Gone Are the Dog Days of Chlorine

If the ocean comes into mind when you hear the word ‘saltwater’, don’t! Salt water chlorination systems are simply saltwater pools that serve as an alternative to the popular chlorination systems most pool owners use today. Since the early 2000’s though, more and more people as well as hotels and water parks are making the switch to saltwater chlorine generators. Salt levels in a standard saltwater pool system are usually 3000 ppm, a rather insignificant amount when compared to the ocean’s average salt level of 35000 ppm.

In traditional swimming pools, free available chlorine (FAC) become chloramines when contact with any human byproduct is made. The chloramines result in the “chlorine smell” in pools when there is not enough FAC, leading to skin and eye irritation and making shock treatment of the pool necessary. However in saltwater pools, a generator consistently supplies the water with FAC greatly reducing chloramines.

Despite removing the hassle of directly adding chlorine, water chemistry still needs to be monitored for low chlorine levels. Several factors can cause this including a failing generator, sun exposure and a lack of salt due to rainwater dilution, splashing that misplaces the pool’s water and backwashing (filter maintenance draining). To prevent the suns UV rays from breaking down the FAC in a saltwater pool, a stabilizer like cyanuric acid is essential. Convenience and less chloramine-related irritations are just some of the benefits salt chlorination systems have to offer.

Avoid Pumping Up Your Bill

A water pump is the primary mechanism that ensures your pool’s water is recirculating or in other words, water is being filtered and returned. Electricity usage can range anywhere between 500 to 2,000 watts in order to run 24 hours a day during the summer and 4 hours a day in the winter when the pool isn’t being used. To reduce electrical consumption during the summer, consider using an electronic timer and having the water pump run between 6 to 12 hours a day.  The recommended minimum use of a pool’s water pump is 4 hours.

A cost effective feature some water pumps have, is a two motor speeds option crucial for when the pump doesn’t have to run at full capacity. Variable-speed pumps are an additional pool maintenance product that can operate through a 24 day cycle at a low speed with minimal energy use and it helps filter smaller particles as well.

Two kinds of water pumps exist: self priming and flooded suction pumps. The difference between the two water pumps is that self priming pumps can be placed above the mean water level and start up after a timed resting period whereas a flooded suction pump relies on gravity since it is below the mean water level of the pool. Keep in mind that, in order to ensure your pool remains properly sanitized you’ll need more than just a water pump to filter and remove commonplace contaminants.

The Right Color Is No Color

Ensuring that the filter can handle the size of your pool and that the pump isn’t oversized, is crucial to figuring out whether or not the water’s being cleaned effectively or not. Pool water can be murky because the sand filter is not working properly. This can be verified by simply finding any deposit of sand at the bottom of the pool. Low chlorine or too high of a pH level, could also be failing to kill off algae or fight bacteria quickly enough. Murky water is also a first sign of the early stages of algae growth before it begins blooms and the cloudy appearance can also be the result of dead algae. Ideally you will want to be able to see a quarter at the bottom of the pool without much difficulty.

Purchasing a new filter will resolve the mechanical issue, but if it’s a chemical imbalance problem make sure to use a clarifier and regularly pool shock. Don’t seek bargain practice when it comes to pool shock though since the chemicals in cheaper products tend to be weaker. Using a swimming pool clarifier will help to remove any particles causing the water to become murky or cloudy. Imbalance in the calcium hardness and pH levels are two additional reasons for murky water.  If the calcium content in your pool is too high, consider replacing the water in your pool with a fresher water source with lower calcium hardness levels. Increasing or decreasing the pH levels in your pool should be done gradually to avoid overshooting your desired result. Having the filter run eight to ten hours a day is helpful in maintaining the clear appearance of your pool’s water and is a great preventative measure to practice daily.

