Monthly Archives - December 2016

Solar Pool Covers

Solar pool covers can be very effective in warming the pool water, thus extending the swimming season. Covering the pool in the early spring will allow you to use the pool sooner. Covering it again in the early fall will allow the pool to maintain a comfortable temperature longer.

We do not recommend using solar covers during the summer months. Water temperatures in excess of 90 degrees can deplete the chlorine levels and promote algae growth. The intense heat of the summer sun will also dramatically shorten the life of the cover.

Splash Pool Services recommend that solar pool covers be removed completely for the entire service day. This allows the swimming pool to “breathe” and the chemicals to be more effective, if a swimming pool is covered when our service technicians show up to service the swimming pool, it is our policy to pull back the pool cover approximately four feet from the area where we are to dispense the chemicals. We will leave it uncovered and ask that is keep that way for at least the entire service day.

The disadvantage of a bubble cover is that they can blow off or away in heavy winds. Also, as you remove the cover the dirt either falls into the swimming pool or stays on the cover, meaning you have to spread the cover out and clean the cover as well as the pool. Taking the cover off and putting it back on can be a real chore. Sunlight and chemicals make the plastic brittle, causing the bubbles to collapse and send little bits of blue plastic into the pool and circulation system. Bubble covers should not be expected to last for more than 1-2 years.

Remember Pool is an investment and you always wants to keep your investment worth the value.

 

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Total Hardness

Total Hardness

 

Total hardness is the total amount of dissolved minerals that have built up in your pool water. The total hardness of your water increases every day. This is primarily due to evaporation, which removes only distilled water and leaves the minerals behind. Each time that fill water is added to the pool, more minerals are also added. Over time the pool builds up too many minerals. (Usually after 3 to 5 years)

The desert southwest experiences some of the hardest water conditions in the country. Out of the tap the water is already “hard” meaning it contains high levels of minerals. Combine that with some of the highest evaporation rates in the country (1/4″ per day in the summer); this climate creates a hardness problem very quickly in swimming pools.

Below is a list of issues resulting from High Hardness in a swimming pool:
– Staining on pool surface and tile
– Poor water chemistry. (Often leads to poor water clarity, algae, etc.)
– Clogged filter elements (Causes high pressure on filtration system)
– Rough plaster/pool surface
– Increased swimmer skin and eye irritation

To reduce hardness and to help prevent the issues listed above, it is necessary to drain and refill your swimming pool periodically; every 3-5 years. If you are unsure whether or not you need to drain your pool the best thing to do is have a hardness test preformed on the swimming pool water. 250 ppm – 500 ppm is considered normal. Above 500 ppm is high.

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Pool Staining

Pool Staining
Why is it happening? Can I prevent it?

The mineral content of your water increases every day. This is due to evaporation, which removes only distilled water and leaves the minerals behind. In time, these minerals begin depositing on the walls of the pool, creating pool staining.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent staining completely, but here are some tips to help minimize it:

– Drain your pool periodically to keep the mineral hardness down. If your pool water hardness is high, it will accelerate straining.

– Keep your pool clean! If dirt and debris is left on the plaster it will cause staining. We highly recommend that all swimming pool systems have an automated vacuum connected to the filter system.

POOL STAINING DIAGNOSE

Look at the color of your pool stain to classify the cause. There are various stain colors that commonly appear in pools, and identifying yours will lead you in the right direction for treatment. Depending on the cause of the stain, you will need a unique removal plan.

  • The two main stain categories are metal and organic based stains, which come in a variety of colors.
  • These color combinations include green-brown, red-blue, blue-green-black, green-brown-red, pinkish-red, or brown-black-purple. Try to distinguish which color combination your stain is.

Watch for organic stains on the floor of your pool. These are likely caused by leaves, berries, algae, worms, dead animals, or other organic debris that will leave stains if allowed to settle on the pool surface. If they are not removed right away, they will sink down and begin to decay on your pool’s floor. Fortunately, organic stains can be easy to remove.

  • Organic stains are typically green, brown, or bluish-purple. It may be easy to diagnose organic stains if you can see organic debris like leaves settled at the bottom of your pool floor.
  • If an organic stain is suspected, try applying a small amount of chlorine directly to it. An organic stain will dissolve easily with a soft head brush, whereas a metal stain will stay put.

