Prep Your Pool for Winter Hibernation

Homeowners in Northern, cooler states are expecting temperatures to drop over the next few weeks. When the first autumn leaves fall, it’s time to start closing your pool for the season – A general rule of thumb is to wait until outdoor temperatures start to steadily fall below 65 degrees. To avoid damage or other issues next pool season, follow these steps and precautions:

  1. Clean the Pool

Before it can be closed, you’ll want to get your pool as clean as possible. Using a vacuum or skimmer, make sure there are no leaves or other debris floating in the water. The pool walls and stairs should be scrubbed with a brush to break up any algae build up. You’ll want to get your pool as clean as possible before it’s closed for the season.

  1. Lower the Water Level

As you’re getting your pool ready for the off season, drain water to avoid problems with ground water and temperature levels if/when they drop below freezing. How much water should you drain? That depends on the climate of the area you live in. If temperatures are generally cold in the winter, you’ll want to drain the water 4 to 6 inches below the tile line to avoid any potential issues with freezing water.

  1. Check and Clean Filters

Even through the winter, check on your filters regularly to make sure they are running properly and keeping the water clean and safe. Pool filters help remove debris from the water but can’t do their job properly if they aren’t cleaned regularly. You’ll be thankful later – this step will help to preserve the lifespan of the filter system and keep your pool clean during the off season for an easier opening in the spring.

  1. Adjust Chemical Levels

Before you close your pool for the winter, test the water’s chemistry levels and get it balanced. Closing your pool with unbalanced levels will make it difficult to open it up the next season. For help checking and correcting the balance, you can turn to pHin. The pHin Smart Water monitor will help you understand if your pool is balanced with color coded discs. pHin’s simplified chemical dosing instructions will help you understand how much of each chemical needs to be added to get the water balanced.

  1. Set to Winterize

pHin has a special setting for winter: Pool owners can get their monitor and pool ready for hibernation by tapping on the “subscription” icon on the app homepage and click “winterize pool.” Then they can remove pHin from the pool and store it in a safe spot until next season.

pHin App Compact Mode Enables Remote Client Management

With pHin data at their fingertips, service technicians can efficiently initiate proactive water care schedules.

pHin has added Compact Mode to the pHin app, enabling service technicians to remotely view customer water data with an easy filter view and alerts.

A pHin Smart Water Monitor deployed in a client’s pool, hot tub, or swim spa measures the water pH, oxidation reduction potential, and temperature, with charts showing seven day, 60-day, and 90-day views. The measurements are taken over 1,000 times per week, and the proprietary algorithm analyzes the results to provide a color-coded status indicating whether the water is balanced, needs an action, or is unsafe.

Client management is streamlined with Compact Mode. Technicians can monitor a vast number of pHins through the app, streamlined with a filter view to search clients by location, vessel name, water status, and cellphone number. Technicians can also assign a custom name to the connected pHins, such as client name, address, location, or even a client’s separate units in a hot tub and pool. When the water is unbalanced and needs attention, they’re alerted in real-time in the app or via email so they can proactively schedule maintenance be

fore the customer even notices an issue. The data provided in Compact Mode can also be used to manage service schedules and delegating teams.

Compact Mode can be activated in the pHin app with a simple on/off in account settings with the most-recent version of the app. Technicians can add client pHin Smart Monitors to their account by scanning the QR code on the box or entering the serial number during setup to add the pHin to their account.

3 Ways pHin Removes the Guesswork Out of Water Care

Keeping pool water balanced all season can be stressful. But for many pool owners, measuring and adding chemicals is a lot of guesswork. Converting the ppm of chlorine in the water to how much chlorine to add can be a challenge, even for veteran pool owners.

Instead of making the wrong measurement that can leave your pool water over chlorinated or cloudy, technology can remove the guesswork.

pHin is a powerful new product that has built-in analytics that make water care easy for any pool or hot tub owner. The device floats in the pool and measures the water over 1,000 times per week, using the information to make pool water care easy for anyone. Here’s how:

Easy-to-Read Status

How do you know if your water is safe before you jump in? With the pHin app, pool and hot tub owners can easily see whether their water is safe, needs action, or is unsafe. A color-coded disc on the home screen provides at-a-glance status:

If the water is out of balance, a red disc will alert users indicating that the water is unsafe and requires action. When water is balanced and safe, a blue disc will indicate that the water is ready to go.

