If you’re a pool owner, you may have a dedicated space where you store your chemicals. The space you choose may not seem like a big deal, but did you know that if not stored properly, the most common pool chemicals have the potential to react in a hazardous way that can be detrimental to you and your family? Let’s go through the risks and how to avoid these accidents at home.
KNOW YOUR CHEMICALS
Many pool chemicals exhibit oxidation properties that make them highly reactive, especially if they reach high temperatures, causing toxic vapors to emit if not properly stored. A partial listing of common pool chemicals includes chlorinated isocyanurates, lithium hypochlorite, sodium bicarbonate, potassium monopersulfate, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, and certain ammonium, brominated, copper and silver compounds, and muriatic acid.
Higher risk chemicals include those that are mixed with chlorine or a chlorine ion that are added to pool water to control the bacteria levels. Oxidizers are chemicals that release chlorine into your pool. Common oxidizers include calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite, and chlorinated isocyanurates.
While pool chemicals were designed to work within large bodies of water, a small amount of water can cause an unwanted reaction. It could potentially cause a chemical to increase in temperature or even emit a hazardous gas. Typical reasons for water leaks that might make contact with chemicals include roof leaks, wet floors, or leak from a broken/poorly sealed window. Even extreme humidity can play a part in putting your chemicals at risk.
Improper mixing can also cause adverse reactions. This can happen if a chemically contaminated tool or equipment is used to mix another chemical. Also, common spills or improper chemical disposal can cause unwanted mixing which can cause unwanted risks.
PROPER STORAGE TIPS
As mentioned above, trouble ensues when moisture comes in contact with pool chemicals, so it’s important to keep them in a cool, dry environment. Here are a few tips for keeping your chemicals safe and sound.
Safeguard Your Storage Area
- Check the roof for leaks
- Store chemicals away from windows and doors
- Check doors and window for cracks or potential leaks
- Avoid storing food or drink in the same area as your pool chemicals
- Consider investing in a shelf system to keep the chemicals off the ground
Inspect Chemical Containers
- Check the package for any leaks or cracks
- Properly discard or cover damaged packaging
- Consider waterproof covers to keep water out of the packaging
Avoid Chemical Mixing & Contamination
- Don’t mix old and new chemicals
- Separate chemicals that are likely to react to one another
- Designate tools for specific chemicals to avoid contamination
- Keep all combustible or flammable substances away from the storage area
Even with the precautions above, if you find yourself dealing with a chemical fire or an adverse reaction has occurred, always call 911.