How to Clean Up Your Pool or Hot Tub After Hurricane Season

Weather-related disasters can damage pool and hot tubs with heavy wind and rain. As hurricane season comes to a close along the coast, here are some steps you can take to get your backyard back to a beautiful and safe oasis:

1. Clean up debris and check water levels

Start restoring your pool to its pre-season glory by cleaning debris from the pool water. If your pool doesn’t drain excess water on its own, remove the necessary amount of water to get your pool back to its normal water level. Check that the pump and skimmer aren’t clogged with debris to ensure they’ll work properly. A pool vacuum may be helpful for catching any debris or dirt that has fallen to the bottom of the pool.

2. Restore power to your pool

Flood waters caused by hurricanes may have damaged your pool or hot tub’s electrical equipment. Before restoring power, double check that no equipment is water damaged. If you are unsure, it’s safer to have an electrician double check the area. Once the power is restored, the pool will begin to filter properly again, getting rid of the small debris and particles that were not picked up during the cleaning process.

3. Check water quality

Hurricane flooding and rainfall could have contaminated your pool or spa area, making it unsafe for swimming. Before you re-balance the water, don’t let anybody (including pets!) swim until it’s back to normal chemistry levels. Pools should be at a 7 pH level, which can be affected by the hurricane; it’s also important to check the chlorine, hardness, and cyanuric acid levels in the water. Once you’ve gotten your pool or hot tub back in balance, use the pHin Smart Monitor to easily maintain your water health. pHin monitors your pH, and sanitizer and temperature levels over 1,000 times per week and notifies you when your chemicals need adjusting.

Learn more about pHin here: www.phin.co

The Importance of Collecting a Water Sample to Test

It will almost always be easier to avoid water chemistry issue than it will be to solve it. Eliminating something like an algae bloom once it already colors the water is no simple task. Once the walls are stained and the equipment corroded, the damage is done. Even worse is treating contamination. By the time swimmers or soakers complain about infections and rashes from contaminated pool or hot tub water, it is too late to prevent the spreading of disease. But, using proper sampling techniques and monitoring the chemical content of the water frequently helps you avoid costly, time consuming problems. It is incredibly important for pool operators to be familiar with good water testing kits and techniques.

Use a Sample Container

When conducting a test poolside, many people will just fill the four-in-one test bottles directly. This is perfectly fine provided you thoroughly rinse the bottle prior to collecting samples in order to eliminate any contamination and the pool’s circulation pump is running. Repeat the rinsing process between pH, alkalinity, and chlorine tests.

If you use a pool supply store to test your sample, most typically require eight ounces of water for testing. Some pool stores offer a free sample bottle. If yours doesn’t, make sure that you use a container that both meets the volume requirements and is free of contaminants. Thoroughly clean any repurposed container. Never use an empty chemical bottle, since it may throw off your sample, or pickle jars, since the salt and vinegar will never fully wash out. Also avoid coffee and juice containers as they can affect the pH reading.

Where to Gather Your Sample

Just as important as what you put your water sample in is where you get the water sample from. You don’t want to skim along the top, as that water is not an accurate representation of the entire pool. The recommended level to take your sample is 12 to 18 inches below the surface of the water, or about elbow-deep. Avoid the skimmer, return areas, and anywhere near a floating chlorine feeder to keep from getting an inaccurate chlorine reading. And, if your pool has varying depths, take the water sample from the deep end, which is less affected by temperature.

When to Take Your Sample

Something that many people don’t consider when taking a water sample is timing. Do not take a water sample if you’ve added any chemicals to the pool within the last 12-48 hours. While that may seem like a fairly large time-frame, there are a multitude of factors that may cause a discrepancy, such as the size of the pool and what chemicals you added. Most pool professionals should be able to tell you when to retest your pool’s water based on its specific circumstances. Rain also makes a difference. If it is currently raining, about to rain, or has just finished raining, do not take a water sample. After a rainstorm, wait at least eight hours to take a water sample.

