particles in suspension that cannot be trapped by the filter because they are too small. Adding a clarifier will coagulate the particles and make the filter more efficient.


Also called coagulant or flocculant. A chemical compound used to gather or to precipitate suspended particles so they may be removed by vacuuming or filtration.

What Chemicals Should I Use for Pool Winterizing?

Pool Winterizing Chemicials

Winterizing Chemicals for your Pool

It’s essential that you winterize your pool effectively in order to keep it safe and extend its life.  Pools aren’t a cheap investment and you really need to keep them in the best condition possible so that you don’t wind up spending money on maintenance that could be avoided.  There are a lot of steps to winterizing your pool properly, and the chemicals that you need to put in the pool are going to be critical to your success.  Chemical treatments will help keep the pool clean and healthy all winter long so that it’s ready to go next spring when the weather warms up and you’re ready to swim again.

 Testing Levels

Before you close up shop for the winter, you should test all the levels in your pool that you usually test during the summer months.  You should make sure that you check the pH, chlorine levels, and any other chemicals that you might need to be concerned about.  This will allow you to make the best decisions regarding what chemicals you need to add for winterizing purposes.  If you don’t have a testing kit, you can get one at any pool supply store.  It’s a good idea to have this on hand.  Some blogs or resources might recommend taking your water to a pool supply store for testing, but that’s a waste of time and energy when you can just buy a testing kit to keep around.  You’re going to need it a lot so it’s helpful to have on hand.

Make sure that you’re performing tests according to the instructions in the kit.  Even though testing is similar with all kits, the exact instructions will vary.  Follow them to the letter to get accurate results when you are testing your water to prepare the pool for winter.  You need to make sure that you get this right to keep your pool in the best shape possible while it’s hibernating.

 pH Balance and Chlorine

pH balance is one of the most critical elements in any pool.  Without the right levels, your pool will be unbalanced and can cause a lot of problems with the water.  In the winter months, you want your pH to be between 7.2 and 7.6, so that it can be balanced and calm all winter long.  You should also test alkalinity and calcium, which should be at 80-120ppm and 180-220ppm, respectively.  These levels can be tested with kits from your local pool store, just like the pH kit that you buy.

Chlorine levels need to be at 1-3ppm (parts per million) in your pool for the cold winter months.  Most pool supply stores recommend using a Chlorine or Non-Chlorine Shock treatment before you close the pool to balance the water and make sure that it’s ready to sit all winter.  This is all usually done before you drain the pool so that you can filter things accordingly while water levels are still high enough to run through the pump.  You can use chlorine blocks or granules, which can be bought online and at pool supply stores without spending a lot of money.  The amount you need depends on the size of your pool.  Chlorine works to get rid of dirt and bacteria in the pool before you close it up for the winter months.

 Other Chemicals

There are other winterizing chemicals that you can buy to help keep your pool in tip-top shape for the coming winter.  The most popular ones are usually sold in the winterizing kits that you can buy online.  Algaecide is a popular chemical, as this will help kill algae and prevent growth, giving you less to clean when you reopen the pool in the spring.  Stain prevention and metal sequestering chemicals are also available to help winterize your pool.  In the event of bad water chemistry, some metal buildup can occur and cause rusting or staining in the pool.

With stain prevention chemicals, you can help alleviate and prevent stains on the walls and floor of the pool from things like iron, magnesium, calcium, or copper.  This is especially important in areas where there is hard water, but can be beneficial in other areas, as well.  It’s optional, but it is definitely something to consider if you want to keep your pool in the best shape possible throughout the winter months.  There are a lot of chemicals that you can use to winterize your pool and ultimately it’s up to you to choose which ones you want to utilize.

 How to Buy Chemical Kits

Chemical kits are the most common way that people buy pool chemicals for winterizing.  All kinds of suppliers have different brands and collections of winterizing chemical kits that you can choose from.  They make it easy for you to get everything that you need for winter in one kit, so that you can just buy it and use it before you cover up your pool.  These kits are sold based on the type of chemicals that you want and the size of the pool that you have, so you’ll need to know the volume of your pool as well as which winterizing chemicals you want to use.

When you shop online, you have access to a wide selection of chemical kits from various manufacturers.  That will allow you to comparison shop to get the right chemicals and the best prices on your kits, no matter what you have in mind.  Make sure that you take the time to find the right chemical concoctions for your pool so that it is safe and protected all winter long.  Think about your climate, your pool and its needs, and how much you want to spend so that you can find the perfect kit.  It’s so much easier to buy everything you need in one package than to buy them all separately, and it can save you money, as well.

When it comes to winterizing your pool, chemicals are an important part of the process.  Giving your pool a good foundation for a safe, healthy winter will make it that much easier to get things going again in the spring and prevent excessive maintenance or repairs that might be necessary without the right chemical treatments.



Shopping for Pool Closing Supplies Online

Shopping online for Pool Winterizing Kits

Shopping online for Pool Winterizing Kits

The world of online shopping is making life easier and more accessible for everyone.  There is so much that you stand to gain from shopping online for the things that you need, including your winterizing and pool closing supplies.  We have a full line of products that you might not find at your local pool store, which you can check out for yourself to get more for your money.  Of course, when you’re shopping with us or for anything else online, you do have to make sure that you know what you’re getting.  The internet can be a great resource if you know how to use it well.

The Perks of Shopping Online 

There are a lot of benefits to shopping online for pool closing supplies.  Your local pool store might have everything that you need, but they’re limited as to how many different options they carry for you.  They might only have one type of  pool cover or chemical kit for winterizing, which doesn’t give you the chance to check out different products and get the best products for your pool.  You can shop online instead and find a full selection of products so that you can truly get what you need.  Not only does online shopping increase your selection, but it also gives you a way to save time and money.

