Can You Put Chlorine Tablets or Granules Into Your Pump Basket or Skimmer?

Written by Michael Dean
February 7, 2024

putting a chlorine tablet into a pool skimmer basket

Chlorine tablets are useful and versatile products designed to treat and disinfect water. Simply put, they are a convenient and cost-effective way to maintain the chlorine levels of your swimming pool, as they slowly release the chlorine over time. So, if you’ve decided to make the switch, you might wonder: Can you put chlorine tablets or granules directly in your pump basket or skimmer?

In this article, I will answer the above question and break down everything else you need to know about how to use chlorine tablets and granules.

Main Takeaways

  • Do not add chlorine tablets or granules directly to your pump basket or skimmer for several reasons, including equipment damage, inefficient chlorine distribution, and safety concerns.
  • Add chlorine tablets to your pool using an automatic or floating pool chlorinator.
  • To add chlorine granules, pre-dissolve it in a bucket of water and then pour it slowly around the perimeter of the pool.
  • Chlorine tablets typically take 5 to 7 days to dissolve.

Can You Put Chlorine Tablets or Granules Into Your Pump Basket or Skimmer?

The question of whether you can place chlorine tablets or granules directly in your pool skimmer pops up with surprising regularity. And the answer? Do not put them into your pool pump basket or skimmer.

While it might come across as a quick and convenient solution for adding chlorine to your pool long-term without buying additional equipment, you’re also risking some damage to your pool equipment. Unfortunately, your pump basket and skimmer are not built to handle that much concentrated chlorine. In fact, ideally, you shouldn’t even put liquid chlorine, which is much less corrosive and potent, directly in your pump basket or skimmer.

Why You Shouldn’t Add Chlorine to the Pump Basket

I can offer you a couple of different reasons why I absolutely do not recommend adding chlorine tablets or granules directly to the pump basket.

Equipment Damage

First and foremost, chlorine tablets or granules are extremely corrosive. Chlorine tablets have a low pH, so they are pretty acidic, especially in large, concentrated doses. And if you put a tablet in the pump basket or skimmer, chances are it will dissolve a lot faster, which spells trouble for your equipment.

Essentially, the tablet will turn the water in the pump acidic. And when the acidic water travels through the filtration system, it will corrode the components of your pool equipment. The acidic water caused by the highly concentrated chlorine tablet will shorten the life of your pump, filter, and even heater as it travels through the system.

Inefficient Chlorine Distribution

Unless you run the pump 24/7, your chlorine distribution will be inefficient and patchy. This is because even when the pump shuts off for several hours, the chlorine tablet will continue to dissolve. So, when you do eventually turn the pump back on, the chlorine will be heavily localized to one spot, resulting in uneven distribution throughout the pool.

Unfortunately, highly chlorinated areas of the pool can be harmful to swimmers. Swimmers may experience discomfort, such as skin and eye irritation and even respiratory issues. On the other hand, under-chlorinated areas of the pool may be a breeding ground for bacteria and algae.

How to Safely Add Chlorine Tablets to Your Pool

There are two methods to safely add chlorine tablets to your pool: using an automatic chlorinator or a floating chlorinator.

Method One: Use an Automatic Chlorinator

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to opt for and install the right automatic chlorinator suited to your pool’s sizing and needs. It should be installed in your pool’s plumbing system, ideally right after the heater and filter.

Once your automatic chlorinator is in place, here is my step-by-step guide on how to use it:

Step One: Load the Chlorinator

Simply pen up the lid of the automatic chlorinator and load it with as many chlorine tablets as you want. As a safety tip, use gloves, wear a mask, and avoid direct contact with bare skin.

Step Two: Adjust the Chlorinator Rate

Set the control valve dial on the automatic chlorinator to the desired chlorine level. Your pool should ideally have a chlorine level of 1 to 3 ppm. However, when you first set up the chlorinator, set it on a lower setting for the first couple of days and check the chlorine levels in your pool.

Step Three: Start the System

Switch on the pool’s pump to allow the water to flow through the automatic chlorinator. This will lead to the slow dissolution of the chlorine tablets, resulting in the distribution of chlorinated water into the pool.

