Posts Tagged ‘the best pool water’

High Tech Pool And Spa Stuff- Sanitization- Part 2

Bob Russell | February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Ultra Violet

Since the advent of the residential swimming pool there has been a quest for the perfect bather experience.

In the 50′s and 60′s pool owners would employ liquid chlorine (bleach) to minimize algae growth and prevent water-bourn ailments such as ear infections. During this time period ear infections became so associated with swimming pools the term “swimming pool ear” was coined to describe the painful affliction caused by bacteria breeding in unsanitary pools.

By the 60′s and 70′s we had made good progress in the area of pools and spa sanitization and our focus moved towards bather comfort. During this era, irritating odors and red eyes marked the recreational swimming experience. It was during this time “Bromine” was introduced as an alternative- this did in fact lessen, but not eliminate, the adverse effects of what we now understand to be a very treatable sanitization problem- caused by ammonia.

The source of ammonia, as it turns out, was the bathers. Ammonia readily forms a compound with chlorine- it is this compound (often referred to as “chloramines”) that is responsible for irritation of swimmer mucous membranes. If you’ve ever made the mistake of mixing ammonia and bleach together while cleaning your house, you’ll probably never forget it.

Unfortunately, many still blame chlorine for the irritation we now know to be caused by ammonia introduced by bathers. “Free Chlorine” is virtually odorless at levels that are more than adequate to maintain healthy water. As a comparison, the drinking water standard allows 4.0 ppm chlorine; the standard for pool sanitization is 3.0 ppm chlorine.

Ammonia- the real culprit for eye irritation, is easily oxidized and gassed off with appropriate treatments. Chlorine remains the preferred sanitizer for a host of reasons, not the least of which is: it is the most environmentally compatible sanitizer, it is also the least costly.

The use of ozone generators and non-chlorine shock has all but eradicated the red eyes and obnoxious odors caused when ammonia meets chlorine. End of problem… but wait… what about our quest for the perfect bather experience?

UV (Ultraviolet) light is making a resurgence in today’s marketplace- a marketplace that continues to demand the ultimate bather experience.

While a salt/chlorine generator and ozone combination makes for delightful water to bathe in- the demand for “perfect water” (which generally means LESS CHEMICALS) is still heard from the most discriminating pool and spa owners.

This is where UV sanitization is becoming increasingly popular.

A quick description UV and it’s applications:

UV can not be used in place of chlorine, but, it can reduce the “chlorine demand” by reducing the volume of pathogens- specifically the ability of water-bourn pathogens to reproduce.

Remember a point I made in a previous article- I compared the swimming pool or spa to a “Petrie Dish…” It’s actually a very good comparison. There must be a sanitizer present (i.e. an agent that kills bacteria, viruses and plant life) to maintain water that will not make bathers sick or grow algae.

UV is making a come-back because it reduces the amount of sanitizer required to maintain sanitary conditions for bathers. UV alters the DNA in live organisms so they cannot reproduce- thus reducing the demand for more chlorine. It must be noted here that UV does not kill bacteria or viruses, but it has been shown effective in reducing their ability to reproduce. Recall the Petrie Dish experiment- if you want to grow a particular bacteria, virus, fungus, or algae FAST, place it in a sterile environment with food. Live things reproduce exponentially unless they are checked by an agent (e.g. Chlorine)- or altered so they cannot reproduce, this is what UV light does.

UV is used extensively- it is popular in water features and ponds that host aquatic life- since there is no sanitizing agent like chlorine in a pond, UV helps control unwanted growth of water-bourn pathogens that can adversely impact plants and fish.

If you are one of those looking for the perfect bather experience, consider adding UV to your sanitizing system. It will reduce the chlorine demand.

If you share our passion for this subject, you are on a quest for the ultimate bather experience! Contact us at Glen Gate Company and one of our experts will be happy to help you find that perfect bather experience.

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Below is an excerpt from a Wikipedia post:

Sterilization and disinfection

“…Ultraviolet lamps are used to sterilize workspaces and tools used in biology laboratories and medical facilities. Commercially available low-pressure mercury-vapor lamps emit about 86% of their light at 254 nanometers (nm), which is near one of the peaks of the germicidal effectiveness curve. UV light at these germicidal wavelengths damage a microorganism’s DNA so that it cannot reproduce, making it harmless, (even though the organism may not be killed). Since microorganisms can be shielded from ultraviolet light in small cracks and other shaded areas, these lamps are used only as a supplement to other sterilization techniques.

Disinfection using UV radiation is commonly used in wastewater treatment applications and is finding an increased usage in municipal drinking water treatment. Many bottlers of spring water use UV disinfection equipment to sterilize their water…”

 

 

 

 


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.


Salt/Chrlorine Generators

Bob Russell | June 17, 2010 in Eco-friendly,Pool chemicals,Sanitizers | Comments (0)

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Salt/ Chlorine generators.

Over the past couple years there has been a lot of buzz about “new” and improved pool water sanitization systems for residential pools.

While Salt/Chlorine generators are  not “new,” the technology has certainly improved since being introduced to the residential pool industry decades ago.

Pictured above- example of a modern salt/chlorine generator- This one manufactured by Pentair Products. Note the diagnostic and status display lights.

We have tested several salt/chlorine generator models and heartily recommend them as an alternative (and upgrade) to the traditional erosion feeder.

A brief review:

1) “The water feels better…”   One of the most common reports I hear is that “…the water feels better!” Salt/chlorine generators produce chlorine from common table salt (NaCl or sodium chloride) dissolved in pool water. The improved “feel” of the water on skin and eyes is largely due to the presence of salt in the water. If you’ve ever used saline solution (e.g. eye drops) it is very much the same effect. 

Salt levels required by these units is about 1/10th the salinity of seawater. Some claim they can taste the salt, others say they cannot. But all say, “…it feels nice…”

2) Eco-friendly:  Another reason to consider a salt/chlorine generator is the fact you are manufacturing your own sanitizer and no longer need to store or handle chlorine tablets on your property. Fact is, with every salt/chlorine generator installed, there will be that much less chlorine transported across our highways by pool service trucks or being manufactured in plants and stored in our communities- that’s a positive contribution to the planet. 

Another reason to feel ecologically responsible: Water with these [low] salt concentrations is not considered hazardous to the environment.

3) Easy to upgrade: The low levels of salt required to run today’s salt/chlorine generator is safe for use with your existing filtration and heating equipment making it pretty easy to install them!

I’ll be talking about other sanitization issues and “hot topics”  in future blogs as the temperatures rise. 

Hope you are enjoying your summer swimming season!