Alerts and Instructions

pHin is also proactive, it sends alerts in the app or via email when the water is out of balance or needs action, like adding shock or chemicals.

Instead of guessing how to fix the water, users get step-by-step instructions about which chemicals to add and how much of each chemical is needed to bring the water back to a safe level. pHin’s app also features detailed graphs of the pool’s chemistry levels in the past giving pool owners easy access to their pool’s chemical history.

Chemical Database

pHin works with leading chemical brands to provide customized chemical dosing instructions based on the brand of your choice. Users can simply scan any supported chemical’s barcode and pHin will calculate exactly how much of the chemical you need to add to the water. pHin recently doubled the number of scannable chemicals, you can see the full list of scannable chemicals here.

pHin takes the guesswork out of adding chemicals to your pool with easy-to-read alerts, action notifications and instructions, and customized chemical dosing instructions. pHin handles the pool chemistry guesswork so you can simply add the necessary chemicals and enjoy!

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.

Take the Dive: Build and Maintain Your Own Swimming Pool

Our friends at Porch.com share tips for building and maintaining your own swimming pool.

Looking for an epic way to spend your summers? Consider adding a swimming pool to your home to create the ultimate staycation, day after day. Nothing says home like sipping a soda poolside as you watch the kids playing a game of Marco Polo or swimming laps for an all-body cardio workout in a refreshing environment. It’s the perfect way to host family get-togethers or parties for your kids’ friends, and we have some advice to help you plan for, build, and maintain a backyard pool.

Along with ensuring fun for kids or a relaxing oasis for adults, building a swimming pool can give a huge boost to the market value of your home. “Does it have a pool?” is a common question that Realtors field from potential home buyers, especially in warmer climates.

Pre-Pool Considerations

Adding a pool to your life (and yard) is an exciting experience. Before you start making pool plans, though, take a good look at your yard. Will a pool enhance your backyard ambiance? Is your yard big enough, and is there adequate access to your backyard for a contractor to dig dirt (and haul it away) and build your pool? Are there trees or a deck in the way that will need to be removed? Do you have existing utility easements, and are wires or pipes running underneath in that location? Will you need to build retaining walls?

These are some of the considerations you’ll need to investigate before you take the leap into pool ownership.

Start Planning Your Pool

As you move from the dreaming to the planning stage, you’ll need to factor in some things, including how much you’ll need to invest in building and maintaining your pool. During the planning process, there’s plenty to do, from deciding what type of pool you want, hiring a contractor, obtaining financing if needed, getting permits, and preparing the location.

Budgeting for a Pool

There are different kinds of pools: above-ground pools and inground pools. The actual cost of your pool will depend on your region and other factors like the size, materials, and features. The average above-ground pool is more economical, and the price also depends on where you live, what materials you use, the size, and other features like an optional deck around the pool.

Factor in Extra Costs

When you’re budgeting, make sure you set aside extra money for electrical work, plumbing, landscaping, fencing and patio improvements. After it’s built, keep extra funds to spend on repairs for your pool pump, lights, and other parts, along with chemicals and professional cleaning.

You may also need to build a fence around your pool. Many cities and counties require a fence for safety reasons.

Before you build a pool, keep in mind that you’ll have monthly fees for pool maintenance and extra electricity to run the pump and other pool components. If you don’t use your pool year-round, don’t forget to factor in the cost of cleaning, preparing for, and safely covering your pool for the winter. These costs will vary depending on the type and size of the pool you build and where you live.

You’ll also want to budget the cost of adding your pool to your existing house insurance policy. Also, ask your agent about liability insurance in case someone is hurt while using your pool.

Where Do you Put Your New Pool?

It’s location, location, location for your new pool. Some people prefer their pool steps away from the back door, while others place their pool a little farther into the yard. The location is up to you, while still considering what’s already in your yard. You’ll want it to blend beautifully with your home and landscape.

Remember, though, that you’ll need to adhere to your local government’s property setbacks for pools and any restrictions if you have a homeowner’s association.

Building your Pool

Now that you’ve decided a pool is in your future, it’s time to rely on your chosen contractor to handle the designing, building, and installation of your pool.

