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.

Simple Fixes for Common Plumbing Problems in Your Pool

Part of owning a pool or hot tub means taking care of any problems that might occur, preferably while it’s still early days and the problem is easy – and inexpensive – to fix. While some issues, such as chemical balance, are simple to understand and correct, dealing with plumbing problems confuses most people.

Plumbing issues in particular require swift action. Waiting leads to further damage and expensive repairs. While fixing a plumbing problem may seem daunting, there are simple solutions to common plumbing problems pool owners experience.

Air in the System

Any air in your pool system can be a serious issue, as it restricts water flow. This may cause cloudiness in the pool or even lead to the filter tank bursting due to pressure build-up, which may not be apparent when viewing the filter pressure gauge. One symptom of an air leak in your system is when streams of air bubbles come from the water inlets into the pool. There are a few things that might cause air to enter your system, all of which have a simple remedy.

Check the water level of the pool, as a low water level can cause the surface skimmer to pull in air. If low water is the only issue, refill the pool to the proper level. Speaking of the surface skimmer, another component to inspect is the skimmer weir. The weir is the “flapper door” inside to mouth of the skimmer. It’s purpose is to actually create the “skimming action” by free-floating on the uppermost surface of the pool water level. The weir can become faulty and stick in the mouth closed position, literally creating a dam effect inhibiting the flow of water.

Other common causes can be the circulation pump and valves, typically located on the suction side and in front of the pump. The circulation pump has a hair and lint strainer pot with a cover and gasket / o-ring. When the gasket o-ring becomes flattened or the cover becomes damaged (cracked or warped), it can break the airtight seal, allowing air to flow into your filtration system. For valves, a cover is sealed by a gasket or o-ring and may begin to leak, the lid can warp or crack and let in air.

To determine if the circulation pump or a valve is the culprit of your air leak, start up the system and relieve any existing air by opening up the air bleed valve on top of the filter tank. Once the gauge has achieved the expected pressure, turn off the system and watch the pump area. If there is a small spray of water in any of these areas, then you pinpointed the leak. From there, replace all necessary parts and remember that you should never let an air leak go unattended.

Dirt and Debris

Dirt and debris is at the forefront of every pool owner’s mind, though usually in the form of thinking about cleanliness and water chemistry. However, dirt and debris can enter the plumbing and cause problems for you and your pool. Debris entering the filtration system can cause clogs or even wedge itself in valves and covers, letting in air. If the filter or strainer is clogged with debris, clean the strainer, then backwash the filter or change the cartridge. Dirt and debris may also clog the skimmer line, so your pool filter fails to work properly. If this is the case, turn off the pool pump and (if possible) the power to the motor. Clear any existing debris from the basket and use a plumbing snake designed for the particular type of plumbing to remove the clog from the skimmer’s piping.

Changes in Filter Pressure

The filter in your pool or hot tub must work perfectly to ensure optimum water safety.  A change in filter pressure is a common problem that, luckily, has an easy fix. Decreases in filter pressure are usually caused by clogs, trapped air, or incorrect valve settings. This can be remedied by checking valve settings, clearing suction lines, or replacing damaged hardware. Increases in filter pressure are usually caused by something blocking the filter, such as debris or an algae bloom blocking inside the filter. This can be prevented with regular pool cleanings and consistently clearing your pool of algae.

A pHin smart monitor helps ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays perfectly balanced. If you prefer to hire professionals for your plumbing issues, check out Pool Service on Demand, where you can connect with qualified, local pool care professionals.