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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!

Looking Toward the End…

September 18, 2007 on 9:10 am | In General, Maintenance, Pool and Spa Tips | No Comments

The end of summer that is. Long, hot and lazy days will all too soon give way to the cooler days of fall.

With those cooler days comes pool closing season. And whether you’re planning to close your pool yourself or are planning to have somebody else close it for you, now is the time to start thinking and planning or the end of the summer swimming season.

Even though the thought of spring opening will hardly cross you mind when you’re closing your pool, it should. A pool that is closed properly will be much easier to reopen in the spring. Making sure that your pool is prepared to face the cold months (and months without or with minimal maintenance) will mean a pool that is ready to face the next swimming season.

Properly closing a pool will require many of the same products that you use to open it, and in similar quantities. Algaecide and stain and scale control should be circulated for a few days before the water is drained below the skimmer line, and in sufficient quantities to avoid algae growth and staining while the pool isn’t circulating. A chlorine residual should also be established to combat anything that should happen to get into your water due to the weather.

If you’re planning to have your pool closed by another, now is a good time to check into the costs and timing for closing. Scheduling your closing early means that you’re more likely to have your pool closed when you want it rather than having to wait for an available time.

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.

Product Spotlight- Solar Covers

May 22, 2007 on 11:10 am | In Pool and Spa Tips, Product Spotlight | No Comments

Nobody likes a cold pool. Solar covers can help to warm the water and help it maintain temperature.

Heating a pool solely by traditional heaters can be costly. Electric or gas bills combined with the loss of heat at night can really take a toll on your pool budget. And for small, above ground pools that come without heaters, adding a heater may be more than the cost of the pool.

A good option for heating and maintaining water temperature is the floating solar cover. A floating cover will raise the water temperature by about 10 F under optimal conditions and will reduce the amount of heat lost overnight.

Properly taken care of, a solar cover will last through several seasons. And since they can be easily cut to shape they will also work on free-form pools.

So when you notice a cold pool this summer, consider a solar cover to supplement your normal heating routine.

Product Spotlight - Stain and Scale Control

May 4, 2007 on 10:31 am | In Maintenance, Pool and Spa Tips, Product Spotlight | No Comments

Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to avoid problems and enjoy your pool or spa rather than worry about it. One of the best tools for preventing problems, especially in the southwest, is stain and scale control.

Many areas in the southwest have hard water. And while some level of water hardness is actually good for pools and spas, too much can be a problem. Unfortunately, softening the water prior to filling your pool or sap can cause as much or more damage than the hard water itself can, and there really isn’t a way to bring down water hardness in pool or spa water. So what is to be done to prevent the staining and scaling issues associated with hard water?

Stain and Scale control is the answer. By using stain and scale control when you open either your pool or spa you are taking measures to prevent hard water issues. The ingredients in stain and scale control bind with the metals present in the water to prevent them from attaching to the surfaces and plumbing of your pool or spa. And using stain and scale control when a fresh metal stain appears can remove some or all of the stain.

Using and maintaining a level of stain and scale control in your pool or spa water will allow you to spend more time enjoying your pool or spa rather than cleaning it of the stains and scaling that occurs.

Happy Swimming.

Safe Vacation Swimming

April 23, 2007 on 9:03 am | In General, Pool and Spa Tips | No Comments

Spring and summer are great times to vacation. While planning our getaways, many of us look for hotels and motels that have pools or spas. But is the water safe? Though most hotels and motels do their best to properly maintain the water balance in these amenities, sometimes it happens that the water is not safe to be in.

One of the first indications that there may be a problem with the water in a pool or spa is how the water looks. Take a good look at the water before jumping in. Does it look clean enough to drink? If it does, then it’s probably safe.

Also pay attention if there is a strong smell present. Some sanitizer or chlorine smell is normal, but if it’s overly strong it could also signal some imbalance of the water chemistry. If the water both looks and smells ok you’re probably fine.

If you still have concerns about the water in the pool or spa, or if you have sensitive skin you may wish to invest in some test strips. Checking the water for yourself before getting in will give you a clear indication as to how safe the water is, and test strips are an inexpensive way to ensure peace of mind.

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