The "Shocking" Truth About Chlorine

July 13, 2017

Have you ever walked into a hotel and immediately been overwhelmed by the smell of the pool area?  Your first thought is probably, “Wow, lay off the chlorine a little!”  But, did you know that when you “smell” the chlorine, what you are actually smelling is the chemical reaction of the chlorine  molecules attaching themselves to contaminants in the pool?  Mind blown, I know!  This actually means the chlorine is doing its job by keeping the pool clean.  In fact, at that point, the chlorine levels could be low, as it is working hard to keep the pool clean.

Let’s get real for a minute.  Proper pool etiquette dictates that you should shower before getting in.  Raise your hand if you actually do that.  Anybody?  Bueller?  Not many of us.  Have you ever thought about WHY we ask you to do that?  Imagine your skin throughout the day: you put on lotion, sunscreen, bug spray, you sweat, maybe you plant some flowers and it is windy and get covered in dirt.  Now you go jump into the pool to refresh after such a hard day.  All the bacteria that is naturally on your skin and all of the rest of those contaminants you’ve accumulated throughout the day has now washed off in the pool.  Sounds gross, but don’t worry – that’s what the chlorine is for.  If it’s just one person in the pool, there isn’t much dirt, so the chlorine easily keeps up.  However, imagine a hotel full of kids that have invaded the pool for a cannonball competition!  The chlorine is now working overtime to keep the water at an acceptable level.  All of this extra work leads to that strong chlorine odor you smell when you walk in the door.

How do we ensure our guests are protected and the chlorine levels don’t reach unsafe levels?  All of our hotels are equipped with automatic chemical monitoring equipment.  When the levels fall outside the acceptable parameters, an alarm is sounded and a notification is automatically sent to the manager of the property letting them know action is required.  This could be as easy as recalibrating the chemicals slightly or as extreme as shutting down the pool completely and “shocking” it.  This is what occurs anytime there is an accident in the pool.  While it can be extremely inconvenient for guests who have come to use the pool, strict regulations need to be followed for public safety. 

In recent years, TMI has converted the majority of our pools from chlorine to saltwater.  Fancy, we know!  Not only does this have an environmental benefit of using less water than traditional pools, it is safer and gentler on our guests’ eyes and skin.  However, this does not necessarily mean chlorine free.  Without getting into too much science, a process called electrolysis is used to convert salt into hypochlorous acid, which sanitizes the water.  Essentially this is a more natural sanitation process and skips the harsh, toxic chemicals.  At the end of the day, saline swimmers typically experience less of the unpleasant side effects common with traditional chlorine pools.

With the advanced systems we employ to monitor our pools 24/7, it’s never been easier to keep our guests safe, which is always a top priority.  Also, switching to saltwater pools has allowed us to offer our guests a more enjoyable pool experience.  So enjoy your next stay with us and know that we’ve got your safety and comfort at top of mind.  Cannonballs away!