Did you know? 12 Fast Facts About pHin

Whether you’re a long-time pHin user or testing the water for our smart pool care, learn these 12 fun facts and technical details you might not know about pHin:

  1. Born in 2015: A pool owner was tired of testing his water and calculating chemical dosing, so he created pHin to remove the guesswork to getting safe water. After building a team and developing the product, pHin launched in 2015.
  2. Works with over 200 chemicals: Pool owners can choose which chemicals they’d like to use with pHin from a large database – and they can request additions if their brand isn’t included already.
  3. pHin measures the water more than anyone: Most homeowners check their pool or hot tub water weekly. pHin blows their tests out of the water, by measuring the water up to 1,000 times per week.
  4. 1 billion samples: Over the years, pHin has collected and analyzed over 1 billion water samples in thousands of pools, hot tubs, and swim spas across the country.
  5. Algorithms makes measuring smarter: pHin does more than check the parts per million (ppm) of chemicals in the water, it analyzes the effectiveness of the sanitizer, whether chlorine, bromine, or salt, to provide intelligent dosing instructions. Learn more about “Kill Power” here.
  6. pHin is friendly with any pool: pHin isn’t only for pools, it can monitor and help you balance a hot tub or swim spa, too!
  7. Amazon Alexa talks to pHin: Now you can check on your water balance without even opening the app. Ask Alexa if your pool water is safe or for the temperature of your hot tub before jumping in. Learn more here.
  8. pHin doesn’t like the cold, but has a “Winter” mode: pHin can’t stay outside in the cold weather, but it has a special winter setting so pHin can hibernate for the winter and come out for the next pool opening.
  9. You can travel with pHin: Worried about the water quality of pools and hot tubs at rental homes and Airbnbs? Take your pHin on the road to check that the balance is safe before taking a dip.
  10. pHin can help your pool tech: Your pool technician can be connected to your pHin so they can check in on your water balance remotely and schedule service as needed.
  11. Data from pHin could save your pool: Monitoring your water does more than keep it in balance, the start of an imbalance could indicate that a piece of equipment is on the fritz or about to break. John Sciacca wrote about his experience in Residential Systems.
  12. Unlimited help from pHin: The smart monitor has a battery that can last up to two years, but if it runs out you can get a free replacement any time if you have the monitoring subscription.

Learn anything new? If you’re ready to add smart technology to your water care routine, click here.

Chlorine or Bromine? How to Choose the Right Sanitizer for Your Hot Tub

After you’ve bought your hot tub, how do you decide whether bromine or chlorine is right for you? Both chlorine and bromine are popular hot tub sanitizers, but they get the job done differently.

When making the choice between a bromine and a chlorine hot tub, consider factors that impact upkeep, such as maintenance, effectiveness, sun exposure, and more.

Maintenance

Maintaining a hot tub for safe soaking and relaxing can be a challenge. Chlorine hot tubs require more active maintenance and attention than bromine hot tubs since pH levels can rise quickly and bromine is less affected by these pH fluctuations. Chlorine hot tubs also can’t handle large swings as efficiently as bromine hot tubs, requiring s more attention to prevent water from turning cloudy or green.

Recommendation: If you want to spend less time maintaining your hot tub, bromine is your best bet.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

The environment of your hot tub might help decide which chemical system is right for you. While bromine is better at killing bacteria and viruses, chlorine is better at attacking algae.

Efficiency is also a factor – Chlorine acts faster than bromine, but dissipates quicker because it breaks down faster in high water temperatures. Once the chlorine is used, it needs to continue to be replaced with fresh chlorine. On the other hand, bromine tablets take longer to dissolve, but dormant bromine salt stays behind even after the active bromine has killed off unwanted organisms. The bromine can be easily reactivated into active bromine multiple times, which makes it last longer.

Recommendation: It’s a matter of personal preference, depending on what works best for your particular situation. It may be worth trying both options and seeing which best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Water Temperature

Hot tubs have different chemical demands than pools, and the temperature you want your hot tub can also be a deciding factor between chlorine and bromine. Chlorine functions best between about 65 and 99 degrees, and it quickly turns into vapor at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Bromine is less effective at temperatures below 75 degrees, but it thrives in hot water environments, especially over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recommendation: Bromine is better suited than chlorine to handle the temperature of the hot tub and to combat the buildup of waste materials in hot water.