Be on the lookout for inorganic or metal based stains. These substances can inadvertently be introduced into pools from well water or corrosion from copper pipes. It only takes the copper from the size of a penny to be oxidized in your pool and cause major stains. The types of metals that can sneak in your pool includes rust, manganese, iron, and copper. If there are rust colored stains on the pool wall below a ladder, the source is probably a metal, and you should examine the ladder for corrosion too. Check near the stairs, around the drain, and under the lip of the pool for discoloration. Stains that appear reddish brown or very dark are typically related to metals in your pool water.

  • The metals that commonly cause pool stains are iron, manganese & copper. Copper is from ionizers and corrosion of copper and brass pipes. This will result in blue, green, teal, black or dark purple stains. Iron is from well water, corrosion of iron pipes and fittings and will result in rusty brown, gray or greenish-brown stains. Manganese is from well water and will result in pink, dark brownish-black or purple stains. Calcium comes from plaster, grout, mortar, or cal-hypo chlorine shock and shows as white crystals.
  • If you have a metal based stain, it is important to know exactly which metal is causing you problems in order to properly treat it.
  • A common cause of blue-green copper pool stains is improper chemical maintenance. Low pH and high chlorine levels can also erode the copper heat exchanger in a pool heater. Maintaining proper water balance makes it easier to keep metal stains from developing.

Seek out professional assistance. If you want to leave the stain removal to the experts, use your yellow pages to find pool specialists or pool retailers in your area. You will need to take a pool sample to their location so they can test your water and determine exactly what kinds and levels of metals are plaguing your pool. The professional can then recommend a special additive designed to remove your metal stains.

Use test strips to test the water at home. Take a water sample from the middle of your pool. Once you have your water sample, quickly dip one, dry test strips into the water. Without shaking off the excess water, hold it still in the air for about 15 seconds. The strip will then change colors, and you will need to match up the colors of the strip to the back of the bottle to get your readings. There are many different types of test strips you can buy that check for various things, but you really only need to check for pH, alkalinity and free chlorine.

  • Use test strips at least once a week. Bring a sample to your local pool store once a month to have it professionally checked, especially when opening and closing your pool.

Try a liquid test kit. There are very advanced liquid test kits, but for a home pool, you can stick with pH and chlorine or phenol red and OTO chlorine test kits. Liquid tests kit can be very accurate but you have to be able to translate the color outcomes well. For example, once you drop the chemicals into your water sample, they are going to change a color, and depending on how bright or dark it is, you have to accurately match it to the directions on the package for a proper treatment plan. Beware, it can be difficult to decipher the different colors and color shades.

  • OTO chlorine is the chemical that tests for total chlorine. It’s a yellow liquid you add to your sample. The more yellow, the more chlorine there is in your pool water.
  • Phenol red is a red chemical you add to a small sample of water to check the pH balance. The redder the water, the higher the pH balance is.
  • With a liquid test kit, it’s hard to see the low end of the colors. Make sure you use a white background to examine the colors to be accurate.

Determine if your fill water is the problem. If you fill your pool from a well, test that water directly before filling your pool. If you determine that there are high amounts of metals in that water, drain your swimming pool to about 1/4 or 1/2 way, and refill it with softened water. You will then need to circulate the water for at least 48 hours and have it re-tested. If there is still a high concentration of metals, repeat the process.

  • If your fill water is acceptable, metals are most likely being introduced into your pool water through corrosion. Check all pool equipment for corrosion to make sure they are not leaking metals into your pool water.
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Causes Of Algae

Causes Of Algae
What causes it?

What can you do to prevent it?

Causes Of Algae


Algae spores are everywhere. These microscopic single-cell structures are blown into the pool by the wind, washed into the pool by rainfall, or carried into the pool on swimmers’ skin or bathing suits. Under the right conditions, tiny spores will bloom into those dreaded bright green, mustard yellow or black discolorations.

Inadequate filtration will often lead to algae growth.

Water clarity depends on daily circulation and filtration. Anything that impedes water flow from the pool to the filter — clogged skimmer baskets, a dirty or damaged filter, a defective pump motor, or a failure to run the pump for an adequate amount of time each day — will encourage algae growth. The first warning sign of a filtration problem is hazy or cloudy water. Left unchecked, cloudy water can quickly lead to a full-fledged algae bloom.

 

Algae can develop when little or no chlorine is present.

