You want to keep your backyard pool environment safe for your entire family. That can be a little hard when you have pool chemicals around, but they are essential for keeping your pool clean. These chemicals are only a hazard if you’re not properly handling and storing the elements. Here’s how you should properly store your pool chemicals.
Where Should I Store Pool Chemicals?
These compounds are better stored in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated place. Many homeowners keep their pool chemicals in the garage. This is not a good place for them unless your chemicals get sealed in a cabinet or storage bin and you have some ventilation in the area.
Components in pool chemicals — acids, oxidizers — can rust electrical objects and other equipment in the storage area. Exposed chemicals, even lidded products, have the potential to leak. A gradual leak is a threat, especially if stored near gasoline or other chemicals.
Pool chemicals also can break down naturally over time. You minimize this when you store them correctly. You want to manage their potency in the long run while preventing the possibility of inhaling or coming in contact with contaminated elements.
Safety Tips for Storing Pool Chemicals
Here are a few suggestions to protect your environment from poorly handled pool chemicals.
Prevent Exposure to Humidity and Sunlight
The best place for pool chemicals is out of direct sunlight. They need a cool and dark environment. Sunlight exposure potentially creates toxic reactions in your chemicals. Reactions that may impact your health whenever you open them.
Store chemicals as far away from the pool as possible. Small amounts of water and humidity can lead to dangerous fumes.
Keep the Storage Area Well Ventilated
If there’s little airflow, you risk quickly changing the composition of the components in chemicals. It doesn’t take much for hazardous fumes to accumulate, released the second you open a container.
Ventilation is also critical if you have multiple chemicals, pool or otherwise, which you’ve stored close to each other.
Monitor How You Store Chemicals
You need to pay careful attention to label instructions for each compound. You never want to store acids or store oxidizers in the same spot. Material data safe sheets come with each chemical. Reference them before use and before storing.
Stacking chemicals without being attentive to their contents creates a hazard. You never want to stack a liquid above a powdered chemical. Even accidental contact may result in a dangerous reaction.
Avoid Flammable Items
Keep pool chemicals away from flammable components. That includes your gas-powered mower or grill. And regarding grills, your storage site must be away from heat sources.
Never Switch or Reuse Containers
Never transfer chemicals from one chemical container to another. Never repurpose an empty container. Use original containers until they are empty and dispose of them.
You also want to take care when mixing new and old batches, even if it’s the same chemical. Older batches may have an altered composition and may not react safely with newer components.
Last, keep labels legible so that you can always read them.
Can Pool Chemicals Be Stored Outside?
Whether you store chemicals outside depends on your climate. If your area has a moderate climate, it’s okay to store pool chemicals outdoors.
If the climate isn’t steady, you’re opening up the possibility of freezing or overheating. In this case, you’re best off with indoor storage.
Are Certain Chemicals Sensitive To Heat?
Pool chemicals have a greater sensitivity to heat than cold. These compounds can maintain their composition despite freezing. The same does not apply to pool chemicals and overheating.
Storing chemicals in high temperatures is a huge risk. Heat creates pressure that requires venting. It can lead to unwanted conditions when you open a container.
Remember, pool chemical manufacturers usually store their products in single-skin, non-insulated containers. These do not necessarily offer strong resistance to temperatures.
Can Pool Chemicals Freeze?
If you have year-round pool access, this is not an issue.
Storing pool chemicals throughout the fall and winter months can dilute chemical potency. Do not leave pool chemicals where the cold is extreme.
How Long Do Pool Chemicals Last?
It’s best to keep enough pool chemicals for the current season. That way, you always have access to fresh batches. And you won’t have to worry about long-term storage and the associated risks.
You have liquids, powders, stabilized and unstabilized chemicals, algaecides, clarifiers and flocculants, tablets, etc. In pure form, your hydrochloric acids will last longer than their containers. This is unfortunate as chemicals eating away at their containers are a big problem.
As you can see, there are too many factors to consider. There is no single determinate for gauging the shelf life of chemicals.
