FAQ’s

 

The following recommendations are offered to help you become a more knowledgeable consumer.
It is our belief that knowledgeable consumers make better service purchasing decisions.
Pool Cleaning Maintenance Service 101

1. Take the time to learn about the service you are considering purchasing.
2. Ask for the advice of local experts.
3. What should the service cost?
4. What is typically included in the service?
5. What level of training is typically required and is the service a licensed service by your state contractor’s
    license board?

6. Does the service provider offer references? Check them out!
7. For services above $1,000.00: work out payment schedules that you can monitor and see so that you pay
    as the work progresses.

 


 

Pool Cleaning and Maintenance Services

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

POOL CAPACITY KNOWLEGE

Do you know how many gallons of water are in your pool? Any discussion about chemical additions requires that you know the approximate gallons of water in your pool. Knowing the capacity of your pool (in terms of approximate gallons) is mandatory if chemical additions are to be made correctly. To assist in calculating the approximate gallons of water in your pool, please look at the image below of the pool industry-endorsed formulas based on the shape of your pool:

FREE FORM OR IRREGULAR SHAPES Consult with the pool professional that built your pool, as they may have the dig diagrams or spec sheets on file that list the total gallons. If they do not have the information on file or if they are out of business, call the local pool professional that you currently use; they will be able to offer a formula based on your specific free form or irregular shape pool and its specific dimensions (length, width and depth) in order to help you calculate the total gallons of your pool.poolfaqimage
Here is a listing of the common chemicals associated with swimming pool use:CHLORINE:

The most widely-used chemical that pool owners use to kill bacteria, living organisms, ammonia, and any other contaminates (such as dirt, debris, and algae spores) that are in pool water. The two most common forms of chlorine used by pool owners are granular chlorine (whose scientific name is “Dichlor”) and chlorine tablets (whose scientific name is “Trichlor”). Chlorine tablets come in two sizes: 1″ tablets and 3″ tablets. It is O.K. to let Chlorine tablets float in front of skimmer, but not in the skimmer, this is to prevent a build up of muriatic acid as thechlorine pucks dissolve when pump is not operating
( 6% muriatic acid to 94 % Chlorine)

CYANURIC ACID:

Chlorine, by itself, is susceptible to being destroyed by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Cyanuric Acid, which is typically packaged and sold as either “Conditioner” or “Stabilizer” will protect chlorine from being destroyed by the sun. Although both granular chlorine and chlorine tablets contain Cyanuric Acid as an ingredient, the amount contained is merely a trace. Therefore, the periodic addition of Cyanuric Acid (“Conditioner” or “Stabilizer”) will be necessary. Cyanuric Acid is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), as well as other precautions; you should not BACKWASH your (sand or DE) filter for at least 48 hours after adding Cyanuric Acid. Cyanuric Acid is NOT used with Bromine or any other of the alternatives to chlorine.

BROMINE:

An alternative to chlorine that pool owners use to kill bacteria, living organisms, ammonia, and any other contaminates (such as dirt, debris, or algae spores) that are in pool water. Bromine does come in granular form, but by far, the most common form of bromine is the tablet. The main reason that bromine is not chosen as often as chlorine in pools is that it is fairly expensive. Bromine’s niche is with spas (hot tubs), as it is more stable than chlorine in the hotter water temperatures that are associated with spa use.

ALTERNATIVES TO CHLORINE:

There are numerous alternatives to chlorine. In addition to bromine, some other popular alternatives include Bacquacil, mineral systems, chlorine generators (which produce chlorine from salts), iodine, and flourine. Since over 90% of pool owners use chlorine or bromine (with the dominant percent still being chlorine), they will merit mention. Many of these alternatives have elicited superior results immediately, but they still do not merit significant mention until they pass the ultimate test-the test of time. Although iodine and flourine have been around for some time, the frequency of their use is limited. If you have chosen one of these (or any other) alternatives, then go visit the pool professionals that sold you the alternative. They should have complete documentation of support materials to assist you and answer all your questions.

OZONE:

Ozone is not an “alternative” to chlorine. Rather, ozone is a “supplement” to be used with chlorine. Ozone alone cannot replace chlorine, but when used together, the two are quite effective. Ozone is also quite effective when used with bromine. Although somewhat popular in pools, ozone’s niche is with spas (hot tubs).