Testing Your Sample

If your tests require using tablet reagents, do not touch the tablets when removing them from their foil packets. If they get wet or the foil packet tears, discard them. When using dip and read test strips, replace the bottle immediately after use; the strips can become reactive with moisture in the air. Pay attention to timing, as colors can change if you wait longer than the specified time. Follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully, since many involve more than one step.

Your samples should be fresh; taking a sample in the morning and coming back to it after going to work or running errands is not ideal. And, if you take a sample and it rains soon after, then that sample is no longer an accurate reflection of the pool.

Ensure that your testing instruments are properly calibrated and do not expose them to high humidity conditions, drop them on the pool decking, or submerge them unless they are fully sealed. It is a good idea to purchase wide range test kits since dilution testing can be a complicated and precise process.

Working with a Pool Store

If this whole process is new to you, be sure to provide basic information to your pool store, such as pool size (in gallons), pool type (fiberglass, concrete, etc.), sanitizer (chlorine, salt system), and anything that has been done to the pool in the last 48 hours.

If you want to avoid all of these hassles and ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to  keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Landscaping Around Your Pool And Hot Tub: How to Choose the Perfect Plants

There should be a lot of thought when planning the landscaping around your pool and hot tub. After all, it’s not just a matter of planting what looks good. You also need to worry about planting what is good for your pool and hot tub. Issues to consider include whether the plants will shed into the water, if they have thorns that could possibly hurt swimmers, or if they have invasive roots (the last thing you’d want near a pool or a hot tub). Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to planning the plant-life around your pool or hot tub.

Ideal Planting

A pool or hot tub and the plants around it should create a luxurious and relaxing space, where one can both lounge and entertain. It is important that the plants you place around your pool or hot tub are in line with the look and feel you want to create. Ideally, you want to surround your pool area with plants that create privacy, add texture, and bring some color. Plant sun perennials (such as windflowers or day lilies) to transform this area into an oasis. Plant bamboo, hedges, or palm trees to create a tropical fence about the pool (but note that palm trees do shed and can be messy). Mix a variety of plants in multiple shapes and sizes to add the most texture and get the most out of this area’s landscaping.

What to Plant

While you may be looking to achieve a specific theme or vibe with the vegetation you plant, there are some important things to consider. First and foremost is the type of plants that work, not just around the water, but in the area where you live. For example, in desert climates, cacti, agave, or palm trees would work perfectly around your pool or hot tub. But in that same climate, it might be difficult to keep certain types of flowers or shrubbery alive. It can be difficult or costly to try to keep plants that require more attention or water in hotter, drier areas of the country than it would be in areas that receive plenty of rain or enjoy more mild temperatures. Always do plenty of research before choosing the plants for landscaping.

Problems Vegetation Can Present

One of the main problems that any plant can present for a pool is shedding; acorns, leaves, blades of grass, or berries can be a pool or hot tub’s worst enemy. Beyond just causing extra maintenance or cleaning, these things can stain the pool’s floor and walls, as well as the deck surrounding the pool. And when it comes to maintenance, they can throw your entire water chemistry out of balance, leading to cloudy water or algae outbreaks.

Two more things to consider are how the plant takes root and whether or not it will drop pollen. Overgrown roots tend to grow towards a water source and, when they’re right next to a pool, that pool becomes the water source their roots reach for. This can lead to erosion of the soil around your pool or hot tub, uneven pool decking, or a complete shift in the pool’s structural integrity. Pollen can cause an algae breakout in the pool and invite some unwanted and pesky insects to the area.

Bottom Line

Choosing the proper, beneficial plant-life to place around your pool has practically endless benefits. Aside from creating the perfect look or atmosphere, you can provide shade, privacy, and even play a hand in dictating your pool’s temperature. Picking the perfect vegetation may seem daunting, but always remember that the primary goal should be to keep it simple. Personal preference and geographic location will always dictate what you want and choose to plant, but also remember to consider the shedding and rooting of each plant.

