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.

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.

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!

Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Heaters

A natural gas heater is an efficient way to heat your pool or hot tub all year round. Even during the summer, outdoor temperatures might not stay high enough for long enough to keep your pool’s water warm without the help of a heater. Ideal for cooler climates and those that want their pool or hot tub heated quickly, natural gas heaters also work well when paired with solar heating or pools that don’t need to be heated often. While a natural gas heater is always a viable option, there are some disadvantages, so you should consult a pool professional before making any final decisions. A professional can help you determine what size and type of heater will work best for you.

How Natural Gas Heaters Work

As the pump circulates water from the pool, the water it draws from the pool. Next, it passes through the filter and makes its way to the heater. Gas burns in the heater’s combustion chamber. The water heats as it passes over this chamber and the hot water returns to the pool.

Natural gas heaters are ideal for heating pools for a short period of time and work great when you want to heat a pool quickly. These heaters are ideal for pools that are not used regularly, as gas pool heaters can help to maintain any desired temperature regardless of weather or climate conditions.

Pros of a Natural Gas Heater

  • Convenience: If you have access to a natural gas service, then getting the fuel to your heater is far easier than if you chose propane. Natural gas enters through a permanently fixed line and there is always more available.
  • Speed: If quick heating is what you need, then look no further than a natural gas heater. Unlike electric, solar, or heat pumps, natural gas burns quickly, making it a faster way to heat up your water. Gas heaters are especially effective if you don’t use your pool on a regular basis (since it heats the water quickly there is less need for prep time) or if you are trying to heat a smaller body of water, like a spa or hot tub.
  • Maintenance: Natural gas heaters generate enough heat to warm your pool in a short amount of time, so they don’t have to run as often or as long as some other heating methods, resulting in fewer problems due to wear and tear or consistent use. If you want a heater that requires little maintenance, then a natural gas heater is perfect for you.
  • Cost: While an electric heater or a heat pump may need to be turned on aseveral hours in advance, a natural gas heater only needs about 30 minutes for a typical hot tub or to simply raise the temperature a few degrees in a typical backyard swimming pool. This saves a considerable amount of money through reduced energy usage.

Cons of a Natural Gas Heater

  • Energy Efficiency: While natural gas heaters are more efficient than electric heaters, this does not mean that they are the most efficient way to heat your pool or spa. Solar heaters and heat pumps use the sun and recirculated warm air respectively to heat your pool or spa, making them the more energy efficient options when it comes to heaters. That does not mean you cannot get an energy efficient natural gas heater. Look for one with an efficiency rating of 89 to 95 percent according to energy.gov.
  • Purchase and Install Price: Gas heaters are incredibly efficient when it comes to heating your pool or spa and so might seem like the perfect choice for you, but there are some expenses to running a natural gas heater. In addition to installation and any initial purchase costs, you need to run pipe underground to provide a natural gas source for the heater’s furnace. If a natural gas source or pipe is not close to the pool equipment pad area itself, the cost can be prohibitive.
  • Rising Fuel Prices: Oil and gas prices fluctuate, meaning that operating your natural gas heater will not always cost the same. In the colder months, when oil and gas prices are usually at their highest, the cost of heating your pool can increase as much as 30 to 40 percent.
  • Repair and Replacement: Natural gas heaters are more susceptible to corrosion if your pool water is unbalanced. The amount of use your natural gas heater gets, in addition to outdoor temperatures and desired water temperature, determines how long the heater will last. Most natural gas heaters last about five years before requiring service or maintenance.

To ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced year round, 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.