Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use my left over chemicals for the next season?
It is not recommended to store chemicals on your property from year to year to use in the next season. Chemicals do expire, and lose their potency. In addition, you need to be concerned about properly chemical storage and protecting people from possible chemical exposure. If you intend to disposes of chemicals, do not dispose of chemicals in the household trash or down any drains or toilets. You can ask your pool professional to remove and properly dispose of any leftover chemicals, as well as purchase new ones at the next season’s start.
How often do I need to test my pool water?
Commercial pools need to follow bathing code regulations for how often water needs to be tested. However, you may need to test more often if your bather load dictates. For residential pools, it is recommended to test at least twice a week, and always after parties. It is best to have a chemical feeder of some type to continuously feed your sanitizer and maintain proper levels.
How long do I have to wait to use my swimming pool after adding chemicals?
Generally it is safe to use your pool after chemicals have dispersed throughout the pool. Industry standards recommend one turnover which varies by state for commercial pools, usually between 6-8 hours. That is generally why chemical adjustments are typically done at night. Residential pools are between 8-12 hours.
Why should I get my pool inspected?
Just as you would hire an experienced, professional home inspector to inspect your home, you want to do the same with your pool. Currently, in the state of New Jersey, there is no licensing requirement for pool companies. But, that is going to be changing. Pool companies will be required different levels of certifications in order to perform different types of services, as well as building them. You want to make sure you select an inspector that can tell about the condition of operation of all the pool equipment, the safety equipment, the structural integrity and if they meet applicable codes and regulations.
Also, with pool inspections, be warned of those that tell you they can perform an inspection when the pool is in a closed or winterized state. When a pool is winterized properly, the lines will have been “blown out” and plugged to avoid winter freeze/thaw damage from pipes that contract and expand in the variable Northeast climate. (You know, one day it is 60 degrees and the next day it snows!) When the line is plugged, the system cannot be turned on to allow water to flow through the equipment (pump, filter, heater, chemical feeder, etc.) and piping. If water is not flowing through the system, the inspector would be unable to opine on the proper operation of the equipment and possible leaks.
What is causing Algae in my pool?
Algae need nutrients, sunlight and a place to grow. The best way to prevent algae is to maintain a proper sanitizer level and brush. Algae needs to have something to cling onto and grow. If you are consistently brushing, it will help prevent it from getting n those crevices and areas of poor circulation. Green algae is the most common and tends to make its presence known when we get a few days of high heat. Black algae shows up in areas of poor circulation like deep end corner, step corners and behind ladders. Yellow algae is a bit stubborn and resistant to chlorine. If you get yellow algae, be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions on the yellow algae product. And remember, algae can be transferred from pool to pool. If you are vacationing, make sure to clean your swimsuits well before taking them home.
How can I treat stains in my pool surface?
Your pool surface can be stained by many different sources including environmental sources (I.e., leaves, acorns, etc.), minerals (I.e., copper, iron, manganese, etc.), chlorine, improper water chemistry and more. The longer the stain stays on the surface, the harder it is to remove. For isolated surface stains can, you can try a stain treatment (always follow manufacturer’s directions). For more encompassing discoloration, an acid wash may help. An acid wash will also remove a layer of your pool plaster during the process. If you are going to use chlorine to treat a stain, please consult a pool professional.
For staining and build up on your tile line, there are tile cleansers that can be used (again follow manufacturer’s directions). On vinyl liner pools, the scum line and steps can be with non-abrasive cleaners. We have found that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is highly effective with cleaning stains on residential fiberglass steps.
Do I have a leak?
Evaporation in pools is a normal occurrence. It is typical to lose up to ½” of water a day from evaporation. If you think you have a leak, look for signs including overgrown patches of grass, multiple water stain level lines, bubbles from your returns, closed valves, missing or warped gaskets and more. You can perform a basic bucket test to see if you have a leak. Place a five gallon bucket on the second pool step and fill it to match the water level of the pool and leave it in place for 2-3 days. Be aware of that water will be lost from evaporation and gained from rain water but this will occur in both your pool and the bucket. Do not backwash during this time. If the pool level drops more than the bucket, then you have a leak and it is recommended to have leak detection performed.