If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced year-round, 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.

Do Pools Need More Chlorine When It’s Hot?

Do Pools Need More Chlorine When It’s Hot? Chlorine is a necessity for keeping your pool clean, free of bacteria, algae and viruses. Without it, your pool water can become murky, green, and even unsafe. However, too much also leads to trouble. To keep pool water safe and clean, chlorine should be maintained within a specific range. Too much chlorine can irritate the skin, eyes, and even lungs, while too little leaves you with a potentially unhealthy pool. What’s more, chemical needs change depending on the time of year, since heat and UV rays affect chlorine. To maintain the proper balance, consider the following factors.

What Is Chlorine Demand?

Pool service technicians measure two types of chlorine: combined chlorine and free chlorine.

  • Combined chlorine is the fraction of the chlorine that has reacted with organic matter, such as ammonia and nitrogen compounds and is, essentially, tied (“combined”) up. When your pool smells like chlorine, generally it is not because there is too much chlorine in the water but rather due to chloramines, the chemical compounds that result when chlorine meets organic material.
  • Free chlorine is the fraction of the chlorine that hasn’t yet reacted with organic matter; it is still able to disinfect the water.

High levels of combined chlorine indicate that there are too many foreign particulates in your pool water and free chlorine is the chlorine that needs to be replenished. It is important to remember that things like heat, increased bather load, and rain or wash-ins increase your chlorine demand.

How Do Heat and Light Affect Chlorine?

Free chlorine isn’t just lost when it interacts with organic matter; it is lost when it interacts with sunlight as well. Chlorine forms hypochlorite ions in water, which break apart when hit by ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine gas into the atmosphere. The light from the sun can reduce pool chlorination by 90 percent in just a few hours. This is why many pool service technicians add a stabilized chlorine and use a chlorine stabilizer when necessary to maintain the conditioner levels.

Temperature also has an effect on chlorine, as some bacteria and organisms grow better in warmer environments. When temperatures increase, it uses up free chlorine more quickly, potentially turning your pool into a swamp.

Rule of Thumb: For every 10-degree Fahrenheit (6 degree Celsius) rise in temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), you should add as much as 50% more chlorine to your pool water to maintain appropriate levels of free chlorine. This is especially true for those hot tubs that are not always covered, as they tend to run warmer.

Adjusting to Meet Chlorine Demand

It can take more than a week for your pool to recover from an algae outbreak or sudden water cloudiness. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help avoid any loss in the use of your pool:

  • Test Water Frequently: When conditions that require more chlorine arise, you will be able to see your sanitizer disappearing when you test the water. You don’t have to be a certified technician or water chemist to be able to test and know the condition of your pool water. Purchase some dip-strips to easily test your water and take care of any algae or cloudiness before it begins.
  • Inform Service Providers of Pool Parties: While an increase in bathers definitely has an impact on your water’s chemicals, you can minimize that impact. Informing your service technician of any plans you may have involving your pool allows your tech to take preventative steps and keep your pool clean and safe. Don’t wait until the last minute to let your service tech know about your upcoming pool party. They need to find time in their schedules to help you get your pool ready in addition to their regular commitments.
  • Monitor the Pool after a Storm: Even light rainfall can dilute your water and offset the chemical balance of the pool. In addition, be on the lookout for anything that might have gotten washed into the pool, such as fertilizer or other lawn / plant chemicals, as well as leaves and debris blown in by the storm. Some of these may actually render your sanitizer or other chemicals ineffective, so be on the lookout.
  • Prevention is Always Easier: It is easier to simply maintain well-balanced pool water than to clean cloudy or green water. Consistent testing and monitoring ensures that your water stays clean and safe to use, whereas ignoring it can leave you without a pool until you or your technician figure out exactly what is going on.

