Five Keys to Pool Care
Pool water must be circulated to maximize your sanitizer’s effectiveness. The more the water is in motion, the harder it is for bacteria and algae to grow and take hold. Debris is also pushed out and captured by your filter during circulation. The best time to circulate the water is during the day for about 12 hours or more.
Your filter is one of your most important pieces of equipment! It should be backwashed (cleaning by the removal of material trapped on or in the filter media) when the water pressure in the filter reaches 8 to 10 psi above normal. Make sure to check your manufacturer’s guidelines. Filters also need to be chemically cleaned to remove the oil and debris that backwashing doesn’t catch. Check with your BioGuard Dealer to establish a maintenance schedule.
Your filter doesn’t catch everything; some pools have areas with little to no circulation and this is where problems occur. Brush and vacuum your wall and floors at least once a week to catch the debris that your filter misses.
Every pool has characteristics that need to be regularly measured and adjusted. Your pH and sanitizer levels are the most important factors to check. Test your water two to three times per week with heavy to typical usage. Additionally, take your water to your BioGuard dealer at pool opening, closing and every four to six weeks during the season. This will keep your pool in check.
The last key in pool care is applying the right products at the right time. Follow the steps provided by your BioGuard Dealer to have a welcoming, brilliant and sparkling water; swimmers protected from disease transmission; and protected pool equipment and surfaces by having properly balanced water.
Phosphates and Chlorine Demand
Chlorine demand is the consistent inability to establish or maintain a free chlorine residual in a swimming pool or spa due to elements that deplete chlorine.
In a properly maintained pool or spa (one that has a free chlorine residual ranging from 1 to 3 ppm), the presence of phosphates does nothing to add to or eliminate this problem.
Some experts have suggested that removing phosphate will decrease chlorine demand. However, for this to be true, it would also suggest that the addition of phosphate will increase chlorine demand. The scientific evaluation demonstrates that phosphates and chlorine do not react to each other or that any depletion of chlorine occurs.
Why Phosphates Do Not Affect Chlorine Demand
The key to the relation between chlorine (hypochlorous acid) and phosphates is that larger phosphorous-containing materials have been broken down into orthophosphates in the water. Orthophosphate is the final stage of phosphorous breakdown, meaning it cannot oxidize any further. If it cannot oxidize, it cannot react with an oxidizing compound such as chlorine and cause a demand situation.
Compounds other than phosphates that also don’t react with chlorine include nitrates, balancing chemicals or any other material that is essentially inert (unreactive).
What Does Cause Chlorine Demand?
Inorganic material, such as ammonia, are fast-reacting with chlorine while organic material, such as the proteins found in urine, sweat, other waste and beauty products, are slow-reacting but all contribute to a demand situation. Algae and bacteria are also known contributors. These contaminants are introduced from rain and source water, fertilizers, swimmers, animals or plants and leaves.
Initial Start-Up of Filter
Be sure the correct amount of filter sand media is in the tank and that all connections have been made and are secure.
Depress Vari-Flo control valve handle and rotate to BACKWASH position. (To prevent damage to control valve seal, always depress handle before turning.)
Prime and start pump according to pump instructions (be sure all suction and return lines are open), allowing the filter tank to fill with water. Once water flow is steady out the waste line, run the pump for at least 2 minutes. The initial back-washing of the filter is recommended to remove any impurities or fine sand particles in the sand media. WARNING: ALL SUCTION AND DISCHARGE VALVES MUST BE OPEN WHEN STARTING THE SYSTEM. FAILURE TO DO SO COULD CAUSE SEVERE PERSONAL INJURY!
Turn pump off and set the valve to the RINSE position. Start pump and operate until the water in sight glass is clear – about ½ to 1 minute. Turn pump off, set the valve to FILTER position and restart the pump. Your filter is now operating in the normal filter mode, filtering particles from the pool water.
Adjust pool suction and return valves to achieve the desired flow. Check system and filter for water leaks and tighten connections, bolts, nuts, as required.
Note the initial pressure gauge reading when the filter is clean. (It will vary from pool to pool depending upon the pump and general piping system). As the filter removes dirt and impurities from the pool water, the accumulation in the filter will cause the pressure to rise and flow to diminish. When the pressure gauge read ing is 8-10 PSI (0.55-0.69 BAR) higher than the initial “clean” pressure you noted, it is time to backwash (clean) the filter.
Anyone who’s had a liner wrinkle has met with the downside of deceptively clear, acidic water. And, on the other end of the test strip, constantly cloudy water can be frustrating and could be a sign of pH that is too high. There is an easy solution to both of these problems: have your water tested regularly, and be sure to keep your swimming pool water balanced!
Every pool owner should have a test kit, and should also bring their water in for professional testing about every two weeks, once the pool has been balanced.
Total alkalinity is a measure of the water to resist change in pH. The greatest contributor to total alkalinity in the pH range of swimming pools is bicarbonates. The higher the total alkalinity reading, the more difficult it is to change the pH level in swimming pool water. Everything added that could change pH is neutralized or buffered, and pH does not change.
Conversely, lower total alkalinity makes it more likely for pH reading to change, often being greatly affected by chemicals, swimmers, and weather. Low total alkalinity makes it difficult to maintain an ideal pH level. The pH reading will “bounce” or change rapidly in response to outside influences.
pH, an important parameter of water balance, is a measurement that indicates whether the pool is acidic or basic, and is expressed as a number on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. The ideal pH for a swimming pool is 7.4 to 7.6. This is the ideal for swimmer comfort and protection of equipment and surfaces.
Everything introduced to the water has an impact on pH, including swimmers, chemicals, and rain.
Acidic Water = Low pH
Acidic water is clean and clear but corrosive, causing damage to equipment and pool surfaces and causing swimmer discomforts such as burning eyes and skin.
Acidic water can corrode metal surfaces such as pumps, filters, pipes, heaters, and valves, as well as etching plaster pool surfaces. Corrosion, which dissolves metal into the pool water, can also lead to stains on walls and the pool floor. Low pH (acidic water) also causes the pool liner to lose elasticity, which in turn causes wrinkles.
Basic Water = High pH
Basic water (high pH) is often cloudy and can cause eye irritation and itchy skin. Chlorine activity is also slowed and becomes inefficient. Keep in mind chlorine is what sanitizes your water.
Basic water is also scale forming and can cause scale build-up on pool surfaces and equipment, making them less effective and efficient.
Why Swimming Pool Water Turns Blonde Hair Green
Despite popular opinion, chlorine is NOT what causes blonde hair to turn green. The real culprit in pool water is copper, which, when oxidized, binds to the protein in hair follicles causing a greenish tint.
Copper can enter the pool if you are using a copper-based algicide, well water, or, if your pool water is acidic, the water will begin to corrode the copper in your swimming pool heater and other equipment.
How To Remove the Copper From Your Swimming Pool Water
You can remove the copper from your water by using BioGuard Pool Magnet Plus and Sparkle Up, both of which are available at Caldwell Pools. A water test will determine how much Pool Magnet Plus you will need to add after you have balanced your pool water.
Pool Magnet Plus – 1 Qt
Pool Magnet Plus is a highly concentrated formula that removes some present stains and prevents staining from iron, copper and manganese. It also eliminates discolored water from metals. Use monthly in pools that hold metal-containing fill water. Use in conjunction with Sparkle Up® to remove metals from the water.
Sparkle-Up – 2#
Sparkle-Up restores water sparkle and keeps pool water clear by assisting the filter with removing tiny particles of suspended dirt, plaster, dust, dead algae, etc. It also absorbs metal ions to help prevent staining on pool surfaces.