Did you know that tennis balls aren’t just for tennis and playing fetch with the dog? Tennis balls are actually rather absorbent and can assist you in keeping your pool water free of hair product, sun screen, make up and other oils left behind by your human and animal swimmers. Most tennis balls are made out of nylon and/or wool and the material attracts foreign substances in the water. Drop a few tennis balls in your pool or skimmer basket and let them float around to do their job removing these products from your water’s surface.
Do you shower before swimming? While it may seem strange to shower before jumping into a swimming pool, it is a highly recommended practice for a number of reasons.
Avoid Harmful Contaminants
Chances are that your body has contaminants on it that are not beneficial for the pool. These include sweat, soap, sunscreen, perfume, shampoo, deodorant, urine and even feces. Gross! All of these products will contaminate your pool water when swimmers get in the water without showering first.
When swimmers shower before entering the pool, they reduce the risk of recreational waterborne illnesses that cause diarrhea, skin and eye infections.
Pool disinfectants like chlorine protect and prevent waterborne germs, but chlorine does not immediately kill all the harmful germs and may not work in all situations,
depending on the contaminants it is trying to kill.
Be Courteous To Pool Owners
Be considerate of others, especially the pool owner, if the pool is not your own. Showering before going for a swim will remove anything on your body that could dirty their pool and is just courteous.
The more contaminated the water becomes because of the foreign substances coming off of swimmers, the harder the pool has to work to stay clean. The pool’s pumps and filters will have to work even harder to remove contaminants in the water and additional chlorine will have to be added to make sure the water is clean and safe for swimming. Save time and money for the pool owners by showering, making it less work to keep the pool clean.
Clean Pools Are Safer Pools
Water that is filled with bacteria can cause you and your guests to become sick.
“Most people associate the smell of chlorine as a sign that a pool is clean. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. The smell generated by chlorine is only present while it is oxidizing contaminates. Therefore, a pool that is completely clean will have very little, if any, odor at all. The stronger the smell the more work the chlorine is having to do meaning the pool is actually dirtier.” – Swim University
Keep the pool safe and clean for all swimmers, shower before making a splash!
If you’re short on time, or just prefer to spend your time on more traditionally enjoyable activities, consider investing in a pool cleaner to handle some of your pool maintenance. When considering pool cleaners, you will want to investigate which type of cleaner is right for your situation. Let’s discuss the options.
1. Suction Side Pool Cleaners
Suction side cleaners attach to the main filtration pump in your pool and use the suction to move the cleaner around. These cleaners scrub the pool surface and remove unwanted dirt and debris. The debris is then returned to your pump basket through your pool’s filtration system. The cleaner’s hose is connected to either a dedicated suction line or directly to your skimmer. Suction cleaners utilize an internal turbine which is spun by the force of pump’s suction.
Pros: This kind of cleaner is great for pool owners on a budget as they generally cost less than the pressure side and robotic cleaners. Maintaining a suction side cleaner is relatively easy because it has fewer moving parts that have the potential to break. It will pick up medium debris but some will remove small debris as well.
Cons: You will find that this type of cleaner puts more stress on your pool filter. Debris goes directly into the pump strainer, reducing circulation. The pump basket needs to be emptied to keep the cleaner working. Fine dirt and debris go into the filter, leading to more frequent back washing/cleaning of the filter.
2. Pressure Side Pool Cleaners
Pressure side cleaners are very popular among pool owners. They use an existing pressure side line to move the cleaner around. The water returned back into your pool fuels the cleaner, but often requires an additional booster pump to push water through the cleaner to create a jet stream. Not all pools are built with the plumbing to accommodate this type of cleaner. Pressure side cleaners don’t use your pool’s filtration system to filter out debris like the side suction cleaners. Instead, they use a filtration bag to catch the debris, so you don’t have to empty the pump basket or backwash/clean the filter to maintain circulation. Your pool pump will push water through a hose to jets that move the cleaner around your pool, loosening dirt and guiding it into the filter bag.
Pros: This type of cleaner is also less expensive than robotic cleaners and does not stress your pool filtration system as much. They are also generally easy to maintain. They’re great at picking up medium and heavy debris. Fine particles will flow through the filter bag and get cleaned out in the pool filtration system.
Cons: You will need a booster pump to run these cleaners and many pools are not plumbed for that. There are also additional electricity costs to run the second pump.