If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced year-round, a pHin smart monitor constantly analyzes the water and automatically sends exactly what you need to keep your pool and hot tub healthy. Do you need someone to service your equipment? Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Your Guide to Chlorine and Bromine Hot Tubs

Your Guide to Chlorine and Bromine Hot Tubs. When you type “bromine or chlorine for a hot tub” into Google, you get about 205,000 search results in just half a second. The age-old debate between chlorine and bromine for hot tubs continues. Is one better than the other? Should you consider using bromine tablets? And if so, what do you have to gain?

Both chlorine and bromine are popular hot tub sanitizers but they get the job done differently. Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each.

1. Maintenance

Chlorine hot tubs require much more active maintenance and attention than bromine hot tubs. Without constant attention, chlorine hot tubs are much more likely to turn cloudy or green.

In addition, pH levels can often rise quickly in hot tubs and bromine is less exposed to these pH fluctuations. Chlorine, on the other hand, can’t handle large swings as efficiently as bromine, requiring frequent attention.

2. Efficiency And Effectiveness

Chlorine acts faster than bromine but dissipates quicker because it breaks down faster in high water temperatures. Once all the chlorine is used up, however, it requires frequent additions. On the other hand, bromine tablets take longer to dissolve, and once the active bromine has killed off unwanted organisms, dormant bromine salt remains behind, which can be reactivated into active bromine over and over. This makes bromine an active sanitizer for a longer period of time.

3. Water Temperature

The sweet spot for chlorine is between about 65 and 99 degrees. It quickly turns into vapor at around 100 degrees. While bromine is less effective at temperatures below 75 degrees, it thrives in hot water environments, especially over 100 degrees.

Hot tubs are, well, hot, small and typically have more people in them at the same time relative to their size. It is said that “4 people soaking in a typical hot tub equates to approximately 160 people in a backyard swimming pool due to chemical demands”. These factors make bathers perspire more, resulting in an increased amount of sweat and oils, and higher demand for sanitization. Bromine is better suited than chlorine to handle the buildup of these waste materials in hot water.

4. Cost

Many people choose chlorine because it’s less expensive at first. Although bromine can cost 20% or more than chlorine, it can stay longer in your water due to its ability to be reactivated after it has killed all the bacteria. This means that in the long run, you’ll use less bromine and hence, will pay less.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunshine all year round, costs related to sun protection may also play a role in your decision. Chlorine can be protected from the sun if you add the right amount of stabilizer to it. Bromine is broken down by the sun faster, requiring you to add bromine 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.

5. Personal Considerations

Chlorine has been the subject of many jokes and urban legends. Some people with sensitive skin may find chlorine to be more irritating than bromine. Experts say that bromine protects the eyes and skin better, and emits less odor than chlorine.

 

For Chemistry Lovers

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

This is what he had to say:

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. Add to that, 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.”

Using Bromine Is Easy

Using bromine tablets in your hot tub is simple:

No need to drain your hot tub: you can get started with bromine right away. There’s no need to interrupt your hot tub usage for several days to drain and refill your hot tub. This also means that if you change your mind later and want to switch back to chlorine, you can easily do so.

Get the chemicals you need: To help provide the healthiest water care option and further simplify hot tub care, we will send you the chemicals you need at the time of shipping so you can start using bromine in your hot tub.

Is it Okay to Drain a Pool Into the Yard?

Is it Okay to Drain a Pool Into the Yard? If you own a pool for long enough, eventually you face the task of draining it. When that happens, you may wonder what to do with the water. After all, that’s thousands of gallons of chemically treated pool water; it can’t go just anywhere. Are there laws in your area about draining the pool? Is it safe to drain it directly into your yard? Does it matter whether your pool is chlorinated or uses saltwater? Is there anything you should do before draining to make the process safer? Read on for tips on how to safely drain your pool.

Check Before You Drain

Before draining your pool, call or look online for any regulations in your city or town. Not sure where to begin? Start with the environmental, public works, and sewage pages. Another option is simply typing the words “pool drainage regulations YOUR CITY” into Google. Then, just follow the links. If the city has a page devoted to draining your pool, it likely also includes tips on how to do it in a way that follows city guidelines, such as Mesa, Arizona’s page on draining and backwashing your pool.

