- Pool pH & Pool Alkalinity The pH and Alkalinity levels of swimming pool water affect many areas of the swimming pool and must be kept at the correct levels if you expect to successfully maintain your swimming pool. The Alkalinity of pool water acts as a buffer for the pH, and helps prevent the pool pH level from fluctuating. The Alkalinity should be maintained at 80 - 120 ppm. The pH is the measure of the acidity of the swimming pool water, and the pH level should be maintained at 7.2 - 7.6 ppm. The pH of pool water is somewhat sensitive, but easily controlled if the Alkalinity is kept in range. All basic pool test kits should read the pH and Alkalinity level of pool water, and these levels are easily adjusted with common water balancing pool chemicals. If the pool pH level is not kept in range pool water may irritate the skin and eyes of swimmers, corrode the pool surface and inside of the pool equipment and make it very hard to maintain the chlorine level of the swimming pool.
- Pool Chlorine Stabilizer The chemical name of pool "Stabilizer" is Cyanuric Acid and it is referred to by either title. The Stabilizer level of swimming pool water must be maintained at 30-50 ppm. The Stabilizer level is important, but is typically only tested at the beginning of the swimming season when a pool is opened. The Stabilizer in swimming pool water partially surrounds the chlorine on a molecular level, to protect the chlorine and prevent the chlorine from being quickly burned off and used up by the sun. The symptoms of having too much Stabilizer or too little stabilizer in your pool water are very similar, and if you experience problems maintaining a chlorine level when all other chemical levels are properly balanced the stabilizer level should be tested. If the Stabilizer level tests lower than 30 ppm it will be difficult to maintain a chlorine level, because any chlorine added to your swimming pool will quickly evaporate and burn off in direct sunlight. If the Stabilizer level tests above 50 ppm it will also be difficult to maintain a chlorine level. Rather than partially surrounding the chlorine in your pool water to protect the chlorine, too much stabilizer will completely surround the chlorine making it inactive. In this state the chlorine is unable to combine with bacteria and harmful contaminants to sanitize your swimming pool. Stabilizer can be added to a swimming pool if necessary to raise the level, however once Stabilizer is present in pool water it cannot be easily removed. To reduce the amount of Stabilizer in a swimming pool the water must be diluted by partially draining the pool and re-filling with fresh water. 25% of the pool water should be drained and replaced with fresh water. The pool should be circulated for 12-24 hours, and the Stabilizer level should be tested again. This process should be repeated until the Stabilizer level is within range. The chlorine tablets and granular chlorine used to sanitize a swimming pool on a daily basis is a pre-stabilized form of chlorine. This means that the chlorine contains a small amount of stabilizer, and as chlorine is added to the pool a very small amount of Stabilizer is also added to help maintain the level. This small amount of Stabilizer constantly added with pool chlorine does not cause a problem in outdoor swimming pools because water is splashed out or evaporates, and gets replaced with fresh water to dilute the Stabilizer. This pre-stabilized form of chlorine cannot be used in indoor swimming pools, because much less water evaporation occurs and the stabilizer level will slowly buildup. Indoor swimming pool owners need to use an un-stabilized form of chlorine.