Your contractor will help you decide on the best size, shape, and materials for your pool, whether it’s made from pre-formed fiberglass, or built on-site with vinyl liners or poured concrete. Some homeowners love the convenience and cleaning ease of a smooth fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are also a popular choice because they arrive assembled and ready to lower into the hole dug by your contractor’s crew. Or, you may opt for a concrete pool or vinyl liner pool. Above-ground pools are made of steel, aluminum, or resin, with liners. You can also purchase affordable inflatable vinyl above-ground pools that you can set up yourself.

How Long Will it Take?

Swimming pools aren’t built within a weekend. All kinds of variables factor into how long you’ll wait before that first delicious dip into sparkling waters.

Above-ground pools can be installed faster than other types of pools, ready within days. Fiberglass inground pools may take a week or two. Vinyl liner pools may take two weeks to over a month before they’re ready to enjoy. The most expensive pool option, concrete, takes the longest time to complete because construction is more complicated and involves pouring and curing concrete. You may wait months for the project’s completion and your first fun pool party. Other factors, like the weather, can affect the timing of completion.

Pool Decor

While you’re designing your pool, add some color and decorative tiles for a special, relaxing touch. Consider other custom options like underwater lighting, an infinity edge, bench seating or a tanning ledge, ensuring years of personalized enjoyment. Do you plan to swim laps, requiring a longer pool, or prefer weekend relaxing on a water float with a drink in your hand? Consider a shaded lounging area with easy-care pavers, concrete or decking.

While your pool’s under construction, pick out lounge seating, landscaping, and outdoor lighting around your pool or even hide those pipes or structures that are not pleasing to the eye in the backyard. Now’s your chance to turn it into your dream oasis. You might also consider installing some type of privacy fencing or shade material to shield your pool from neighbors’ views.

Taking Care of your Swimming Pool

Once your pool is up and running, you’ll need to maintain it regularly. Familiarize yourself with the parts of your pool and how they work. This will help you troubleshoot if something stops working.

Your pool may be basic, or it may have all the bells and whistles like advanced heating and lights or underwater speakers. Your pool may have an automatic pool cover or maybe an above-ground one that the kids spend their weekends in. Either way, all pools share basic components like (of course) water, a filter system, the interior walls or liner, a pool pump, skimmers and returns to circulate the water.

Keep the walls, bottom and/or lining of your pool clean. Those surfaces are always in contact with pool water and can collect debris, algae and mold if not properly cared for.

To keep your pool sparkling clean, you’ll want to buy supplies including a net skimmer, pool brush, and pool vacuum. Use these to help keep bugs, leaves, and other stuff from making your pool unsightly. Residue from shampoos, sunblock, and perfume can also create cleaning issues for your pool.

At least once a week, use the skimmer, brush and vacuum on your pool. Some pool owners find automatic pool cleaners are a huge time-saver. The cleaner patrols your pool whenever you want, brushing the sides and bottom so you don’t have to.

The pool pump keeps your water circulating so your pool doesn’t become polluted and cloudy. Try to run your filter a minimum of 10 to 12 hours a day or more, 7 days a week, according to recommendations from “A Beginner’s Guide to Pool Maintenance”. You’ll also want to backwash your filter regularly, reversing the flow of water so dirty water and contaminants are carried out of your pool.

Chemistry Class

Keeping your pool water clean and balanced is crucial for safe summer fun, according to the Swim University beginner’s guide. Keep a water testing kit nearby so you can tell right away if your pool chemistry is unbalanced, and what to do to bring the water back to sparkling, safe levels.

Your pool’s pH level is important Lower pH levels are considered acidic, and high levels are basic. You should aim for a pH of 7.4 to 7.6. You’ll also need to check the alkalinity, which is a pH buffer so your pool doesn’t have big spikes. Try to keep this between 100 and 150 parts per million, the beginner’s guide advises.

Keep an eye on the level of your chlorine or bromine sanitizer, too. You may need to add chemicals, including an occasional night-time chemical “shock” after rainstorms or heavy pool use. Following directions and safety precautions ensures pool-chemical maintenance success.

Maintenance Schedule

Set up a pool maintenance schedule and stick to it. The more often you regularly skim, clean, backflush, and check chemicals, the more comfortable you’ll become with the routine. Write up a list with dates of the duties and post somewhere that’s easily seen, like on the refrigerator. You can involve the family with the duties, too.