The storm drains in most towns were built to handle standard rainwater, not thousands of gallons of water over a short period, and certainly not water treated with chlorine and other chemicals. Taking on too much water at once may cause flooding and other damage in the sewer system, and pool water may poison local bodies of water. Always check before you drain.

Preparing to Drain: Neutralize pH and Cut the Chlorine

If you know you need to drain your pool, stop adding chemicals to the water for at least a few days. Before you drain, test the water; you’re looking for a chlorine level that’s either zero or close to it. Chlorine is particularly toxic and could damage your landscaping or infect wildlife should any water enter your local drainage system. You also protect your neighbors’ plants from water that enters their yard.

You also want to balance pH levels. Highly acidic water damages landscaping and plants just as chlorine does, both in your yard and beyond it. Again, we’re talking about thousands of gallons of water. Unless you empty the pool with a bucket, it’s almost guaranteed that some of that water will wind up in a neighbor’s yard, surrounding greenbelt, or the local sewer system, so do everything you can to make the water as safe as possible.

Draining a Saltwater Pool

The Dead Sea got its name because its high salt levels inhibit life. Of course, your saltwater pool doesn’t have nearly the salinity levels of the Dead Sea, but it’s still not a good idea to dump thousands of gallons of saltwater into your yard. For best results, drain your pool in intervals, saturating the ground with fresh water after each draining session.

Avoid Flooding when Draining the Pool

Most yards don’t have the ability to absorb all of the water from a pool. One the ground reaches its saturation level, you need to worry about flooding, especially since stagnant water attracts mosquitoes, which begin breeding within two or three days.

Flat, level ground is particularly prone to flooding. Guard against this by moving the hose to different parts of the yard. You may also need to drain the pool in intervals.

To ensure that fresh new pool water is perfectly balanced, Pool Service on Demand instantly connects local, qualified pool techs with pool owners. You can also use the pHin smart monitor to keep the water in your pool or hot tub balanced. This handy device constantly monitors the water, automatically sending you the exact chemicals you need for safe, healthy swimming all summer.

4 Tips For a Killer Pool Party

4 Tips For a Killer Pool Party. Pool season is here and, for pool owners, that means parties and events centered around the pool. When the weather gets hotter, there’s no better place to cool down and relax than in the water. But, like any other gathering, preparing for a pool party can be stressful. Trying to figure out what to do and the right way to do it can be confusing. Here are four tips to get you on the right track.

1.  Prepare the Pool

Perhaps the most important aspect of any pool party is making sure your pool is safe and ready for guests. The day of the party, you want to sweep it and clear it of any debris. Check your filter and skimmer to make sure they are clean and running well. A few days before the party, check the water chemicals and make any necessary adjustments to make sure the water is safe for swimmers. This is especially true for shocking your pool, as the chemicals are harmful if people jump into the water too soon after a shock treatment. You also want to check the chemical balance the day after your pool party, because the oils from multiple people in the water can offset the water chemistry.

2. Set Up Decorations

Decorations set the whole mood of a party; they decide the theme, tone, and general aesthetic of the event. The type and style of decorations you choose depends on the type of party you’re throwing. It’s a good idea to set a theme, as that can make picking out decorations easier. Your decorations will also depend on your audience. If your party-goers are adults, then your theme may be more laid back and quiet, whereas if you’re throwing a pool party for kids, your theme will most likely consist of brighter colors and characters. Whoever your audience is, pick a theme that is fun, yet simple.

3. Provide Proper Food and Beverages

No party is complete without refreshments. You may wish to align your food and drink with the theme you’ve set for your party, but it’s important to remember that you’ll want a variety of both. Consider any dietary restrictions your guests may have and plan accordingly. You don’t want to serve nothing but meat dishes if there are any vegetarians attending the party. Lemonades and teas are a great choice for a refreshing summer beverage and perfect for a pool party. Also, make sure to have plenty of water, as the heat combined with swimming can make it easier to become dehydrated. If hosting little ones, popsicles are a great way to keep kids hydrated. Set up food and drink stations so your guests have easy access to refreshments.