Sunlight, rainfall, temperature, number of swimmers and frequency of pool use affect the rate of chlorine loss. The lower the chlorine level, the more likely algae will bloom. Super-chlorination, coupled with the application of conditioner or stabilizer designed to shield residual chlorine from the effects of heat and sunlight, helps ensure that there is always sufficient chlorine in the pool. Spas, which are often heated to temperatures well above 100 degrees, are especially susceptible to algae growth.

 

Algae loves a dirty pool!

Leaves and dirt left on the bottom of the pool for an extended period of time, not only promotes algae but also causes pool staining. The longer you allow leaves and other debris to sit on your pool floor, the more likely that you’ll see algae, and staining. In a dirty pool, algae will continue to bloom, even when the water chemistry is properly balanced.

 

What can you do to prevent it?

Causes Of Algae


    • Some spots of dead algae may remain on your pool walls, even after chemical treatment. Brushing the pool walls with a nylon bristle or stainless steel pool brush will remove dead algae, and help keep live algae from forming.

 

    • Make sure the pump timer is set to run 8 or more hours daily during the summer and 4 or more hours daily during the winter.

 

    • Periodically check to make sure the water is circulating adequately

 

    • Make sure your filter is clean and your baskets are empty.

 

    • After using your spa, adjust the valves so that the pool water will flow through the spa and into the pool when the filtration system is running. This will replenish chlorine-dissipated spa water with chlorinated water from the main part of the swimming pool.

 

  • If pool is covered, remove your pool cover one day per week to allow the water to “breathe”. For best results, uncover the swimming pool on your regular scheduled service day.

Causes Of Algae

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Green Algae

Green Algae
Its types and appearance


    Green Algae are very tiny plants that grow in untreated water. Once present in water they may be recognized initially, by the formation of slime on the sides and floor of the pool developing into a general cloudiness in the body of the water. In the advanced stages of growth, they take on a green color and, if allowed to progress further, will take on a brownish color. Intense sunlight is very conducive to algae growth by causing increased water temperatures and more rapid loss of residual chlorine. The following three forms of algae are most commonly found throughout the Southwest Region:

 

Green Algae:

    Green algae is the most common form of algae. It appears as a streaky, slimy buildup, first noticeable on steps, in corners, and on the plastic surfaces of skimmers and return fittings.

 

Yellow or Mustard Algae:

    Yellow algae, also known as mustard algae, usually starts on the shady side of the swimming pool. Yellow algae has the same slimy texture as green algae, but it is more difficult to remove. Yellow algae thrives in shade, and will often appear in covered pools. This form of algae grows in a long, streaky pattern, appearing on pool walls, in corners, and on steps and love seats.

 

Black Algae:

    Black algae is the least common form of algae, but once it blooms it is the most stubborn and is the most difficult of the three to eradicate. Black algae is a water borne spore, and is carried into your pool through the fresh water used to fill your swimming pool. Black algae is usually the result of insufficient chlorine levels for an extended period of time. Black algae is most often found in leaky swimming pools that require near-daily replenishment of pool water. As large amounts of water are added to the pool, chlorine and stabilizer levels drop, promoting an inviting environment for black algae to form its roots.

 

    Should algae be allowed to gain a foothold in the pool, “shock” treatment is often necessary to remove the growth.

 

    It is commonly known that black algae is so stubborn and resistant and in many cases deeply embedded into the plaster and can only be controlled and not completely eliminated. An Acid Wash and Chlorine bath does not always work; sometimes re-plastering the surface is required to completely eliminate black algae. In most cases, i clean Pool water treatment system can control and many times eliminate visual black algae from your pool. (If anyone can do it our professional chemical service can)

 

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Chlorine

Chlorine is the most important chemical used in pool clarity.Disinfection is the most important factor in maintaining a safe and healthy swimming pool.Chlorine is the most widely applied disinfecting agent and is used by Splash Pool Service. With out adequate chlorine in the water, it’s only a matter of time before algae and bacteria begin to form. One day without chlorine is all it takes for a pool to start turning green. It is very important to keep pool chlorine/disinfectant in the water at all times.

What is it?

It was in 1774 when a Swedish chemist named Carl Scheele discovered the element Chlorine when he mixed powdered pyrolusite into muriatic acid. It gained its name from the Greek word “Khloros”, which means “green”.

Today is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the US, finding its way into a multitude of products. It is so deeply inter-twined into industry that finding alternatives would indeed change our daily lives.

It is also used for the production of numerous products, across all segments. Some plastics can contain over 50% of it by volume. Just about any manufactured product uses it at one step along the way. It is also used in many industries for disinfection or sanitizing of surfaces, equipment or aqueous solutions, including pool water.

