What Happens If You Swim In A Pool With Too Much Chlorine?

The sustainability of a swimming pool depends on how you care for it and how often you maintain the required water condition stability.

At any moment, your beautiful swimming pool can become a body of water with harmful or toxic characteristics to attack the body system of whoever attempts to swim in it. This is usually caused when one or two chemical constituents are in little quantity or overly present in the water.


Swimming Pool With Too Much Chlorine

Chlorine is an important chemical constituent of the swimming pool’s water, and like others, if it is in too much proportion, much harm will be done.

In the low portion, too, you are running at risk. In most cases, the signs of a lack of chlorine are usually easier to notice – more algae, cloudy water, stinking odor, and bad appearances – but on the other hand, many people would have jumped inside the water before they begin to have the feeling that the chlorine is too high except in situations where the owner discovers the excess while conducting tests for the water condition.


10 Effects Of Swimming In A Pool With Too Much Chlorine

The advised level of chlorine is 2 – 4 ppm. Anything above that signifies excess. The amount of the excesses determines the level of side effects that the swimmers will notice.

When it comes in contact with the swimmer, it enters through the skin pores and reacts with the body fluids or organs to produce toxic acids in the human cells. The following will be observed moments after exposure to a swimming pool with a high level of chlorine:

1. Throat or airway irritation (sore throat)

sore throat

When the water comes in contact with your mouth, which usually happens, minutes later, there will be a feeling of scratchiness, pain, and irritation in the throat.


2. Provoked asthma

Provoked asthma

If someone treating asthma swim in a pool with too much chlorine, wheezing can be observed. The swimmer will get uneasy and will start to experience difficulty breathing, alongside other effects mentioned.


3. Difficulty in breathing

Difficulty in breathing

Normally, a human being doesn’t pay attention to breathing. It just happens naturally and smoothly. The swimmer will begin to become conscious of their breathing pace, which will be short.

The heart will race faster, and there will be difficulty breathing minutes later. It sometimes happens that this effect gets delayed and will only happen after a long time of swimming.


4. Ear burn

Ear burn

The two ears will experience a slight burning of their pinna, and if the swimming section is prolonged, it becomes very painful or irritating when toughed. The ears might start to become slightly red.


5. Chest tightness

Chest tightness

Swimmers might feel a sharp pain in their chest or a total discomfort in the internal organs. This effect isn’t common only in cases where the swimmer gulps a portion of the water or has a prolonged swimming session in the pool.


6. Watery eyes

Watery eyes

The eyes will begin to shed tears bit by bit. You will notice this whenever your head is above the water.


7. Eye irritation or blurred vision

blurred vision

In some cases, if the chlorine level is too high, the swimmer’s vision will get blurred. It will start with eyes irritation and an urge to scratch every corner of the eyes.


8. Burning skin irritation

skin irritation

Red skin or the appearance of blisters will emerge in exposure to chlorine in the water. It will strip the skin of its natural oil. If the person has underlying/healing skin injuries, it will worsen the condition.


9. Nausea and vomiting


There are usually urges to vomit and a feeling of stomach discomfort over time if one swims in a pool with too much chlorine. This will be enhanced if the swimmer dives deeper than staying afloat or if there is an underlying health condition. Other signs acknowledged in this list might contribute to a feeling of wanting to vomit or actual vomiting.


10. Fluid in the lung (pulmonary edema)

pulmonary edema

This is an advanced side effect of exposure to the high chlorine content in a swimming pool. It might not start through the swimming pool’s chlorine (maybe from earlier exposure to liquid chlorine or gaseous chlorine), but the chlorine content in the pool will aggravate it.

Some of these symptoms might not be caused by the chlorine content in the swimming pool. If the swimmer has previous health complications, the side effects are most likely to be greater. Anyone exposed to the swimming pool is advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible unless the signs are short span.


Contributions Of Chlorine To The Swimming Pool

Chlorine is toxic in its pure state, but if crooked to some extent, it performs some functionalities which wouldn’t pose a health threat to human beings. The swimming pool contains water that supports the breeding of several organisms.

Multiple microbes, germs, small plants, and particles will accumulate if the water is left untouched. A pool with the aforementioned present can’t be used for swimming. That’s where chlorine comes in.

Chlorine forms a compound of hypochlorite when introduced into the pool’s water. This kills the present algae, germs, bacteria, and pathogens and clears off the pool’s surface into a sparkling form.

They neutralize the effects that intruding parties might cause over time. It takes over the general disinfecting and bleaches the surface. In some swimming pools, chlorine addition is replaced with bromine introduction, but bromine hasn’t proved itself a total substitution both in cost and efficiency.

Signs Of Excess Chlorine In The Swimming Pool

  • The chlorine level will be greater than 4 ppm.
  • The pH level will be lower than 7.2. It might go down as low as 2 or 3 if the very high chlorine content.
  • Swimmers begin to feel the side effects of exposure to a pool with too much chlorine mentioned earlier in this article.
  • Suppose the water tastes bitter or harsh in the mouth. This isn’t exactly accurate and might be caused by other things.


Test For Chlorine Level In A Swimming Pool

pool chlorine test

It is recommended you test for the chlorine content of your swimming pool, especially if there are lots of swimming sessions and environmental influences like rainfall, presence of trees, heavy storms, or dust. The targeted level of chlorine should be 2 – 4 ppm, but in some cases, it is 1 – 3 ppm, depending on the type and use of the water.