4. Take Safety Precautions

While not something you generally take into consideration at any other type of party, at a pool party, safety is a must. The first thing to consider if there are children present is assigning water monitors. You always want at least one adult keeping a close eye on young swimmers. If you wish, you can even contact your local lifeguard association or YMCA to see they’ll allow you to hire a lifeguard.

Make sure you have flotation devices (floaties, pool noodles, etc.) for children and poor swimmers. Be sure to provide sunscreen for yourself and guests. Set up shady areas for when swimmers leave the water. Keep a first aid kit on hand, including aloe for any sunburns that may pop up. As for the pool itself, check it for any potential dangers before and during the party. Keep an eye out for potential slip or trip hazards and make sure any pool additions are in proper condition so as to avoid possible injury to your guests.

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 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.

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.

When is the Right Time to Open Your Swimming Pool?

With many parts of the country still experiencing cold weather and snow, it might seem like a strange time to think about opening your pool. Many pool owners debate the optimal time to open their pool. Often, the conclusion is that, if the water isn’t warm enough for swimming, then it’s okay to wait. Not true.

Spring and the warmer temperatures it brings can sneak up on you, wreaking havoc on your pool. It is often better to prepare for swim season earlier rather than later. Here are a few guidelines to help you open your pool at the optimal time.

When to Open Your Pool

There is no definitive date as to when you should open your pool. It varies from place to place, so the best thing to do is pay attention to the weather. The recommended time to open up your pool is when temperatures in your area consistently hit 70 degrees. While 70 degrees isn’t exactly swim weather, these temperatures can promote algae growth. This can be especially problematic if you use a mesh pool cover, as the water will get plenty of sunlight. Another thing to keep in mind as the weather warms is the growth season, which can bring pollen into your pool. However, with your filter and pump running, you can prevent algae growth and pollen collection, making sure your pool stays a pool instead of turning into a backyard swamp.

Opening Heated Pools vs. Non-heated Pools

When it comes to a heated pool versus a non-heated pool, the consensus for opening either remains the same. However, 70 degrees may only be maintenance weather for a non-heated pool, while it can be swim weather for a heated one. This doesn’t mean you should open a heated pool earlier, however. Freezing temperatures and snow can still affect a heated pool. It is still ideal to wait for consistent 70-degree weather before opening your pool, even if it is heated.

Watching the Weather

As stated, weather consistency is important when it comes to opening your pool. You don’t want to open your pool after a few days of warm weather, only to receive heavy snowfall the next day. We’ve already seen temperatures rise for a day or two and then plummet in places like Chicago and New York, so make sure that the warm weather is there to stay. Keep an eye on your local weather forecast to help determine the right time to open your pool. Put history on your side as well by noting the average temperatures in your region by month. If the averages temperature for a certain time of year is 55 degrees, yet it has surpassed 70 for the last week, it’s best to avoid assuming that the great weather is there to stay.

Things to Consider

When deciding whether it’s the right time to open your pool, keep the following things in mind:

  • Expenses: Opening a pool too late can cause the need for extra cleaning and maintenance before use. Consider the cost of the additional chemicals to properly clean and prepare your pool.
  • Aesthetic: Keeping your pool covered can prevent your yard and landscaping from looking their best. Think about how much better it would look to have a clean, open pool.
  • Use: Whether your pool is heated or non-heated, it is ideal to open it at least three weeks before you intend to use it. It is important that your water is clean and clear before swimming.

If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced no matter what time of year it is, 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 or 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.

5 Ways to Conserve Water During the Pool Season

5 Ways to Conserve Water During the Pool Season. Water conservation may not be at the forefront of your priorities as a pool owner, but it fulfills to big green initiatives: good for the planet and good for your wallet. Pool and hot tub water conservation can save a bundle on utility bills, not to mention money spent on repairs. If your pool doesn’t have the proper water levels, it can damage both equipment and plumbing, which can lead to expensive repairs.

