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Chlorine tablets are solid pellets of a chemical compound containing chlorine that are used to disinfect and purify drinking water and water used in swimming pools. Chlorine has long been used to kill bacteria and microbes in water to make it safe. In its gaseous form, however, it is poisonous. Chlorine tablets became one of the most common methods to deliver the desired results safely.
Chlorination to make water potable dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Soon afterward, chlorine also began seeing use to make swimming pools safe. As home swimming pools became popular, the need developed for a quick, easy way for the average person to add chlorine to water quickly, easily, and without the hazard of coming in direct contact with dangerous chemicals. Chlorine tablets become a popular way of achieving that goal. Their use eventually extended to use in drinking water treatment plants.
In swimming pools, chlorine tablets are used not only to kill bacteria in the water but also to prevent the growth of algae and to maintain the proper pH level. The pH level is a rating on a scale that indicates how acidic or caustic a substance is. A safe pH level for a swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.6.
Treating a pool regularly with chlorine tablets, however, does not usually guarantee that the water will remain safe. Continued use of chlorine can make the chemicals combine and become ineffective. Most pools must be “shocked” about once a week to ensure that the water is safe to swim in. Chlorine in high concentrations can be purchased in tablets and other forms to shock a pool. Individuals shocking a pool should be careful to read the directions on the product being used because the process is generally different from everyday usage.
Chlorine tablets can be purchased in most stores where swimming pool supplies are sold and can generally be found for sale online by entering the name in an Internet search engine. Most are relatively expensive and simple to use. Disinfecting and purifying a pool typically involve little more than releasing the tablets into the water from a dispenser and waiting for the tablets to dissolve and dispense through the pool.
Manufacturers of most hot tubs, spas and whirlpools recommend using chlorine tablets or other chlorine-based products to sanitize the water. The frequency of such treatments may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The owner's manual generally provides directions for proper chemical treatments.