A pool is a valuable investment. Like all other investments, you want to make sure you receive the most out of it. That is why it is important to keep it running properly. The following terms will help you to keep your pool running properly and allow you to get the most out of your investment!
In order to keep the pool water free of contaminants, it is necessary to add a chemical, which is capable of killing algae before it becomes visible, or a health hazard. As a rule, the presence of algae in water does not pose a significant risk to health, but it can enter open cuts or sores and cause infection. Once the concentration of algae in the water becomes great, it is visible to the naked eye as discolored water or blemishes on the pool surface.
The Chlorine Scale
The concentration of chlorine in water is measured in parts per million (ppm), that is, parts of chlorine per one million parts of water. A standard test kit is graduated on one side from zero ppm to 3.0 ppm. Most test kits are labeled with an “ideal” level for chlorine, usually between 1.0 and 1.5 ppm. While this level is adequate for most pools, it is recommended to maintain a higher chlorine concentration than this during the hot summer months often experienced in Florida. It has been found that a concentration of 1.5 ppm dissipates too quickly during days with temperatures above 95-100 degrees.
Super-chlorination refers to a process in which the chlorine level in the swimming pool is raised to abnormally high levels over a very short period of time, usually a few hours. Another common name for super-chlorination is “shocking”. Over time and with extended use, organic wastes build up in the pool water. These wastes include body oils, sweat and other body fluids, and suntan lotions. Generally, 1 gallon of liquid chlorine is needed for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. It is recommended that super-chlorination take place in the evening after the sun has set since this is when the pool is not being used and treatment will not be removed by UV rays from the sun before it has the opportunity to perform its function.
Conditioner is a name given to a chemical that inhibits the degradation of chlorine by UV light. Other commonly used names for conditioner include: stabilizer, sun-shield or the chemical name cyanuric acid. The recommended ideal level for conditioner in a swimming pool is between 40 and 100 ppm.
Total alkalinity is a measure of the total amount of dissolved particles in the water whose pH is higher than 7.0. Examples of particles include dirt, sand, and baking soda. Alkaline particles in the pool water, at certain levels, act as a buffer to prevent rapid changes in the pool’s PH. Thus, when the total alkalinity of the pool water is within the ideal levels, the pH of the water will tend to stay balanced for longer periods of time. For all pool surfaces, the recommended level falls between 120 and 140 ppm.
The PH Scale
On a standard test kit, the pH scale is graduated from 6.8 to 8.2. The numbers refer to the concentration of hydrogen (acid) in the water, but the scale is somewhat reverse. The ideal level for pH is generally the same for all swimming pools regardless of climate, amount of use, temperature, or pool surface. This ideal level falls between 7.4 and 7.6 for all pool surfaces.
The type of surface on a swimming pool can also affect the pH of the pool water. Plaster or plaster based pool surfaces such as quartz are porous, alkaline materials. They can absorb and neutralize acid in pool water, thereby raising its PH. In this case, small amounts of acid are generally needed to maintain a proper pH balance. Fiberglass, vinyl, and painted plaster pools, on the other hand, do not have porous surfaces, and thus do not absorb or neutralize acid in the water. Here, small amounts of soda ash or baking soda may be needed to keep the pH at a proper level after acid is added in the form of rain, citrus leaves, etc.
The pump is essentially the heart of the swimming pool’s circulation system. It pulls water from the pool through the skimmer and main drain, pushes it through the filter and returns it to the pool through the main returns. The entire operation of the swimming pool is dictated by the operation of the pump. The cleaning system cannot, in general, operate without the main pump, and the pool water cannot be filtered without the main pump operating. It is crucial, therefore, to be aware with the proper schedule for the operation of the main pump. It is recommended that the pump run 12 hours per day during the hottest summer months, and 4-5 hours per day during the winter months, and to varying degrees during the spring and fall. The daily cycle can be divided into multiple cycles, but each cycle should be no shorter than 4 hours since this is the minimum time it takes for all of the water in the pool to pass through the filter at least once, it is also the recommended time between the addition of chemicals and the next water test/or pool use.
Brushing the Pool
There is no substitute for a thorough brushing of the walls and bottom of the pool. Most automatic cleaners can’t scrub the floor to remove small debris and algae spores from the pores in the pool surface, and this must be done to ensure a stain and algae free pool surface. Be sure to brush the pool while the pump is operating, and to cover the entire pool from the tile line to the main drain. Sweep slowly and push the brush toward the main drain so that the debris will be pulled into the drain and then into the filter, where it will be removed from the water. If large amounts of debris were removed during the process, it is advisable to clean the filter afterward.
Vacuuming the Pool
If the amount of debris in the pool is too great to be removed by either the automatic cleaning system or by brushing, the pool should be vacuumed to remove the debris before it becomes attached to the pool surface and requires special methods to remove.
Skimming the Pool
While vacuuming and brushing remove dirt and debris from the bottom of the pool, they do not remove the debris such as grass, leaves, and bugs which float on the water surface. The skimmer built into the pool deck usually removes this debris, but it can accumulate in large amounts, and it may take the built-in skimmer an appreciable time to remove it. By using a hand skimmer, the debris can be quickly removed before it has the opportunity to become saturated with water and sink to the bottom.
How Pool Filters Work
Understanding how pool filters work will help you make the right selection for you, your budget and your pool. All filters have their definite benefits, and in some cases, drawbacks. It’s just a matter of having all the facts and choosing the right pool filter for you.