SHOCK:

Shocking a pool is mandatory with chlorine, bromine, or any other alternative. As a pool owner, you will become familiar with shocking your pool. Shock is a granular compound. If you use chlorine, you will want to predominantly use a chlorine-based shock (such as Calcium Hypochlorite or Lithium Hypochlorite). But, you can supplement your shock schedule with a non-chlorine shock periodically. If you use bromine, you will want to predominantly use a non-chlorine shock (such as Potassium Peroxymonosulfate). But, you can supplement your shock schedule with a chlorine-based shock periodically. If you use an alternative to chlorine (or bromine), then check with the pool professionals that sold you the alternative to assure that you are using the appropriate type of shock. There is controversy in the industry as to how often you should shock your pool-some say weekly, some say twice per month, some say monthly, and some say only as needed. We will analyze this controversial topic in detail in poolmanual.com. Read the instructions on the label for all pertinent application information.

pH DECREASER:

Used to lower pH and Alkalinity. The scientific name is Sodium Bisulfate. Sodium Bisulfate is typically packaged and sold as “pH Decreaser,” pH Down,” or “pH Minus.” Sodium Bisulfate is granular, and is commonly referred to as “dry acid” (as opposed to the liquid Muriatic Acid, which is an alternative to lowering pH and Alkalinity). Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions. Note: Sodium Bisulfate is also used to lower Alkalinity. There is no product that is packaged as an “Alkalinity Decreaser.”

MURIATIC ACID:

An alternative to lower pH and Alkalinity. Muriatic acid is in liquid form. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or poured straight from the bottle), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions. Be extra careful when handling muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is very corrosive and should never be applied to metal pipes in heaters etc.

ALKALINITY INCREASER:

Used to raise Alkalinity. The scientific name is Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium Bicarbonate is typically packaged and sold as “Alkalinity Increaser,” “Alkalinity Up,” or “Alkalinity Plus.” Sodium Bicarbonate is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time and other precautions.

pH INCREASER:

Used to raise pH. The Scientific name is Sodium Carbonate. Sodium Carbonate is typically packaged and sold as “pH Increaser,” “pH Up,” or “pH Plus.” Sodium Carbonate is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it must be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time and other precautions.

SODA ASH:

An alternative to raise pH. Like Sodium Carbonate (pH Increaser), Soda Ash is also granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be add (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the package), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time and other precautions.

HARDNESS INCREASER:

Used to raise Hardness levels. The scientific name is Calcium Chloride. Calcium Chloride is typically packaged and sold as “Hardness Increaser,” “Hardness Up,” or “Hardness Plus.” Calcium Chloride is granular. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or broadcast straight from the container), a maximum amount (per 10,000 gallons of water) that can be added at one time, and other precautions. Note: There is no product that is packaged and sold as a Hardness Decreaser. If your Hardness level is too high, you will have to drain your pool, either partially or completely, in order to lower the Hardness level.

ALGISTAT:

An optional chemical. Algistats are used to help prevent algae. Some pool owners will use an algistat in conjunction with their other mandatory chemicals in order to help prevent an algae outbreak. Algistats are typically packaged and sold as “Preventative Algaecide,” or “Maintenance Algaecide.” Algistats are liquid. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (most manufacturers of algistats recommend pouring it straight from the bottle) and other precautions.

ALGAECIDE:

An “as-needed” chemical. If algae does occur, Algaecides are used to help kill algae. The majority of algaecides are liquid, but some types do come in granular form. Once you determine the type of algae (green algae, mustard algae, or black algae), you can purchase the appropriate algaecide and begin the proper treatment. Then read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (most manufacturers of algaecides recommend pouring it straight from the bottle), and other precautions. Note: In conjunction with the algaecide, you will also need to use a chlorine-based shock and engage in a labor-intensive and time-consuming maintenance schedule to eliminate the algae.

CLARIFIER:An “as-needed” chemical. If water is cloudy, it may be due to thousands of small particles (bacteria, dirt, and other debris) that are suspended in the pool water. These particles are so small that they escape both the chemicals and the filter. If this is the case, a Clarifier is used to restore water clarity. Clarifiers are liquid. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or poured straight from the bottle), and if it should be added before or after shocking the pool; clarifiers are often used in conjunction with shock to restore water clarity.
METAL SEQUESTERING AGENT:

An “as-needed” chemical. Metal Sequestering Agents can either be liquid or granular. Metal Sequestering Agents are used to treat odd tints to the color of the pool water, stains, or the formation of scale. These odd tints, stains, and scale can either result from the minerals that are present in the tap water that is used to fill the pool (such as copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, or calcium) or result from poor water chemistry. If an odd tint, any stains, or the formation of scale are present, the condition can easily be rectified by re-attaining and maintaining proper water chemistry and by using a Metal Sequestering Agent, which will rid the water of these excess minerals. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (either diluted in water or poured/broadcast straight from the bottle/container) and other precautions. Issues such as “minerals,” “the presence of metals,” “odd tints,” “stains” and “scale” cause much confusion.

