Posts Tagged ‘Residential pools’

Managing Pool Water In Extreme Weather- Some Important Things To Know

Bob Russell | July 13, 2013 in Pool,Pool chemicals,Pool Service,Sanitizers,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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2013- A Summer of Extreme Sanitizer Demand-

 

Q: “How did I wind up with algae in my pool when my chlorine levels have been perfect!”

A: Chlorine demand is a term service providers use to describe a pool’s specific sanitizer requirements. It is a term we must consider in extreme weather- chlorine demand is a concept that helps us prevent pool water going from clean to green- something that can occur in a very short time during extreme weather conditions.

As the term implies, sanitizer requirements will vary. We tend to adjust our sanitizer feeder equipment to “normal” and forget about it. The purpose of this post is to help you understand when “normal” sanitizer settings will not maintain sanitary water- under certain extreme conditions a pool’s sanitizer level can drop from “ideal” to zero in an hour.

So far, this summer has included some of the most difficult “chlorine demand” challenges I have ever seen. The following events are examples of things that can dramatically change chlorine demand; my goal is to help you recognize when something is happening and prevent problems:

  1. Hot weather
  2. Heavy rain
  3. Wash-in: Heavy rainfall shedding off lawns and gardens can contaminate pool water with organic matter and fertilizers.
  4. Heavy bather load- such as one might see at a holiday party that features swimming.

The Perfect Storm: This summer has included some long periods of hot weather: we have experienced frequent heavy thunderstorms with local torrential rainfall; add to all this a holiday party around the pool and the “normal” sanitizer levels are overwhelmed. Once sanitizer levels drop to zero a pool water is no longer sanitary for bathing- under these conditions water can cloud quickly and develop significant algae problems- often clouding within 24 hours. Pool Owners should also realize that pool water doesn’t cloud immediately once sanitizer hits “zero”-  it is during this period that water- even though still clear,  should be considered a potential health concern.

One fairly common health issue associated with swimming in pool water without proper levels of sanitizer is an ear infection- nicknamed “swimmers ear.” Such health issues are easily avoided if you understand extreme “chlorine demand” events and conditions and take precautions.

Recognize “Chlorine Demand” and Make Adjustments: Here are some things you can do to prevent losing the use of your pool for a week (or longer)- this is about the length of time it can take to recover and clean up from an algae outbreak or clouded water:

  1. Test water more frequently as chlorine demand conditions rise. You will “see” your sanitizer disappearing when you test and be able to make some good decisions before water clouds. You don’t have to be a certified water chemist to know the condition and quality of your pool water. Consider purchasing some good quality dip strips- this 5-second test is easy and gives you early warning to head off cloudy water and algae before it happens.
  2. Inform your service provider if you are planning a party. There are preventive things that can be done to handle the increase in bathers. It may be as simple as adjusting sanitizer feeder upwards and monitoring levels periodically. Normally a service provider comes weekly and balances the water and sanitizer levels. The point of this post is to help you recognize events or conditions that occur between visits that may be having a big impact on the water.
  3. Recognize when a heavy downpour may have introduced garden or lawn material into your pool- Fertilizer not only ties up pool sanitizer but at certain levels can render it ineffective! We will discuss how to remove Phosphates and Nitrates from pool water in another post; but you should be aware of any wash-ins and inform your service provider if this happens.
  4. Prevention is far easier- Preventing an outbreak of algae or clouded water is far easier and less costly than treating it. Clearing a cloudy pool or killing an algae bloom can be very expensive not to mention the disappointment of not being able to use the pool. Green water is probably the #1 or #2 reason why pool service providers are fired. The other reason being a slow response time. When sanitizer levels “crash” and water begins to cloud or algae has gained a foothold- time is critical.

In our upcoming blogs we’ll discuss some of the specific challenges presented by automatic pool covers and address bather issues such as sensitivity to chlorine or bromine.

 


Ozone = Delicious Water

Bob Russell | June 29, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Ozone is wonderful stuff!

In my opinion, Chlorine or Bromine with Ozone is the best water quality you can get.

Now that I understand pool water chemistry better and how incredibly good pool and spa water can be, I wouldn’t use anything else. For instance, I know now that it was ammonia/chlorine compounds that hurt my eyes while on the swim team years ago and not “Free Chlorine” by itself.

Things have changed since the seventies. Chlorine and Ozone paired together makes for terrific water! This is what the best pools in the world are using-  just ask the olypmpic swimmers

Ozone brief- What it is and what it does:

1) Ozone oxidizes or “burns up” organic matter.

2) Ozone rids pool or spa of ammoniaAmmonia combines with chlorine to form the obnoxious eye and mucus membrane irritants most often attributed [incorrectly] to chlorine. Manage the ammonia and your water quality increases dramatically. The best way to get water that is both pure and sweet is to pair your sanitizer with an ozone generator system.

3) Ozone is NOT a sanitizer. It is an oxidizer- I often explain it this way: “Your sanitizer kills bacterias, viruses and plant life… ozone burns up the dead bodies…”

4) The right unit for your pool or spa- Ozone generators, like most equipment, must be properly sized and selected for your pool or spa. Some of these units will not work if installed where equipment is below water level. Be sure your service company selects the right unit for YOUR system.

Example of a popular ozone generator. 

When employed with a reliable sanitizer like chlorine or bromine, ozone gives you superior water quality- water that delights the senses rather than irritating them.


Service – Don’t Build A Pool Without It.

Bob Russell | October 15, 2009 in Pool,Pool Service | Comments (0)

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Today, dependability is often at or near the top of the list in all our major purchases.

Many of the pools built today are complex.:

The pool pictured above has a raised spa and two filter systems. The pool pictured below has a raised spa, a waterslide and  a sophisticated sanitization system. BOTH pool/spa combinations have remote controls.

Like the high-tech “Smart Home” or the latest model car, today’s state-of-the-art pools require trained and licensed service companies and technicians to keep them in top form.

Pools in the Northeast are typically open for 5-6 months and closed for 6 to 7 months. In spite of this, the owners of both of these pools will tell you it is definitely worth it!

Beautiful pools like these require “beautiful” engineering. You may not think much about pumps, filters, heaters or remotes when you see a pool like this, but, I can tell you from experience, if there are equipment problems, or if the pool was not designed well hydraulically, you WILL think about them… and, a lot!

My job is to think about such things at the planning stage so a pool/spa Owner doesn’t have to think about it later. A residential pool is for recreation, family fun and peaceful relaxation. It shouldn’t be a headache or a distraction.

Low Maintenance- Easy To Use:

The “heart” of  the pool pictured below is nestled neatly beneath the house and sits on an equipment pad approximately 4′ X 12′. The equipment was selected, designed and built by service people. Smart move.

My first piece of advice is basic-  so basic it might be overlooked:

When selecting a Designer and Builder for your pool, of course you will look for great design and excellent construction credentials… but also, find a company with a strong service foundation. When Designers and Construction and Service people put their heads together, you will find that the end results are far superior to other one or two dimensional companies.

This is where the king swims daily before  meeting heads of state

This pool and spa is located in West Harrison, New York area.

In future blogs, I will be writing about various aspects of pools and spas in the Northeast and what it takes to get the most enjoyment from them- things a pool Owner will find helpful.

Please feel free to ask pool and spa related questions in the “comment” section below. We will be adding a Q&A section in future “waterblogs.”