Adding a pool tablet or stick chlorinator to your pool is a project you can do yourself, and it is one of the first steps to take in automating pool maintenance. Automatic chlorinators deliver chlorine at a specified rate to keep the sanitizer at a safe level for swimming, and they eliminate the "spiking" problem of adding large doses of chlorine at a time to get low levels back up when you add the chemicals by hand.
How Flow-through Chlorinators Work
Offline tablet and stick erosion chlorinators work off the pool's circulation system. Install this type feeder directly into the pool plumbing system. These chlorinators consist of an adjustable canister sitting in a flow-through reservoir that brings water from the plumbing system into the reservoir to erode the chlorine and then carries the concentrated solution back to the pool through the return lines. You can adjust the amount of chlorine delivered to the pool by raising or lowering the canister in the reservoir.
Installing the Chlorinator
The installation pack consists of T fittings, gaskets and mounting clamps to tap into the pool's plumbing system, enough plastic line and pressure fittings to run the water to and from the chlorinator, and check valves to control the direction of water flow to and from the chlorinator. With the equipment turned off, drill a 1/4-inch hole into the top of the inflow pipe ahead of the pump and install one T fitting, gasket and mounting clamp over the hole. Attach pressure fittings and a section of plastic line from the T fitting to the intake port on the chlorinator. Install a check valve in this line with the arrow pointing toward the chlorinator.
Drill a 1/4-inch hole in the top of the pool's return line after the last piece of equipment in the system. This prevents any of the highly concentrated chlorine solution from flowing through and damaging the pump, filter or heater. Attach a T fitting, gasket and mounting clamp and pressure fittings with enough plastic line to reach from the chlorinator to the return line. Install a second check valve in this line with the arrow pointing toward the return line.
Fill the reservoir with water. Add chlorine tabs or sticks to the canister and turn the pump back on. You should be able to see the water flowing through the reservoir when you start the pump. Check all fittings for leaks while the system is running.
Installation Safety Tips
Install the chlorinator in an area of the pump room or equipment pad where it won't be in the way of other maintenance activities such as cleaning the pump strainer pot or cleaning the filter. Keep the plastic lines off the floor as much as possible so you won't trip over them or pull them loose when walking around the equipment. Use cable ties to attach them to a length of the pool plumbing pipe, but don't tie them to pipes near the heater. The high temperature could damage the plastic lines. Always keep the canister lid tightly closed and the cover on the reservoir securely in place to minimize chemical fumes.