Chlorine Lingo and Tips

Chlorine can be purchased in the form of three-inch tablets, one-inch tablets, sticks, grains or liquid in bottles. Products that are listed as sodium hypochlorite are liquid chlorines and those labeled calcium hypochlorite are solid chlorine forms. Three-inch tablets are the most common form of chlorine used by most pool owners and are also the most inexpensive. They dissolve slowly though, so  most pool owners prefer one-inch tablets since they work best for above ground pools, small in ground pools and spas. If you plan on buying cheap chlorine tablets, binders in the product don’t allow the tablets to maintain their shape and instead cause them to crumble in two or more days. Granular chlorine works as an alternative, but inorganic chlorine needs to be dissolved in a bucket of water before you put in the pool. It has to be done almost every day and the same goes for chlorine with organic compounds.

Cyanuric acid can be used as a more stable alternative as well, since it can’t be easily broken down by the sun. Test the levels again after placing any chlorine in your pool, to make sure the acid levels aren’t too high or you risk the chlorine losing its sanitizing ability. Additional helpful maintenance products are automatic chemical feeders and floating chlorine feeders that balance and measure the amount of chemicals in your pool. Carelessly adding chlorine has its repercussions and risks involved with increasing a pool’s high chlorine content are the erosion of filter and pump equipment.

 

 

A Green Pool Means Less Green in Your Wallet

Algae reappear in pools mainly because a chemical treatment failed to completely sanitize both the water and surfaces. In some cases, poor circulation in the filtering system prevents chlorine from getting distributed throughout the pool and cleansing the water. Water misdirection usually occurs because some pools are designed to redirect the water to the surface, helping pool owners collect debris much more easily and giving a moving effect to the water. Unfortunately, this allows generally the bottom areas of the pool to have little to no circulation and makes the use of algaecide ineffective. Removing organic material like leaves is also important because decomposition changes the pH level and allows algae growth to speed up. In addition, algae are costly and involve constantly filtering the pool daily with more chemicals to fight off the unsightly color.

Having algaecide applied everywhere is crucial as well because various algae species have spores that can survive outside of the pool. Once a spore comes into contact with the water, expect to fight another infestation once again. The most common form of algae though is the green variety and it can be eradicated through pool shock. Granular and highly concentrated, this chlorine quickly makes the water an unlivable environment. It’s also recommended that you do a pool shock once a week, to prevent algae spores from blossoming into a bigger problem. Scrubbing or brushing the floor, walls and steps also stops algae from firmly placing their roots in cracks on the surface. Running your pool at night will further reduce the risk of an algae infestation as well. Chlorine effectively keeps the water in your pool sanitized by removing most bacteria and algae altogether, but any buildup will make any effort to maintain the pool useless.

For more information on pool maintenance and chemical balance contact us at sales@poolsupply4less.com, call 800-211-7505 or shop for pool chemicals.

The Yin Yang of Water Chemistry

“Power of hydrogen” or pH lets pool owners know the amount of acid in their pool’s water. Measured In a scale from 0 to 14, 7 is neutral territory. If the pH level is beyond 7 it is considered basic water, but if it’s below 7 it is acidic. A measure all pool owners should aim for is anywhere between 7.2 and 7.8, since it doesn’t cause discomfort to human eyes or mucous membranes. Low pH levels will cause the water to aggressively damage your pools mechanical system, lead to eye and nose irritation, deteriorate metal material and give swimmers dry scalp. Meanwhile, high pH levels will cause cloudiness, skin irritation and poorer chlorine disinfection.

Temperature, sunlight, and the size of a pool are all contributing factors in how clean a pool is. Rainwater can cause lower pH levels and foreign elements such as the oil from swimmers’ bodies can change the chemical balance in the water. Test strips can be used to measure the pH level in a pool and doing so twice a week is necessary for maintenance. To raise the pH levels in your pool and make it less acidic, use sodium carbine. While adding the chemical, have the pump running so the chemicals you add don’t go to waste. Add the sodium carbine slowly as well to avoid splashing and after an hour of adding the chlorine, check to see that the correct pH level has been reached. To lower the pool’s pH level certain acids work, like sulfuric or muriatic acid. Maintaining the pH level in your pool today will save you time and money in the future. It also maximizes the lifespan of your pool and its appearance for years to come.

For more information on pool maintenance and chemical balance contact us at sales@poolsupply4less.com, call 800-211-7505 or purchase a test kit.