Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Maintenance

FAQ - Maintenance

Can a pump for a water feature or outdoor fountain run continuously or does it need to be shut off at specific times?

The majority of pumps last longer if they are run constantly. It is the stopping and starting that is tough on the motor.

 

Can I empty and then refill my in-ground pool to clean my vinyl liner?

It is recommended only having a professional inspect and drain your in-ground pool. The biggest problem with draining your in-ground pool is pressure from a water table. The pressure can damage an empty pool, resulting in thousands of dollars in repairs. Most liner warranties are voided if the pool is emptied.

 

Do I need a pool heater in a warm climate?

If you only want to swim during the hot months, then you don't need a heater. However, if you would like to extend your swimming season, you should consider a heater. A solar heating system can extend your swimming season a couple of months earlier and a couple of months later, but probably can't heat your pool year round. A gas or other fuel-based heater can provide year round swimming, if desired.

 

Do I need to drain my pool each year?

No. Pools can handle cold temperatures better when partially filled with water as a buffer. A drained pool can also crack or pop out of the ground because of pressure from ground water.

 

Do you have to empty my gunite pool every winter?

No, simply lower the water just below return inlets, which is approximately 20-24". This allows for winter precipitation to have a place to go.

 

Does chlorine prevent all recreational water illnesses?

Chlorine in swimming pools kills the germs that may make people sick, but it takes time. Chlorine in properly disinfected pools kills most germs that cause RWIs within minutes. However, it takes longer to kill some germs such as Cryptosporidium that can survive for days in even a properly disinfected pool.

Also, many things can reduce chlorine levels in pool water. Some examples are sunlight, dirt, debris, and material from swimmer’s bodies. Healthy swimming behaviors and good hygiene are needed to protect you and your family from RWIs and will help stop germs from getting in the pool.

 

How can you stop the liner from floating in an inground pool?

I would recommend keeping the water level as high as possible. This problem occurs most often when pools are pumped down too low and covered when winterizing. The weight of the snow, ice and water on the cover over the winter and spring months pushes down on the cover forcing water out of the pool. It is recommended that after having your pool professionally winterized that you add some water to it.

 

How do I clean my stained plaster?

Dirt, rust and other minerals can stain the finish of your plastered pool. If the stain is organic; from leaves for example, a small amount of granular chlorine added at that location and allowed to settle on the stain will usually remove it instantly. Other non-organic stains will not be removed by chlorine.

Do not place chlorine tablets directly into the pool. They will stain and etch the pool plaster. If chlorine doesn't work, acid usually will. Draining and acid washing will remove a thin layer of plaster (and stains), exposing fresh, new looking plaster beneath. Stains can also be sanded with pumice stonesor wet/dry sandpaper.

 

How do I find a leak in my inground vinyl liner?

You first have to try and determine if there is actually a leak or if it is evaporation. You need specialized equipment to determine if there is a leak and where it is located. A pool professional can use a listening device that puts a small electrical charge into the pool tracking the flow of electricity as it makes connections to the ground through conductive penetrations of the liner.

 

How do I get rid of the ring around my vinyl pool?

Tile is placed around the perimeter of the pool because it is a surface that can be easily cleaned. There are many tile cleanser products available which are applied with a scrubbing pad or brush. Remember to never use abrasive cleaners on a vinyl pool.

You can also try to frequently clean the inside of the skimmer. You can also use an enzyme product such as SeaKlear Enzyme Klear that eliminates oil, lotions and organics in pool and hot tub water.

 

How do I keep debris from floating on top of my pool?

You should first purchase of a nice leaf rake. There are also chemical products which are used to keep surface tension high, moving small debris to the sides of the pool. Another possible problem could be skimmer. Make sure it is operating properly so that it creates a draw or "waterfall" into the skimmer basket. Also check that the water level is not so high that it is above the opening of the skimmer. Also be sure to trim some of those trees and bushes near the pool.

 

How do I measure water evaporation from my pool?

You can measure water evaporation in your pool by doing the bucket test. Place a five gallon bucket on the second pool step and fill it to match the water level of the pool (probably have to put concrete block in bucket before you fill it with water to help keep in place). Over the course of 2-3 days the bucket will lose water from evaporation and gain water from rainfall at the same rate as your pool! As long as there is no splash-out or backwashing during that time, if the pool level drops more than the bucket level then you have a leak.