Some homeowners prefer to spend their pool time relaxing so they pay a pool company to maintain the pool chemicals and cleaning schedule.

Enjoying your Swimming Pool

The reward of owning and maintaining a pool is being able to enjoy it whenever you like and the perfect host for all kinds of get-togethers. Your family will cherish this pool for years, and it’s a great incentive for relatives and friends to visit. A pool is the perfect low-impact way to exercise, too, giving a great cardiovascular workout that’s easy on joints and muscles and ensuring less risk of injury.

You can set up a pool basketball hoop or net for hours of fun. Your kids will invent their own pool games, too, under careful supervision of an adult.

Safety First

While a pool brings years of joy, it also comes with the responsibility of making sure swimmers are safe. Make certain your pool meets all fencing and pool signage requirements, and keep a first aid kit nearby. Now is the perfect time to become certified in CPR. In the United States, you can find courses through the American Red Cross, your local YMCA or a swimming organization near you.

Have an adult who knows how to swim watching when kids are in the pool and keep a locking, alarmed fence around your pool when it’s not in use. Parents of smaller children often feel more secure installing alarms on the doors leading to the pool.

Bring on the Fun

Although the price of building and maintaining a swimming pool can be costly, most homeowners discover that having endless days of laughter and fun under the sun, conveniently right outside their back door, is worth every penny.

This piece was originally posted on Porch.com and has be published with permission.

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/

The Ultimate Pool Care Routine for A Stress-Free Summer

School is wrapping up and the days are getting longer and warmer – which means summer is finally here!

If you’ve opened your pool (hot tub, or swim spa) for the season, it’s time to set a routine to keep it safe for swimming all summer long.

The pHin team put together these steps to stress-free pool care:

1.       Set a schedule

Your pool water needs regular care to stay balanced and safe throughout the summer. To stay on track, set up a schedule to use water test strips, adjust chemicals, and add shock (Learn more about shocking here.).

Plan a day to brush the pool weekly, it’s an important step towards preventing algae buildup, removing dirt particles, and smoothing the surface to ensure a long-lasting finish. And, remember to use the skimmer daily to remove leaves and debris that may collect overnight.

2.       Stock up on chemicals

You may already have chosen your favorite chemical brand, or are going with the recommendation from your pool builder or hot tub manufacturer. Stock up on a good supply of chemicals, shock, and test strips, so you don’t run out unexpectedly. You can even keep a chart nearby to note when items are getting low. Store them safely, secured and away from children and pets.

Your local pool technician can help keep you stocked too. Many are taking online orders and offering curbside pickup, so getting the supplies you need is even easier. You can even find a pool store near you and place an order if you’re a pHin user, right through the pHin app!

3.       Get Ready for Testing

Water testing can be challenging, even for experienced pool owners! Most pool owners check their temperature daily and test the water with strips weekly. A helper like the pHin Smart Water Monitor can boost the number of tests for accurate measurements available anytime through the app. It floats in the pool, measuring the pH, sanitizer, and temperature over 1,000 times per week.

The measurements are put through an algorithm that will give a clear status of whether the water is balanced, or needs action. If the water isn’t safe, the pHin user will get a push notification, with actionable instructions and exact chemical dosing.

4.       Plan for fun!

Once you know your pool is safe for swimming, accessorize and plan for fun! Schedule wine nights by the pool, plan your Fourth of July barbeque, and stock up on pool floaties, water games, and lots of sunblock.

Want to keep your pool in top swimming shape? Try out pHin! Learn more here.

Dads Love pHin! Hear Why From 4 Users

Summer is in full swing and many pool and hot tub owners have gotten their water care routine started, with the help of pHin. Dads who handle pool water care want to make sure it’s safe, and pHin is a great helper. With Father’s Day around the corner, we asked a few dads why they trust pHin to keep their water in safe swimming condition for their family:

“The pHin Smart Monitor was a breeze to install and instantly gives me all the feedback on the overall health of my pool right on my phone. I especially like that it can send notifications via the app so any chemical imbalances can be addressed immediately by me or sent to my pool maintenance company.” – — Joe Hageman, Narragansett, Rhode Island

“The pHin smart monitoring system is extremely accurate and reliable. The size is non-intrusive, not annoying like a large pool float. The product is sleek like a fin and floats 24/7 in the pool. It is pretty darn accurate when it comes to diagnostic readings of pH levels within the app. When used properly and following the recommended chemicals it automatically evaluates the water and let’s you know right away if the pH is balanced, the smart technology app capability really takes the guesswork out making this a good investment. I love this product I talk about it to all my coworkers and neighbors.  Living in sunny southern California all my neighbors have pools and have asked how they can get one.”

