Know Your Pool
Know Your Pool
Your Comprehensive Guide to Using and Enjoying your Swimming Pool
(This professional pool care advice and information is provided courtesy of Splash's Pools)
With weather like this, you're contemplating a really relaxing dip. But what's the water like? Here are the ten questions most often asked about pool water. Click the button, and read on ...
There are lots of questions about the best way to care for a pool and its pool water. Experience shows that many of these questions keep recurring - that is, lots of people have the same questions. Here we answer the ten most common questions people ask.
The Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions
Chlorine kills bacteria. Chlorine, or an equivalent sanitiser, must be added regularly to prevent bacteria from growing. Warmer water temperatures, and/or heavy bather load, demands a higher chlorine concentration.
The 'Total Dissolved Solids' measure includes any and all solid materials added to the water and dissolved - for example a chemical, like dry chlorine. When the maximum level is exceeded, the water simply cannot carry any more molecules of these added materials. The excess is released back into the water as suspended solids, making the water cloudy.
When algae form, they can make the water go cloudy. The regular use of a recommended algaecide can prevent this from occurring.
Organic matter can easily cloud a pool. Baskets should be emptied regularly, and vacuuming the pool, or using an automatic pool cleaner can help.
If the balance of chemicals in your pool is incorrect, and in particular if the pH is wrong, other chemicals will not be able to dissolve as they should. This leads to some of the material you add coming out of solution, being left suspended in the water, and hence making it cloudy. Correct water chemistry is vital to the health of your pool.
Your pool filter removes particulate impurities from your pool water. Without efficient filtering, pool water will never clear. All your filtration equipment, pumps, baskets, chlorinators, and of course your main pool filter, should all be inspected at regular intervals to ensure that the equipment is performing at its best.
Cloudy pool water is not attractive
Not everything that glitters is gold, and this might not be 'brown dust'!
These particles remain in the water, falling to the bottom of the pool. Using a chemical clarifier can sometimes help by enabling the filter to pick them up.
At other times, it may be quicker, and more practical, to simply vacuum to pool to waste. This method removes the small particles from the pool.
This is a very fine algae that must be treated with an effective recommended algaecide. Use a well recommended algaecide, because, without killing the algae, it is almost impossible to just vacuum it to waste.
When the algae is disturbed by a brush or vacuum cleaner, it simply breaks free, and the tiny spores float around until they attaches themselves to a nearby surface. Then they continues to spread once more.
This pool has brown algae on the bottom
Well, that's not what you expected, is it?
The life span of a cartridge filter is about 18 months. When a filter wears the polyester fibres become unable to collect the finer particles. Dirt and fine particles are pushed through the cartridge instead of being trapped.
Holes that can develop in the fibres make the cartridge useless, so a replacement should be installed as soon as you can.
Incorrect backwashing is common. Most people don't backwash long enough, or as often as they should, and it's common to forget rinsing the filter after backwashing.
Sand filters should have a working pressure gauge to indicate when the filter needs backwashing. Most filters should be backwashed and rinsed monthly.
When this procedure is not carried out correctly, a small amount of cavitation can occur in the tank, and cause the release of the debris that's been caught in the filter.
Return of dirty water usually results in the pool having to be flocced and vacuumed to waste. It can be prevented easily by correctly carrying out the backwashing procedure, and doing it as frequently as recommended.
Sand filters have plastic, arm-shaped, laterals that reach out along the bottom of the tank, where water filters through them. If the main steam, or a lateral is damaged or cracked, filter sand can re-enter the pool via the return jets.
The sand returning to the pool is quite coarse (about 1-5mm), and will form a pyramid shape just under the return jet in the pool. This requires immediate attention.
After repairing or replacing the filter, the pool will need to be 'vacuumed to waste'.
Filter cartridges need to be cleaned
These can be very unsightly, spoiling the look of your pool.
Organic stains are the most common, and they're usually caused by plant-based material that has fallen to the bottom of the pool. This plant material releases a pigment that can stain some surfaces.
Using a quality organic stain remover will do the trick, and remove it.
