Top 4 Pool Myths
May 01, 2015 at 10:43 AM
In the pleasant and sunny world of pool ownership, many myths and urban legends circulate among the fine denizens of suburbia. We'd like to take aim at a few of the most popular un-truths that plague the pool-loving community, because in pool care as in life, the truth will set you free…
Myth #1: You must wait an hour after eating before swimming.
Not entirely true. The idea that swimming immediately after eating will inevitably lead to a life-threatening cramp seems to have first appeared in an outdated scouting manual from the early 20th century, Scouting for Boys, in which the author advises that "If you bathe within an hour and a half after taking a meal, that is, before your food is digested, you are very likely to get a cramp. Cramp doubles you up in extreme pain so that you cannot move your arms and legs and down you go. You may drown and it will be your own fault."
Besides the obvious use of scare tactics at play here, the science is unsupported. There has never been a reported case of drowning due to post-meal cramps in the history of the United States as far as we know.
While the act of swimming does divert the heart's precious blood to the muscles and away from the stomach during swimming, which can make digestion difficult and even lead to cramping, the idea of being sunk by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is exaggerated, to say the least.
Myth #2: There are pool chemicals that reveal urine in pool water.
There aren't. No manufacturer has succeeded to create a chemical additive that surrounds an insidious pool-tinkler with boldly-colored proof of his indiscretions. While a novel, even hilarious concept, it is only to be found in movies and television, not real-world pools.
Should you become aware of someone having urinated in your pool through traditional means of deduction, such as sudden temperature increase or sheepish confession, don't worry. Proper levels of chlorine (1-3 parts per million (ppm) and only 0.5 ppm needed when combined with a mineral sanitizer) will cancel any potential for contaminative effects.
If you're still worried, or if you have an exceptional number of people urinating in your pool, simply clear everyone out and shock it.
Myth #3: That heavy chemical smell is an indication of a clean pool.
It's actually the opposite. A properly disinfected swimming pool has no strong chemical smell. That strong odor common to many (especially public) pools is actually due to something called chloramines. Chloramines are the byproducts of chlorine's reaction to contaminants brought in by swimmers.
These contaminants include perspiration, urine, body oils and cosmetics, to name a few. Therefore, a strong chemical odor is actually an indication that the chlorine in the pool is working overtime due to an excess of contaminants. Far from being an indicator of clean water, the smell may indicate the need for further chemical intervention (usually more chlorine).
Myth #4: Chlorine gives people red eyes during swimming.
We've all experienced, or at least seen, the horrors of red eye from the pool. Irritated, itchy red eyes are often blamed on an excess of chlorine in a pool, but that is almost never the case.
While swimming pools can indeed provide irritations, the culprit is actually chloramines, that byproduct of chlorine mentioned above, which result from an improperly, often under-chlorinated pool. Pools that maintain a normal level of chlorination (the aforementioned 1-3 ppm) will not cause such symptoms.
We hope this clears a few things up, and that the knowledge gained from this post will help you and your family enjoy the pool even more.