- How pool filters work during normal operation, water is drawn from the pool using suction created by the pool pump. The water is drawn into the pump from the main drain and skimmers. The pool pump generates pressure, circulating water through the pool filter, heater or heat pump, chlorinators or other pieces of equipment, and then filtered water is returned back to the pool.
- Properly filtering and sanitizing your pool’s water will keep it healthy and free of debris, bacteria and algae.
What Regimen Should I Put My Swimming Pool On?
Having a specific regimen that you adhere to will help make pool maintenance easier on you and your equipment. This regimen is made up of all of the things you need to do on a regular basis to keep your pool water clean and your pool water chemistry at the proper levels. Below we will highlight some basic guidelines so that you have an overview of what needs to be covered when you put together your own regimen. Every pool is unique; we will be going over some of the basics. To find out more about your specific pool, contact your local pool professional to learn more.
Testing Your Water
Many times this can be overlooked, but the most important part about maintaining your pool is testing your water regularly. Otherwise, you would be making adjustments to your chemistry blindly, and that doesn’t work. The two major components you will be looking for are pH and Chlorine levels.
We recommend maintaining a pH of 7.2 to 7.8 and a chlorine level of 1.0 to 3.0 PPM (Parts per Million) to maintain properly sanitized pool water. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae as well as prevent scaling or corrosion from damaging your pool equipment.
Remove Debris Regularly
Dirt and debris build up regularly in your pool water from swimmers bringing it into the pool, trees dropping leaves into the water, storms blowing dirt and debris into your pool and many other sources. These need to be removed regularly to keep your pool looking crystal clear and clean but also so that your chlorine can work properly for a longer period of time.
You are going to want to both manually scrub and vacuum the surfaces of your pool, or you can invest in one of Hayward’s automatic pool cleaners to make this job easier for you.
Clean Your Filter
Your pool pump and pool filter work hand in hand to help circulate and remove debris from your pool water. If you have a cartridge filter, you will need to remove the cartridge(s) from your filter and clean them off individually. If you have a sand or Diatomaceous Earth filter, they will need to be
Remember, every pool setup is unique and the required maintenance can vary from pool to pool. You can always use our dealer locator to find a pool professional near you who can assist you in properly maintaining your pool.
The Benefits Of Proper Pool Water Circulation
Pool maintenance is an unglamorous yet necessary part of pool ownership. The more you keep up with it, the less intensive the work will be to maintain your crystal clear pool water year round. Here are two of the greatest benefits of maintaining proper circulation in your pool.
Adding the proper chemicals to your pool is one way to keep your water clean, but without proper circulation, those chemicals will not be able to do their job properly. Just like how a drop of seawater does not contain everything found in the oceans, a sample of your pool water that is at the correct levels does not mean the entire pool is. You need proper circulation in order to maintain the proper balance throughout your pool. Otherwise, you will have dead spots in your pool where uncirculated water will stay and with that debris and contaminants will not make it to the filter in order to be removed from the pool.
Microbial Growth Prevention
Proper chemical distribution will help keep your pool sanitized, but proper circulation will also help cycle your water through your filter which will remove bacteria, algae and other
Chemistry Lesson –Not Just For Beginners!
For pool owners with chemistry issues, understanding what’s happening can be confusing and solutions may make you feel like you need to go back to school for a degree in chemistry.You don’t!You just need the facts and you need to stay on top of your water chemistry.
Perfect water balance is determined by pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).For pool water to be “balanced”, all these factors must stay in their proper ranges.Ranges may vary slightly, depending on the finish of your pool, the average water temperature during your season, bather load and yes, a ton of other factors.
pH is the most important factor in balancing water. It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being alkaline.pH must be maintained in a narrow window between 7.2 and 7.8 for a pool to be considered balanced. Pure water is neutral. It’s only when things are dissolved in it that it skews one way or the other.
And here’s the thing…both high and low pH lessen the effectiveness of the chlorine that sanitizes a pool. When pH drifts up, water becomes alkaline and creates an environment where mineral deposits (scale) can form and chlorine becomes ineffective at its primary task –killing bacteria and algae. When pH is low, chlorine expends itself too rapidly. The secret to controlling pH lies in controlling the alkalinity. It acts like a ceiling over your pH, so the pH can only rise so high. It’s important to control the alkalinity first because it makes balancing pH easier. Alkalinity needs to stay within 80 to 120 ppm.
Calcium and total dissolved solids (TDS) such as magnesium, above 300 parts-per-million (ppm), make it hard to get clear water and it compromises the effectiveness of the chemicals. This can be commonplace, depending on your location.
For example, hardness in Phoenix tap water has been seen as high as 1000ppm. Besides tile scale, other severe warning signs of high levels of hardness include scaling on the pump, filter and plumbing lines, white deposits in filter sand, white stains on decks and landscape and increasing disinfectant chemical consumption.
Unfortunately, high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium cannot be cured through normal pool maintenance. These minerals need to be removed. Refilling with the same water you started with is self-defeating, wastes time and water. Some professionals recommend adding a compound that binds to these minerals, but that’s a short-term solution. Cloudy water can reappear. If you’re in a high mineral area, the best way to control an out-of-control calcium or magnesium situation is to have water trucked in.
If you’re struggling with your water, the best thing you can do is bring a water sample to your local dealer to be tested.Home testing kits may not give you a true picture of what is happening with your water. While you’re there, they can also give you tips and a treatment plan to get your water in great shape.