5 Tips for A Safe Pool Season

All pool owners need to have a safety plan, whether for monitoring the pool or ensuring proper water balance. In recognition of National Water Safety Month, the pHin team put together tips to brush up on pool safety for a safe season this year:

1.            Practice Swimming Skills

Basic swimming skills are needed before jumping into any body of water including pools, oceans, and lakes. The American Red Cross recommends mastering a few basic skills before swimming: before taking a swim, you should be able to enter water that is over your head and return to the surface, tread water for at least one minute, swim 25 yards, and exit the water.

2.             Establish A Protection Plan

When children are in the water, parents should be vigilant with no distractions, and stay no more than an arm’s length away from the child while they swim. If an emergency occurs, be prepared to help by knowing the signs of drowning, enrolling in CPR training, and always paying close attention to all swimmers in the pool.

3.             Know Your Limits

Take extra precautions, even if you don’t plan on going for a swim. Swimmers should know their physical limitations; don’t overexert yourself or get stuck in a situation that your body can’t handle. It’s also a good idea to save the cocktails for after the swim, to make sure you are alert aware and smart around water.

4.            Use Protection in and Around Water

Set up a game plan with your family for pool time. All pools should have a fence or some type of barrier surrounding them to prevent anybody from getting in the area without adult or pool owner supervision, and it’s a good idea to teach young children to ask permission before they jump in. Children and other inexperienced swimmers should also use life jackets or flotation devices when entering the water. Keep a first aid kit and phone in your pool area for quick access if an emergency occurs.

5.            Invest in Proper Pool Equipment

If your pool equipment isn’t functioning properly, you might run into some safety issues. Check if your pool cover is in good working order and ensure that your pool has proper drain covers. Check your water balance regularly to make sure it’s safe for swimming. While chemicals can be confusing, technology like pHin helps eliminate the guesswork. pHin floats in your pool water and constantly measures the water’s balance while providing real-time alerts if the pool is not safe for swimming.

During National Water Safety Month, the pHin team wishes all a safe and fun swim!

The Ultimate Pool Opening and Closing Checklist

Opening and closing a swimming pool can be a challenge — even for a veteran pool owner. It’s easy to forget tasks, so we recommend having a checklist of all your pool opening and closing must-dos to avoid finding yourself scrambling to get everything done.

To save time, use our pool care checklist:

How To Open Your Pool:

●             Remove the pool cover. First, clear off any debris that has accumulated on the cover using a broom or leaf blower. To keep it clean year-round, plan to use your hose, a pool brush, and some dish soap to scrub the cover every three to six months to increase the lifespan of your cover and ensure that it continues to protect your pool from debris.

●             Vacuum and clean your pool. If you have a very dirty pool, the best option is to use a manual pool vacuum, or there are adapters available for ShopVacs. For pools that are in good, clean condition, automatic pool cleaners are a great option. There are a few different types of automatic pool cleaners, suction side cleaners, pressure side vacuums, and robotic cleaners, each picking up different size debris. After it’s vacuumed, scrub the water line to remove any calcium build-up and stains.

●             Refresh and fill your water. There is a lot of debate about if — and how often — you should replace the water in your pool. We recommend checking your water level and chemical balance when you open the pool. If you properly manage your chemical levels and follow regular maintenance rules, you shouldn’t have to completely replace the water, just simply add water when levels get low. When you open your pool, check your pH and total alkalinity before and after you bring the pool back to its full water level. The chemical densities will change along with the water level so it’s important to make sure that you are monitoring levels in real time. An automated smart water monitoring system like pHin by Hayward makes it incredibly easy to get accurate measurements so you can tweak your chemicals while you refill your pool for the season.

●             Test and adjust chemical levels. Whether you use chlorine, bromine, or saltwater, you must test the pH and alkaline levels before swimming. You could take samples and test manually — but if you want to make it easy, a smart water monitor will do the work for you. A smart water monitor like pHin tests your chemical levels over 1,000 times per week and sends an alert to your phone when you need to make an adjustment. You’ll always know when you need to add chemicals, balance or shock your pool so it’s ready to enjoy the minute you are.

How To Close Your Pool

●             Lower the water level. Reduce the amount of water in your pool during the off-season to avoid problems with groundwater and freezing temperatures. The amount of water you drain will depend on winter temperatures where you live and the type of pool you have. If you live in a colder climate, you should drain the water 4 to 6 inches below the tile line in order to avoid the risk of damage from frozen water. If you’re in a milder climate, you just need to make sure the pool water temperature is below 65 degrees to avoid algae growth, but you probably don’t need to drain any water.

