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How To Add Chlorine Tablets To Your Pool (3 Methods)

No matter shape, size make, or model of your swimming pool, sanitizing your water is always a priority.

While this can be done using chemicals such as chlorine, bromine, or even salt, it’s a particular form of chlorine that many pool owners have come to rely on these days; the trusty chlorine tablet.

The question is, how do you add chlorine tablets to your pool?

Wait, Are Tablets The Best Choice?

Chlorine tablets are one of the easiest, cheapest and convenient ways to sanitize your pool water, but like all things pool chemistry, it’s good to weigh up your options.

For starters, chlorine tablets come stabilized or unstabilized, meaning they either contain cyanuric acid (CYA) or they don’t. CYA helps protect the chlorine from the sun’s UV rays, so outdoor pools need this additive to stabilize the chlorine and prevent the sun from burning it all off.

Stabilized chlorine tablets (like trichlor or dichlor tablets) are great if you also need to raise your CYA level, but chlorine dissipates, CYA doesn’t. If you keep using them, the CYA in your water will get too high, which may be expensive to fix.

A high cyanuric acid level can also cause a chain reaction of issues, including inhibiting chlorine’s effectiveness at sanitizing the water, messing with your test readings, and even damaging your pool plaster.

Unstabilized chlorine tablets (cal-hypo tablets) can be used instead, but these also contain calcium that will continue to raise your calcium hardness level with prolonged use, resulting in a whole new set of problems.

Finally, depending on how you add the tablets to your pool, a high concentration of dissolved chlorine can damage your pool equipment and surfaces, meaning they aren’t always the safest option.

All this is to say that chlorine tablets are great under the right conditions, but it’s always important to know what you’re putting in your water and be ready to substitute for other, more suitable forms of chlorine if need be.

3 Ways To Add Chlorine Tablets

If you’re still set on using chlorine tablets, let’s discuss the different ways to actually add them to your swimming pool.

Way #1: Pool Skimmer

This is the easiest way to add chlorine tablets to your pool.

The skimmer is the part of your pool that sucks in water when the filtration system is running. It contains a basket which pre-filters debris. Water then gets passed through the system, filtered, heated (if applicable), and then returned to the pool via the wall jets.

Placing chlorine tablets in the skimmer basket allows the pool system to do the work. As the pool pump takes water in on the suction side, it passes it over the basket, which slowly dissolves the tablet’s granules. The chlorine is then sent through the system and fully circulated into the water via the return jets.

This is a popular method. It’s both convenient and distributes the chlorine well, however some pool owners prefer not to use this method as the chlorine can damage the skimmer basket.  

Pros:

  • Most popular method
  • Easy to apply to the pool
  • Convenient
  • Slow-release distribution of chlorine 

Cons:

  • Chlorine can damage skimmer baskets

Note:  If you’ve decided to use granule or liquid chlorine, you should not add them through the skimmer. These chlorines should be diluted and then poured directly into the deep end of the pool.

Way #2: Floating Dispenser

A floating chlorine dispenser is another way to slowly add chlorine to the pool. Also known as a chlorine floatie or chlorine feeder, this is an inexpensive accessory at under $20. 

After filling up the unit with tablets, you put the lid on it and place it in the pool. It naturally floats around, slowly dispensing chlorine as it goes. 

It’s another convenient distributor, but it has two major drawbacks that prevent most people from using it.

First, it can get stuck behind things such as ladders, steps, or in corners of the pool, leading to a massive dose of chlorine in that area if no one’s around to monitor it. 

Second, as it’s constantly moving around and brushing up against the pool walls, the chlorine can bleach them. This is especially true for vinyl liners, so steer of this option if that’s the type of pool you have.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive price under $20
  • Can hold multiple tablets
  • Convenient option
  • Slow-release of chlorine throughout the pool
  • Good distribution option

Cons:

  • Can get stuck around ladders, or in corners of the pool
  • Can damage pool walls 
  • Not recommended for vinyl liner pools

Note: A floating chlorine dispenser is only good for tablets, and not to be used with liquid chlorine or granules.

Way #3: Automatic Chlorinator (Recommended)

An automatic chlorinator (also known as a chlorine feeder) is a unit that’s installed in the filter system, and it’s the best way to keep your pool water sanitized using chlorine tablets.

The chlorinator gets filled up with tablets and chlorine is then slowly released, feeding the pool a steady stream at all times via the return jets.

As mentioned earlier, there are both stabilized and unstabilized tablets you can choose from. You’ll have to make sure the chlorinator you buy is compatible with the tablets you’re using. 

Most trichlor tablets are 3” wide, and the chlorinators are built to this spec. However, some calcium hypochlorite (cal-hypo) tablets are only 1” wide, and will need the proper sized chlorinator, as they’ll dissolve too quickly in a 3” model.

Still, this is the best way to add chlorine to the pool, although admittedly, it’s a bit expensive, as units can cost anywhere from $50 to $300.

Pros:

  • Best method of fully dispersing chlorine tablets
  • Easy to use
  • Holds multiple tablets
  • Timed-release for constant sanitization
  • Don’t have to worry about chlorine damaging the pool
  • Saves you time on pool maintenance

Cons:

  • Most expensive option
  • Chlorinator must be installed in your pool system

Note: Granular chlorine should never be used in an automatic chlorinator. However, liquid chlorine can be used in a liquid chlorine chlorinator/feed system.

Set And Forget!

There are multiple ways you can add chlorine tablets to your pool. All are relatively inexpensive, but each have their pros and cons. 

An automatic chlorinator will be your best bet to set-it-and-forget-it, but each method will slowly release chlorine so your pool water is kept clean for long periods of time.

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