ENZYME CLEANER:

An “as-needed” chemical. Enzyme cleaners are liquid. Enzymes are used to breakdown and eliminate the water line (also called the water ring or scum ring) that is often seen just above the surface of the water. Products such as suntan lotions, underarm deodorants, and women’s make-up, as well as body oils and dirt, can attach to the pool walls (just above the surface of the water) to cause this water line. The Enzyme cleaner will react with these products, body oils, and dirt to break them down into their simplest state-liquid-in order to eliminate the water line. Read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add, how it should be added (most manufacturers of Enzyme cleaners recommend pouring it straight from the bottle) and other precautions. Typically, foam will appear immediately after adding an Enzyme cleaner. This foam is okay-it signals that the enzymes are reacting with the water line to break it down into the liquid state for removal. Many pool owners wisely implement an Enzyme cleaner in their routine maintenance schedule.

DEFOAMER:

An “as-needed” chemical. De-foamer is actually a rarely used chemical. De-foamer is liquid. As the name dictates, De-foamer will eliminate foam from the pool water. De-foamer is actually used more with spas (hot tubs).

FILTER CLEANER:

Filter Cleaners do not have a direct effect on water chemistry. They do, however, clean the filter, which does have a direct effect on water chemistry. Filter Cleaners can be liquid or granular. Make sure you purchase the specified Filter Cleaner for your filter. Then, read the instructions on the label to determine the amount to add and how it should be added. Note: since Filter Cleaners are less of a chemical and more of a cleaner, it is okay to pour a Filter Cleaner in the skimmer It is NEVER recommended to pour or place any chemical in the skimmer.

TILE AND VINYL CLEANER:

A cleaner to clean the walls (and tiles, if applicable) of concrete, gunite, shotcrete, or fiberglass pools, and to clean liners of vinyl-liner pools. This product is fairly effective for eliminating light dirt, discolorations or stains. The product is safe to mix with your pool water. But, if the pool structure (walls or floor) of any type of pool is extremely dirty, discolored or stained, then contract your local pool professionals and pay them perform a drain and clean. Although a Drain and Clean is fairly expensive, it really is an investment versus a service call.

(SOLAR) COVER CLEANER:

A cleaner used to clean off your solar cover. If purchased, the cleaner should be applied quarterly and prior to storage. To be honest, we at poolmanual.com would not purchase this product. If you want to clean your solar cover, lay it on the concrete, spray it with your garden hose, brush it with your telepole and pool brush, rinse it off again, and put it back on the pool. Even this is more work than you have to do. If you do use the product, read the instructions on the label before applying. NOTE: Never lay your solar cover on the grass; it will take no time at all for the sun to penetrate the cover and burn your grass.

(WINTER) COVER CLEANER:

A cleaner used to clean off your winter cover. This is obviously only used by those pools in climates that require their pool to be winterized. To be honest, we at poolmanual.com would not purchase this product. If you spray off your winter cover with a hose and a pressurized nozzle, brush it with your telepole and pool brush, rinse it off again, allow it to dry, and store it properly, you will not have to worry about mold or mildew growing on your winter cover. If you do use the product, read the instructions on the label before applying.

ANY OTHER CHEMICAL:

The above listed chemicals are chemicals that you are most likely to see on the shelves of your local pool professionals. Many of these chemicals you will use daily and weekly. Others will be used only when needed.A reliable experienced swimming pool maintenance service technician should perform the following on a weekly basis:  If you decide to maintain your own pool, follow the steps below:A routine maintenance schedule must be actively pursued in order to help achieve and maintain water chemistry. Initially, pool maintenance may seem complicated and time-consuming. But, once routine maintenance becomes an integrated part of your life as a pool owner, it will be very easy to maintain your pool. Furthermore, as you continually engage in pool maintenance, you will begin to develop an understanding of your personal pool needs.   If it is a cartridge filter, then rinse the individual pleated filter elements with a garden hose and a pressurized nozzle.

Once your pool is clean, clear, blue, and sparkling, it becomes much easier to maintain. It is always easier to maintain a pool and prevent problems than it is to rectify problems. With far less time and effort, as well as money, you can maintain your pool and keep it inviting all season long. Due to varying bather loads from pool-to-pool and varying climates from region-to-region, poolmanual.com cannot provide a universal maintenance schedule. You must recognize your personal pool needs and you must budget your time in order to follow a routine maintenance schedule that works best for you and your pool. Poolmanual.com will provide the necessary maintenance tasks that do need to be pursued.

While it is not absolutely mandatory to follow these procedures step-by-step, the following is a well-recognized pool maintenance schedule, regardless of your region:

• Test water – but do not add chemicals until the maintenance schedule for that day is complete.
• Use your net(s) – remove all leaves and other large debris from the pool.
• Use your brush – remove dirt, or perhaps algae, stains, or scale from the pool walls and floor.
• Clean all baskets – for the skimmer(s) and the pump.
• Vacuum – remove any settled and remaining dirt, leaves or other debris from the pool.
• Clean the filter – if it is a sand filter or a DE filter, then backwash.
• Add the necessary chemical(s) – from the test(s) taken earlier that day.
• Shock regularly