Quick Definition:

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation describes specific ultraviolet rays of energy emitted from the sun, which swimmers and swimming pools and pool water are exposed to.

What is Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation in swimming pool terms?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is composed of three types of invisible rays – A, B and C – that are emitted as part of the sun’s energy.  UV radiation is often associated with negative affects on the human body, and can damage materials.  While type C is the most hazardous, it cannot pass through the ozone layer; types A and B however, are the ones that mainly responsible for skin damage.  For swimmers in and around outdoor pools, swimmers should wear and reapply UVA and UVB sunscreen lotions with a high SPF rating to protect their skin  from the sun, especially when swimming.

For swimming pool owners, ultraviolet radiation can damage and prematurely age various swimming pool components.  Vinyl liners and pool covers are susceptible to damage over time, and swimming pool owners with pools in full sun can expect reduced lifespans of these items.  Other plastic parts are at risk of sun damage; ladders and railings can become tarnished, colored decorative items around the pool can become brittle and faded, as well as pool filter pressure gauges, and exposed PVC water lines.

UV radiation is also responsible for depleting chlorine in chlorinated swimming pool water.  Although cyanuric acid is often added with chlorine products such as trichlor, the chlorine level will still be quickly reduced in sunlight.  A chlorine feeder, chlorinator, or chlorine floater is recommended to constantly replenish chlorine lost during daylight hours.

Ultraviolet radiation can also be beneficial, as ultraviolet sanitation systems can be installed into the swimming pool water lines, where the water is exposed to a UV emitter, oxidizing organic contaminates and sanitizing the swimming pool water.

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