 

How do I open and close my inground vinyl liner pool myself?

We highly recommend that you have a pool professional open and close your pool. Many pool owners try to open and close their pool themselves, without the proper equipment, knowledge and manpower, it is more difficult than it looks. The greatest risk is in winterizing the pool. If done incorrectly it could lead to a broken skimmer, return lines, pump and/or filter. This could be a very costly mistake.

 

How do I remove calcium deposits from my tile?

Calcium deposits usually originate from grout or setting mortar. To remove, scrape it off the pool tile. Another method for removing calcium deposits is the pumice stone. Pumice is a light porous glassy lava stone that can be rubbed over a pool stain to remove it. You can get a pumice stone that can attach to your telescopic pole or a pumice stone that has a handle you can swim with.

 

How does freezing cold weather affect a fiberglass pool surface?

If you only want to swim during the hot months, then you don't need a heater. However, if you would like to extend your swimming season, you should consider a heater. A solar heating system can extend your swimming season a couple of months earlier and a couple of months later, but probably can't heat your pool year round. A gas or other fuel-based heater can provide year round swimming, if desired.

 

How long do I have to wait to use my swimming pool after chemical treatment?

Generally it is safe to use your pool after chemicals have dispersed throughout the pool, usually 15 minutes to one hour. If shocking your pool, wait until the chlorine levels drops to recommended levels.

 

How long should I wait to get into the water after the water treatment?

How long to wait after a treatment depends on the chemicals you are adding. Typically, you will want to wait for the water to turn over one full time (all the water to pass through the filter), which typically takes 8 to 12 hours.

 

How much water can be safely removed from an in-ground vinyl pool and for how long?

Once filled and used, you do not want to drain an in-ground vinyl lined pool. There are many reasons not to drain the pool. The main reason is that over time the liner seems to become less pliable and when the pool is drained the liner contracts. When you refill the pool the liner does not expand to the previous shape and often rips. This is an expensive error. The other reason is that the weight and pressure of the water in the pool provides structural integrity, helping to prevent the walls from collapsing.

 

How much water evaporates from a pool?

The evaporation rate depends on the surface area of the pool, the temperature, and the relative humidity and the wind. "Splash-out" water is probably a much more significant source of water loss than evaporation. To calculate evaporation, mark the water level on the wall of the pool. After some time, mark the water level again. It should be lower than the original one. Measure the area of the pool and then multiply it by the difference of the two water levels. The result is the amount of water evaporated.

It is important to remember to turn off the pool's auto fill for this process. You must make all measurements using the same units. If the pool is 10 feet by 20 feet then you would multiply 120 inches by 240 inches to get 28,800 square inches. Multiply this by the inches of water lost: for example, 28,800 x 0.5 inch lost to get 14,400 cubic inches of total water lost. Multiply this by 0.00433 to convert to U.S. Gallons. 14,400 cu. in. of water equals 62.352 Gallons (US liquid).

 

How often do I need to add salt to my saltwater pool?

Salt is added to the water at the time of installation. After that, only top-up salt is required to make up for salt lost through water splash-out, overflow due to rain, filter back-flushing, leaks in the pool etc. Evaporation does not reduce the salt level nor is the salt consumed in the saltwater system process.

 

How often do I need to test my pool water?

Weekly testing works for most backyard pools, but the best bet is to test your pH and chlorine levels at least twice per week. Chlorine should be fed continuously through a chemical feeding device to maintain a consistent level.

 

How often should I change the water in my hot tub?

It is a good idea to completely drain and refill your hot tub every 8 weeks. If you do not use the hot tub as often, you can generally go 12 weeks between water changes. Making sure that your hot tub has fresh water will also guard against the possibility of the heater coil corroding prematurely.

 

How often should I drain and or acid-wash my pool?

This can vary greatly depending on usage, proper chemistry maintenance, and hard water. Generally speaking, acid-washing is required every 2-7 years. In some areas where water is very hard, it is recommended every year to drain your pool. Your local pool professional can answer this question best.

 

How salty is the water in a saltwater pool?

In fresh-water applications (such as pools, spas, water-features, etc.) salt is added to the water to produce a salinity of approx 3000 ppm (parts-per-million), which is 1/12th as salty as ocean water, or 1/3rd as salty as human tears. Pool-side plants and water-feature vegetation, in almost all cases, are unaffected by the low salinity water.