●             Test and adjust chemical levels. Before you close your pool for the winter, check and adjust all of your chemicals so you don’t end up with a complicated science experiment when you’re ready to start using your pool in the spring. Check your pH, water hardness and alkalinity and make sure they’re in the correct range.

●                   pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6

●                   Water hardness should be between 175 and 225

●                   Alkalinity should be between 80 and 125 ppm.

●             Check and clean filters. Making sure that your filters are clean and functional helps ensure that your pool is clean and safe. Filters help remove debris, dirt, calcium, and oils that can make your pool water cloudy and dirty, but they need to be cleaned regularly to function properly. Clean filters in the spring and the fall for safe water, and this will also help preserve the lifespan of your pool equipment, pumps, and filtration systems. There are different types of filters and the method for cleaning each is a little different but having clean filters will help ensure that your pool is clean and also helps the chemicals maintain proper balance.

Learning how to open and close a pool is a challenge for many pool owners, but smart pool owners use tools that make it easier. We hope that this checklist and the pHin Smart Monitor make opening and closing easier so you can enjoy your pool!

Rookie Pool Owner Solves the Water Care Equation with pHin

With pHin, a Texas family went from having green to crystal-clear pool water with less than half the work.

Experienced pool and hot tub owners know that it’s easy for water to get off balance. Whether from a heavy rainfall or a missed dose of shock, keeping a pool safe for swimming is an important chore. But new, inexperienced pool owners can mistakenly end up with green water if they’re relying only on complicated test strips and charts.

Aaron Richardson quickly learned the challenges of pool water care when he rented a Texas home with a 13,000 gallon pool. The owner provided basic pool care instructions: Throw two tablets in the skimmer and check the water quality weekly with color test strips. After following the original instructions to the letter, Aaron’s pool water quickly turned green. “I can read tables and do math, but the traditional pool care process is overcomplicated,” said Aaron.

Texas summers are hot. Not only was Aaron’s family unable to cool down with a swim, but he also had to scrub the pool each day in 103 degree heat. “We looked at getting a pool service, but it was expensive at about $1,200,” said Aaron. His family also needed a less  time-consuming alternative that would help them keep the water safe for swimming. Seeking a cost-effective solution, Aaron found the pHin Smart Monitor while searching online. The $350 device is Wi-Fi connected and designed to float in the pool — taking over 1,000 measurements a week. Paired with the subscription service, pHin measures sanitizer, temperature, and pH levels in the pool water, sending results and dosage instructions to the user on the pHin smartphone app.

“When we started with pHin, it told us everything we needed to do, including shocking,” commented Aaron. Instead of relying on traditional test strips and complicated charts, Aaron used the exact chemical doses from pHin. Once starting with the instructions, he was able to quickly balance the pool water. “After the first few dosing instructions, I went from scrubbing the pool every day to between ten days to two weeks.”

pHin helped make the difference whether it was pool chores or pool parties. At the end of the summer, Aaron’s family planned a Labor Day pool party for their family and friends. To prepare, a simple check on the pHin app showed that the water quality was “in the blue” — perfect for swimming. The pHin Smart Monitor also made it easy for Aaron to check the water balance after the party, simply adding the prescribed chemicals as needed. Instead of spending time with test strips and complicated charts, pHin makes dosage easy and manageable in Aaron’s day-to-day life, “I can even toss shock in while I’m walking out to my car,” he said.

 

Since using pHin for pool care, Aaron can relax and enjoy a swim after work instead of scrubbing the pool. “I’m a new pool user, and it couldn’t be easier to use pHin,” he said. “After pHin, I had a crystal clear pool with much less effort.”

To learn about the pHin Smart Monitor, visit phin.co.

How to Get New Pool Water in Safe Swimming Condition

Congratulations! You have a new pool! Whether it’s a fiberglass pool, vinyl liner pool or concrete pool, you will want to get the water perfectly balanced before you do your first cannonball. This process will take two to three weeks.

(This post How to Get New Pool Water in Safe Swimming Condition first appeared on SFGate.)

