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D.E. Pool Filters

D.E. Pool Filters

D.E. Pool filters

D.E. Pool filters are the most efficient type of pool filter available to pool owners. It can trap particles down to 3 – 5 microns; well below what the naked eye can see, which is around 35 microns. DE filters, like most pool filters, use a pressure gauge to indicate the need for backwashing; when it reads 8 – 10 lbs. higher than the clean, or start-up pressure. After backwashing a D.E. filter, the dirty filter powder is discharged, and a new application of D.E. filter powder is added to the filter, by pouring it into the skimmer.

In addition to a monthly (+/-) backwashing, an annual or semi-annual maintenance cleaning is also required. After backwashing, drain the tank and remove the lid. The filter grids are removed and hosed off completely. Soaking the grids in DE filter cleaner will remove oils, minerals and stains, which can clog the filter fabric. DE grids are sometimes called elements, fins or septums.

DE Powder

DE powder, when added to your skimmer, dissolves in the pipe on its way to the filter tank. When it reaches the grids, which are covered with a woven polyester type of fabric, the powder stops, coating the fine mesh covered grid. The water continues to pass through, first through the powder, then the fabric covered grid. As the water passes through the D.E. and enters the grid it leaves behind the dirt, trapped in the D.E. powder “cake” or coating. The powder is the filter.

DE powder is what actually does the filtering. Diatomaceous Earth, specially graded for pool filter use (do not use garden-grade or food-grade DE), or you can use a DE alternative such as Aqua-Perl Perlite Powder, made with volcanic perlite. The filter grids inside of the filter tank are the ‘holder’ for the powder, and without DE powder to coat them, can clog up in under an hour. D.E. stands for diatomaceous earth, which are the microscopic skeletons of Diatoms, an ancient sub aquatic creature. Under the microscope, diatoms and perlite appear to be tiny sponges. This is where the dirt, oil and contaminants become trapped in your filter, within the powder.

Warning

Do not operate your filter pump without having the D.E. powder coating the grids, or you will see the filter pressure rise very quickly, and if left in this manner the grids can collapse or the fabric can become clogged or damaged. As the pressure gauge on a D.E. filter increases, flow rate decreases. Eventually the lower flow rate causes the water quality to suffer. You will need to backwash the filter to remove the D.E. that is clogged up with the dirt. After backwashing thoroughly, add new D.E. powder to the filter through the skimmer.

Cleaning DE Grids: If using biguanides (Aqua Silk or Baquacil) you will need twice annual, very thorough cleaning to prevent it from gumming up. Chlorine D.E. filters should have this done at least once per year. Thorough cleaning is accomplished by turning the pump off and draining the filter, after backwashing. Remove the tank top half, and remove the grid assembly to a cleaning location. Hose the grid assembly thoroughly to remove all dirt and DE powder between the grids. For an extra good job, after hosing, soak the assembly in a trash can filled with water and a DE filter cleaner product (or use TSP tri-sodium-phosphate). Rinse thoroughly before reinstalling grids into tank.

Inspecting DE Grids: While cleaning the DE Grids, it’s good to inspect the fabric for tears and holes. Holes in your DE grids larger than 1/4 inch can be sewn, or the grid replaced. Inspect also for mis-aligned grids, so that the spaces between the grids are all consistent. Check that the through-bolts are tightly secured so that the entire DE grid assembly is drawn close and the grids are tightly locked into the top manifold and the bottom spreader plate.

Bumping a DE Filter: When backwashing a D.E. pool filter, bump the filter several times. That is, backwash until water runs clear, shut off pump, and move the multiport valve to FILTER and run it on filter for a 10 seconds, then backwash again until it runs clear, and repeat this 3 – 4 times. Remember to always shut off the pump before turning your multiport valve or your push-pull valve. Each time you ‘bump’ the filter, or go through the cycle of filter/ backwash/ filter, you will get more dirt/ D.E. out of the filter, giving you a better, more thorough backwash.

Be cautious not to pump DE waste water directly into streams as it may choke small aquatic life. Your city or town may have discharge regulations for DE powder.