Step Four: Monitor Chlorine Levels and Maintain

The first few days are critical. Test the water to see how much chlorine there is, and from there, adjust the chlorinator rate setting until your free chlorine reaches 1 to 3 ppm.

Remember, don’t forget to keep an eye on the automatic chlorinator for tablet residue or clogging. Keep it clean and free of debris for even dispersion!

Method Two: Use a Floating Chlorinator

A floating chlorinator is an alternative way to add chlorine tablets to your pool system. As you might be able to infer from the name, this product floats on the surface of the water across the pool. As it does, it gradually dissolves and releases chlorine into the pool, helping maintain proper sanitation levels.

Step One: Fill the Chlorinator

Remove the lid of the chlorinator to uncover the area where you can place the chlorine tablets. As a general rule, you’ll add one 3” chlorine tablet for every 5,000 gallons of water. If you’re not sure how big your pool is, use my pool volume calculator. Once you’ve added the appropriate number of chlorine tablets, secure the chlorinator tightly—twist until you hear a slight click.

Step Two: Open the Base

To release the chlorine into your pool, you need to slightly open the base of the floating chlorinator by turning it counterclockwise. The wider the opening, the more chlorine is released. I recommend opening the vents just halfway. 

Step Three: Submerge the Chlorinator

Fully submerge the floating chlorinator in the water for a few seconds to expel all air from the container—then it should float to the surface, with the bottom half remaining underwater.

Step Four: Secure with the Leash (Optional)

Some floating chlorinators come with a leash or tether, which helps the dispenser to stay in one area of the pool. It prevents the floating chlorinator from getting stuck in one area of the pool.

Step Five: Monitor Chlorine Levels

Constantly check your chlorine levels. Make sure that your chlorine levels are within the desired range of 1 to 3 ppm, and adjust the flow if needed. As the tablets dissolve, periodically check the floating chlorinator and refill it with fresh tablets.

How to Safely Add Chlorine Granules to Your Pool

An alternative to tablets, chlorine granules are another way for you to maintain healthy water sanitation for a safe swimming environment. Before we start, please make sure you’re wearing proper safety gear, such as gloves and safety goggles. Ready? Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to safely add chlorine granules to your pool:

Step One: Pre-Dissolve the Granules

Fill a 5-gallon bucket of water with water, then add the granules to it. The idea is to pre-dissolve the granules in a small portion of the water before adding it to the pool to avoid clumping.

Step Two: Evenly Distribute the Solution

Slowly pour the dissolved chlorine solution around the pool perimeter to ensure even distribution.

Step Three: Wait for Water Circulation

Allow your pool’s pump and filter to run for a few hours, at least 4 to 6 hours, after adding the chlorine granules.

Step Four: Regularly Monitor Chlorine Levels

Check chlorine levels using a test strip or liquid drop kit. Are they within the recommended range of 1 to 3 ppm? If there is not enough chlorine, add some more. If you’ve added too much, here’s my guide on lowering chlorine in your pool.

Step Five: Store Chlorine Safely

Once you’re done, store the chlorine granules in a secure, safe, and well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight. Make sure to never mix the chlorine with other chemicals, including other types of chlorine.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to put chlorine tablets in the pool?

The best way to add chlorine tablets to a pool is to use a floating chlorinator or an automatic chlorinator. Never put tablets directly in your skimmer or pump basket!

How long does it take for chlorine tablets to dissolve?

Chlorine tablets typically take 5 to 7 days to dissolve, but the actual time can vary depending on the type of chlorinator you use, the size of your pool, chlorinator settings, and pool temperature.

Add Chlorine Tablets and Granules the Right Way

While simply putting your chlorine tablets or granules in the pump basket or skimmer may seem convenient, you now know the associated risks. Chlorine tablets are designed for use in automatic chlorinators or floating dispensers, where they can dissolve slowly and consistently release chlorine into the water. And granules should be pre-dissolved in a bucket before being slowly poured over the perimeter of the swimming pool.

Any more questions about chlorine and pool chemicals? Shoot me a message!

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