These can be more difficult to remove and require specialty chemicals from your pool professional. Metal salts deriving from iron or copper are common causes of stains.
Water chemistry plays a big part in preventing pool staining.
Poor water balance can cause metal salts already in solution in the pool, to 'plate out', and stain the entire pool surface.
Often a stain remover, followed by metal sequestering agent, is needed before you dilute the water to prevent further staining.
Clear metal staining in this pool
Troubling, and can spoil your pool session, completely.
Calcium Scale is usually caused by high calcium hardness levels, and is triggered by high pH (which means high alkalinity).
It appears as roughness on the pool's surface, almost like sand paper. In extreme cases, it can present as solid calcium sheets forming on the side walls of the pool.
Prevention is at hand, with correct water testing and balancing.
Removal and treatment requires strict safety precautions, because acid needs to be used. Seek advice from your pool professional before attempting to remove calcium scale.
Calcium deposits on the pool wall
In many cases, you can't see the bottom of it
Green pools happen for many reasons but 'getting them back' always remains the same.
The pool is green because the bacteria level has exceeded the ability of any free, available, chlorine to cope with it. The normal daily dose or simply increasing the chlorine output on the chlorinator will not 'cut the mustard'.
Take a sample of the water to your local pool professional, where they can calculate the right quantities of the supplies you need to get the pool back.
This method is the easiest and safest, since draining a pool can be a costly mistake if the pool 'pops' out of the ground, or the walls give way.
Strict water restrictions can require the purchase of a permit to refill your pool.
You can't see the bottom in this green pool
Chlorine kills bacteria. You need chlorine, or an equivalent sanitiser, to prevent bacteria from growing.
Having insufficient chlorine in a pool could be as simple as not knowing the correct dosage rate, or how often to dose the pool. Different climates require different dosage rates.
Salt water chlorinators and liquid dosage units produce chlorine only when they are working. Check that the chlorine output and running times are correct for your pool.
Correct filtration is vital to the overall health of your pool, and without good filtration, water quality is poor regardless of the amount of chemicals added to the water. Adjust running times to suit current climate conditions.
Chlorinators must be set correctly
These are easy to use, but need just a little care and attention.
Automatic cleaners work around 8-12 hour days so parts wear out and need replacing from time to time. Hoses have a life of about 12 months.
Inspect the cleaner for any foreign objects that may be impeding its performance.
Inspect the connection of the hose to the cleaner, and the connection into the skimmer box.
Ensure that the skimmer basket and vacuum plate are installed correctly, and that there is sufficient water flow over the control valve to the cleaner.
If the cleaner can suck air, it cannot perform correctly. Check the valve for obstructions.
Connect to the skimmer box
I can hear it, but it's not running.
Inspect the pump for blockages, or leaking seals. Lubricate all the 'O' rings, and clear out the baskets.
Make sure that the pump lint pot is full of water. Now turn the pump ON.
Often, when the pump is above the water level, it will need to be primed. Remove the pump lid, fill the pump cavity with water, then replace the lid.
Now turn the pump ON. This will break the air lock by moving the trapped air along the pipes. Once the air lock has been broken, the pump will refill with water on it's own.
Pool pump inlet is blocked
Water loss can be disheartening, but check first!
Evaporation is the most common cause of water loss. High wind can increase the water loss by as much as three times.
However pools can also lose water from main drains, from cracks in pipe fittings, from structural damage to pools, and from leaks around lights.
A simple bucket test is probably the best place to start. Fill a bucket with water and sit it by the pool. Mark the water level in both the bucket and the pool, using a permanent marker. Record the measurement of the level, on both the bucket and the pool.
Repeat the measurement in 3 days.
If the pool level has fallen more then the bucket level, you have a leak. If a leak is found seek advice from your pool professional.
Using a pool blanket prevents 97% evaporation.
Pool blankets greatly reduce evaporative water loss
Looking after a swimming pool is not meant to be hard, and the answers to these 'Top Ten Questions' should help make it easy for you. If you still haven't got the answer to your personal pool question, just click here to ask your own question.
If you need information to help you make the most of your pool, or resolve a problem, seek advice from your pool professional. We hope this information has been useful.