3. Robotic Pool Cleaners
Robotic pool cleaners are in a category all by themselves. They run off of power from your home and do not use your pool equipment to operate. These cleaners are top of the line and improving every day with new technology. They are excellent cleaners and have a built-in filtration system with a filter bag or built-in cartridge to collect debris. Robotic cleaners are able to remove both large and small debris (and everything in between) from your pool floor, walls, steps and water line. Simply plug your pool robot in and let it do all the work!
Pros: Robotic cleaners do not cause wear and tear on your pool equipment and are energy efficient, reducing overall power usage and costs. They virtually eliminate the need to clean your pool walls with a brush, saving you the hassle and time. The maintenance-free design make robotic pool cleaners very popular.
Cons: These cleaners are the most expensive of the three options and have a higher up-front cost. Robotic cleaners also are a bit heavier and it is slightly more difficult to empty the filter.
Which pool cleaner is best suited for your pool? Stop by our Retail Store for assistance in choosing and purchasing your new pool cleaner.
As pool owners, we all have to deal with cloudy pool water at some point. Determining the cause of the cloudiness is the first step in remedying the situation. Cloudy pool water can be caused by improper levels of chlorine, pH and alkalinity imbalance, broken or clogged filters, algae or debris. Use this guide to help you determine which is the culprit in your cloudy pool.
Why is my pool water cloudy?
1. Are your chemicals properly balanced? (Check your chlorine, pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness.)
Did you shock your pool recently? Is there is too much or too little chlorine?
Is the pH and alkalinity out of balance?
Does the water have high calcium hardness levels?
Solution: Too little chlorine is a leading cause of cloudy pool water. Chlorine is used to sanitize the water and without it, your water isn’t being properly cleaned. Contaminants in the water will build up and cause cloudy water as a result.
Make sure your pH, total alkalinity (TA) and calcium are all in the acceptable range and that the combination of the three aren’t on the high end of the range. If they are, your water is likely out of balance. If the temperature of your water is also on the high side, the imbalance of these chemicals is even more likely the cause of cloudiness. High pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness can lead to cloudiness.
If any of the above are out of the acceptable range, first thoroughly scrub, skim, and brush your pool walls, then vacuum. Once that is complete, work on adjusting the chemicals to get them within the acceptable range again. Re-balance your water by adjusting the pH. Use a pH reducer or increaser to adjust pH levels or add muriatic acid to lower TA. Be aware that even shocking a clean and balanced pool can cause cloudiness temporarily. Shock your pool water to remove harmful bacteria, organic contaminants, and algae. Finally, run your filter and test your water sample. Use a chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid) to protect your chlorine levels.
Chemical Industry Acceptable
pH (Potential Hydrogen) 7.2 – 7.8
TA (Total Alkalinity 80-120 ppm
Calcium 200-400 ppm
If your pool is 100% balanced and is still cloudy, you should also try a product like Omega Pool Clarifier, available in our store.
2. Is your pool filtration system operating properly?
Poor water circulation and filtration can occur when your
filter doesn’t run long enough, becomes clogged or needs cleaning. Poor circulation can also be caused by skimmer and pump baskets becoming full of debris.
Solution: Turn over your pool water by running your pool filter continuously for at least 12 hours each day. A diatomaceous earth (DE) filter may achieve your desired results after only a few hours because it has the finest level of filtration. A cartridge filter will likely take 2-5 times as long, while sand filters can take multiple days. Add DE powder to your sand filter for more effective filtration. Is your filter clean? Have you back washed or cleaned it recently? If not, we recommend doing so. Most contaminants will be removed if your pool filter and sanitizer are working together. When the leaves are falling because it’s dry, we recommend emptying your baskets daily.
3. Are environmental factors to blame?
Leaves, pollen and dust can build up in your filter and hinder the cleaning process. Other environmental factors from
animal waste to rainwater runoff can cause your pool water to become cloudy and imbalanced. Runoff water brings
nitrates, phosphates, and other chemicals into your pool throwing the balance out of whack. Algae can also pollute your pool water and can lead to cloudiness, using up your pool’s chlorine rapidly.
Are swimmers clouding up your pool water? Sunscreen, hair products, bug spray, and other contaminants can contribute to your water clarity, or lack thereof.
The sun alone can deplete your sanitizers. “Its powerful
ultraviolet rays break apart the sanitizing hypochlorite ions created when you add chlorine to your pool, causing them to evaporate into the air around your pool. This means less sanitizer and more dirt in your water.” – Swim University
Solution: See Solution #2 above. Hint: run your filter! Using an enzyme product such as Natural Chemistry Pool Perfect will also help with contaminants introduced to your water by swimmers. Maintaining proper levels of cyanuric acid, aka stabilizer or conditioner, will keep the sun from using up your chlorine.
