YES! Water balance is very important in the care of your pool. There are three main reasons to keep your pool water balanced.
· When using both Chlorine Tablets and Salt Generators, pH is very important! When the pH in your pool is not in the correct range your sanitizer can not work at full strength. This leaves your pool susceptible to algae and bacteria growth.
· Our skin and eyes are very sensitive. Having imbalanced water can make swimming uncomfortable. You will have red irritated eyes, or itchy dry skin. Some people are more sensitive than others, and may form rashes. Swimming should be enjoyable!
· Not maintaining the correct balance of chemicals in your pool can create big problems down the line. Having too high or low of certain things can make the water corrosive. This will cause your pool liner/plaster/fiberglass, fittings, and equipment to break down. This shortens their life span, and can create high replacement/repair costs in the future.
Please let us know if you need help balancing your water
No one enjoys a cold swimming pool! If you are sick of hearing your kids complain about the water being too cold we have a solution for you. There are many different ways you can heat your above ground or inground swimming pool but let’s discuss the two most reliable forms of pool heating. Gas pool heaters and pool heat pumps.
Which is best? Gas pool heaters or Electric pool heat pumps?
First, let’s discuss gas pool heaters, available in either natural gas or liquid propane. Gas pool heaters have been around for nearly 50 years. Gas heaters are not without their faults, but for many pool owners, they are the best choice to meet their needs.
The way a gas heater works is similar to a household furnace. A burner tray is ignited below an air space which heats up a series of copper-finned tubes. Your pool water is pumped through these copper tubes, which give up the heat to the water as it passes through.
To power a natural gas heater you have to run an underground gas line from the meter on your house (or a propane gas tank) over to the pool heater. The size of the gas line has to be sized correctly or the heater will not work properly. In order to determine the correct size gas line, measure the distance from the heater to gas meter. The further the distance, the larger the gas line that is required for the pool heater. There is also a secondary regulator that is installed just outside the heater, where the gas pipe enters. A qualified gas contractor is recommended.
You will also need to connect the plumbing in and out of a gas pool heater. This is fairly easy to do. Just cut the return line, after the filter, before any valves, and divert the pipes in-and-out of the pool heater. A small amount of electricity is also needed to power digital gas pool heaters, and this can be supplied from the pump time clock or switch.
Gas pool heaters are the quickest way to heat your swimming pool, gas pool heaters heat the pool faster than pool heat pumps. You can raise the temp of a pool 1-3 degrees per hour, depending on it’s size, where heat pumps may only raise the temperature 1-3° per day! If this a weekend home or you just plan on swimming on the weekends, or if you have an attached spa, and want to increase the temperature quickly- Go Gas.
Gas consumption is steady with a gas pool heater, but several factors affect gas usage. Temperature rise that you are trying to achieve, the outside air temperature, wind speed and whether or not you cover the pool – all affect the amount of fuel burned. Gas pool heaters can vary in cost per month to operate, depending on usage patterns and environmental factors.
During the “shoulder months”, when you may be raising the temperature 15 degrees or more, you will have the highest cost. During more seasonal months, you may add only 5 degrees to the water, which will reduce the cost of gas pool heating.
If you plan on using a natural gas heater, certain states such as California or Texas require a Low N0x Heater, which has a fan inside the heater that helps the gas heater run at higher efficiency and with far fewer emissions of both Nitrous Oxide and Carbon Monoxide.
If you are planning to install the gas pool heater indoors, the heat pump, which emits no noxious gases, is the safer alternative. If installed inside, even in a small shed, pool heat pumps and gas pool heaters both require proper venting to the outside for the exhaust, for safety and for proper operation.
If your pool is located at a high elevation, above 3000 feet, you will need a gas heater that is built with different orifices, for the thin air.
A heat pump works in reverse of a central air conditioning unit. The way it operates is that it transfers heat from the outside air to your swimming pool water. Warm air is drawn over the evaporator coil by the fan; water runs through the heat exchanger and comes back into your pool through your inlet.
To power a pool heat pump, you will need to install a dedicated 220v electrical circuit, on a 40 -60 amp circuit breaker. If you currently have a 100 amp outdoor sub-panel breaker box at your equipment pad, you may have enough room to simply pop-in one of these large breakers. Open the sub-panel, look for the amperage rating, and then add up the amps of the existing breakers. Look for the amp draw of each breaker; printed numbers on each breaker switch.
If you don’t have the required amperage available at the equipment pad, you’ll need to have an electrician run a new underground line from the main house breaker box. Longer runs will increase the cost to run new a new power line to your pool heat pump.
The cost to purchase an electric heat pump is more expensive for the initial purchase but if you take into consideration on how much it will cost to run the natural or propane gas line from the meter or tank to the pool heater, you could be very close to the price of a heat pump.