How do I shock my pool?
The term “shock” is used in the pool industry as both a noun and a verb. When you want to buy “shock”, it is describing the sanitizer you use. This includes calcium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite and sodium hypochlorite. Pool stores will generally sell a small package of “shock” which is typically calcium hypochlorite flakes. When you need to “shock” the pool, you are raising your sanitizer level to 10 ppm. Whatever type of sanitizer you are using be sure to follow chemical precautions and wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, goggles and chemical masks. If you are going to shock, always add the chemical to the water and not the water to the chemical. Also, be aware that calcium generates a lot of heat when diluted. As a rule of thumb, it s recommended to shock pools at least once a week to oxidize bather waste, kill off any bacteria that may be growing and maintain your sanitizer level.
I knew you were coming so I drained the pool for you/turned the filter off/added chemicals/etc.
We love our homeowners, but please do not do any preemptive work on our behalf unless we specifically instruct you to do so. A vinyl pool requires water to keep the liner in place but if you are getting the liner replaced who cares right? Wrong. The water helps to protect the slopes and floors quite a bit and you could very likely buy yourself some additional floor repairs from draining early. Concrete pools should not be drained unless the ground water around the pool is controlled and you typically pull the hydrostatic relief valves during the course of the repair. Fiberglass pools should not ever be drained by the pool owner and doing so can cause permanent failure. Please let us do our job.
Chlorine level is too high; I can smell it!
When you are at an indoor facility and you smell the chlorine, the inclination is to think the chlorine is too high. But, what you actually smell are the nitrates, sulfates and bather waste that irritate eyes and the respiratory system as a result of combined chlorine. In this case, there is not enough chlorine. This is when breakpoint superchlorination needs to be performed.
How will I know if my pool is balanced?
Balanced water is happy water. When you water chemistry is not balanced, it will affect the operation of your pool, the condition of your equipment and surface and the swimming experience for your bathers. If the water is not balanced, it can lead to a lot of issues. Balanced water can protect the pool surface and pool equipment and provide a comfortable swimming environment for bathers.
- High pH: Scaling Water which causes clogged filters, clogged heater elements, reduced circulation, cloudy water, metal staining; Chlorine inefficiency; Eye/Skin Irritation
- Low pH: Corrosive Water which causes etching of pool/spa surface, corrosion of metals, staining of surface walls; Wrinkles in Vinyl Liners; Eye/Skin Irritation
- High Alkalinity: pH Lock – cloudy water, rough pool/spa surfaces, clogged filters, clogged heater elements, reduced circulation
- Low Alkalinity: pH bounce – etching of pool/spa surface, staining of surface walls, heater failure
- High Calcium Hardness: Scaling Water which causes rough pool/spa surfaces, clogged filters, cloudy water, clogged heater elements, reduced circulation, eye/skin irritation.
- Low Calcium Hardness: Corrosive Water – etching of pool/spa surfaces, heater failure. Water becomes aggressive seeking calcium from other sources including through the surface of the pool/spa.
- High Cyanuric Acid: Cloudy water, Affects alkalinity readings
- Low Cyanuric Acid: Cannot maintain a sanitizer effectively
I have a pool party this weekend; can you come service it tomorrow?
If you have an important event coming up and you plan to use your pool for this function you should be testing and preparing the pool weeks in advance. It is certainly understandable that your water can suddenly take a turn for the worse 24 hours before the party, but more commonly the pool is not currently balanced or clear, or requires extensive repairs. Leaving your pool to the last minute is a big mistake. If your pool is currently requiring repair then do not book a party until after it is fixed. If you want to have a pool party first thing in the year plan to open your pool and begin to balance the water a minimum of two weeks before the event. This will give you ample time to deal with any potential repairs that may have come up from a long winter season. If you suspect you will need a service technician be sure to call as early in the season as possible to schedule an appointment. During peak periods many pool professionals will be working sun up, to sun down, every day so you can end up waiting if you are too far down on the list.