Follow a regular check-off procedure during the pool season. Here is a link to a "Playing It Safe" guide that might be helpful:
Knowing and following safety guidelines will help everyone enjoy their leisure hours safely. Below is basic information on general pool safety as well as pool equipment and maintenance safety tips.
The following tips will help make operating, maintaining and enjoying your pool easier, and less confusing.
Routine maintenance helps keep your pool and spa system operating safely and efficiently. Proper water balance is the single most important factor to maximizing the life and appearance of any swimming pool. The following table shows ranges for basic water chemistry.
1 - 5
1 - 5
7.2 - 7.8
80 - 120
250 - 500
30 - 100
pH: pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. Proper pH range helps protect
equipment, allows the chemical products to work more efficiently, and makes the water comfortable.
If too low it will etch plaster or wrinkle vinyl liners, corrode equipment and metal accessories.
You'll notice chlorine residual loss, formation of chloramines and skin and eye irritation. If too high
the water will be cloudy, there will be a tendency for scale to form and poor chlorine residual
Total Alkalinity: Alkalinity functions as a buffer to help keep pH in the proper range. If too high
you may have staining, scale and difficulty in adjusting pH. If its too low there is corrosion and
Calcium Hardness: This is a measure of calcium and magnesium content of the water. If too
little is present the water will attack the materials of construction to satisfy its appetite. Treatment
will prevent etching, pitting and corrosion of surfaces and metallic components. If too much
hardness is present scaling will occur and the water could turn cloudy.
Stain Preventers: Many water sources, especially wells, contain metals, such as iron, copper
and manganese. A Stain Ban will prevent staining and take out the metal level in your pool.
Free, Combined and Total
Free: available chlorine is that which is active, not combined with an ammonia or a nitrogen
molecule, and ready to react to destroy organic materials. It is essential to maintain a free-
chlorine residual at all times to achieve clear, and sanitary water.
Combined: That portion of total available chlorine left over when free available is subtracted.
When free chlorine molecules encounter and destroy a nitrogen or ammonia containing compound,
or a Chloramine. The chloramine is no longer available to sanitize anything, and it floats in the
water blocking the path of the free chlorine molecules. This can cause strong aroma of chlorine in
and around the pool.
Total Chlorine: is the sum of combined and free chlorine levels. The difference, if any, is the
level of combined chlorine.
Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer): is a chemical added to the pool water which provides a shield to chlorine
for protection from UV radiation, which disrupts the molecule, destroying its ability. This allows the
chlorine to hold its residual in the water to kill bacteria and reduce chemical use.
Shocking is done by raising chlorine levels 10 times the level of chloramines, a
threshold is reached called "Breakpoint" chlorination. When this is reached, some-
thing of a "shock", or lighting bolt, rips through the water, slashing and burning
everything in its path.
You should shock the pool when combined chlorine levels reach .3ppm, after a
party, if the water is hazy, if your chlorine tablets got too low, if you notice a strong
chlorine smell, or eyes are burning. You should also shock once every couple of
weeks whether it needs it or not. If its been very hot and sunny, or the pool is being
used more than typically, you may also need to shock more often. Check you pH
levels before you shock.
Large doses of chlorine, in the way of shocking, are also very effective when algae
has turned the water of walls a yellow or green color.
Non-Chlorine Shock is a granular form of potassium permonosulfate. A non-
chlorine shock will destroy chloramines and other contaminants and restores water
clarity. Non-chlorine shock is also used to "free" up your free chlorine that is blocked
Superchlorination is applying 7-10 times the normal amounts of chlorine to the
pool as an added "boost" for contaminant removal. Some refer to superchlorination
as being less than shocking, in that at the "breakpoint" thresholds are not reached.
Nitrogen: When combined with chlorine, nitrogen creates chloramines, which
do not belong in your pool. Nitrogen can be found in many swimmer wastes
(perspiration, suntan oil, hair tonics, etc.)
Oxidation: The "burning up" of organic waste and compounds in the pool water.
It also refers to what you may see on your metal pool surfaces if your water is
corrosive. Rust is a form of this type of oxidation.
Algae (what causes algae problems)
Every pool owner has, at one time or another, done battle with algae. Algae
spores constantly enter the pool, brought by wind, rain or even contaminated swim
suits or equipment. When conditions are right, an algae bloom can occur over night.
These conditions include out of balance water, warm temperatures, sunlight, and
presence of nitrates and/or carbon dioxide. Lack of proper circulation, filtration and
sanitation are the primary causes of algae.
How to kill algae
Balance your water, paying attention to pH. Check your filter system and clean if
necessary. Brush the walls and floor of the pool, this will break the algae off and will
allow it to be killed. Add an Algaecide and 4 gallons of liquid chlorine to every 10,000
gallons of water, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!! Run filter continuously. After 24 hours
should notice that the pool is either clearing, or crystal clear. Remove settled algae
and vacuum to waste. In some cases more than one dose is needed.
Phosphates feed algae, which destroys chlorine. Phosphates should be kept at a level
of 125ppb. Once levels climb too far above 125ppb it becomes more difficult to main-
tain chlorine levels for proper sanitization and in some cases clarity. Adding phosphate
remover will drop phosphate levels (appearing as a white substance, that can "poof"
when you try to vacuum.) When phosphate levels are above 2500, it is not uncommon
for the need of several doses of phosphate remover.
Phosphates come from a variety of different sources. some of these sources include
fertilizer, swimmer waste, detergents, decaying plant matter, dirt and rain. We have
found it to be a very popular issue if there has been an algae issue. Unfortunately it
can also come from our own tap water, especially well water.
Chloramines is the chlorine molecule strongly attracted to nitrogen and ammonia. When these
two hook up, they form chloramines, which are undesirable, foul smelling, space taking, compounds
that require shocking the water to get rid of. Chloramines block your free chlorine. If chloramines are
present your free chlorine is no longer available to sanitize properly. When testing your pool water
you will notice little to no chlorine levels, yet there may be chlorine in the water. A non chlorine shock
will attack the chloramines and "free" your chlorine to be available to sanitize again.
We carry a full line of chemicals for your pool and spa, as well as maintenance equipment and supplies!!