Electric consumption is steady with a heat pump, but heat loss is affected by several factors. Covering the pool can save up to 50-75% of heating costs. High winds, cool nights and higher water temperatures will also increase heat pump operating cost. Generally, all things being equal, electric pool heat pumps are about half as expensive to operate compared to a gas pool heater.
Ask yourself – if you had warmer weather would you and the family swim everyday like my kids or just on weekends? If your answer is everyday then perhaps an electric heat pump will be the most affordable way to heat your pool.
Ask yourself – do you want to get another month on each end of the season, or do you want the pool open during the colder months too? Heat pumps are limited, in that they only work when the ambient air is 50 degrees or warmer. If you want to swim all year round (or most of the year), and you live in a cold climate – a heat pump is not for you. In this case a gas heater would be your best option, to maintain any temperature you desire up to 104 degrees.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding heat pumps and gas pool heaters, please give us a call at Pool Xperts to have a professional aid you in choosing the best option for your pool and spa.
Specialty Pool Products Pool Expert
Many people first find out that they have metals in their water when unsightly stains appear. Metal stains most commonly appear shortly after the PH is high for a long period of time causing minerals to “fall out of solution,” or when you add chlorine causing oxidation, both causing rust-like stains.
Iron is fairly common in well water but rare in municipal water. If you will be filling you pool from a well, have the water tested for iron.
Copper is in some algaecides, many "mineral" systems such as Nature2 and Frog, and ionizers. If the PH in the pool goes much below 7.0 for very long, the water becomes acidic, and copper can get into the water from a copper heat exchange coil, commonly found in pool heaters. In addition to staining the pool/spa, copper can turn blonde hair green.
You can remove most metal stains with Vitamin C, which is ascorbic acid. This can be found in A+ Stain remover available at Pool Xperts. If you suspect a stain is caused by metals, try the Vitamin C test. Simply place, or hold, a Vitamin C tablet against a stain for 30 seconds. If the stain vanishes, or lightens noticeably, in that area you should do an ascorbic acid treatment. This treatment will only remove the metals from the pool surface and return them to the water.
There is only two ways to remove metals from the water: Replacing the water with new water that doesn't have any metals in it, or a CUlater packet, available for purchase at Pool Xperts, which absorbs metals out of the water over a 30day period. If you have metals in the water you will need to use regular doses of a sequestrant to prevent the metals from forming stains. Sequestrants bind to the metals and prevent them from depositing as stains. Sequestrants slowly break down in the pool/spa water, so you need to add more regularly to maintain the correct level. Aquabrite’s Metal Out and Natural Chemistry’s Metal Free are some of the top sequestrants we use at Pool Xperts.
In some cases metals can color the water a variety of colors, typically green, blue, or yellow. When this happens the water will still be very clear and transparent. If the water is cloudy or murky it is very unlikely to be caused by metals, and may be algae. In this case test your water for chlorine, and give our staff a call, or stop in. If the coloring is from metals, lowering the PH slightly and adding sequestrant should remove the color.
If you think you are having any of these problems, please stop in to see us. Our trained staff will test the water for iron and copper, and explain the best course of action for you and your pool/spa. We look forward to helping you care for and enjoy your pool!
There is a misconception that you don't need to do anything to the pool in the winter. This is not true. If you aren't closing your pool for the winter, you need to balance your pool water. Winterizing your pool would be lowering the water, winterizing your pump/filter, and covering your pool with a cover. If you pool is circulating water it needs to be balanced. If your pool is unbalanced all sorts of problems can occur. If your water is Base or high Ph, minerals will come out of solution and affix itself on the surface of your pool and equipment...all winter long. If your pool is acidic or low Ph, your pool is corrosive and is tearing down the surface and equipment.
Chlorine...The rule for chlorine or salt pools is you can never let your chlorine go lower than 1ppm. ALL YEAR LONG. A have heard a lot of people say that you cant get algae in the cold water. This is also false. I get algae pools all the time in the winter. a lot of salt systems shut down in cold water and don't generate chlorine. Get some tablets in the skimmer or chlorinator through the winter.
Winter Pool Care is easy. Just balance the pool once per month, maintain a 1-3ppm chlorine reading. You don't go through chlorine as much in the colder water but you still must have it for a healthy pool. Just bring your water sample into Pool Xperts once per month and we can help you maintain a safe and healthy pool.
As this pool season winds down, I wanted to thank you for all your help and advice this year. In the five years I have had the pool, this is by far the best shape the pool has been. In past years I have had problems with brown algae and phosphates. This year, no problems. Early in the season you suggested that I add Borates Supreme Plus. You went into great detail on how is works and the benefits much of which I didn't understand. However, the results have been spectacular. For the entire summer, my water has been crystal clear to the point that I can now see every spec of debris on the bottom of the pool.
Again, thank you and I am looking forward to another successful season in 2014.