It is produced by the electrolysis of salt water. When electricity is passed through 2NaCl (salt) and 2H20 (water), the atoms dissociate into Cl2 (chlorine) + 2NaOH (sodium Hydroxide) + H2 (Hydrogen).

When using a salt generator on a pool, it is created by the salt cell, a stack of electrically charged plates. When power is applied to these cells, and salty water is pumped through the cell, it is created instantly as the water leaves the salt cell and is pumped into the pool.

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Swimming Pool Filter

Swimming Pool Filter

What is the purpose and how does it work?

How often should I run and clean my filter?

What maintenance is required?

Swimming Pool Filter

Water clarity depends mainly on three factors:

  1. Proper chemical balance
    2. Quality filtration
    3. Adequate daily circulation

Your swimming pool water needs the combination of these three variables to stay crystal clear, algae free and ready for swimming enjoyment.

 

Dirty Filter
A dirty filter can have a dramatic effect on circulation. As water passes through the filter, millions of tiny particles cling to the filtration elements. Eventually, these accumulated particles make it difficult for water to pass through the filter. A dirty filter can reduce pump efficiency by up to 80 percent. In other words, circulating your water for 10 hours a day when the filter is dirty is the equivalent of circulating the water for 2 hours a day when the filter is clean. Many times, a homeowner will find their water is cloudy and greenish, even though the chemical levels are fine, and the pump is running for an adequate amount of time each day. A dirty or damaged filter is usually the source of the problem.

 

 

SAND FILTERS (Usually a round fiberglass or stainless steel tank)
Run filter system for approximately 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:
Summer 8 to 12 hours per day, winter 4 or more hours per day.

(If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears- then go back to your regular schedule)

 

How to Backwash a Sand Filter
Most filter manufacturers recommend backwashing after a clean filter has built up 5-10 PSI of pressure, as indicated on the pressure gauge. Sand filters usually need backwashing every 1 to 4 weeks. Over backwashing can lead to algae problems in the heat of the summer due to the loss of important chemicals. Avoid backwashing within 12 hours after your pool has been chemically serviced.

**Never move the backwash valve when the pump is running (this will break the parts inside the filter)

  1. Turn off the pump
    2. Turn the multi-port or valve handle to the backwash position
    3. If necessary, roll out your backwash hose or open valve on backwash line
    4. Turn on the pump and run system for 1-3 minutes or until water in the sight glass or discharge hose turns clear
    5. Turn off the pump
    6. Place the valve handle in the filter position.
    7. If necessary, redo the first steps, two to three times, this will shake up the sand and remove more dirt at each backwash cycle
    8. Turn on the pump and open the air relief valve on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system

 

Maintenance for a Sand Filter
Sand in the filter should be replaced or checked every 4 to 5 years. In painted pools, sand may need to be replaced annually. Please have the filter parts (i.e. laterals) checked for cracks or breaks any time the sand is removed, these parts are under the sand and can only be checked when the sand is removed.

The efficiency of the sand filter, as measured by the largest-sized particle that can pass through it without being caught, is 40-50 microns. (A micron is a millionth of a meter.)

 

CARTRIDGE FILTERS
Run filter system 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:
Summer 8 to 15 hours per day, winter 4 to 10 hours per day

(If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears- then go back to your regular schedule)

 

How to Clean a Cartridge Filter
Clean filter cartridges every 2-6 weeks on average, depending on dirt accumulation and filter pressure (Best if preformed the day before scheduled chemical service)

  1. Turn off the pump
    2. Remove top half of filter canister
    3. Remove cartridge element(s) from canister
    4. Spray cartridge elements until clean
    5. Replace clean elements
    6. Turn on the pump and open the air relief on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system

 

Maintenance for a Cartridge Filter

Have cartridge elements checked every year for wear and tear.

Drawbacks for the cartridge filter include:

Most cartridge filters are for smaller pools and spas containing approximately 12,000 gallons of water or less. There is no mechanical method for backwashing these filters – it must be manually disassembled and hosed off. The cartridge elements need to be replaced as they become old and worn: about every 2 years, which can be expensive, depending on the size, style and brand of cartridge. Pools with cartridge filters tend to develop high dissolved solids levels (TDS) faster than sand or D.E. filters, because there is no water removal via backwashing.