— Kevin Oswald, Murrieta, California

“Owning a pool should be fun, but it is frequently more a guessing game and source of irritation. Is there enough chlorine? Is there too much chlorine? Is algae going to start blooming? Is the pH level correct? Is the water healthy to swim in? How much of what chemical do I need to add and when? With pHin I can take a quick look at the app and know everything is the way it is supposed to be, and if something is off, see exactly how much of which chemical to add. Plus, I can check on the water temp and have visible proof for my girls that the water is definitely still too cold for dad to go swimming!” — John Sciacca, Myrtle Beach, North Carolina –

“Anyone tasked with taking care of a pool or spa will love having a pHin. It allows you to keep a regular eye on your pool, tells you which chemicals need to be added and when, and if your treatments are having the desired effect. So far, this pool season has been great thanks to pHin!”

— Kevin St. Lawrence, Richmond, Rhode Island 

Want to gift a pHin for Father’s Day this year?  Buy now on 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.

New Pool? Tips for Getting Water Ready for Swimming

You wanted a pool, longing to jump into cool water after a hot day, splashing with your family on the weekends, or floating around with a cocktail after work. So, you researched. You planned and consulted. You purchased, you landscaped, and you waited.

Congratulations on your new pool! A pool full of new water isn’t safe to swim in right away. To get the most out of it (and protect your investment), you need to prepare it before welcoming swimmers. pHin team put together what you need to know to get your water safe and ready for swimming:

Assemble your tools.

Every pool owner should have a standard set of tools they use to test and treat their pool water. That includes:

  • A water test kit
  • Pool brushes and cleaning tools
  • Chemicals
    • Chlorine or salt, depending on your system
    • Baking soda
    • Muriatic acid: One of the chemicals used to lower pH and total alkalinity in pools. Follow the instructions on the label, and make sure it is compatible with your pool; some muriatic acid can’t be used in hot tubs or with fiberglass, vinyl, or painted pools.
    • Sequestering agent: Iron and copper can build up in your pool. Sequestering agents help prevent staining and scaling by suspending the metal particles in solution.

Test the pool water.

Take your first water measurements with test strips to get the pH, chlorine, and total alkalinity levels of the water. You can purchase a test kit at your local pool store, or online.

Safe water should have pH between 6.8 and 7.2, and total alkalinity between 70 and 80 ppm.

There is a range for an optimal pH, which should then be raised between 8 7.1 and 7.7 for chlorine pools and 7.0 and 7.5 for salt pools. Lower pH provides better sanitizing benefits. At the same time, this will raise the total alkalinity. For example, concrete pools should have total alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm, where painted, vinyl, or fiberglass pools should be between 125 and 170 ppm.

Remember, whenever you’re adding chemicals to your pool, use extra caution to prevent them from touching your skin or eyes, by using gloves or goggles. Keep the chemicals secured and stored safely away from children and pets.

Grab your scrub brush.

To get the water balance right, you’ll need to keep your pool clean.

As a best practice, brush the pool often using a nylon brush. Particles, leaves, or dirt can get stuck in corners, steps, and other crevices, so make sure they get extra attention. You can also use a pool skimmer to catch leaves or bugs that accumulate on the surface overnight.

After the pool is balanced, you may want to add algaecide. Always check with your manufacturer to make sure it’s compatible with your pool, how much to add, and when it would be safe to swim.

Let the water settle.

Your pool water needs time to run through the system. Allow the pump to run for 1-2 days, and, as you add chemicals through the process, you may need to wait a few days in between to allow for stabilization.

You should also wait until the chemicals settle before using a heater or vacuum. If you don’t wait, it could interfere with the pool’s curing time, which can cause long-term damage. Some experts recommend letting your pool cure for 21 days, but it’s best to check with your manufacturer or local pool expert to determine the most suitable time-frame.