- Calcium Hardness The calcium hardness of swimming pool water refers to the amount of the mineral calcium present in the pool water. The calcium hardness should be maintained at 80-150 ppm in a pool with a vinyl liner, or 150-200 ppm in a concrete or plaster finish pool. Low levels of calcium hardness can lead to corrosive water conditions, which may damage the pool surface, pool equipment and pool plumbing. If the water in a plaster or masonry finish pool becomes corrosive, the water will absorb calcium from the pool walls and floor by eating away at the pool surface until the hardness level nears 150 ppm. The calcium hardness level can be easily raised using a Calcium Hardness Increaser available from most pool supply dealers. High levels of calcium hardness may lead to cloudy pool water and "scaling". Scaling is most visible around the water line of a swimming pool as a white chalky deposit, but also forms inside pool equipment and pool plumbing. A pool Calcium Hardness Reducer chemical is available from most pool supply companies to lower the hardness to the desired range for your pool. You may also partially drain and refill a swimming pool with fresh water, which has a lower concentration of Calcium. Calcium is present in the water used to fill the pool and in the pool chemicals used to treat the water. The pool chemical that adds the most calcium to pool water is standard chlorine pool shock. If you find that your calcium hardness level is too high, read the label of the pool shock you've been using and you will likely find that the active ingredient is calcium hypochlorite. Each time this pool shock is added to the pool water, calcium is added to the water. To prevent this problem begin using Chlorine-Free Pool Shock on a regular basis, instead of standard chlorine pool shock (Calcium Hypochlorite). The active ingredient in chlorine-free pool shock is Potassium Monopersulfate, which does the same job of oxidizing bacteria and harmful organics but does not contain any calcium. If you choose to switch to chlorine-free shock you should always still keep the standard chlorine pool shock on hand, because it is the only pool chemical capable of killing algae.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
An automatic swimming pool cleaner is absolutely the best piece of swimming pool equipment a pool owner can invest in. Manually cleaning a swimming pool is very time consuming and few pool owners enjoy this tedious task. An automatic swimming pool cleaner allows you to spend less time maintaining your swimming pool, and more time relaxing and enjoying your pool! There is a wide selection of automatic pool cleaners available for any budget, and every size In-Ground or Above-Ground swimming pool. There are three different types of automatic pool cleaners for In Ground pools and Above Ground pools, and they are classified by the way they collect debris and move around the pool. "Suction Side" automatic pool cleaners are connected to your pool skimmer and "Pressure Side" automatic pool cleaners connect to a return line fitting of your pool. "Robotic" pool cleaners work independently from your pool filtration system, and are powered by electricity.
Suction Side automatic pool cleaners use the suction power created by your filtration system to propel a pool cleaner around your swimming pool, and pick up debris from the pool floor. Suction side automatic pool cleaners are connected to the skimmer of the pool, and dirt and debris collected from the pool is deposited directly into your filtration system. Suction side automatic pool cleaners are very easy to connect to your swimming pool and to use. These pool cleaners may have an advantage over pressure side pool cleaners, because very little or no adjustments or additional parts are typically needed to adapt a suction side pool cleaner to your swimming pool. Examples of popular suction side automatic pool cleaners are the Hayward Pool Vac or Kreepy Krauly.
Pressure Side automatic pool cleaners connect to the return line fitting in the wall of your swimming pool. Pressure side automatic pool cleaners use a powerful jet of water to move around your swimming pool, and a jet of water is used to draw debris up from the pool surface into a special filter bag connected to the pool cleaner. Pressure side pool cleaners may have an advantage over suction side cleaners because they are typically more powerful and can climb the walls of an inground swimming pool. Because pressure side automatic pool cleaners are connected to the return line fitting of the swimming pool, the pool skimmer is left open to draw dirty water and debris from the surface of the pool. These pool cleaners act as a roving return line, and help eliminate "dead spots" in the swimming pool which are not reached by the circulating action of the main filter system. These pool cleaners deposit debris into a special filter bag instead of inside your pool filter system. Some pressure side pool cleaners feature their own "booster pump", which works independently from your main pool filter system to create the extra water pressure needed for these powerful cleaners. Examples of popular pressure side automatic pool cleaners are most Polaris and most Letro brand pool cleaners.
Robotic automatic pool cleaners feature a built in filtration system, and operate independently from your main pool filter system. No cumbersome hoses or tedious adjustments are required. These self-contained automatic pool cleaners use on board electric motors to move around your pool and create the suction necessary to pick up debris from the pool surface. As these robotic pool cleaners move about cleaning the pool surface, they constantly circulate and filter your swimming pool water. A robotic pool cleaner will pick up debris from the pool floor, and can also climb the walls and steps of an inground swimming pool. These pool cleaners are designed to scrub the water line of the swimming pool, and regular use of a robotic swimming pool cleaner will eliminate the water line stain found on most outdoor pools.
Robotic pool cleaners save a great deal of money in operating costs, because these pool cleaners do not require your pool pump and filtration system to be running for the pool cleaner to work. This also means you do not have to clean your filtration system after each use, using more electricity and losing chemically treated water through the filter backwash cycle. Robotic pool cleaners are available in many sizes and models designed for average size above ground swimming pools, up to the largest commercial facilities and water parks. Many robotic pool cleaners feature a hand held remote control, giving the pool owner complete control over the movements of the pool cleaner. This allows very quick and easy spot cleaning. The most common robotic swimming pool cleaner on the market today is the Aquabot pool cleaner.