The two most common methods for adding chlorine to residential swimming pools are pouring liquid chlorine into the pool and putting 3-inch chlorine tablets to a chlorine floater to slowly dissolve. These methods have been used for decades in backyard pools and will surely be used well into the future. But another method that is gaining popularity in recent years is the automatic chlorine feeder.
Automatic chlorine feeders are high capacity containers that hold 2 to 3 times as many 3-inch chlorine tablets when compared to most traditional chlorine floaters. They are simple to install into the existing pool equipment plumbing and come in two different styles.
In Line Chlorine Feeders – this style of chlorine feeder is plumbed directly into the 1 1/2 or 2 inch PVC pipes at the main pool equipment pad. This involves actually cutting the PVC pipes and re-plumbing the feeder into the existing plumbing.
Off Line Chlorine Feeders – off line chlorine feeders work using the water pressure from the main pool equipment plumbing, but are not plumbed directly into the 1 1/2 or 2 inch PVC plumbing. Instead they use the water pressure from the main plumbing to divert water through a 3/8-inch tubing, into the feeder, and then back into the plumbing line after it is chlorinated.
Using an automatic chlorine feeder in a residential swimming pool offers several advantages.
Easier to Control the Amount of Chlorine Added to the Pool Water – adding chlorine by pouring liquid into the pool or keeping tablets in a floater both leave a lot of room for improvement on controlling the amount of chlorine added to the pool water. Automatic chlorine feeders have a regulation valve that makes it easy to either increase or decrease the quantity of chlorine added to the water as it flows through the feeder. So depending on the chlorine demand of the pool throughout the year, a simple adjustment by the pool owner or service technician is all it takes to make a change.
Handle Chlorine Less Often – depending on the capacity of the feeder, it will hold as much as 6 lbs of chlorine tablets. That amount of chlorine can last several weeks in most residential sized swimming pools. It’s always a good thing to minimize the frequency of handling chlorine or any other pool chemical.
Floater Free Pool – removing the chlorine floater from the pool eliminates a couple of different associated risks. First, young children are attracted to the floaters and have a tendency to treat them like toys, putting the children at risk of accidentally handling the harsh chemical. Secondly, if a chlorine tablet falls out of the floater and ends up sitting on the bottom of the pool for any length of time, it will damage the plaster.
Less Frequent Trips to the Pool Store – a typical pool owner can only store so much liquid chlorine at the house, usually only 1 case at a time which might only last 2 to 3 weeks. Then it’s back to the pool store to re-supply. Chorine in 3-inch tablet form comes in 50 lb buckets that can last up to 6 months to a year. This means fewer trips to the pool store and savings on gas and time.
Vacation Without Worry – with a chlorine feeder installed, leaving the pool unattended for extended periods of time, like a long vacation, becomes more realistic. Some feeders hold up to 6 lbs of chlorine tabs that can last several weeks or more depending on the season.
Installing a chlorine feeder can be a great choice for many residential swimming pools. The feeders sell for under $100 and installation is pretty straightforward. Considering all its advantages, adding an automatic chlorine feeder is definitely worth the small investment.