Things You Will Need

  • Nylon pool brush
  • Water test kit
  • Baking soda
  • Muriatic acid
  • Sequestering agent
  • Chlorine

Steps:

  1. Turn on the pool pump and filtration system. Allow it to run continuously until the pool is clean and the chemicals are balanced.
  2. Test the pool water for pH, chlorine and total alkalinity. A variety of test kits are available at any pool store.
  3. Adjust the pH until it is between 6.8 and 7.2. Bring up a low pH rating by adding baking soda or lower a high pH with muriatic acid diluted in water. These chemicals also affect the total alkalinity, which should be between 70 and 80. Ensure that both pH and total alkalinity are within the desired parameters.
  4. Add a sequestering agent according to package directions. Sequestering agents suspend metal particles in solution and help to prevent staining or scaling.
  5. Allow two days for the pool balance to settle. Keep the pump running and test the pool water daily.
  6. Add chlorine until the chlorine level is between 1.0 and 2.0. Although some sources allow chlorine levels as high as 3.5, this may be irritating to skin and eyes. Allow 24 hours for the pool chemicals to stabilize.
  7. Raise the pH to between 7.2 and 7.8. The ideal pH is 7.4 to 7.6, but slight leeway is acceptable. Raising the pH will raise the total alkalinity, which should read between 80 and 120 in concrete pools and 125 to 170 in vinyl, fiberglass or painted pools.

Tips

  • As you’re conditioning the new water, brush all parts of the pool twice per day with a nylon brush. Pay particular attention to corners and crevices where dust and debris hide. Continue brushing twice per day until the pool chemicals are balanced and the pool is ready for swimming.
  • Use a manual pool skimmer daily to remove floating debris.
  • Wait 30 days to turn on a salt-based cleaning system, turn on a pool heater or begin using a pool vacuum. Wait 21 days before installing an automatic pool cleaner. The waiting period gives the pool’s finish time to cure, avoiding possible damage.
  • Consider adding an algaecide after all other pool chemicals are balanced. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper amount to add and how long to wait before swimming.

Warnings

  • Pool chemicals are extremely caustic. Use gloves and goggles when handling chemicals. Wear old clothes and avoid adding chemicals during windy conditions. Tightly seal chemical containers and store them away from pets and children.
  • Do not “shock” or overchlorinate the pool except under the guidance of a professional.

(This post How to Get New Pool Water in Safe Swimming Condition first appeared on SFGate.)

 

Here’s two final things to keep in mind, from pHin’s resident water chemist, Christian Ballard elaborates:

  • Monitoring the water chemistry at least once per day for the first two to three weeks is crucial to preserving the surface and related plumbing and equipment. (Emphasis for cementitious (plaster/pebble, etc.) on the importance of brushing at least twice daily.)
  • The surface is curing for up to 21 – days and lots of dusting and various minerals rise to the surface of the finish. Very important to disrupt the dust by brushing to prevent buildup and blemishes.

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.

Mid-winter Pool Check: Is Your Pool Balanced?

You packed away the pool toys and haven’t washed a swimsuit in months. Your pool is the last thing on your mind. Before you let this no-maintenance approach drag all the way through to spring, remember this: You will want to swim in your pool again, and sooner than you think!

Sure, when the water feels like something only a polar bear would love, it’s hard to envision fun in the sun and lounging poolside. However, summer is just around the corner. A little TLC now makes opening your pool a breeze, and may save you some money to boot.

Check the Pool Cover First

Clear the debris from your pool cover, using either brush or air blower to get rid of twigs, leaves, branches, and anything else that is littering the cover. Your goal is keeping these items from slipping into the water (the whole reason you have the cover to begin with).

You may clear away standing water and snow, but leave ice alone. The ice does less damage to the cover than your attempts to clear it away do.

Look at the cover for damage. Patch anything you can. If repairs are beyond your abilities, look at repositioning the cover (if possible) to arrange damaged areas closer to the pool’s edge.

Check the water level once the cover is clear. It needs to be below the skimmer box, and it definitely should not reach the top of the edge of your pool. The cover should protect the pool water from evaporation, but a slightly lower level is normal. However, if the level drops significantly, you may have a leak.

Finally, perform a water chemistry test, looking at alkalinity, calcium, and pH, and make any necessary adjustments.

Balancing the Pool Water

Even during winter months, your pool’s water chemistry fluctuates. Temperatures rise and fall; even with a cover in place, foreign items find their way into your pool.

Balanced chemistry does more than make the water safe for swimmers; it also protects your pool, as well as its components and equipment. You run the risk of staining the surface and calcium buildup when you fail to maintain proper chemical balance. This means ensuring proper alkalinity, calcium hardness, and pH levels.

Total Alkalinity

Alkalinity relates to your pH level, and measures all alkaline substances, including bicarbonates and hydroxides. Ideal alkalinity helps your pool water fight pH variations.