Separation Tank

Separation Tanks: If you are using a separation tank for backwashing, or a separate tank that separates the DE from the waste water, and returns clean water to the pool (prevents water waste) – it is especially recommended to bump the filter as described above, and run your backwash cycle for a longer time period, maybe 10 minutes. Using a sep tank may also require more frequent manual cleaning of the DE grids, because the backpressure reduces the overall flow rate during backwashing. Separation tanks are an old idea that are making a comeback in areas under water restrictions.

Also important in ensuring an effective backwashing is to make sure skimmer baskets and pump baskets are clean to allow for full flow entering the filter.

Adding DE Powder: After backwashing, DE powder (or Perlite Powder) is immediately dumped into the skimmer to replenish what was just backwashed out. Try to add the powder within 60 seconds of turning the pump back on. You can pre-mix it with water, or just pour it dry, right into the skimmer, with the pump running of course. In cases where the skimmer is not working, a DE powder slurry can be poured into the pump basket, or even directly into the filter tank.

Measuring DE Powder: Because DE is so light, a pound of DE powder is more voluminous than a 16 oz liquid measurement. The common standard of measurement for 1 lb of DE powder is the 1 lb coffee can, or about 4 cups, if using a kitchen measuring scoop. Not adding enough DE powder will give you a shorter filter cycle. Adding too much DE will cause the DE cake to bridge between grids, resulting in loss of efficiency. Using a DE Scoop can make measuring more accurate.

Because backwashing only removes about 70% of the DE powder, add 1/3 Less Powder than you would add when starting up a cleaned filter, empty of DE powder. For clean filters, add 1 lb of DE powder for each 5 sq ft of surface area. For example, a 48 SF DE filter may use 10 lbs of powder on start-up, but only 7 lbs after backwashing

How do I Backwash my DE Filter?
When the pressure gauge is reading 8 – 10 lbs above the clean, starting pressure (after backwashing), it is time to backwash the filter. This process involves moving the filter valve so that the water flows through the filter tank backwards, flushing out the dirt, hence the name “back-washing”.

Filter Backwash Hose
Before backwashing a DE filter, be sure to roll out the backwash hose, a flexible vinyl hose that is used as a discharge hose to carry the waste water out of the filter and to an area that can absorb the water without erosion problems. To prevent splits in the backwash hose, be sure it is not kinked, but laying nearly flat on the ground. The backwash hose should have a SS clamp to secure the vinyl hose to the hose adapter on the waste port of the valve.

DE filters can have either a push-pull valve (also known as slide valves) or a multiport valve. The multiport valve has multiple ports inside the valve, (hence the name) and usually 6 handle positions:

Typical Multiport Valve Positions:

FILTER: Keep it here most of the time, except when backwashing, rinsing or wasting (draining).
RINSE: Use this setting for 20 seconds after backwashing to rinse tank.
RECIRCULATE: Use this if the filter is broken, at least you can circulate the water.
BACKWASH: Use this setting to reverse the flow in the filter and send water out of the waste line. Make sure valves are open and backwash hose rolled out.
CLOSED: Put here to close off flow from the pool, usually to work on the equipment. Do not operate pump with valve in closed position.
WASTE/ DRAIN: Another filter bypass setting, this setting sends the water out of the waste pipe (hose), instead of returning it to the pool. Used to lower pool water level or to vacuum to waste.
To backwash a D.E. filter with a multiport valve:

Shut off pump motor
Press down on valve handle, rotate valve from FILTER to BACKWASH position.
Roll out any backwash hose or open any waste line valves.
Open air bleeder assembly on filter, and turn pump on.
Watch pressure gauge for backpressure and hose for kinks. Be prepared to shut off pump quickly.
After hose fills with water, run for 2 – 3 minutes or until water runs clear.
Shut off pump motor and move multiport valve handle to RINSE position. Run on rinse for 5 – 10 seconds. Shut off pump again, and move handle back to BACKWASH. Turn on pump again until water runs clear. Continue in this fashion 3 – 4 times, alternating between Backwash & Rinse (or Filter), to ensure a thorough backwash.
Shut off pump motor and move multiport valve handle to FILTER position.
Turn pump back on and note lower pressure. Roll up backwash hose.
Add 1 lb D.E. powder per 10 sq ft of filter area. Look on filter tank for filter area.
To Backwash a D.E. filter with a slide valve:

