If you want your swimming pool to sparkle like a diamond shimmering on a hot summer’s day, there are a number of things you should understand about maintaining your pool. To help you out, we’re going to break this down into three essential tips and tell you why each step is important.
Have you ever seen what happens to a bucket of water when it’s left to sit outside for days in the sun? It very rapidly becomes a safe haven for algae and other assorted bacteria. Your swimming pool is a much larger version of that bucket of water. The solution to this common problem is water circulation. Without adequate circulation, all those chemicals you just added are worthless. Your free chlorine levels are quickly depleted and your pH levels raise (as well as total alkalinity) in your pool. Maintaining these three key items is critically important to the health of your pool.
Poor management will cause a spiral reaction that’s never pretty, and the last thing you want is chemistry issues in your swimming pool. To maintain adequate water circulation in your pool, it is recommended that your pool should filter through at least 3-4 times fully per day.
How do you remove all those foreign particles in your swimming pool? The answer is with a filtration system. Your water needs to be filtered to remove the small airborne particles, body oils, leaves and other debris which will help your pool’s water to sparkle. The three main types of filtration systems are cartridge, DE filters and sand filters.
Each of these types of filtration systems have their own unique maintenance requirements, but all three are fairly simple and straightforward.
- Sand filters – simply backwash the filter. To do this, move the backwash valve to the backwash position and run the water out until it’s clean and clear (typically about 90 seconds). As a rule of thumb, backwash your pool’s water when the indicated pressure exceeds 5-7 PSI greater than normal. Insure that you are not backwashing the filter too often, which will cause the sand bed to create channels in which the water and debris will flow thru the channels and right back into the pool, without being filtered.
- DE filters – are slightly more time consuming than sand filters. There are filter grids inside the filter dome that need to be removed, and then hosed off with a standard garden hose. There are cleaners that you can get to soak your D.E. grids in if they don’t seem to be coming clean enough. The benefit of D.E. filters are that the grids last a long time if properly maintained and cleaned, however they can be damaged by using a pressure washer to clean them which will rip the pleats. D.E. filters will filter the finest of material out of your pool, making it the best option if you have a lot of small debris, such as in the country.
- Cartridge filters – are very much like DE filters. Simply remove the cartridge and clean it with a standard garden hose (not a high pressure washer). You can also soak them in a special cleaning solution to remove caked on debris. Make sure to rinse the filters thoroughly after letting them soak, before putting them back in the pool or you will have a large amount of foam to deal with. When reassembling, make sure to inspect the o-ring for leaks.
Lastly, maintain proper water chemistry. The three major factors to concentrate on are pH, free chlorine levels and total alkalinity. Proper free chlorine levels range between 1-4 ppm depending on what type of mineral systems you are using in conjunction with your chlorine tablets. Adding a system, such as a Nano Stick or Nature 2 System will allow you to keep a much lower chlorine level in the pool, while using less chemicals and maintaining a perfectly clean & clear pool!
Your swimming pool’s pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6. Improper pH level, will cause many issues including pump seals that will corrode and start to leak, pumps that will go out, and many heater issues including the corrosion of heat exchangers, which will lead up to costly repairs. pH can also affect the length of your vinyl liner and how long of a life span you will get out of it. It can be just as harmful to plaster and paint on concrete pools, causing them to peel and crack.
Total alkalinity (TA) should be at 80 to 120 ppm. Alkalinity usually falls hand in hand with your pH, meaning if your pH is running low, your alkalinity level more than likely is as well. By using a pH Up or pH Down product, you can reverse the direction of both levels, if they are needing to go the same direction. In some instances, where the alkalinity is slightly out of range the opposite direction of the pH, the pH level should be followed more closely as it is more crucial. Alkalinity tells us how much buffering agent the water has in it to allow the pH products to work to adjust the levels if need be.
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Want more information? Contact us. Aqua Palace is family owned and operated, offering aboveground and inground pools, hot tubs, spas and saunas specializing in pool design, installation and repair to local (Omaha and Council Bluffs) and long distance residents (within the US). We are the only Marquis dealer in the Omaha Metro Area with the largest showroom east of the continental divide. Not located in Omaha? No problem, check out our online store for pool and spa chemicals, supplies and accessories.