Chlorine tablets are one of your pool’s most influential and irreplaceable chemicals. If you don’t have chlorine, you’ll have to deal with lots of algae, bugs, and cloudiness.
However, pool owners often worry about swimming with such strong chemicals in the water. After all, chlorine is strong enough to eliminate all sorts of bacteria.
You can swim with chlorine tablets in the pool because they dissolve very slowly. Chlorine tablets go in a pool floater that comes with dispensing outlets to control how much chlorine goes into the water. However, you shouldn’t swim in the pool right after adding pool shock or liquid chlorine.
In this article, I’ll discuss how long you have to wait to swim after adding the chlorine tablets, how long it takes for the tablets to dissolve, and whether or not you should always have them in the pool. Let’s get started!
How Long After Putting Chlorine Tablets In Can You Swim?
You can almost always swim right after adding chlorine tablets, but there are a few things you should look out for.
The goal is to maintain healthy chlorine levels without causing skin and eye irritation. I recommend putting one three-inch chlorine tablet in the pool floater per 5,000 gallons of water to reach this goal.
You should also keep these three factors in mind when swimming with chlorine tablets:
- Never add too many chlorine tablets, or it will be unsafe to swim in the pool. Many pool owners make the mistake of filling the tablet floater, assuming they can top it off when all of the tablets dissolve. Unfortunately, this common error raises the pool’s calcium, total dissolved solids, and chlorine to unhealthy levels.
- If you’re worried about the chlorine tablets, you can adjust or close the chlorine floater’s dispensing holes. Almost every chlorine floater twists to reveal or close the tablets. You can control how much chlorine comes out of the floater to an extent. Those with pets or children who might mess with the floater can close it while they’re swimming.
- Chlorine tablets should never go in the skimmer basket, pump basket, or filter. I’ve come across countless corroded and destroyed pumps, filters, and skimmer baskets from this mistake. Placing the tablets in these locations corrodes the equipment and pushes concentrated chlorine through the outlets, which can cause irritation.
How Long Does It Take For A Chlorine Tablet To Dissolve?
It takes about one week for a chlorine tablet to dissolve, depending on the chlorine concentration, the filler ingredients, and the dimensions.
Three-inch chlorine tablets typically last a few days longer than one-inch tablets. However, they put less total dissolved solids into the water, allowing the pool to absorb more chlorine.
Chlorine tablets dissolve based on their chemical composition. Some low-grade tablets are made with tons of extra calcium to make it seem like they’re as effective as high-quality tablets.
You’ll find plenty of cheap, filler-packed tablets at big chain stores, but not local pool stores or most online retailers.
For example, the In the Swim 3-Inch Chlorine Tablets have 90% available chlorine, which is much higher than most chain stores. These tablets last up to a week, which is about twice as long as the low-end tablets.
Furthermore, each tablet is individually wrapped to prevent you from breathing in the chlorine dust. If you’re in need of tablets, I highly recommend picking these up.
However, your chlorine tablets might not dissolve as quickly if the pump isn’t circulating the water.
If the tablets won’t dissolve after a couple of weeks, it’s best to check if the filter’s PSI is over 25, if the pump is making strange noises, or if the plumbing is leaking.
Should You Always Have Chlorine Tablets in the Pool?
You should always have chlorine tablets in the pool to maintain a chlorine level between 2ppm to 4ppm. If you’re fighting an algae bloom, raise the chlorine levels up to 6ppm until the algae goes away.
Chlorine tablets are made of concentrated chlorine, but they usually don’t cause irritation or discomfort because they dissolve slowly.
The only time that you might want to think about removing the tablets is if you have a solar cover on the pool for a long time.
Solar covers work by retaining water, chemicals, and heat. However, they can trap the chlorine floater, which slowly corrodes the cover. You can use liquid chlorine or powder chlorine to maintain the water while the cover is on.
If the chlorine levels are too high, remove the tablet and make the necessary adjustments. Try these tips:
- Open or narrow the dispenser’s outlets to limit or increase the chlorine levels.
- Make sure you only have one tablet per 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of water, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Remove small, chalky, clumped tablets from the dispenser because they can break off into the water and corrode the liner.
- Keep an eye on the pool’s salt, calcium, and TDS (total dissolved solids) since chlorine tablets increase all of these levels.
How Long After Shock Can You Swim?
You can swim between 6 to 24 hours after shocking the pool, depending on how much shock you put in the water and what its concentration is.
For example, a shock with 50% calcium hypochlorite that brings the chlorine to 4ppm calls for about 6 hours, whereas a 92% shock that brings the chlorine to 7ppm calls for up to 24 hours.
I recommend waiting a full day before swimming in a pool after shocking it during an algae bloom.
The chlorine needs to be strong enough to kill the algae, which can make it dangerous or uncomfortable for swimmers. However, you need to shock the pool weekly, not just during an algae bloom.
It’s important to maintain the pool’s chlorine levels, and chlorine tablets usually aren’t enough during the warm summer months.
You can swim the same day if the chlorine stays around 4ppm to 5ppm after shocking it. I recommend avoiding pools with chlorine levels higher than 5ppm until the levels drop to the safe, comfortable range.