Shut off pump motor, roll out backwash hose (if you have it).
Twist to unlock plunger T-handle, pull/ twist plunger upwards 2 – 3″.
Open air bleeder assembly on filter, and turn pump on.
Watch pressure gauge for backpressure (+ 30 PSI) and hose for kinks. Be prepared to shut off pump quickly.
After hose fills with water, run for 1 – 2 minutes or until water runs clear. Shut off and push handle back down. Turn pump on and run in filter position for 15 seconds and then shut pump off and backwash again for 1 min. Filter again for 15 seconds and another 30 second backwash.
Shut off pump motor and push T-handle back down into locked position.
Turn pump back on and note lower pressure. Roll up backwash hose.
Add 1 lb D.E. powder per 10 sq ft of filter area. Look on filter tank for filter size.
DE Liquid Filter Cleaner
Properly sized D.E. pool filters should, in most cases, be able to operate continuously for a period of 4 weeks between backwashing. A “Filter Run” of less than 4 weeks may indicate grid problems (or sizing problems). It can also be a sign that too little (or too much) DE powder is being used.

Filter grid fabric can become clogged with Calcium deposits or oils. After removing the grids from the assembly, you can soak in TSP (trisodium-phosphate) and warm water to remove oily deposits. If you have high levels of calcium or other minerals in your pool water you can soak the grids in a pH Decreaser solution for 15 minutes followed by a full rinse. Use 2 lbs of pH Down, added to 20 gallons of water in a large (clean) trash can. Or, use our D.E. pool filter cleaner, which removes both oils and minerals.

D.E. powder in the pool?
It’s not unsafe, and you can continue swimming, but if you notice a tan colored substance on the pool floor, which ‘poofs’ when you touch it, it’s likely DE powder. The grids may have holes in the fabric, or there may be a crack in the manifold, missing air bleeder or other DE filter parts. It can also mean a broken air bleeder tube or assembly. There is usually a small gasket or o-ring on the top of the standpipe, known as the Standpipe O-ring, that needs replacement every so often, or it will leak DE powder into the pool. Finally, D.E. in the pool can mean that the multiport or push-pull valve is allowing powder to bypass the filter, requiring a new spider gasket, o-rings or other filter valve parts. You will notice this most when adding new D.E. powder after backwashing, but you can test this at any time. The best method to determine the cause is to remove the grids and clean, while you inspect the grids and manifold closely for any holes or cracks, which may require a disassembly of the grid assembly.

Filter Grid replacement
Universal DE Replacement Grids
Grids and manifolds vary by manufacturer, and by size. DE grids are usually $10-20 per grid; and you may expect to pay $50-100 for the top manifold. You can buy the entire set of 8 grids, DE grid sets for a lower price than buying them individually, and many times it is best to replace all the grids at one time. When replacing all the grids, do it upside down, with the manifold on the ground, and then work the bottom spreader plate on the top, spacing all grids correctly. Tighten up the through bolts to sandwich the grids tightly between the manifold and bottom spreader.

You can also buy the entire DE Grid Assembly, which is all of the internal filter parts, already assembled, for a plug and play, drop-in installation. This is everything that comes out of the filter when you lift it out for cleaning. Complete Grid Assemblies include all of the DE grids, the top Manifold, the bottom Spreader Plate, and the long thru-bolts that tighten the assembly together. Replace the standpipe o-ring at the same time as replacing the grid assembly for complete DE filter rebuild. You can find o-rings and complete DE grid assemblies in our pool filter parts department.

