Does it Matter Where I buy my Pool and Spa Chemicals?

I, very obviously, work in a pool and spa store where we sell, among other things, chemicals.  In doing research over the internet, it’s pretty easy to see pool stores getting a bad reputation for having EXPENSIVE chemicals.  We hear of more and more people going Big Box Stores, that we will collectively call Store X, because the prices are lower.

So…. Does it really matter WHERE you buy your pool chemicals?  It’s all the same stuff, right?  WRONG.  There is a big difference, and I’ll tell you multiple reasons why I would always recommend finding a local pool store you trust that has helpful, knowledgeable employees versus going to a large chain store, no matter where you live.

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#1.  Quality of product.  There IS a big, BIG difference in the products available.  For instance, X’s pool shock is less expensive than ours, and contains 45% chlorine, or less, on average.  That means 55%+ of that bag is full of stuff that will dissolve in your water and could cause problems eventually.  Our Smart Shock has 63% chlorine and includes trace amounts of things like copper (helpful for keeping mustard algae down), AND you can swim 15 minutes after you use it.

The list goes on and on like this.  I have some people who use Super Soluble as their weekly shock because it is 99% pure chlorine.  You don’t have to use very much and you aren’t adding anything extra to your water.  It’s a smart choice.  Whether it’s an algae treatment or preventative, PH increaser or decreaser, shock or your chlorine sticks, the products are going to be of a MUCH higher quality at a true pool store, more pure products versus filler.  It’s kind of like eating whole and organic foods instead of eating all processed foods.  It’s an obvious, healthier choice.

$$$ – Will you pay a few dollars more at the cash register?  Sure.  Sort of.  For instance, let’s say you buy a 2lb bottle of Super Soluble.  That’s around $18.  It’s equal to over 4lbs of Store X’s shock, so you save money there.  It also isn’t interfering with your water’s balance, so there isn’t anything to correct with other chemicals.  You’ll also get instructions on just how to use it at a small pool store, so you don’t have to guess and go through trial and error, which can be very costly.

#2.  Those People that Work in the Store.  Did you know that they are there for?  YOU.  And they are likely well trained and knowledgeable.  If you ask them questions about your water, your filter, different chemicals….they will actually be able to answer you!  If you stop a random Store X employee and ask them what combination of products you should use to get rid of your green water, or to keep mustard algae from coming back, or to stop the ring around your water line, etc….they really won’t have a clue.  They aren’t trained for that.

When you purchase your chemicals at your local pool store you are supporting your community and giving yourself a better chance to ENJOY your pool or spa at home.  Most of the time, if you are a customer who purchases chemicals at that store, they will test your water for free, give you free advice, instruction, help.  They’ll check in on you and make sure that you understand what you are doing and what the chemicals are doing.  Water chemistry can be tricky.  If you WANT to settle in and learn all of that yourself, go for it, but unless you have many hours to devote to researching and learning, I would find a pool store you trust.

 $$$–In the short and long run, Box Store X can cost you a lot more.  Let’s say, for instance, that your pool water looks green.  Algae, right?  So you go buy some chlorine and some algae remover at Store X and dump it in.  Water is still green.  You talk to the people who work there, but they can’t help you.  So you do it again.  Maybe again and again.  Eventually, you realize it’s not working and you take it to your local pool store for testing.  They tell you it is NOT algae, it’s copper in your water.  You need copper remover and a filter aid, and you’ll have clear water soon.  Everything you’ve been buying and adding from Store X was useless, because you weren’t treating the right problem.

Save money, save time, save energy, save your pool water – find a good pool store.

Thanks for reading!

Jen Allen
Central Iowa Pool & Spa



Other articles of interest:
What is the Difference Between Chlorine and Bromine for Hot Tubs? 100 Reasons Why your Pool Water Might be Cloudy.
Problems with Salt Water Systems for Hot Tubs

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