Pool Care Guide
At Backyard Oasis, we find many clients have questions about how to best maintain a swimming pool in our local Texas climate. Below are some general tips that you can reference.
Use this page to calculate the number of gallons in your pool.
General Pool Care
Once a week:
- Shock the pool in the evening, following label instructions.
- Be sure to check for alkalinity, calcium hardness and stabilizer.
Twice a week:
- Brush pool down thoroughly for at least 10 days.
- Check and maintain pH levels at 7.4 to 7.6 ppm.
- Monitor and maintain chlorine levels at 1.0 to 3.0 ppm.
- Empty skimmer baskets, then remove leaves and other debris from pool.
- Take a water sample (at least a pint) to an authorized dealer for them to analyze.
- Be sure to have them check for alkalinity, calcium hardness and stabilizer.
Although other alternatives are available, chlorine remains the most effective, economical and widely used pool sanitizer. This is because chlorine is an algaecide, a bactericide and an oxidizer, all in one.
- Chlorine kills algae.
- Chlorine kills bacteria and other disease causing organisms.
- Chlorine removes organic debris and swimmer wastes through the process of oxidation.
Adding Stabilized Chlorines (Manual Method)
Hand feeding – granular dichloride can be pre-dissolved in a plastic bucket of water, then added to the deep end of the pool or in front of an inlet.
Skimmer feeding – Chlorinated tablets or sticks are placed in the skimmer or floating device to dispense chlorine for several days.
Constant rate feeders – Chlorinated sticks or tablets are used in a cartridge type feeder to provide the most convenient, reliable and economical way to chlorinate both in-ground and above ground pools. These feeders help maintain proper chlorine levels, even when you are away on vacation.
This adds chlorine at a rate higher than normal in order to kill any resistant bacteria. Normally add one pound per 10,000 gallons once a week during summer or after heavy rains.
Everyone wants to enjoy a clean, clear pool. At times, perspiration, suntan oils and other contaminants will eventually accumulate in your pool. These contaminants will reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine. Other signs of the contamination (referred to as “Combined Chlorine”) are strong odors, eye burns, skin irritation and dull or cloudy water. This condition may arise after a week or two of normal use, or immediately after severe circumstances such as an unusually large number of swimmers, heavy rains or heat waves. To eliminate the contaminants and revitalize the chlorine, a process known as “Shock Treatment” (sometimes referred to as “Super-chlorination”) is required.
pH is the most important factor in water balance. When the pool’s pH is out of range, water balance problems may occur as mentioned above. The pH range is used to measure the relative acid or base of the water. The range is between 0 to 14, with a pH of 7 being neutral. Readings between 7.4 and 7.6 are considered acceptable for swimming pool water.
Dry acid (sodium bisulfate) – decreases pH. This is a granular product for slowly lowering the pH of pool water. It is safer to handle and store than liquid acid.
Total Alkalinity (range 80-150 ppm) is a measure of the alkaline materials dissolved in the water. The water’s ability to resist pH changes depends on the amount of this alkaline material in the water. If the total alkalinity is low, the result is “pH bounce”, meaning that the pH will tend to “bounce” in and out of range. If total alkalinity is too high, it becomes very difficult to adjust the pH as needed.
100% sodium hydrogen carbonate – increases total alkalinity. This is a safe and easy to use granular product that raises total alkalinity in pool water and acts as a buffer to prevent pH bounce, staining and corrosion.
Calcium hardness (range 175-275 ppm) refers to the number of dissolved materials (mostly calcium carbonate) in water. A low calcium hardness can lead to corrosion of equipment or the etching of a plaster finish. A calcium hardness level that is too high causes cloudy water and scaling.
100% cyanuric acid – chlorine stabilizer. It prolongs the effective life of chlorine by reducing loss caused by the sun. Sometimes referred to as a conditioner, 1 lb. per 4,000 gallons of water will provide an initial stabilizer level of 30 ppm. Stabilizer pre-conditions your pool water to make chlorine last longer. Use at the beginning of each season to protect chlorine from the sun’s damaging effects and increase its effectiveness.
Why Stabilizer Is Important
Without stabilizer, the sun’s rays would quickly destroy the chlorine in your pool. Stabilizer acts as a “sun shield” to make the chlorine last longer, up to 3 ½ times longer! Your dealer will tell you how much stabilizer to add to your newly opened pool. You should start by raising the minimum level to 40 parts per million (ppm). Afterward, simply use stabilized chlorine to maintain the proper stabilizer levels.
Calcium chloride – increases calcium hardness. This is a convenient and safe granular product for raising calcium hardness of pool water to aid in the prevention of corrosion, etched plaster and other problems resulting from low calcium hardness.
Wind, rain and leaves introduce microscopic algae spores into your pool. When this plant life is allowed to multiply, it consumes chlorine and causes an unsightly, sometimes slippery condition that can be difficult and expensive to eliminate. The best way to control algae is through prevention. There is a fast way to remove algae once it is dead. You can “floc” the pool, settling any dead algae to the pool bottom for easy vacuum removal. You can prevent algae from occurring by keeping the free chlorine levels between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm and begin an algaecide maintenance program using an algaecide.
Green & Brown Algae
This type appears as brown spots or green slime or moss that clings to pool surfaces. It may also be free-floating giving a green appearance to the water. Use a double dosage of a shock treatment, then add an algaecide as directed. Brush and recirculate.
Mustard algae appear as loose flakes on pool surfaces. Color may vary from yellow to green. It is easily brushed off, but returns to surfaces within hours. It is also resistant to chlorine. Use an algaecide as directed. Brush and recirculate.
Black algae develops as black patches on pool surfaces. It can be scraped with your fingernail, and has a dark green appearance if smeared. You can remove black algae with vigorous daily brushing and a double dosage of a shock treatment. A granular algae remover may be used as a spot treatment in plaster pools only.
Red algae is actually a bacteria, not algae. It shows up on pool surfaces as loose, rust colored specks or clinging, bright pink patches. Use a soluble dosage of a shock treatment.
Mold, Pollen and Mildew Spores
These form as a wispy sand colored silt and return to a fine powder that makes the pool green and cloudy. They easily pass through sand or cartridge filters. Use a double dosage of a shock treatment, then use a chemical to flock (drop) the particles to the bottom of the pool to vacuum out.SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
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