Poor water Quality?
It could be a problem with your multiport or push-pull valve. The valve could be allowing water to bypass the filter and return to the pool unfiltered, requiring multiport valve parts to repair or a valve replacement. Large holes in the grids or cracks in the filter top manifold could also allow water to bypass the filter, albeit a small percentage usually. Perhaps you are not running the filter pump long enough each day. Perhaps there is not enough D.E. powder in the filter, or too much DE powder. If your pressure rises rapidly after backwashing, remove the grids and clean them manually using a Filter Cleaner, and inspecting for grid or manifold damage or loose thru bolts. Poor sanitation, poor water balance, and poor circulation could be another cause, and it could have nothing to do with the filtering at all.

How long should I run my DE pool filter each day?
Well, just as much as you need. Careful experimentation will show you when the water quality begins to suffer. Many people with smaller, older equipment (filter/pump) may need to run their systems 24 hours per day. Most people filter about 12 hours per day, but it depends on your system. Undersized? Old? High pool use? Heavy debris load? Heavy sunlight? Warm water? Any of these factors call for extra filtering. If you are too frugal with the electricity, you may have to pay more in chemical costs. Pool pump timers can help you save wear and tear and reduce energy usage.

Leaking DE filter?
Pool Valves
Clamp Band Leaks: Most D.E. pool filters have a belly band clamp with a large O-ring between tank halves. The o-ring can become distended or flattened and may need to be replaced if water is dripping from the center clamp. However, cleaning and lubricating the o-ring (Teflon lube) and repositioning the clamp band can often help seal up a leak. Some older DE tanks have an inner retaining ring or backing plate for the o-ring and the lid must be positioned at the indicator marks to make a leak-free seal. Clamshell type filter clamps must be installed very tightly – tap the clamp with a mallet around the edge as you tighten down the bolt, to help it seat fully. New style spring clamps should have all spring coil surfaces touching, with no open spaces between spring coils.

DE Pool Filters
Filter Valve Leaks: You may notice your multiport valve leaking in one or more areas. If your push-pull valve is leaking out of the backwash port (where the hose attaches), the plunger either needs replacement or just a new set of o-rings. We carry replacement DE filter parts for all major (and minor) pool filter brands, but if you need replacement filter valve parts for your multiport or push-pull filter valve, like spider gaskets, rotor or plunger o-rings, handles, or valve rebuild kits – we’ve got those too. See the sand filter page for more information on multiport valve leaks. If you decide to replace your DE pool filter valve, know that DE valves and sand filter valves are not interchangeable. The In/Out ports are reversed on sand and DE multiport and push-pull valves, so be sure to buy only replacement DE filter valves, not one made for sand filters.

Filter Tank Leaks: If your DE filter tank is leaking, and not from the belly band, bulkhead fittings or air bleed assembly, but in the tank itself through a pinhole or crack, replace the tank half or buy a new DE filter immediately. There is no safe and effective way to repair holes or cracks in the pool filter tank, and it could rupture at any time.

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Pool Pump Wont Prime

This guide discusses the common problems involved with pool pump wont prime. Most priming problems involve leaks in the suction side of the pump (between the pump and the pool) or clogged baskets. If you have a leak on the pressure side (after the pump), it does not affect prime. You just lose water.

Step 1

Pool level too low – If the pool water level is below the mid-level of the skimmer opening, there is a chance of sucking air into the circulation system through the skimmer. Enough air is the system will cause your pool pump to loose prime.

Step 2

No water in Strainer basket – Open the strainer cover and fill the strainer basket and supply lines with water for 2-3 minutes. Reseal the strainer cover.

Step 3

Skimmer basket clogged – Remove the skimmer basket and clean debris out with a hose.

Step 4

Strainer basket clogged – Remove the strainer basket and clean debris out with a hose.

Step 5

Strainer basket cover leaking – Remove the cover on your strainer basket cover. Then remove the gasket generally in a groove around the top of the strainer basket. Check that it is not cracked or has worn spots. This gasket is a common problem and should be replaced periodically. Replace the gasket in its groove and lubricate it lightly with a silicon based lubricant. Do not use Vaseline. Close the cover and hand tighten. Do not over-tighten with a tool.

Step 6

Suction or discharge valves closed – Make sure that at least one suction and one discharge valve is open so that you have a path open for the water to flow. See our guide on “How To Install a Diverter Valve on the Suction Side of a Pool” for further information.