Cost

Many people choose chlorine because it’s less expensive —  at first. Although bromine can cost  20% or more than chlorine, it can give you more bang for your buck.  After it’s added, bromine can easily be reactivated after it has killed all the bacteria which means that, over time, you’ll use less bromine and spend less money.

Recommendation: This is a pretty even decision depending on whether you want to spend less up front, but purchase more often or whether you want to spend a little more up front and have the product last longer.

Sun

If your hot tub is in a sunny spot, you need to consider the effect of UV rays. Chlorine can be protected from the sun with the right amount of stabilizer. Bromine is broken down by the sun faster, which means you will need more to compensate for the UV breakdown. However, when bromine is broken down by the sun’s UV, it leaves behind dormant bromine salt (sodium bromide), which can be reactivated by additional bromine or non-chlorine shock to perform additional sanitization.

Recommendation: Chlorine will help combat algae development and has higher tolerance for the UV rays.

Personal Considerations

Chlorine has a very distinctive odor,  can be an irritant to sensitive eyes and skin, and can also be damaging to hair. Experts say that bromine protects the eyes and skin better, and emits less odor than chlorine.

Recommendation: Bromine is less harsh across the board but still provides quality sanitization.

What Do the Experts Say?

We asked our chemistry expert to give his pick between bromine and chlorine for hot tubs:

Bromine! It remains effective in a wider range of pH levels (7.0 – 8.4) than chlorine (7.4 – 7.8), and therefore, it can better protect your water from bacteria and viruses. Also, bromine in itself is a strong sanitizer. At a high pH level of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active, but bromine remains efficient. And its byproducts, bromamines (a combined substance), produce their own sanitizing action, making bromine an even more powerful bacteria and virus killer. As an added benefit, that bromine already in your water can be reactivated using potassium monopersulfate after it has killed the bacteria. Reactivated bromine means less chemical use and bigger cost savings for you in the long run.”

How Do I Decide Whether Bromine vs Chlorine is Right?

If you want to try bromine instead of chlorine, or vice-versa, you’ll need to drain your hot tub and flush the lines, refill and enjoy. Make sure you keep the bromine and chlorine separate, including the containers, tablets, and granules. Chlorine and bromine combined will create negative chemical reactions that can be unhealthy and even dangerous.

Once you’ve got everything back online, test it for a week or two and decide if it works better for you and your hot tub. Regardless of your choice never underestimate how crucial it is to keep your hot tub clean, sanitized and healthy so that you can enjoy all the benefits.

If you need help monitoring and managing the chemicals for your bromine or chlorine hot tub, consider a smart monitor like pHin. With its built-in analytics, pHin  will take the guesswork out of f how much and how often to add chemicals by sending exact instructions to your smartphone.

Keeping Your Pool Balanced After Rainfall

Between summer thunderstorms and hurricane season, rainfall can have an impact on pool water balance. The acid and contaminants in rainwater can cause the pool’s pH levels to rise, affecting the chemical balance of the water.

You can plan for rainfall by adding chemicals before and afterward to keep your water balanced. Here’s how:

Before the Storm

Being proactive and making sure the pool water is balanced before and during rainfall will help you keep the water in good shape throughout the season. Keep an eye on the weather in your area so you know when rain is on the way: When you’re expecting heavy rain, actively check the pH and chlorine levels of your pool and add additional chemicals accordingly.

After the Storm

Even after a mild rainstorm, pool chemicals can become diluted. In addition to your regular pool water maintenance routine, it’s especially important to check the water after rainfall. When the rain has stopped, check the pH level of the water first. If the pH is below 7.0, add more chlorine to the pool before you increase the pH, adding chlorine will typically increase the pH on its own.

If your chlorine level is low, you will need to add more chlorine until levels are back to normal.

