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What a SHOCKing difference

June 26, 2007 on 2:37 pm | In General, Water Chemistry, Maintenance, Pool and Spa Tips, Product Spotlight | No Comments

Every pool or spa care guide and many individual products call for regular shocking of your pool or spa’s water. But what is shock and why should you use it?

The purpose of shock is to work with your sanitizer and keep your pool or spa clean of bacteria and other pollutants in the water. By knowing what options there are for shocking you pool or spa and knowing what they do you can decide what option is best for your pool or spa water at any time and thus keep your water crystal clear.

Fundamentally, there are two kinds of shock; chlorinating and oxidizing. While each will accomplish the task, they do it in different ways.

  • Chlorinating shock provides a temporary boost to chlorine levels while shocking the existing chlorine in the pool or spa. We normally recommend chlorinating shock when an extra boost of shocking power is needed.
  • Oxidizing shock does not boost chlorine levels in your pool or spa, and it is recommended as a maintenance shock treatment.

So why should you use shock?

  •  Shock allows your sanitizer to work better by binding with the particles that the sanitizer has already cleaned and frees up used sanitizer so that it can continue to keep your spa safe and clean. What does this mean to you? It means that you’ll save money by using the sanitizer that’s already present in your water rather than adding new sanitizer to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Used sanitizer binds with the particles that its cleaning to form chloramines. Chloramines are what cause the chemical odor that many people complain about when near pools and spas. Shocking frees up the used sanitizer, thus eliminating the chloramine. This means that regular shocking of the water will reduce chemical odors from the pool or spa water.

Now that you know a little about shock and what it does you can appreciate the advice for it’s regular use and how it helps to keep you pool or spa clean and safe.

Maintaining a healthy pool- Weather Difficulties

June 6, 2007 on 10:59 am | In Water Chemistry, Maintenance, Pool and Spa Tips | No Comments

Rain, high winds, or generally bad weather. These things keep us out of the pool in the summer months. But these weather phenomena also affect the water chemistry of our pools. One thing to keep in mind is that proper water balance and pool maintenance is even more important during periods of inclement weather. Keep the following in mind during the weather that keeps you out of the pool to make getting back into the pool easier.

Rain- Rain can wreak havoc on a pool’s water chemistry. At the very least the water being added from the rain is diluting your pool water, making sanitizers and other additives fall below recommended levels. If these sanitizer levels remain low you could be faced with an algae problem once fair weather returns.

To combat the effects of rain take the time between storms to test your pool water. Make sure that your pool water is properly balanced, and deal with leaves or other debris that the rain may have knocked into your pool.

Wind- Wind can cause problems in your water chemistry in a different way. As dirt and debris is blown into your pool your sanitizer is put to the test in dealing with it. Too much debris, or larger debris that gets caught in skimmers and drains can cause flow issues.

To combat wind issues make sure that you clean your pool as soon as possible once the wind has died down. Remove leaves and other debris, and vacuum the particles that sank to the floor. Check skimmer baskets to make sure that they are free of leaves and other large items. Finally, test your water to make sure that your sanitizer and other levels are still within the proper range.

By properly maintaining your pool, and with extra vigilance during the weather that keeps you out of your pool you can prevent problems and spend more fair weather time enjoying your pool.

Testing the Water

March 28, 2007 on 3:21 pm | In Water Chemistry, Service Questions, Maintenance | No Comments

To prevent problems and keep your pool or spa water as sparkling clear as possible we recommend testing and balancing your pool or spa water at least once a week.

When checking your chemical balance pay special attention to these key readings:

  • Free Sanitizer Levels. Often called free Chlorine or free Bromine, this is the sanitizer that is available to clean and keep your water bacteria and germ free. Make sure that this reading is within the ideal levels listed on your test strip or drop kit reader. Too low and you can be exposed to unwanted bacteria, too high and you could suffer chemical burns.
  • Total Sanitizer levels. Called Total Chlorine or Total Bromine this is the measurement of all the sanitizer in the water, both used and free. This reading, used along with the free sanitizer reading, can be a good indication of when additional shocking of the water is needed. A high total sanitizer reading combined with a low free sanitizer reading means that it’s time to add some shock to the pool or spa.
  • pH Reading. Proper pH balance is essential in pool and spa water. A pH reading between 7.2-7.6 is ideal, anything outside of that range should be adjusted to make the water safe. We carry both pH increaser and decreaser in both pool and spa sizes to help you keep you pH in the proper range.
  • Total Alkalinity. Total alkalinity in pool or spa water helps to buffer pH changes. If your total alkalinity is within the proper range then you’ll spend less time fighting to keep pH where it belongs. We carry total alkalinity increaser in both pool and spa sizes to help you bring the level up, and if it’s too high we have tips for lowering the level of total alkalinity.
  • Calcium Hardness. Proper calcium hardness is essential to pools and spas. If the water is too soft then equipment can be damaged as the water pulls minerals from plumbing and surfaces. If the water is too hard then staining and scaling become issues. We carry calcium hardness increaser in both pool and spa sizes to bring the levels up as needed, and we also carry stain and scale control to help prevent the issues associted with hard water.

If your test strips or drop readers don’t test all five of those key areas then you might want to consider switching to using the LaMotte 5-in-1 test strips. Highly accurate and containing tests for each of these key areas it is the most popular test strip that we carry.

For pools exposed to a lot of sunlight the LaMotte 6-in-1 test strip is also a good invesment. In addition to the other five key areas to check it also has a reading for cyanuric acid. Cyanuric acid is a chlorine stabilizer that helps reduce the amount of chlorine lost due to sunlight, and proper levels of it will help reduce your chlorine loss.

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