Step 7

Leaks in glued fittings – Check for leaks in the glued fittings on the suction side of the pump. Sometimes the glue is not spread all around the pipe and you will get small air channels in the glue. Occassionally when you turn off the pump the backpressure will squirt water out this hole. In normal operation, air is being sucked into this hole. If you don’t see water squirting out, turn the pump back on and drip some water around the pipe fitting joint. If you see the water getting sucked in, you have a hole. Redo the connection. See our guide on “How To Glue Pool Fixtures Together” for more instructions.

Step 8

Leaks in threaded fittings – If you have threaded fitting on the suction side of the pump, you may have a suction leak there. Try the water drip test above. If you find a leak, take the fitting apart and wrap the threaded fitting with 4-5 layers of plumbing tape. You may have to cut the other end of the pipe and re-glue it to get the threaded pipe out. See our guide on “How To Glue Pool Fixtures Together” for more instructions.

Step 9

Leaks at unions on suction side – Check for leaks around the glued connection of the unions as above. Then take the union apart and check that the O-ring is good and is seated correctly. Lubricate the O-ring with a silicon based lubricant. Rewrap the threaded side of the union with 4-5 layers of plumber’s trape and hand tighten the union back together.

Step 10

Impeller is clogged – If the pump’s impeller is clogged with debris, water will not be able to flow out the side slots and generate a vacuum. Without a vacuum, the pump will not be able to suck water into the pump and it will not prime. Remove the impeller and clean out the debris. See our guides on “How To Clean Out a Pool Pump Impeller” and “How To Replace A Pool Pump Impeller” for more information.

Step 11

2-Speed pump starting at low speed – When you start a 2-speed motor, it generally has to be started at high speed to created enough suction to prime the motor. After it is primed, the motor can be shifted down to low speed.

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pool pumps leak

Pool Pumps Leak

Pool Pumps Leak

Swimming pool pumps leak come in many sizes and shapes. Some are big, some are small, but the most common pumps are three horsepower or less and have two threaded connections at the piping system, where the water is drawn in and then pushed out. This is where leaks can occur. When properly identified and repaired, further damage will be prevented, saving money on repair bills, equipment replacement, and down time.

There are three types of pool pump leaks that can commonly occur at the pump piping connections and the motor connection. The suction side is under a vacuum. If it is on the suction side, or where the water comes into the pump, it is an air leak. Air is being drawn into the closed system when operating. The discharge side is under pressure. If it is on the discharge side, or where the water is pushed out, it is a water leak, probably a drip to start. Water is allowed out of the closed system when operating. And lastly, a leak can occur where the electric motor attaches to the pump; this is usually a problem with the shaft seal. This seal prevents water from escaping the system at the shaft that turns the impeller and isolates the wet components of the pump from the dry electric motor.

Here are some of the symptoms/circumstances of a pool pump leaks on the suction side:

  • The pump seems to struggle moving water at start up.
  • The power is on but nothing happens.
  • The pump needs to be refilled with water and restarted more than usual to get going.
  • Regular flow rate is lower because of the air infiltration at the pump.
  • Filter tank pressure is lower.
  • Pool water is cloudy.
  • Skimmer baskets are floating.
  • The pool needs to be vacuumed more often.
  • You can see air movement in the strainer, if you have a clear lid.
  • The pipe may be able to be wiggled, or it feels loose.
  • You may see small air bubbles coming back underwater into the pool at the clean water return fittings.

Here are some of the symptoms/circumstances of a leak on the discharge side:

  • Water drips/sprays at the pipe connection to the pump.
  • You may see a puddle of water at the floor under the pump or running down the side of the pump.
  • Water loss in your pool.
  • Undetected and ignored, a pump discharge fitting can dislodge itself from the pump, creating spray out, or even empty out the pool water, potentially creating damage to the surrounding equipment and the pump itself.
  • Water damage to the surrounding areas.

