When it comes to enjoying your backyard pool or spa, the cleanliness and clarity of the water is critically important. One of the most important factors in maintaining the healthy state of your water is the chemicals you use. Chlorine, bromine, pH increasers and decreasers, alkalinity increasers and decreasers, calcium hardness increaser… these and others all play a role in maintaining proper water chemistry.
Like running your pump and heater, keeping an adequate supply of these chemicals on hand is one of the costs of operating a pool. However, people sometimes believe that “chemicals are chemicals” and look to save a few bucks by buying their pool maintenance supplies in bulk at a “big box” store. Unfortunately, this approach can backfire for a number of reasons. When the question is “Does it matter where I buy my pool chemicals?” the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”
Don’t Cut Corners on Chemicals
When you make a significant investment like installing and operating a swimming pool or spa, it only makes sense to properly maintain that investment. In order to do that, you need high-quality pool maintenance supplies and the know-how behind them.
Here are five reasons you should never cut corners on your pool chemicals:
- Follow the leaders. Pool care professionals know their business. They understand that getting pool chemistry right the first time, every time makes for quick work and happy customers. On the contrary, using an inferior product (see below) can mean multiple chemical applications to find the right balance, and frustrated pool users. You’ll never see a pool expert buying chemicals at a big box outlet. They go straight to the pool supply store. You are wise to follow their lead.
- Quality matters. Don’t get me wrong… big box stores are a great place to buy many of the items you use. However, pool care is something these stores just don’t specialize in. They are, understandably, more focused on making a profit and have price points that suppliers must meet. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to add fillers of various kinds to the formulations that are packaged for the discount store. These diluted products do not, of course, perform as well as the full-strength version and you have to use more to achieve the same effect.
- An unsafe alternative. When you use “bargain” pool supplies, there’s more at stake than just water chemistry. Poor quality chemicals and the difficulty they present in terms of finding the proper balance can ultimately cause damage to your pool liner and system components. What’s more, in the wrong quantities, chemicals can irritate skin and eyes and damage hair.
- Insights from the experts. When you buy your chemicals from the pool supply store, you’re getting more than chemicals—you’re getting access to the cumulative knowledge of all the pool experts who work there. Getting their opinion on what’s causing a certain condition in your pool before diving into the course of action you assume is correct can save you significant amounts of time and money. The clerk at the big box store is not going to have any answers for you.
- A community of pool owners. One of the joys of owning a pool or spa is sharing stories with other owners. What new feature are they adding this year? Have they considered salt water? Any big pool party plans? You don’t get that kind of camaraderie at the big box store.
What You Put in Affects What You Get Out
As you consider where to get your pool chemicals, remember that what you put into your pool has a direct impact on the enjoyment you get out of it. Explore more about pool care and water chemistry.