Set your pool care routine.

Once your pool is open and ready for swimming, you need to set a routine to keep it safe. Schedule weekly water test strips and chemical adjustments.

If you’re brand new to pools, testing, and chemicals, technology like the pHin Smart Water Monitor can remove the guesswork of water care. Instead of testing just once a week, pHin gives you a clear picture of your water quality in real-time. The device takes over 1,000 measurements a week (few pool owners can match that by hand!), and sends alerts, reminders, and chemical dose instructions in the app. See what users think of pHin.

Get Smart About Testing: How to Use Test Strips + pHin

Proper water balance is essential for safe swimming and relaxing. All pool, hot tub, and spa owners know that they need to do regular testing as a part of their water care routine.

We are often asked why test strips are still necessary when using pHin. While it is true pHin does much of the work to simplify pool and hot tub care, it does still rely on test data collected monthly from test strips.

Why is this the case?

The pHin hardware has sensors that measure temperature, sanitizer levels, and pH over 1,000 times per week. These elements impact the vessel’s overall balance and can quickly be affected by things like environmental influences and usage.

The test strips check for total alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid levels. These three factors can also impact the overall health of the water but do not change as quickly as temperature, sanitizer and pH. Still, they are key to maintaining balanced water since total alkalinity measures the alkaline substances in the water and prevents the pH from getting out of range, total hardness measures the amount of lime dissolved in the water, and cyanuric acid stabilizes chlorine levels. Learn more about total alkalinity and total hardness here.

Test strips are the time-tested standard measurement tool and are considered relatively accurate. When combined with new smart pool technology like the pHin Smart Water Monitor, users can simplify their water care routine while also having more confidence that their water is safe for swimming. pHin prompts users to take a water sample and photo once a month to help them keep an eye on the overall status of their water. pHin test strips are uniquely calibrated to work with the pHin app. Read the full instructions for using pHin test strips  here.

pHin users can view their water report results immediately within the app and track trends about their water alkalinity and sanitizer over time. This provides important insight: in fact, one pHin user noticed that the water balance was off from the daily pHin data. After investigating the change, he found that the cause was a piece of equipment that was about to fail, and he was able to replace it before real damage was done.

The combination of pHin and the test strips, makes water care simple and routine. Users can rest easy knowing the exact status of their water without having to worry about making their own chemical calculations.

When Should I Open My Pool for the Season?

When the temperatures start to rise, we begin longing for days spent poolside in the sunshine. A ripple effect of pool openings starts across the country as we approach the first day of summer with some pool owners wondering, “When should I open my pool for the season?”

Many factors can play into the decision for opening day. The pHin experts share tips for picking the ideal date:

 When Is It Too Early To Open Your Pool?

Each pool owner’s opening date varies depending on where they live. When temperatures are consistently over or around 70 degrees it’s usually the perfect time to start a pool opening. While it might be a little chilly for swimming for those who don’t have heated pools, it’ll leave you time to get ready for warmer days to come. Keep an eye on the weather – consistency is important because you don’t want to experience freezing temperatures a few days after the big opening.

 Along with outdoor temperatures, there are a few other factors to consider:

1.    Algae

With warmer temperatures, your pool can become a breeding ground for algae. To prevent algae buildup that can turn your pool green, opening your pool sooner can get you up and running. This gives you extra time to start cleaning to prevent the algae from growing.

2. Expense and Equipment

Pool openings can add extra expenses. Before you open your pool, consider the costs of additional chemicals, parts, or labor that will be needed. Also, do a check of what you’ll need for the season, including test strips, chemicals, cleaner, etc.

3.     Aesthetic

Pulling the cover off your pool adds beauty to your backyard. It might also be time to have the surrounding deck or patio power-washed, uncover your pool-side lounge chairs, and see if there’s anything you want to add this year, like rock speakers, lighting, new toys, or even a water slide.

4.     Entertainment         

Pools offer endless fun for families to enjoy all season long. After you’ve planned your pool opening date, start planning the first day for fun and games with your family, or a workout right in the backyard!

These pool opening tips should help you keep your pool in top shape all summer long.  The water needs to be balanced and safe for swimming, and technology like pHin can help guide you through the process. Enjoy the pool season!