The absolute best way to rid your pool of cloudy water is to prevent it from becoming cloudy in the first place. We recommend working with our team of professionals to create a pool maintenance schedule that you can implement or signing up for our Hassle Free Pool Care program. Contact us to learn more!
Proper pool chemical storage is imperative to avoid harmful
reactions, mixing and spills. While fireworks may be part of our summer fun, properly storing your pool chemicals will help you avoid a dangerous 4th of July-like explosion due to improper chemical storage.
Don’t let this happen to you…
How to Properly Store Pool Chemicals
Read Labels Carefully: If you do one thing to ensure pool chemical safety, this is it. All of the important hazards,
storage instructions and safety information will be on each container of chemicals. Avoid scary chemical reactions by reading the fine print thoroughly on all of your pool
Storage Temperature: Pool chemicals should never be stored in a location that exceeds 95° F. Find a cool and dry location to store your chemicals. If possible, avoid areas with high humidity and direct sunlight.
Ventilation: Store your pool chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Many people choose to store their pool chemicals in the pump room, but if that is where you will be keeping your supplies, you will need an HVAC shutoff in case of an emergency situation.
Fire Safety: Be smart about what you store with your pool chemicals. Do not store other flammable items such as gasoline or propane near your pool chemicals or machines like lawn mowers that may contain these flammables. Also, keep your storage area clear of flammable trash or debris.
Keep Chemicals Dry: Store your pool chemicals on a raised, flat surface to guarantee they do not get wet. If your chemicals do get wet, they can leach noxious gases and cause corrosion. Keep your chemicals away from doors and windows in waterproof containers and be sure the lids are always tightly secured.
Keep Like with Like: Some chemicals need to be stored apart from one another to avoid reactions. Avoid storing chemicals on top of each other and make sure chlorine and acids are not stored near each other. When in doubt, store all chemicals individually for optimal safety.
Cleaning Your Storage Area: Be smart when using household chemicals and cleaners to tidy up your chemical storage area. The last thing you want is an unexpected chemical reaction caused by accidental mixing. Use cleaning products that are safe to use around pool chemicals.
Lock Them Up: Make sure all your pool chemicals are stored in a locked location that cannot be accessed by children or pets.
Protect Yourself: Wear gloves and protective eye-wear when working with pool chemicals and make sure they don’t come into contact with your hands, mouth or eyes. Wear long sleeves and shoes when working with pool chemicals to avoid any chance of skin irritation or burns. Add the pool chemicals to your water instead of adding water to your chemicals, which could splash onto your skin.
Be Mindful of the Environment: Avoid chemical spills at all costs to prevent chemical burns and inhaling dangerous fumes and dust. Spilling chemicals on the pool deck or ground can contaminate groundwater and soil causing a host of other problems.
Follow the steps above to significantly reduce your risk of chemical illness or injury.
If you prefer to leave the pool chemicals to the professionals, learn more about our Hassle Free Pool Care program and let our trained and experienced technicians handle it. That’ll leave you free to spend your time enjoying all that your swimming pool has to offer in fun and relaxation.
Product Spotlight – Natural Chemistry’s Stainfree Extra Strength™ & Metalfree™
“Natural Chemistry’s Stainfree Extra Strength™ is a premium stain fighter that contains 100% ascorbic acid. It quickly removes metal staining without adding phosphates to your water. It is ideal for treating staining on all pool surfaces. Use with Natural Chemistry’s Metalfree™ and you have the ultimate 1-2 combination for stain fighting!” Visit our Retail Store to pick yours up today!
“Swimming pool temperature impacts the water chemistry in a big way. This article will outline a few reasons why.
Pool Temperature and Water Quality
Let’s divide “water chemistry” into two different categories, and start with water quality:
Warmer water means more chlorine demand. This isnot due to sunlight degradation of chlorine, though summertime does mean more hours of direct sunlight hitting an outdoor pool. The real reasons for higher chlorine demand are because both living and non-living contaminants are more prevalent in warmer water. Algae and bacteria, for instance, are living contaminants that chlorine must kill (sanitization). Warmer water means those microorganisms can reproduce more rapidly, therefore problems like algae are more prevalent in the summertime. If you have a pool, you have probably already know this…” –Orenda Technologies
While we generally guide pool owners toward solutions to their pool care woes, sometimes it’s best to learn from others’ mistakes to avoid making them yourself. Here are some things we DO NOT recommend.
