The Common Pool Cleaning Mistake That Can Cause An Explosion In Your Backyard

Anyone who owns a swimming pool knows the gross results from not cleaning the pool and the importance of doing this task regularly. This typically involves using strong chemicals. However, those same owners may be unaware that simple errors when handling and using said chemicals can cause a dangerous explosion. Once you've spotted signs that the pool needs cleaning, it's important to handle the chemicals properly to do the job safely.

One common and dangerous pool cleaning mistake is directly mixing chlorine shock and trichlor tablets. If you have an automatic chlorine feeder that contains trichlor tablets, never add shock directly to the tablet feeder or skimmer, or it could lead to an explosion or fire. Don't pour the shock treatment near the dispenser, either, to avoid the possibility of an explosion. Many owners have both chemicals on hand because using trichlor tablets is a popular way to sanitize the water in the swimming pool, while adding chlorine shock is a popular way to remove contaminants quickly. 

When storing these items, take precautions, too. Store each chemical in a tightly sealed bucket, avoiding contact with other pool chemicals. Try to store them as far apart as possible. If you end up storing your chemicals in the same area of a shed or garage, make sure you have plenty of ventilation in the area. If you have liquid and dry chemicals in the same area, never place the liquid items over the top of the dry items.

Other common dangerous chemical combinations in a swimming pool

Another especially dangerous mixture of swimming pool chemicals could occur with chlorine and muriatic acid. Adding muriatic acid to pool water helps with reducing pH levels, removing cloudiness in the water, and reducing scale. Chlorine kills germs and makes the water healthier for swimming. However, mixing the two could release a toxic chlorine gas, which can cause irritation to the membranes of the eyes and mouth. A major exposure at a high concentration could cause a fatality. 

To avoid this problem, do not add muriatic acid to the water when the chlorine levels are high. Using a pool test strip is the best way to measure the water's chlorine level to ensure it's safe before adding muriatic acid. Additionally, do not shock the pool right after you use a muriatic acid treatment or chlorine gas formation is possible. Never store these two chemicals in a location where they could accidentally mix. 

These aren't the only precautions you should take as a pool owner. The truth is that most chemicals used to clean the water in the swimming pool are not compatible with each other. Mixing some of these chemicals in any combination could potentially cause explosions, releases of dangerous chlorine gas, and fire. Take precautions when storing chlorine pool tablets and other cleaning chemicals for the swimming pool by following any recommendations on the product packaging for safe handling, usage, and storage.