Keeping track of your pool’s chemistry levels is difficult, especially after they’ve been altered by a rainstorm. You can keep an eye on your pool water status during the rain without even needing to grab your umbrella with the help of pHin! The pHin Smart Monitor sends real-time updates about your water status, taking over 1,000 measurements per week.

If the pH levels of your pool become unbalanced following the storm, pHin will send an alert in the app or via email. It’ll also provide easy-to-understand chemical dosing instructions to get the water balanced after the rain has passed.

After you make chemical updates, make sure your pool is running properly. Most rainstorms bring leaves and outside debris into the pool area and water, use a skimmer or vacuum to clean the pool before your next swim. Once the pool is clean, check the water level. If the water level is above normal, you’ll need to drain the water — too much water in the pool will cause issues with the skimmer which can lead to water chemistry issues.

Learn more about pHin at pHin.co.

Why pHin Is The “Best Tech Investment” of One User’s Smart Home

Smart home technology can be found in more and more homes, offering convenience, peace of mind, and fun. Most devices are inside the home, like smart speakers, connected light bulbs, and smart door locks. But the smart home has now extended to the backyard with the pHin Smart Water Monitor.

John Clancy is a veteran pool owner, having managed pools in both of his homes over the last 20 years. An executive in the smart home technology space, his two residences are fully equipped with state-of-the-art Crestron smart home systems that he and his family use to control everything from the lights, shades, thermostats, TVs, and more. John is always testing the latest technology that can make his life easier, or even make it more fun. When John heard about pHin, it seemed like the perfect addition to his smart technology lifestyle.

After using it for a few weeks, pHin has already transformed John’s pool care routine. “I use pHin every day. I’ve owned pools for the last 20 years, and pHin makes enjoying and managing my pool convenient and easy,” he commented. Using the pHin smartphone app, his pool care routine is simple: John can see the status of his pool water any time in the pHin app, which has become a daily habit. Seeing important metrics about his pool at a glance, including the temperature, pH level, and sanitizer allow John to proactively manage the chemistry and temperature of the pool and maximize fun time. Instead of having to check chemicals and adjust the temperature on Saturday mornings, before a pool party, or in the afternoon for a workout, he can simply check the app and then jump in.

“I will also say that the accuracy at which the levels are reported from pHin are amazing,” added John.  “When my pool company was here this week for our weekly maintenance, their readings matched all three metrics exactly on my pHin app.”

pHin also accounts for the other elements of routine pool water care, providing test-strips and a reference card. It’s a simple process, analyzing a photo of the used test-strip in the app to provide other readings important to the overall pool chemistry. According to John, “The best part, which is unlike any other test strips I have ever used, is that it tells you exactly what chemicals and the quantities to add to remedy any unbalance.”

Whether you’re new to pool care or an experienced pool owner like John, smart technology like pHin can make water care simple.

Learn more about how pHin works here: https://www.phin.co/

What Makes Your Pool Green?

As a pool owner, there’s nothing worse than looking out at your pool and seeing green water. It can happen even to experienced pool owners, but it’s easily reversible once you know what caused the issue in the first place.

The pHin experts put together a list of reasons why pool water goes green:

#1 Not Enough Chlorine

Chlorine is important for sanitizing water from bacteria and other contaminants. Lack of chlorine is one of the most common causes of green pools. If the pool water is not balanced with proper chlorine levels, algae will start to grow, causing the water to turn green. The growth of algae also speeds up as warmer weather arrives so a regular pool care routine can keep it in check.

#2 The Weather

Depending on where you live, the weather can have an impact on your pool water clarity. When pollen levels are high, the water may turn green more frequently. Pollen is too small to be properly managed by the pool filter and it might require cleaning with a brush or skimmer. For those who live in hot and humid climates where algae thrives, a higher amount of chlorine can help prevent potential algae buildup.

#3 Unbalanced pH

pH measures the acidity of your pool water, and can fluctuate due to weather, temperature, and pool use. If the pH of the water is too high, chlorine becomes less effective, which can allow algae to grow in the water.  Monitoring your pH levels, along with a regular pool care routine, can help prevent an environment where algae can grow.