Don’t shock your pool during the day. Sunlight will burn off your unstable chlorine (aka shock), so it is vital to shock your pool during the night to ensure it has time to do the job properly.
Don’t add shock through your skimmer. This mistake can be VERY dangerous because pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) and chlorine (DiChlor or TriChlor) will mix to create a deadly gas and can cause an explosion when mixed through your automatic chlorinator. This can not only cause bodily harm, but can also damage your pool liner, floor and walls.
Don’t add shock directly to your pool water. Dilute the shock in a bucket of warm warmer before adding it to your pool. Add shock to the water, not vice versa. The diluted solution will be safer to work with and will mix better with your pool water. It will also avoid shock settling on your pool floor and causing your lining to become frail, eventually leading to leaks.
Don’t swim right after shocking. Ensure chlorine and pH levels are in the proper range before swimming. If you want to be able to shock your pool and swim immediately, use a non-chlorine shock.
Don’t forget your pool brush. Your pool vacuum is not a substitute for your pool brush. Be sure to brush the bottom and sides of your pool at least once a week, especially the hard to reach areas. Brushing is vital to removing bacteria, germs and algae, while the vacuum is great for the larger debris.
Don’t use a robot on algae. If you have an algae problem on your hands, do not use an automatic cleaner to try to remove it. Manual cleaners are the way to go in this scenario because pressure-side automatic cleaners will push the algae up through the mesh bag, clog it and blow it around your pool.
Don’t neglect pH and alkalinity. Maintaining the proper pH and alkalinity levels is necessary even if your pool water looks clear. Low pH (highly acidic water) can cause damage to your pool equipment including: pumps, filters, solar covers, liners and heaters. Adjust your alkalinity levels to ensure your pH is always balanced.
Don’t over backwash your filter system. The larger debris in your filter actually help to trap the smaller debris. The guideline is to backwash when the system is running 5-10 psi above the starting filter pressure (pressure with a clean filter).
Don’t skip your water testing. If you can’t do a full, comprehensive water test each week, be sure to at least test your free chlorine and pH levels. Bring a sample of your pool water into our Retail Store for a free, detailed analysis. We recommend a computer generated water test at least once a month.
Avoid these common pool care blunders and you will be well on your way to a safe and clean swimming pool.
The long and short of it is this, you theoretically could run your pool/filter pump 24/7, the entire time your pool is open. However, doing so would not only be costly and use a great deal of energy, it would also be completely unnecessary.
We recommend that you run your pool filter for at least 12 hours per day, allowing all of your pool water to be run through the filter at least once each day. That being said, the more you run the filter, the cleaner your pool will be.
You can cut down on energy costs by running your pool filter at night or very early in the morning when energy rates are usually lower. Keep in mind, you need to run your filter when adding chemicals and while cleaning, which may be more difficult to do in the dark. If you’re swimming during the day and find the pool surface filling with debris, turn on the system so the skimmers can do their job.
Are you finding this information helpful? Share it with friends! Check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog.
We’d love to tell you there is a magic solution that will have your pool swim-ready in a day or two, but what you will truly need is some elbow grease and a bit of patience. Realistically, expect to have a clean and clear pool in about a week’s time.
Once you’ve set a date to have your pool ready for swimming, plan your opening accordingly. Purchase your chemicals, test strips and any tools that may need to be replaced. You’ll need a working skimmer net and/or a deep pocketed leaf rake, a pole and vacuum, so make sure your equipment is still in good condition from last year.
Now that you have everything you need, you’re ready to get started. Follow the steps below to have your pool crystal clear and ready for swimmers in one week’s time.
Add water to your pool from the hose to top off the water level. The water should at least half way up the skimmer.
Begin cleaning by scooping leaves and debris from the
bottom, and brushing and vacuuming the sides of the pool to remove the grime and dirt that built up over the winter.
Make sure your pump and filter are running properly and clean your filter for the start of the season. Backwash or clean your filter to restore flow. This needs to be done more often during your spring clean up.
Test your pool water, after it has been running for 24 hours, with a test kit and adjust your chemicals accordingly. Bring a sample to our store after your water has circulated for at least 24 hours.
Add chlorine or shock to your pool to finish the cleaning process. Your chlorine level should ideally fall in the range of 1 ppm to 3 ppm.
Continue to test your pool water, vacuuming, skimming and cleaning /backwashing your filter your pool until it is
balanced, clear and ready for swimmers.
For more opening tips, follow our Pool Opening Guide and your pool will be ready in no time!