 

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH FILTERS
Run filter system 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:
Summer 8 to 10 hours per day, winter 4 to 8 hours per day

(If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears- then go back to your regular schedule)

 

How to Backwash a Diatomaceous Earth Filter
Most filter manufacturers recommend backwashing after a clean filter has built up 5-10 PSI of pressure as indicated on the pressure gauge. D.E. filters typically build up these pressure levels in approximately 1 to 3 months. Over backwashing can lead to algae problems in the heat of the summer due to the loss of important chemicals. Avoid backwashing within 12 hours after your pool has been chemically serviced.

**Never move the backwash valve when the pump is running (this will break the parts inside the filter)

  1. Shut off the pump
    2. Turn the multi-port or valve handle to the backwash position
    3. If necessary, roll out your backwash hose or open valve on backwash line
    4. Turn on the pump and run system for 1-3 minutes or until water in the sight glass or discharge hose turns clear
    5. Turn off the pump
    6. Place the valve handle in the filter position.
    7. If necessary, redo the first steps, two to three times, this will loosen up debris and remove more dirt at each backwash cycle
    8. Place the multi-port valve handle back in the filter position
    9. Turn on the pump
    10. Coat the filter grids with D.E. powder by adding the recommended amount through the skimmer.

FRESH D.E. MUST BE ADDED AFTER EACH BACKWASHING!

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filters use a powder called diatomaceous earth to strain out the small tiny particles that pass through the system. This product is very inexpensive and readily available at home and garden centers. Each time you backwash a D.E. filter, you will flush out both accumulated dirt and debris and spent D.E. from the filter canister. Failure to replace the canister with fresh D.E. can cause severe damage to the internal elements of the filter and will leave the filter virtually non-effective, since the earth is the primary filtering agent.

There is a simple formula to figure out how much D.E. should be added to your filter. First, determine the size of your filter. The square feet of filtration area inside the filter canister determine filter size. This number is found on a specifications plate on the front of the canister. (Most filters carry a filtration area of 36, 48, 60, or 72 square feet.) Using a one-pound coffee can, add one can of D.E. for every 5 square feet of filtration area. It’s OK to round off to the nearest multiple of 5; the filter won’t mind a little extra D.E. A 48 square foot filter requires 10 cans of D.E. A 36 square foot filter will function effectively on 7 cans of D.E.

 

Maintenance for a D.E. Filter
Even with regular backwashing, D.E. filters accumulate debris and it is a good idea to have your filter dismantled and cleaned at least once a year. This affords an opportunity to check internal elements for wear and tear, and to ensure that the filter is working at peak efficiency.

 

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Pool School

Pool School

– How does a pool system work?

_What basic maintenance is required?

Pool School

Chemical Balance
The first, most important thing required to maintain a swimming pool is proper chemical balance. Chemical levels must be checked regularly and adjusted according to results.

Filter Maintenance
The main filter must be checked on regularly and cleaned about once per month depending on the pressure gauge located on the filter. When the pressure rises about 10 PSI above the clean pressure it is time to backwash or clean the filter. All leaf baskets must be emptied about every two weeks or when full. If either the main filter or leaf baskets are left for too long, the circulation will slow down and often lead to a green pool.

Cleaning
The Last step in maintaining your swimming pool is to manually clean the pool. This includes skimming, brushing, and vacuuming the pool. If you have properly working system than cleaning your pool should be fairly easy. The system will do most of the work for you. If you have an automated vacuum (highly recommended) you will need to brush the walls and the steps, and skim out all leaves on the surface about once every two weeks. If you do not have an automatic vacuum you will also need to manually vacuum the pool about once per week.

 

How does a pool system work?

Basic System

First water is pulled from the pool through the skimmer. The skimmer is located on the top edge of the pool and has a leaf basket to catch leaves and large debris. The water then flows through a second leaf basket right before the pump. Then the water travels through the pump and the main filter. The main filter removes all dirt and small debris. The clean water then returns back into the pool. The timer automatically runs the system for 6-12 hours per day.

 

Basic system with spa

If you have a spa connected to your pool, then your system will be slightly different. For normal operation you will need to set the valves (usually near pump and filter) to pull water from the pool and return to the spa. The spa then overflows into the pool. This insures both the pool and spa water are filtered daily. Once set, the valves will not need adjusting until you would like to heat the spa. To heat the spa, you will adjust the suction valve before the pump to pull water from the spa instead of the pool. This will force the water to be pulled from the spa and returned to the spa allowing you to heat only the spa.

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