#4 Pool Pumps and Filters

If your pump or filter is too small for the size of your pool, the system can’t properly filter and get rid of algae and other debris that enter the pool. Or even the right size pump can’t effectively clear the water if it’s not running regularly. Check with your pool manufacturer for the right size and run time required for your pool to keep it safe.

Keeping an eye on your pool water conditions and equipment can prevent a cloudy green pool. pHin can help by reporting whether your pH levels need attention. It takes over 1,000 measurements a week,and will alert you through your smartphone app if your water’s pH is off. When there’s a problem, you’re not on your own – pHin also helps out by providing chemical dosing instructions to right the imbalance before the water gets off track.

Learn more about pHin here.

How Does Rain Affect Your Swimming Pool?

Part of owning a pool or hot tub is learning to deal with everything Mother Nature might throw at you. While regular pool maintenance can keep your water pristine, the elements aren’t subject to any routine. Most people think about things such as snow and dust storms, but rarely do they consider rain to be an aspect of nature they should worry about. The reality is that rain affects your pool or hot tub in multiple ways. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that rain is detrimental to your pool; it can be good or bad.

Rainfall and Water Chemistry

The water chemistry of a pool is very important; it needs to maintain the proper chemical levels to remain safe and comfortable for those that use it.

Rain can be acidic, so it can offset both your pH and alkaline levels. A pool should have a pH balance of 7.4 to 7.6, while some rainwater has a pH balance around 5.0, so heavy rainfall could lower the pH balance of the pool. However, while rainfall may distort your pH levels, it can also help dilute chemicals that cannot be treated with other chemicals and need to be diluted. The downside to this is that rain does not pick and choose which chemicals it will dilute. The result is that it affects every chemical in the pool.

That said, note that, although a heavy rain, or extended period of rain, may have an effect on your pool or hot tub, you don’t need to worry too much about light rain, except for the algae spores which may wash or blow into your pool.

Rainfall and Debris

Rain seldom brings just rain; it usually comes with wind and anything the wind decides to pick up along the way. A good rainstorm typically brings along pollen, dust, algae spores, trash, and other organic matter, covering the surface and bottom of your pool. Not only this, but dirt and debris can clog your filter and pumps, making it more difficult to clean any other debris from the pool.

If any bushes or trees surround your pool, its susceptibility to contaminants is even greater, as they can throw leaves, branches, and oils into the water. However, perhaps the biggest concern when it comes to rain and your pool is algae. Rainstorms that bring in pollen and other plant matter, or even just disrupt your chemical balance, can promote the formation and spread of algae. It can be difficult to remove and repair any damage caused by algae growth, especially if left untreated for any period of time.

Excess Water

One of the biggest problems caused by rain is the accumulation of extra water. While this might seem like a given, excess water due to rainfall causes multiple problems. Heavy rainfall has the potential to cause flooding in any area, but if there’s already a large body of water in the backyard then your chances of flooding increase. This can lead to extra runoff or debris in your pool and even flood necessary pool equipment, such as filters and pumps. A heavy rain can also cause the water level in your pool to rise rendering your surface skimmer useless in effectively skimming the surface debris to the skimmer basket, meaning you’ll need to drain it back to the proper level.

Storm Prep and Repair

If you know ahead of time to expect rain, prepare by setting up your pool cover ahead of time. This keeps most of the debris out of the water. You should also store any loose items surrounding the pool, such as patio furniture, pool toys, and potted plants. This keeps them from blowing into the pool. Finally, turn off the pump.

Once the storm ends, turn the pump back on and remove the cover as carefully as possible. There is no sense in dumping all that debris into the water. Also, empty the skimmer and pump baskets. If you don’t have a lot of debris at the bottom of the pool AND it took on a lot of water, go ahead and pump out the excess. If you do need to vacuum, hold off on dumping the excess water until after vacuuming.

Next, clean the pool as per usual: skim the surface, brush the walls and floor, and run the vacuum. Finally, test the chemical balance and make any necessary adjustments.

If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced, consider a pHin smart monitor. This little device constantly monitors your water and automatically sends you exactly what you need to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. If you’re looking for someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand instantly connects you to local, qualified pool techs.