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Cooler days ahead

August 25, 2010 on 11:41 am | In General, Service Questions, Maintenance, Pool and Spa Tips | No Comments

A crispness in the air, shorter days and soon enough cold weather will be upon us. While there are still plenty of days left in this swimming season we’re approaching the time when a pool owner should start thinking about closing the pool for the winter.

How well the pool is closed will affect how easy it is to get that same pool ready again for the next season. A pool closed with plenty of chlorine and algaecide will have fewer issues during a spring starting than one just covered with nothing to keep the water in good condition. So it’s important to make sure that your pool water is prepared for the long months of no circulation ahead in order to be able to enjoy it as quickly as possible once spring arrives.

If you are having your pool closed by somebody else make sure to call early to ensure your place on the schedule. A typical pool closing takes several hours and may require two people if the cover is large. Once cold weather strikes the schedule fills quickly so calling early ensures your pool is closed when you want it to be.

If you are closing your pool own your own keep in mind the following to make pool closing as smooth as possible and to help in a great spring opening.

Pool Closing Checklist:

1. Determine an appropriate timeframe to close your pool. Depending on your method of heating you might be able to leave the pool open longer than other methods.Many pool owners close in late September to mid-October.

2. Check your cover. Was your pool cover in need of some TLC or replacement? If the cover was in need of replacement get it ordered early so that it arrives before closing. If it needed a repair likewise make sure that gets taken care of early so that your cover can be ready to close your pool when you are.

3. Clean and backwash your filter so that there is no contaminants sitting over the winter. Using a filter cleaner as part of the process will help to ensure that your filter gets as clean as possible.

4. Determine the gallonage of your pool to determine how much algaecide and stain control are needed. You are going to use similar amounts of algaecide and stain control as you would when you open your pool. Making sure that algae is being kept in check and that the still water won’t cause metal stains are vital over the winter months.

5.  Check your piping plugs and get antifreeze. Draining water below the level of the skimmer will help to make sure that you don’t have a mess of cracked pipes to deal with after the winter. Drain the lines well and add antifreeze directly to the plumbing to ensure that any water residue won’t be an issue. Then close off the lines with nylon test plugs.

Keeping all this in mind will make closing your pool so much easier. Happy Closing!

Avoiding a Service Call- Spa Heating Problems

March 29, 2007 on 10:36 am | In Service Questions | No Comments

Service calls can be costly, and sometimes unnecessary. Simple troubleshooting steps taken before calling to schedule a visit can help you to avoid unnecessary visits. If a service call is still necessary having taken these steps beforehand will help the technician to troubleshoot the problem.

One of the most common calls for service that we receive is for spa heaters. The spa no longer heats, and there is no apparent cause.

Oftentimes there is a simple cause, and equally simple solution to this problem. The filter. A dirty or clogged filter results in poor water circulation, and without proper circulation there is no way for the water that has been heated to be moved into the main body of the spa.

Ask yourself these questions?

  • When was the last time I cleaned my filter cartridge? It’s a good idea to make rinsing your filter cartridge part of your routine maintenance, and the cartridge should be cleaned with a specially formulated cartridge cleaner once every two months. If you haven’t cleaned it lately, now is a good time.
  • How old is the filter cartridge?   If it’s too old consider purchasing a new cartridge.

Another check to see if it’s a filter problem is to remove the cartridge and circulate for a while. If the spa heats without the filter then the problem is with the filter cartridge and not the heater.

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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