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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.

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Pool Tips

The following tips will help make operating, maintaining and enjoying your pool easier, and less confusing.

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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.

Total Chlorine

Free Chlorine



Total Hardness

Cyanuric Acid

1 - 5

1 - 5

7.2 - 7.8

80 - 120

250 - 500

30 - 100

Understanding your Water Chemistry




      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

pH bounce.


     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

by contaminants.


   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.

Balancing Your Water

Shocking Your Pool

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