Here are some of the symptoms/circumstances of a pool pump leaks at the shaft seal:

  • You may see a puddle of water at the floor under the center of the pump below the pump motor connection point.
  • Water damage to the surrounding area.
  • Excessive or unusual noise coming from the motor, which may be indicative of a bearing motor problem.
  • Undetected and/or ignored, a shaft seal leak can potentially create further damage to the pump itself and could necessitate replacement of the pump or motor components.

If you have a wet floor or other pump problems as described above, something needs to be fixed. Proper and ongoing maintenance of your pool motor is inevitable. But properly maintained, today’s modern pumps can give you years of service and an enjoyable swimming pool experience.

Make sure your pool professional is conducting a thorough inspection of the filter system at start up. If there is no mention of leaks, then ask. This will help insure that the minor repairs are addressed before any further equipment damage occurs and unexpected down time occurs.

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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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Pool Heat Pump

How Much Should I Pay For a Swimming Pool Heat Pump?

There is so much information available for us once we decide to purchase a pool heat pump. There are many different aspects that need to be considered and will in the end have a direct impact on how much you should expect to pay initially and in the long run, we will go over some of these factors in this blog.

Initial costs

The biggest investment on a swimming pool heat pump would be the initial cost. Even though the operating costs of heat pumps are lower, many consumers decide against them because of the initial investment. Specifically, most heat pumps are available for purchase for between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on factors like swimming pool size. And to install your heat pump, you will need to hire a licensed swimming pool contractor, who will charge for labor and parts.

Operating costs

Heating costs vary with each swimming pool. The size of the swimming pool, the heating source, the desired temperature, the cost of electricity, and the outdoor environment will all affect your heating costs. In fact, heating costs vary so much that many companies are hesitant to provide specific numbers to their customers.

Heat pumps generally cost very little to operate because they are very energy-efficient. In fact, some consumers spend as little as $2 per day to heat their swimming pools. If you utilize a solar cover, you can usually heat your swimming pool for between $100 and $400 per swimming season. If you choose not to utilize a solar cover, you can expect to spend between $800 and $1,000 per swimming season. For specific numbers, you can take advantage of AquaCal’s free online heat pump cost estimator.

Maintenance costs

In order to optimize the efficiency and maximize the lifespan of your heat pump, you should hire a licensed heat pump professional to perform annual maintenance checks. AquaCal, specifically, offers a 20-point planned maintenance and safety check for Florida residents for $99.00. To learn more about this program, click here.

Repair costs

Like operating costs, repair costs of heat pumps vary greatly. Different manufacturers sell different warranties with their heat pumps. So, while one type of repair may be covered under one manufacturer’s warranty, it may not be covered under another’s. And, different manufacturers offer warranties that expire after different lengths of time. Some warranties are only good for one year, while others are good for ten years.

Heat pump repair costs can fall anywhere between $100 and $1,000. By regularly maintaining your heat pump, you can minimize your repair costs.

So there are four costs you should know about before you purchase a swimming pool heat pump. You should also research heat pump brands, warranties, and installation companies in order to ensure that you receive the most value for your money. Do you have any questions or comments about purchasing a heat pump? Leave us a comment below!

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Important Pool Water Maintenance Tips Every Pool Owner Needs To Know

Important Pool Water Maintenance Tips Every Pool Owner Needs To Know

If you have a pool and want to make sure you keep it sparkling all year long, then you must devise a regular pool water maintenance routine. One of the main problems with swimming pools is algae can develop, and when this happens your water will become contaminated beyond the point of which you can safely swim in it. This article will tell you about what good pool maintenance is all about.

pH Range

The pH level of your pool basically refers to how acidic the water is. A pool with a high pH (acidic) is very likely to become filled with algae. Your target pH readings are between 7.2 and 7.6 (the higher the number, the more alkaline your water…low number is acid, high number is alkaline). If you can keep your readings in this range, you will be able to keep your pool water maintenance in check and not have to worry about growing algae.

If your pool water has a high pH level (above 7.8), then your water is too alkaline and you should add some muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. Sodium bisulfate is used more often because it’s much easier to handle and there are no problems storing it. Whereas, muriatic acid comes in a liquid form.