Not sure how to start? Keep reading for water conservation ideas.

1. Use a Pool Cover

Many pool owners use a cover outside of pool season to protect the pool from the elements. Pool covers are incredibly beneficial during the pool season as well. Like all other bodies of water, the water in your pool evaporates, especially during hotter months. Over the course of a year, it is possible to lose more than half of the water in your pool. A properly fitted pool cover greatly reduces evaporation, though, helping to maximize the amount of pool water you conserve. In addition, a cover continues protecting your pool from the elements and nasty debris, reducing the need for more chemicals by minimizing algae growth.

2. Check for Leaks

Regularly check your pool and its plumbing for cracks and leaks. You’d be amazed at the amount of water that can escape through even a small crack. Each ounce of water that leaves your pool is water that you could have saved and, in turn, money you could have saved. And, of course, leaking water has to go somewhere. Eventually, that accumulated water damages pool structures. Regularly checking your pool for signs of cracks or leaks helps stop the problem before it starts.

3. Shut Off Fountains and Waterfalls

Additions to your pool that use extra water, such as fountains and waterfalls, lose a significant amount of water to evaporation. They look and sound pretty, but they prevent you from conserving water and add to your water and utility bills. It is best to limit the amount of time you run water features, by shutting them off when the pool is not in use or only running them when you’re entertaining.

4. Check the Pump

To conserve water, you want to run your pool pump only when necessary. Start by running it for eight hours a day and, if it stays clear, you may reduce the time it runs. The size of the pool and time of year determines the amount of time your pump should run, but the less you run it the more water you will save. It takes a bit of trial and error to determine the right length of time to run the pump. Getting a timer rated for the size of your pool pump helps prevent calculation errors. If your pool begins to get cloudy, you should run your pump for longer. A typical Rule of Thumb: operate the filter pump one-hour for every 10 degrees of water temperature.

5. Drain the Pool Only When Necessary

Some pool owners prefer to start the pool season with freshly scrubbed pool walls and brand new water, but the amount of water this process wastes is astronomical. What’s more, it’s unnecessary in a properly maintained pool. Most experts agree that you only need to drain a pool every three to seven years, depending on the level of regular maintenance and the quality of the water used to top-off the pool level. To conserve water and save costs, only drain your pool only when necessary.

To keep the water in your pool or hot tub balanced, consider a pHin smart monitor. This little device constantly monitors your water and automatically sends you the exact chemicals you need to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. If you need someone to service your equipment or look for leaks and cracks, Pool Service on Demand instantly connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Your Guide to Opening Your Swimming Pool

Your Guide to Opening Your Swimming Pool

With parts of the country still experiencing snow and freezing temperatures, the thought of opening your pool may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, the warm temperatures of spring arrive before you know it, and they wreak havoc on your pool. It makes sense to prepare for swim season early.

When the weather warms up into the 70’s or warmer, using the following guidelines to walk you through opening your pool for the new swim season.

Step 1: Clean the Cover

If you use a winter pool cover, the first step is clearing it of debris and standing water.

For a significant amount of water, use a submersible cover pump. However, do not set it in place and walk away. You need to stop the pump while a small amount of water remains on the cover; otherwise, your pump can burn out. Unless you want to dump a bunch of debris-filled water into your pool, do not remove the cover with standing water on it.

To remove debris, use your pool brush, skimmer net, or a leaf blower.

Step 2: Remove and Clean the Pool Cover

Once you clear the cover, remove it from the pool. Next, lay it flat on the ground and wash it, using a mild soap, water, and soft brush or cloth. Before storing the cover for the swim season, allow it to dry completely.

Step 3: Check and Adjust the Water Level

Check the pool’s water level. Ideally, it reaches the midway point on the skimmer. If it’s too low, add water using your garden hose.