Shopping online is quick and easy.  Plus, you can do it on your own time.  Pool stores are a specialty shop, which means they usually have short hours and are closed during many times when people are available to shop, such as evenings or weekends.  Online pool supplies will be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  That means if you want to shop for winterizing supplies at 3 in the morning, you can.  Plus, if you need to shop for awhile and come back to it later, that’s totally up to you.

Saving money online is a simple concept.  Because online stores have have to be competitive to all their competitors in a much larger (like all of the USA) targeted area for their products than a small specialty store in your neighborhood.  They will be able to provide you with all of the winterizing tools and supplies that you need at an affordable cost and make it easy for you to get what you want without spending a fortune.  Plus, you can shop around for the best deals, giving you the chance to save even more.  Usually, even when you add in shipping costs, online pool stores have the better deals for all of your winterizing needs.

The Importance of Knowing What You Need

When you’re shopping for winterizing products, it helps if you know what you’re looking for.  If you aren’t sure about all of the supplies that you need because you’re new to pool ownership, you should find a reputable source of information to help you figure out what you have to buy and how to choose the best products.  Online stores are great for this because they can give you a range of information and make sure that you get what you need.  Of course, you do have to make sure that you’re choosing reputable stores that can prove their credibility as a place to shop online for the things that you need.

Just because something exists online, as we all know, doesn’t mean that it’s legitimate.  Companies like ours often have to work twice as hard to educate people and prove our reputation so that we can help our customers because of a few bad apples that are trying to somehow scam people or con them into something that isn’t what they need.  You can check out the rest of our blog to learn more about pool supplies and get help getting all of the supplies that you need for winterizing your pool, no matter what you have in mind.  We have worked hard to build a database of articles for our customers to educate them on pool ownership and care, and we understand the importance of helping you get the facts.    When in doubt, give us a shout!   If you can’t reach the online company via phone/email during their published hours of operation, that should be a good hint as to they being reputable or not.

Learn While You Shop

One of the biggest perks of shopping online, for many pool owners, is that you can learn while you shop.  When you’re in the market for winterizing supplies, you might not really know all that much about the process or why you do it.  There’s a wealth of information that you can find online that will explain all about the process, why it needs to be done, and which products are the best for doing it.  There is a lot that you stand to gain by shopping online, but the information that you get definitely outshines what you’ll learn at your local pool store or superstore, no matter what type of products you’re shopping for.

Are There Downfalls to Shopping Online?

For some people, not having the tactile shopping experience is hard to understand.  They worry that they’re missing something or that they might not get the right supplies because they can’t see them firsthand before they buy.  However, the internet has made shopping online so simple that you should have no trouble getting the winterizing supplies that you need without having to physically see or touch them first.  As long as you know the size of your pool and the type of supplies that you need, you can get it all online without so much as a second thought about what you are buying.

There is always the issue of not shopping with the most reputable pool suppliers, of course, but that’s just the same as shopping in person.  You have to make sure that you choose a store that can give you everything that you need, and that has a reputation that you can trust.  Winterizing your pool is critical to its wellbeing and your wallet, so you need to make sure that you do it right.  You can save time, money, and hassle by shopping online to get the right products for your pool closing, no matter what you might be looking for.  That’s definitely something you should use to your advantage.



Balance Your Pool With Our Chemicals Chart


Make sure that you maintain the ideal chemical levels for your pool. Swimming in a clean, balanced pool will ensure that you have the most enjoyable time. Follow the chart below to make sure that you have the right pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and stabilizer levels or the right pool chemicals to get them there!




2.0 Shock the pool Turn chlorinator down


7.4   Summer

7.8   Winter

Add soda ash *Add muriatic acid (diluted)
Total Alkalinity


80-100 ppm Add baking soda

(Sodium Bicarbonate)

**Add muriatic acid
Calcium hardness


250-500 ppm Add calcium chloride Drain pool and refill


20-50 ppm Add Cyanuric Acid Drain pool and refill

* Add acid by spreading around pool or pour into pool in front of return jet. Pool should be running when doing this so the acid spreads throughout the pool as rapidly as possible.

** Pour acid into a three to five foot circle in the deepest part of the pool while the pump is off.  Allow to set for at least 20 minutes before turning pump on.

Let Us Help You Choose The Perfect Salt Chlorine Generator for You!

Salt Chlorine Generator
Salt water chlorinated pools offer many benefits over traditional chemicals. You will notice less irritation to hair, skin, eyes, and lungs with the gentle water of salt chlorine systems. BYCP currently offer two models. The guide below will help you determine which salt chlorine generator is right for you!

  • Aqua Rite Generator – The Aqua Rite system is fully automatic. It will work on plastic, vinyl, or fiberglass pools up to 40,000 gallons. It offers dual voltage. The LCD screen will track your chlorine output at the push of a button. You can increase or decrease your chlorine levels easily and there is even a button to automatically “shock” your pool with no added effort. The unit is easily installed on your pool’s return line, after the filter and heater. This generator offer a limited 3 year warranty.
  • Zodiac LM3 Generator – The Zodiac LM3 keeps your pool at a constant chlorine level. It offer self cleaning unit which frequently reverses polarity, practically eliminating calcium buildup on the cell. It has clear housing for super easy inspection. The touch panel controls have a memory feature that make setting it easy and a super chlorination feature for “shocking” the pool. The Zodiac is available for pools up to 40,000 gallons. It comes with a 3 year warranty on the cell and 1 year on parts and labor