Read your labels and track expiration dates.
But…here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Properly stored chlorine has a shelf life of 3–5 years.
- Unstabilized liquid chlorine has a specific shelf life; make sure to check the label.
- If repackaged, your granular chlorine has a longer shelf life.
- Buying bulk is throwing money out the window. Even under proper storage, it gradually loses potency.
- Keeping a seasonal supply saves money and gets full potency with every usage.
- Always wear PPE when handling chemicals.
- Keep storage areas that children and pets have no access to.
Some Last Considerations
Here are some all-important tips for storing pool chemicals.
- Yes, we’ve said it several times, but it deserves repeating: store chemicals in cool, well-ventilated, dry areas. Stay away from heat and electrical implements. Avoid areas susceptible to flooding.
- Always pay attention to product labels. Every product has unique storage and handling instructions. Never assume one manufacturer’s storage criteria will be the same as their competitor’s.
- Store containers upright, tightly, and safely. Carefully replace lids. Open containers increase the risk of spills or the wrong parties getting access. Place containers flat on surfaces.
- Do not mix old and new chemicals. Keep products segregated. Always leave chemicals in their purchased containers and, when storing, keep varying chemicals away from one another.
- When mixing, use a stir stick, board, pole, etc. Never use an arm, hand, or tool you need for other purposes.
- Never leave pool chemicals in the vicinity of combustible materials like paints and gas. Avoid crossing chemicals with foreign matter that can contaminate elements. Use an area designated for pool chemicals.
- Manage good housekeeping. If you spill, clean it up. Never put it back in the container. Do not put spillage in the garbage. Flush it with water.
- Stay away from open flames. When handling chemicals, do not smoke. Store chemicals far away from fire pits and grills.
- Do not add water to chemicals. When mixing, always add your chemicals to the water. The first causes splashing, significantly increasing spillage, and is more likely to get chemicals in your mouth or eyes.
- Whenever you have an empty container, rinse it out, and dispose of it. If you find yourself with chemicals you no longer need, contact your local waste company to learn legal ways to dispose of them.
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Is It Safe to Add Chemicals Simultaneously?
That depends on the compounds, but you should not add chlorine with sequester agents at the same time. Chlorine shock can disrupt staining and scaling chemicals. Introduce sequesters into the water anywhere between one and several days before chlorine. If unsure, have a consult with a pool pro.
How Long Is It Safe to Wait Before Adding Pool Chemicals?
Add your balancing chemicals and wait no less than 20 minutes. After applying calcium chloride to the pool, don’t use the same for two to four hours. It’s okay to jump in the water if chlorine levels are in the vicinity of 5 ppm or after 24 hours of application.
What’s My Chemical Checklist?
You want your test strips or kit to see pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and levels of chlorine. You’ll use chlorine for shock treatment because some chemicals increase or decrease the chemical composition of calcium, alkalinity, and pH. You also want algaecide and stain treatments.
Is It Safe to Use Bleach Instead of Chlorine?
Household bleach is a good way to quickly sanitize your pool if you’re in a time jam, but it is highly recommended you go with a pool-grade, quality chlorine. You want a higher, focused concentration of chemicals that maximize sanitization and keep your pool safe and sound for family and guests.
Is Shock the Same as Liquid Chlorine?
Granular shock and liquid chlorine have identical active chemicals for cleaning your pool. What differentiates the compounds is how you use them and apply their strengths. Granular shock comes in a solid form and has stability. Liquid chlorine is less expensive and unstabilized.
Will Pool Chemicals Blow Up?
Some chemicals are volatile. Manage all chemicals with care. But we can say you never mix chemicals and never mix dry and liquid chlorines. This can lead to an explosion.
Whenever in doubt about properly storing simultaneously your pool chemicals, contact a pool professional, the vendor you purchase from, or the manufacturer. There is no step you can take to protect your home that’s unnecessary.
For more on chemicals, head over to my full article on swimming pool chemistry.
Questions about storing or handling pool chemicals? Let me know; always happy to help.