Step 4: Reconnect the Plumbing

If you installed winter plugs, go ahead and remove them now. Don’t be worried if you see air bubbles, as they just mean that you did a good job clearing the lines when you closed the pool for winter.

Step 5: Reinstall Your Accessories

If you removed your an automatic pool cleaner, diving board, ladder, slide, or any other pool accessories, reinstall them now. To protect them from rusting, take the time to lubricate the bolts first.

Step 6: Replace the Pump Parts

Replace the drain plugs on your pump. If it has a multiport valve, you also need to replace the air bleeder, pressure gauge, and sight glass before turning the valve to Filter. Finally, look at the housing’s o-ring. If you see damage, such as cracking, replace it.

Step 7: Clean the Filter

You want to clean the filter before switching on the pump. If it’s a cartridge filter, remove it and wash it with the garden hose. You need to take apart a D.E. filter to clean it, and then reassemble it. If you have a sand filter, set the pump to backwash to clean it and then return it to the normal setting.

Step 8: Turn It On

It is now time to turn your pump back on, check for leaks, and make sure it pulls in water. If the pump doesn’t pull in water, priming it should help. Shut off the system and take off the lid. Fill the housing with water, close the lid again, and turn the pump back on.

Step 9: Clean the Pool

Grab your skimmer net and pool brush. First, skim any debris from the water’s surface. Next, thoroughly brush the pool, starting at the tile line and brushing straight down toward the drain.

Step 10: Check the Chemicals and Shock It

Take a water sample and check the chemical balance, adding the requisite chemicals. It’s also a good idea to shock the pool when you first open it. Then, let the pump run for 24 hours, vacuum it again, and retest the chemistry.

When to Open Your Pool

Unfortunately, climate differences across the country make it impossible to provide a definitive date on which to open your pool. Instead, we recommend paying attention to the weather in your area and opening your pool once temperatures regularly hit 70 degrees or warmer.

This is not your guideline for swim season, unless you have a heated pool. However, even though 70-degree days aren’t warm enough for swimming, those temperatures do promote algae growth. If your filter and pump aren’t running, the result is a green, swampy mess.

Another challenge once the weather warms is pollen, since warming temperatures indicate that plant growth is in full swing. Again, with your pump running, that pollen cycles through no problem. Without it, swamp time.

3 Lesser-Known Signs That Your Pool Water Is Out Of Balance

3 Lesser-Known Signs That Your Pool Water Is Out Of Balance

How do you know if your swimming pool is just a little gross, or a real health hazard?

Signs Your Water is Out of Balance

There are obvious, common signs we all know alerting you that the water in your pool or hot tub may be out of balance. These signs include strong signals such as a green mess of algae or the strong, burning aroma of too much chlorine. Then there are other signs that are not so obvious, but simple to catch if you are aware! Here are 3 lesser-known signals to watch for.

1) Cloudy or discolored water

Cloudy or discolored water is one of the first signs that the right amounts of chemicals aren’t in the pool.

2) Frequently adding water

It is important to keep an eye out for leaks. If you find yourself adding water to your pool frequently, that can dilute your pool water chemistry and eventually damage the plumbing.

3) Clear or pink slime

Look out for any clear or pink slime, especially if you use a garden hose to add water to your pool. A hose is the perfect environment for nasty slime to develop and filling your pool with a hose will transfer it right into your pool.

Damage to the Pool

Obviously no one wants to swim in cloudy, discolored or slimy water. The pools at the Rio Olympics turned bright green when the wrong chemicals were added, mixed with chlorine, and allowed algae to grow overnight. Unbalanced pool water like that is pretty gross to swim in and it can damage the pool itself, leaving stains on the pool’s surfaces or causing corrosion in the plumbing, as well as to any ladders, handrails, or pumps. And that can lead to costly repairs in the future.

If you want to avoid all of these hassles and 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 the exact chemicals you need to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand instantly connects you to local, qualified pool techs.