Chlorine Level

For ideal pool water maintenance with no algae, you will have to maintain proper chlorine levels. Chlorine is responsible for killing any algae that begins to grow in your pool. If you have enough chlorine, algae won’t grow. However, you should know that chlorine is very toxic. It is recommended to keep your chlorine level at 1 to 3 parts per million.

Algaecides

If you administer any form of an algaecide regularly, then you help to ensure the algae in your water will never start to multiply. For instance, one chemical that interferes with the algae’s ability to complete the process of photosynthesis is called potassium tetraborate, which basically starves it before it can multiply. You can thus use this as a great pool water maintenance solution.

Brushing And Patching

Another pool water maintenance task is to clean the lining of your pool regularly, as this also helps to keep algae away. If your pool is lined with concrete, you can use a steel brush to brush it, but if you have nylon liners, you must use a soft scrub brush. By doing so, you will manage to dislodge any algae colonies that might have formed. Eventually they will be drawn into the pool filter system and filtered out of the water. Proper pool water maintenance will keep your pool sparkling all year long.

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6 Unusual Tips for Pool Care

6 Unusual Tips for Pool Care

Keep your outdoor spaces sparkling with these easy pool-cleaning hacks.

If you have a pool, odds are, you know the usual maintenance tips — vacuuming, skimming, maintaining water and pH levels, changing filters — like the back of your hand. And you probably also know that keeping up with routine maintenance can be a real pain when all you want to do is enjoy your pool.

Here are six hacks you can use to keep your pool clean — and make your summer a bit more relaxing.

  1. Supercharge that skimmer

Skimmer baskets already do a great job filtering out leaves and other debris from your pool, but they also leave a lot behind.

How to make that skimmer work harder? Take an old pair of pantyhose and wrap them around the baskets. Hair, sand, and fine dirt are no match for the teeny-tiny holes in the fabric. Remember to clean out the baskets once a week, and skim the surface for large debris every few days or as needed.

  1. Natural bug banishers

Bugs are not only a nuisance to sunbathers and swimmers, but after they’ve buzzed their last buzz? A pest to clean up as well.

Whether they end up in your skimmer baskets or floating on the surface, keep them at bay by planting lemongrass nearby. The plant’s skin contains citronella, which helps ward off mosquitoes. If wasps and hornets are a problem, create a decoy wasps’ nest by filling a brown paper bag with plastic grocery bags. Generally, the stinging bugs won’t build a nest within 200 feet of an existing one (even if it’s a fake).

  1. Use baking soda

Baking soda is a powerhouse outside the kitchen — for cleaning, freshening clothes, and even cleaning your pool.

Check your pool’s pH levels once or twice a week and after a heavy rain. A pound of baking soda is equal to a pound of any alkalinity product and is a fraction of the cost.

Bonus: Make a paste of baking soda and water to clean the tile and grout in your pool. Do this about once a week to prevent algae from growing.

  1. Toss in tennis balls

From sunscreen and makeup to hair products and body oil, grime is bound to build up in your pool. Place a few new tennis balls in the water, or stick them in the skimmers so they’re out of sight. They’ll help absorb the oil, leaving you with crystal-clear water.

  1. Make bathing suits a requirement

A friend forgot a bathing suit, so he jumps in with his khaki shorts on. A pool party gets a little rowdy and soon everybody’s fully clothed in the pool. Your cousin has a sun allergy, so he swims in a T-shirt.

In small doses, clothing will do no harm. But fibers fray and dyes can bleed when in contact with chlorine, which can make your pool cloudy over time. Make it a rule that only bathing suits are allowed. (And maybe skinny-dipping.)

  1. Go au naturel

If you really want to cut back on your pool maintenance, opt for a “natural” pool. Most are made of two zones: one for swimming, which is lined with rubber or concrete, and a zone with aquatic vegetation that acts as a biological filter. A simple pump will keep the water flowing through either a gravel filter or the natural plant filter.

It may seem like a lot of work, with all those plants in your pool, but because it’s a natural ecosystem, it takes care of itself. You won’t have to monitor pH or chlorine — just skimming the surface and occasional vacuuming to remove any debris from the bottom should do the trick.

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