1. We just bought an above-ground pool and know absolutely nothing about water chemistry. Where do we begin?
– Your first stop should be your local pool store. Water testing is usually done at no charge, and it’s always best to learn from experts. Take in a water sample in a jar or other container, and ask lots of questions!
2. I seem to be losing water from my pool. What is normal due to evaporation, and how can I tell if I have a leak?
– In extreme cases, you may lose ¼” or more of water daily due to evaporation. We suggest marking the waterline with tape and monitoring water loss over a period of a couple days. Any significant water loss besides evaporation may be due to a leak in the liner, pump/filter or associated plumbing. Contact your local pool expert for help in diagnosing where your leak is.
3. My test kit shows no chlorine in my pool, but the chlorinator is full and I just shocked the pool this morning. Where did the chlorine go?
– It’s likely your pool is over-chlorinated. Chemical readings tend to “bleach out” with high concentrations of chlorine. Take a water sample in to your local pool store for testing to confirm this.
4. One of our children had an “accident” in our pool. What do we do?
– Close the pool immediately. Shock the water (1 lb per 10,000 gal) to kill contaminants. We recommend staying out of the water for 24 hours, but don’t enter the water until the chlorine level drops back down below 3ppm.
5. We can’t seem to keep algae out of the pool, any suggestions?
– Your first step should be to have a pool expert test your water for proper balance.
– Ensure you are on a regular shock treatment and stick to it!
– Your pool supply can recommend an algae treatment. An appropriate algaecide, coupled with regular brushing and shock treatment should keep the algae out of your pool.
6. My pool heater quit working, is there anything I should check before we call a technician?
– Check your pump pressure, and clean and backwash the filter if necessary. The pressure interlock in your heater will not allow it to fire if there is insufficient water flow.
– If your heater has a pilot light, ensure it is still lit.
7. How do I winterize our pool?
– Winterizing your pool can be complicated, and varies with the type and configuration of your pool.
– Generally, most pool owners cover the pool with a winter cover, apply a winter treatment of shock and algaecide, and drain water from all the pool equipment (pump/filter/etc).
– Additionally, in-ground pools may require either antifreeze in underground lines, or they must be “blown out” and capped to prevent freeze damage.
8. We’ve owned our pool for several years and the sand in our filter has not been changed, how do we know when it needs changed?
– Your sand will usually last for 5-7 years. Increased pump pressure and cloudy water are indications that you may need to change the sand.
– If your sanitizer is biguanide-based, your sand may need to be changed annually.
9. What is the best type of filter for our pool?
– Generally, a sand filter is a low-maintenance, economical, fairly efficient filtering system. A variety of different filter media types are now available that can increase the quality and efficiency of filtration when using a sand filter tank.
– A cartridge filter is more efficient (clearer water), but requires more maintenance. Cartridges must be taken out of the filter and cleaned regularly and should be replaced yearly as a minimum. Replacement cartridges may range in price from $30 to $300.
– A D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) filter is very efficient, but requires regular maintenance. D.E. powder is used as the filtering agent, and must be added to the filter regularly.
10. How long should I run my filter on a daily basis?
– Filtering time will vary depending on environmental conditions, filtration equipment in use, cleanliness of the pool filter, and bather load. Your filter should be run a minimum of 8 hrs per day; more is better, some pool owners run their system 24/7!. Increased cloudiness may indicate you need to increase your running time.
11. How often should I shock my pool?
– During the swimming season, you may need to shock the pool a minimum of once weekly. Depending on bather load and weather conditions additional shock dosages may be required.
12. We were out of town for several days and our pool looks like a swamp. Should we drain it and start over, or is it better to try and clean it up?
– In most cases, you should never need to drain your pool for this reason. Shock and chemical treatments and repeated vacuuming should clean up most pools.
– In particularly bad cases, you may want to call a pool service to do the majority of the clean up. Most have portable pumps and can pump out the bulk of accumulated matter without having to filter it through your system.
– Keep in mind that if you do drain your pool, you can easily spend $100-$200 on chemicals to balance the tap water you just put in the pool to fill it back up. Vinyl liner pools should never be drained.
13. My pool water always seems to be cloudy, is there something I’m missing?
– Improper water balance may be the source. Test your water, or take it to a pool store for analysis.
– If you’re using a sand filter, the sand may need changed. Additionally, you may have contaminants in the water that are so small they pass right through the filter. See your local pool supply for a chemical agent designed to help the filter remove these smaller particles.
14. The sand in our filter needs changed, is there a particular type of sand we should use, or does it make a difference?
– Filter sand is optimized for filtering efficiency. It does make a difference. For example, if regular “play sand” is used, the sand particles are so small they will pass right through the laterals in your filter and the sand will end up in your pool. There are also other types of filter media available that can be used instead of traditional sand to improve the filtration quality.
15. Our pool smells very strongly of chlorine, but our test strips show a normal reading. Is there a way we can get rid of the smell?
– Shock your pool. A Strong chlorine smell usually indicates excessive contaminants in the water that reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine to act as a sanitizer. Shocking the pool will usually remove these contaminants.
16. The water in my pool has a greenish tint to it, what can cause it and how do I clear it up?
– This may be caused by algae or an excess of metals in the water. Take a water sample in for analysis to determine what actions should be taken.
17. I usually put chlorine sticks in my skimmer, but my neighbor said I shouldn’t do that. Why, and what other options are there?
– Automatic chlorine feeders are the way to go. Putting tablets in your skimmer exposes the plastic materials in the skimmer and the media inside your filter to highly concentrated chlorine. In short time they’ll become brittle or damaged.
18. My chlorine demand in my pool seems high compared to previous years. Any suggestions what may be causing it?
– Excess chlorine usage may be due to several factors. Begin by taking a water sample to your pool store for analysis and compare the results to what you are reading. Test kit re-agents and strips usually have a shelf life (check the date on the bottle). Your readings may be off a significant amount if the re-agents or strips are outdated.
– Your pool may be low on stabilizer. Insufficient stabilizer will cause high chlorine demand.
– Other factors affecting chlorine usage are weather and bather load.
19. How long should we wait before swimming after the pool has been shocked?
– Your local county regulations may dictate when it is safe to go back in the water. As a general rule, wait 24 hours, or when the chlorine level drops below 3ppm.
20. I backwashed my sand filter this morning, and now there is water continuously running out the backwash line on the filter. What’s wrong?
– More than likely, the Multi-port gasket on your sand filter is bad. Always push the handle down completely when rotating it to prevent damage to the internal gasket.
– Never rotate the handle when the pump is turned on.
– The gasket is not expensive and may be purchased at most pool supply stores.
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