For a concrete or gunite pool, shoot for an alkalinity level between 80 and 120 ppm. Vinyl, fiberglass, and painted pools require 125 to 170 ppm. If alkalinity is low, add a base such as sodium bicarbonate. With high alkalinity, lower it with acid.

Water Calcium

Water contains calcium carbonate, and high levels result in “hard” water. When water contains excess calcium and magnesium, it attempts to get rid of these excess minerals.

If you have hard water, you see evidence of this throughout your home: the white deposits at the end of faucets, the buildup in showers and bathtubs. This same buildup occurs in your pool, on tiles, ladders, and pool lights. When water is extremely hard, it forms little clumps of these calcium magnesium crystals.

Too little calcium is hardly better, as your pool water attempts to find what it’s missing from your pool, such as the plaster. Shoot for a range between 200 and 400 ppm. Reduce calcium by adding more water to the pool. Increase it with calcium chloride.

Water pH

Your pool water’s pH tells you how acidic it is, with 7.0 being neutral. Numbers below 7.0 indicate acidic, while above 7.0 represents alkaline (also known as basic) water. Any item entering your pool affects its pH level.

To change the pH of your pool, you need to add either an increaser (base) or decreaser (acid) to reach the ideal pH level of 7.4, although the range of 7.2 to 7.6 is acceptable.

If your pH test reveals a number below 7.0, prevent corrosion by adding base. If the level tops 7.8, adding acid helps prevent calcium buildup on the filter and tile. It also helps keep the water clear and improves the effectiveness of your chlorine.

Although you may not use your pool in the winter, it is important to keep the water healthy. Once a pool gets out of balance, it’s a lot harder and more expensive to get it balanced again. Keep it healthy, make your pool happy.

Maintaining Your Pool and Hot Tub Year-Round

The easiest way to maintain proper balance year-round is with 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.

How Unhealthy Pool Water Can Spell Disaster for Your Wallet

How Unhealthy Pool Water Can Spell Disaster for Your Wallet

Proper maintenance of your pool or hot tub is fundamental to ensuring the health and safety of those who use it. Avoiding murky water, algae bloom build-up, and pH imbalance is a difficult, and often confusing process. The basic chemical components involved in keeping your water healthy are a sanitizer, pH adjusters, shock and a mineral purifier that prevents algae growth. Additionally, knowing when, where, and how to apply these chemicals to your pool can be a real challenge, especially when there might be eager swimmers waiting to dive in.

Preventative maintenance is particularly important in keeping your pool or hot tub in a healthy state. Neglecting the chemical balance of a pool can be detrimental to its health. Inaction can exacerbate existing water safety issues and lead to extremely high costs associated with remedying the condition of the pool water later on. Abnormally high or low temperatures can further complicate this already arduous process, as compensation for unusual temperature conditions requires additional chemical adjustment. Ultimately, maintaining your pool properly can be a laborious process.

Out-of-Balance Water, Out-of-Pocket Expense

Common pool care mistakes can substantially reduce the lifespan of your pool. According to an CNBC article, they may cut it by as much as 50%! Not to mention the cost to replace the damaged equipment or fix the pool itself. For example, a heater attacked by corrosive, acidic water can cost over $2,000 to replace. Resurfacing your pool can cost $4,000 and more to replace. A pool or hot tub with a high pH can create a scale-forming water condition, which can cause rough surfaces from the mineral deposits coming out of solution and scale deposits building up in the plumbing and equipment. Again, this can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to remedy.

A Well-Maintained Pool Gives You Peace of Mind…And Your Wallet A Break

Typically, pool or hot tub care is a demanding and equally exhausting experience. If not maintained properly, a pool can end up harming swimmers as well as the pool owner’s wallet. Preventative care is necessary to escape the hardship of an unhealthy and imbalanced pool. Luckily, pHin is here to help. pHin monitors your water chemistry and temperature 24/7 so you don’t have to. It notifies your smartphone when action is needed and even tells you how to keep your water perfectly balanced all year long.

pHin chemical subscription members can enjoy the added convenience of single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door so you can only add what you need. Your Starter box comes with the smart monitor, free mobile app, wireless bridge and even a mineral purifier* to reduce the amount of chemicals needed to balance your water. Just the mineral purifier alone retails for over $60. Our pool experts estimate that using the pHin smart water care solution with its unique chemical delivery membership can can help you save 1/3 of your annual cost.**

ORDER YOUR pHin NOW!

*Pool subscription members only.

**Estimate is based on annual pHin monitoring, recommendations and door-to-door chemical delivery for chlorine pools. Your estimated savings will depend on which pHin solution you choose.