 

I still have pool chemicals left over from last season. Are they OK to use?

You should check the expiration date on your pool chemicals and discard and replace any that have expired. Never dispose of chemicals in the household trash or down any drains unless directed by a water treatment facility. Never pour chemicals down a drain or toilet if they lead to a septic tank. Always make it part of your spring pool opening plan to buy new chemicals from your local professional pool retailer.

 

If there are stains on the pavers, what is the best way to remove these?

Do not use any type of acid that you would use on clay house bricks. Always try scrubbing with a firm brush and dish soap first. If the stain persists, brick paver supply companies carry a cleaning solution that is safe to use on pavers. If all else fails, remember that one advantage gained by using pavers is that you have the option of simply replacing the few stained culprits.

 

Is Chlorine safe for swimming pools?

Yes. Chlorine sanitizers are safe when used according to package directions approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Chlorine levels within the recommended range for swimming pool water do not pose any known health risks. Chlorine sanitizers have been used safely and successfully as pool and hot tub disinfectants for over a century. The majority of public pools and 9 out of 10 residential pools are sanitized with chlorine.

 

Is it necessary for my pool pump to run every day?

Yes. Your pump should turn over the water through your filter in your pool at least once per day.

 

Should I brush my pool regularly?

Brushing your pool will keep dirt from occupying the small pores and starting small organic farms. Steel bristled brushes, called algae brushes, are very effective. Remember to never use a steel brush on a vinyl lined pool. Done regularly, brushing can also reduce the time spent vacuuming. Brush from the shallow end towards the deep end in overlapping strokes. Circle the pool towards the main drain, and much of the dirt will be swept up into the filter in this manner.

 

What causes Chlorine odor, red eyes and itchy skin?

These unpleasant conditions indicate that the pool water has not been properly treated. A common cause is high levels of chloramines, formed when chlorine combines with body oils, perspiration, urine and other contaminants brought into pools by swimmers.

Contrary to what most people think, a strong chemical smell is not an indication of too much chlorine in the pool. In fact, the pool may actually need additional chlorine treatment to get rid of chloramines and sanitize the water.

 

What causes Chlorine odor, red eyes and itchy skin?

These unpleasant conditions indicate that the pool water has not been properly treated. A common cause is high levels of chloramines, formed when chlorine combines with body oils, perspiration, urine and other contaminants brought into pools by swimmers.

Contrary to what most people think, a strong chemical smell is not an indication of too much chlorine in the pool. In fact, the pool may actually need additional chlorine treatment to get rid of chloramines and sanitize the water.

 

What does it mean if I smell a strong chlorine odor in my pool or hot tub or it burns my eyes?

A common misconception, even among some pool and hot tub "technicians," is that the strong odor of chlorine means there is too much chlorine in the water. This is absolutely incorrect and in fact, the opposite is true. There is not enough chlorine to neutralize the ammonia in the water. More chlorine-based product should be added to solve this issue.

 

What is the benefit of an automatic cleaner?

Automatic cleaners increase the opportunity that your pool will always be "swim ready." Automatic cleaners today are sophisticated and reliable. There are many different types for all applications depending on the type of pool and your locality to suit your needs and existing equipment.

Since it is not possible for your pool professional to be in your yard every day to ensure all debris is cleared, this is an excellent option to ensure that algae does not have a good chance of getting hold of your pool's finish. The most common types of algae are caused botanical debris settling in your pool. Algae is unsightly, unhealthy for both swimmers and the longevity of your pool's finish (plaster). Automatic cleaners are a very good option in avoiding algae and staining of your pool's finish.

 

What is the best way to clean my discolored coping and deck?

Leaves and dirt may stain concrete. Pressure washing can remove these soils and restore original brightness to concrete and coping stones. A light acid washing on the coping stones also works very well, and algae or mildew can be lifted by scrubbing with a paste of bleaching agent. If you do not have any cleaning agent on hand, you can try powdering the area with Baking Soda and then spraying it with vinegar before you scrub it with a brush.

 

What is the best way to keep the outdoor fountain clean?

Algae is most common threat to an outdoor fountain. Exposure to sun is the largest factor in determining the growth rate of algae in fountains. If there are no fish or plants present, a small amount of bleach can be used (if necessary) to eliminate algae. There are also several organic products available, such as barley extract, used to control algae.

