Where to put chlorine tablets in a swimming pool and is it ok to put the chlorine tablets in the skimmer’s basket are two often asked questions that pool owners have, particularly with new swimming pool owners.
It is perfectly safe to put chlorine tablets in your skimmer’s basket. In fact, it is the normal place to put them as the water is pulled over the chlorine pucks through the basket by the pool pump so this helps them to dissolve.
I have been putting chlorine tablets (also known as chlorine pucks due to their size and shape) directly in my skimmer baskets for most of the past 8 years that I have owned my pool without any problems. I usually do this immediately after I have cleaned the pool.
When I think about it, when swimming pools have been around for so long, it is surprising that they aren’t built with a specific chlorine/chemical feeder system as standard. This type of pool equipment is available but does not seem to be fitted as a matter of course.
Chlorine tablets in skimmer
One of the advantages to putting the chlorine tablets in the basket of the pool skimmer is that when the pool pump is running the pool water flows over them so it becomes chlorinated as some of the tablets dissolve. It is then pumped back into the pool via the pool filter and is distributed evenly throughout the entire pool.
I actually use 5-in-1 3″ tablets which include sanitizer, clarifier, stain inhibitor, descaler and algaecide all in one tablet so are very convenient to use. I use these – 3 inch Pool Mate All-in-1 Chlorinating Tablets
Opinions certainly differ with regard to putting chlorine tablets in a skimmer basket or not. Some of the top pool cleaning websites say it is the best place to put them while others have the complete opposite opinion and say it is a bad idea.
You will also see on swimming pool forums that “they” say, putting the tablets in the skimmer basket can lead to the eventual corrosion of the pool skimmer and other pool equipment.
My pool is now over 20 years old and the previous pool owner put the tablets in the skimmer, and so have I, yet there have been no ill effects yet.
It is true that when the pool pump isn’t running the tablets will continue to dissolve in the skimmer basket (slowly as the water isn’t flowing over them) so this water will become more highly chlorinated.
As long as your pump runs every day that isn’t such a problem. As soon as the pool pump starts then the “concentrated” water passes through the system and out of the return jets in seconds so doesn’t have a chance to do any damage along the way.
What other methods can I use to add chlorine tablets?
Floating chlorine tablet dispenser
The main alternative to adding chlorine tablets in the skimmer’s basket is using floating chlorine dispensers. These allow you to put tablets in them and they float around on top of your pool slowly allowing the tablets to dissolve as they go.
They normally have a method of restricting the amount of water that can enter the dispenser to slow or speed up how quickly the chlorine tablets dissolve.
For some reason (to paraphrase Henry Ford) they come in every color you want, as long as it is blue. That is apart from some of the novelty versions which may have a duck, a dolphin or even an alligator on top.
I have this one which has a high capacity and I tend to use it when I don’t have the pool cover on (yes, it’s blue) – Large Capacity Floating Chlorine Dispenser
I use a smaller version of the one above when adding chlorine tablets (actually small pieces rather than whole tablets) to my hot tub as there is no basket in the skimmer system to use as an alternative.
There are numerous novelty floating pool chlorine dispensers from crocodiles to ducks or dinosaurs. My particular favorite is a turtle from WWD Pool.
Poolmaster do a version with a Mallard duck on top that is quite realistic too. Check out their full range of novelty chlorine tablet dispensers that are available here on Amazon Poolmaster Chlori-Critter Chlorine Dispenser for Swimming Pools and Spas.
Read my post How to Use Floating Chlorine Dispenser
I used floating dispensers too before I bought a solar pool cover but with the pool cover in place they get stuck along the side by the cover as they cannot freely float around.
Inline chemical feeder
These are placed in the pipework that goes from the filter to the swimming pool. Chlorine tablets are placed in them and the water flow over them to be delivered to the pool. An automatic chlorinator generally have the means to control the feed rate to select how quickly you want the chlorine tablets to be dissolved.
Inline feeders are not very expensive and can be retro-fitted to swimming pools in most instances.
They are available on Amazon for less than $100 so might be worth considering.
The Hayward CL200 In-line Automatic Chemical Feeder holds up to 9 tablets so would be ideal if you were going on vacation for a few weeks so the chlorine levels would be kept up while you were away.
Can you put chlorine tablets directly in pool?
You should never just throw chlorine tablets into your pool, no matter how tempting it may be to do that.
If you do then they will sit on the bottom and the chlorine will bleach the color out of the liner under and around the tablet. You will end up with a pale, or even a white, patch at the bottom of the pool which will make it look awful.
Also, when the chlorine tablets are sitting on the bottom very little pool water movement will pass over the tablet so they will slowly dissolve and will not get dispersed around the pool, which is what you are trying to achieve.
Pool Maintenance Course
When I first bought my house with a swimming pool, I knew nothing about cleaning and maintaining it. I was recommended Swim University’s Pool Care Handbook and video course so I bought it and have never regretted it.
It was probably the best money I spent that year as I have saved thousands by doing it myself.
What alternatives are there to chlorine tablets?
Chlorine tablets/chlorine pucks are easily the most straightforward way to add chlorine to your pool. However, instead of using tablets you can use powdered or granulated chlorine. You should never just pour this directly into the pool or the skimmer though.
Get a large bucket and fill it with pool water, then start adding the granulated chlorine while stirring with a stick or some other implement. Keep stirring until it is dissolved.
Then walk around the pool pouring the water back into the pool as you walk so that it is evenly distributed.
Never put the chlorine in the bucket first and then add water. Always water first, then chemicals.
You can also use liquid chlorine for pool care which can be poured directly into the pool.
How long does it take for a chlorine tablet to dissolve?
When I add chlorine tablets to my skimmer’s basket, with the pool pump running for between 5-8 hours per day, they normally take around 3 days to dissolve completely. I have found that in a floating chlorine dispenser they normally take a little longer than that.
How many chlorine tablets should you use?
This depends on the chlorine level that exist when you do a water test and your pool’s size (pool volume). When the pool chemistry is correct, I generally put 3 or 4 of the larger 3 inch tablets in my skimmer every week for my pool which holds approximately 15,000 US gallons of water.
How to use chlorine tablets in above ground pool
Your options are pretty much the same if you have an above ground swimming pool, as with an inground swimming pool. That is unless you have a very cheap pool without a skimmer. So put the chlorine tablets in the skimmer or a floating chlorine dispenser, as described above
Can you swim with chlorine tablets in pool?
Provided your pool maintenance and pool chemistry is correct then you can swim while the chlorine tablets are in the skimmer or a floating dispenser without any problems. If you have an inline chlorine dispenser you would have no choice anyway as the tablets would always be there.
Do I need to shock my pool if I use chlorine tablets?
Chlorine tablets only help maintain a normal level of chlorine in a pool. You still need to give your pool a regular shock treatment to keep a pool clean.
Can I put shock in my skimmer?
You should never put shock in your skimmer but instead should dissolve it in a bucket of pool water first (if using granulated shock) and then disperse it around the pool edges.
My top 3 pool cleaning tools
These are the pool cleaning tools I have found the most useful since I have had my pool.
Step and corner vacuum brush
This is a really useful tool for getting into the areas that a standard vacuum head simply cannot reach. Aquatix Pro Pool Step & Corner Vacuum Brush
Leaf rake net
If, like me, you get plenty of leaves at the bottom of your pool then a good leaf rake/net is a must. The Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net gets under the leaves easily.
Robotic pool cleaner
These are quite expensive and it was a number of years before I bit the bullet and bought one. I have never regretted it. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the most recommended pool cleaning robot on all of the pool forums. It not only cleans the bottom of the pool but also the sides and the waterline.