Start with filtration. This will eliminate present particles, dirt, or twig in the water. Get a cup and tip it upside down into the pool. Turn it up back when the water level reaches your elbow side. Get the cup filled with water out of the pool and protect it from further contaminations. That’s the water sample that will be used for the tests.

Chlorine reagents:

This works with the same rule of titration. The reagents can be purchased from your local pool store or ordered online. They come in liquid which changes color following the level of chlorine content present in the solvent put.

Add a few drops to the recommended amount of water sample stated in the manual. In seconds, the color of the solution will change.

Compare it with the chart provided in the product manual. The first one is the level of free chlorine.

There will be additional chemicals you will need to drop into the already gotten solution to get the level of total chlorine content. Follow instructions on the manufacturer’s manual or seek your pool store expert recommendations.


Chlorine paper test strip:

Like litmus paper, there are test strips that work for chlorine. All you have to do is to purchase it, dip a strip into the sample and watch the color of the strip change. Compare the color to the chart provided and get the value of the chlorine content.


Automatic chlorine detector:

This engineered machine will give you the exact readings of the total chlorine content and the free chlorine present. It is, however, expensive, and it is cost-effective.

Most swimming pools using it are usually installed alongside the automatic chlorinator. You can purchase this in your pool store, but it can be easily gotten on online eCommerce stores if not available.

The cheapest of these chlorine testing methods is the paper test strip. People with visual impairments or slight color blindness aren’t advised to test for chlorine themselves because they could mistake the color changes for another one.

You need to check your chlorine at least once every three days regularly. With this, you will be able to notice fast when the level is too high or perhaps, low.


How much chlorine should be added for the first time to a swimming pool?

Most new swimming pool owners get stuck on this question, and they are usually open to an excess level of chlorine if not careful. The thumb rule is to add 4 pounds of chlorine to 10,000 gallons of water.

There are several means of adding chlorine and types of chlorine present, but for the first time, the amount recommended is enough to kickstart the swimming pool without any issue. Nonetheless, before adding, the chlorine level has to be checked.

The recommendation was made because the writer assumes the water is pure freshwater with no chemicals added. When some chemicals have already been added, advice should be sought from a pool professional.


Means Of Adding Chlorine In The Right Proportion

Swimming pool chlorine is added into four parts. Each of these has distinct characteristics and is used in different situations.

Choose the best methods that fit your situation and financial capability for utmost satisfaction and less trouble with chlorine levels. Monitor the addition processes and consult pool experts regularly to avoid chlorine poisoning in your swimming pool. Below are means you can add chlorine:


Granular Chlorine: It is the powdery form of chlorine. They are made out of calcium hypochlorite, containing up to 65% of chlorine. Additives are added to the chlorine to act as enhancers in the chlorination processes. it is used for regular chlorine addition and sometimes used for shocking


Liquid chlorine: The original chlorine content is between 10% – 12%, and it contains much sodium hypochlorite. It is used mainly for shocking and, in some cases, regular chlorination.


Chlorine tablets: Chlorine tablets contain up to 65% of chlorine and are the commonest chlorination type used globally. This is because of their ease of usage and amount calculation. A considerable amount of cyanuric acid is added to act as a preventive measure against ultraviolet rays that suck up the chlorine in the swimming pool.


Non-chlorine chlorinator: Bromine, salt-water systems, ozone generators, mineral systems, and chlorinators made without using chlorine stay in this group. However, each of the mentioned serves the same function as chlorine and is considered an indirect means of providing chlorination functionalities.

Chlorine tablets are the best for regular chlorination, followed by non-chlorine chlorinators. Liquid chlorine and granular are most effective for shocking. If you mix them up, maybe by using more liquid chlorine for regular chlorination, you are more prone to experience excess chlorine levels or chloramines.


Removing Excess Chlorine In A Swimming Pool

  • If the swimming pool is exposed to sunlight, nature will take over with time. UV rays suck up chlorine content in water, especially if the cyanuric acid level is low.
  • Take away the chlorine dispensing floater, turn off the automatic chlorinator and remove the chlorine tablets from the skimmer.
  • Addition of chlorine inhibitor. You can purchase a chlorine rectifier in your local swimming pool store and correct the chlorine level with more pace. Follow instructions and recommendations. Safety precautions should also be in place to protect you from toxic exposure to chemicals.


Conditions That Warrant Heavy Use Of Chlorine.

If you follow through with much attention, you will notice the writer kept distinguishing chlorine application into shocking and regular chlorination. Regular chlorination is the frequent toppings of chlorine.

It is usually added in small quantities and is targeted at disinfecting a normal pool in a good water state. When the swimming pool water condition is already worse, shocking comes in. The following are signs that the pool needs heavy input of chlorine:

  • Cloudy appearance.
  • Visible algae presence.
  • Shallow chlorine content (below 1 ppm or at zero.)
  • Observed bather waste, feces, urine, or vomits. This usually happens after a pool party or an extended public swimming session.
  • Stinking swimming pool.

The aforementioned pushed the pool’s owner to carry out shocking. This will raise the chlorine level to about 10 ppm to 30 ppm, depending on the nature of the defects. After 24 hours, the water will return to 2 – 4 ppm and be swimmable again.

You are, however, advised to test for the chlorine content even after these 24 hours to be sure the water is safe.


Final Thoughts

Chlorine, like other chemicals, has to be used carefully. It is toxic, and it requires a specific amount to be added to the water if the users don’t want to experience the side effects of excess content.

Don’t fall victim to this. Test your chlorine level regularly, add only government-approved chlorine products and when you don’t seem to get around the edge of things, consult a pool specialist.

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