 

What is the best way to keep the outdoor fountain clean?

Algae is most common threat to an outdoor fountain. Exposure to sun is the largest factor in determining the growth rate of algae in fountains. If there are no fish or plants present, a small amount of bleach can be used (if necessary) to eliminate algae. There are also several organic products available, such as barley extract, used to control algae.

 

What kind of maintenance do I need for lighting?

Lighting should be checked periodically to ensure proper bulb operation. If bulbs are burned out it can overload other fixtures. Also make sure that no leaves or other materials are touching the bulbs. This can decrease the lifetime of the bulb and create a potential fire hazard.

 

What kind of maintenance do I need for my irrigation?

Irrigation should be checked periodically to make sure that all components are functioning correctly. Before the winter starts the irrigation system should be drained to prevent frost damage.

 

What kind of maintenance do I need for pavers?

Pavers are generally maintenance free. Cleaning with a high pressure cleaner is a common way to keep pavers clean. Over time, re-sanding might be necessary.

 

What kind of maintenance does a water feature need?

The two main duties needed to maintain a water feature are cleaning the filters and the debris brackets. If installed correctly, no other upkeep should be necessary. Algae is also a common threat to a water feature. Exposure to sun is the largest factor in determining the growth rate of algae in fountains. If there are no fish or plants present, a small amount of bleach can be used (if necessary) to eliminate algae. There are also several organic products available, such as barley extract, used to control algae.

 

What upkeep do gunite pools require?

Weekly, seasonal, and long-term maintenance is recommended to keep your pool functioning properly. With maintenance, your pool can last for decades.

  • Weekly: Chemical maintenance, addition of water, cleaning out debris from baskets and pumps, scrubbing tile
  • Seasonally: Proper winterization for pool closing and opening, as well an occasional acid wash of entire plaster surface is required for heavy staining.
  • Long term maintenance: We recommend that re-tile, re-plaster, and re-set coping stones should be done every 15-20 years. Some tile needs to be redone more often in particularly harsh microenvironments.

 

When do I need to shock my pool?

Routine shock treatment is necessary to destroy water contaminates that reduce the efficiency of the disinfectant or sanitizer. Contaminates like hair spray, suntan oil, cosmetics and other organic materials react with chlorine and cause eye or skin irritations and an unpleasant chlorine odor. Most often pools are inaccurately accused of having too much chlorine when this problem is present.

 

Why does my pool lose water over the winter?

There are a few reasons why you could lose water in your pool over the winter:

  • It is possible that you could have a leak in the liner.

  • The winter cover could have a hole in it, and as you pump the water off of the cover you are actually pumping out the pool water.

  • The most common is the weight of the snow, ice and water on top of the cover pushing down on the water in the pool and forcing the water out over the pool sides.

We highly recommend a solid safety cover to help prevent this problem from reoccurring.

 

Why is it important to be sure that my pool water’s chemistry is correct?

You want to be sure to provide a sanitary swimming environment, balance the water to protect the equipment and pool surfaces and provide inviting, sparkling water to swim in.

 

Why is my pool cloudy, and how can I clear it up?

Several causes of a cloudy pool could be the pH is not in proper range, high amounts of calcium or the filter needs to be cleaned. Make sure all levels are within proper range and then clean the filter. If you have a sand filter, this doesn't necessarily mean to replace the sand but clean the filter with a filter cleanser.

 

Why is there a strong chlorine smell?

A strong chlorine smell, contrary to what may seem logical; often means chlorine needs to be added. High levels of chloramines emit a strong chlorine smell, and chloramines form when chlorine interacts with introduced contaminants, like sweat and body oil. In this scenario, chlorine needs to be added to sanitize the water and get rid of the chloramines.

 

Will the salt in a saltwater pool corrode or damage my pool, or the pool equipment (pump, filter, etc.)?

No, the salinity is not sufficiently high to cause corrosion. The water salinity is similar to that of eye-wash solution (very mild).

 

Will tree roots destroy my pool?

It is a good idea to avoid any trees or plants that have wide-reaching, potentially destructive roots. These may damage swimming pools, creating the need for expensive repairs. If you feel that you absolutely must have plants or trees that are potentially dangerous or may create maintenance issues, plant them at least eight feet from the edge of your pool to avoid such problems.