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Sanitizing Your Above Ground Pool Water
Sanitization comes from adding chemicals to your water that are antibacterial in nature. Whether achieved by Chlorine, Baquacil or other methods, (such as salt water generators) levels must be maintained to ensure healthy water levels
The most commonly used method of sanitizing pools is application of a chlorinating product. The continuous chlorine level should be kept between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm (parts per million) for proper sanitation. Stabilized chlorinating products come in several forms including 1″ and 3″ tablets, sticks, granules and floaters. Brominating products are also effective sanitizers and offer low-odor sanitation at higher temperatures, and are ideal for spa and hot tub applications.
These products can be applied to pool water in many ways, in liquid, tablet, or granules. In floats, through the filtering system or by adding directly. The important thing is to keep the proper levels at all times
Shocking Your Above Ground Pools
The final step in the process is to shock the pool. The addition of shock products breaks down the chloramines and destroys them. These chloramines are created when nitrogen containing organic compounds, such as suntan oils, cosmetics, perspiration, etc., combine with the chlorine residual in your pool water. The resulting chloramines provide no sanitizing function and actually cause strong chlorine odor, cloudy water, eye irritation, and become food for bacteria and algae. Weekly applications of Shock will reduce the chloramines (and the chlorine smell) and keep your pool chemicals functioning at top levels.
As with all chemicals use with care and spread around the pool. Do not dump it all in one place. It is also not recommended to pre-dissolve the shock in a bucket of water, as you will have in your hands a HIGHLY caustic substance
Algae In Above Ground Pools
(It’s Not Easy Being Green)
Algae are tiny plants that live in water and can bloom in a short time as their environment allows. Above Ground Pools are no strangers to algae , which can form when there is plentiful sunshine, and food. The trick to controlling algae is to control it’s environment.
There are 3 main types of algae that are usually found in pool and spa water:
1. GREEN ALGAE – This type of algae floats in the water or forms on the sides of the pool or spa and appears dusty green. If it goes to far it may completely obscure the water.
2. YELLOW ALGAE – Also called “Mustard Algae” because of the mustard color, appears as yellow powder deposits usually on the shady sides of the walls.
3. BLACK ALGAE – This type of algae also appears as a Blue-Green color and forms very adhesive inch or so size spots on pool surfaces.
When proper chlorination levels are maintained in your pool algae cannot form, Once algae does appear though normal levels of chlorine may not control it. Once algae is established you must treat the water with 30 PPM of Free Chlorine. This kills the algae and destroys the organic waste left behind.
Make sure the pump, filter and Chlorinator are working properly. Run pump continuously for 24 hours and then sweep thoroughly. Do not use the Pool or Spa until all chemical levels are back to normal and the water is crystal clear.
once Algae has a foothold in your pool you must get aggressive with it to defeat it.
Cleaning Your Above Ground Pool Water
Pollution in pool water comes either from the environment or is carried into the water by the swimmers. Environmental pollution includes dust, leaves, chemical wastes, pollen, spores, bacteria and so on, that are blown into the water by the wind. Swimmers carry other pollutants into the water: sweat, suntan oils, urine, bacteria, viruses, etc.
Every swimming pool has a circulation pump and filter. The filters most common these days are sand filters, and are much easier to maintain than the earlier diatomaceous filters of a few years back. The pool pump ensures that the swimming pool water moves through the filter every day, thus removing unwanted pollutants and disinfected organic materials as quickly as possible.
Other common pool filters include DE (diatomaceous earth) filters, which are able to filter out finer particles of dirt, though they require more maintenance. Cartridge filters are also quite widespread and are quite simple to maintain. Nowadays a filter sand substitute containing zeolite is gaining in popularity. The zeolite (specifically the clinoptilolite mineral) is able to filter particles as finely as DE filters in addition to having a capacity to absorb ammonia and its complexes (reducing combined chlorine and offensive chlorine odours), while not requiring any extra maintenance.
Generally, the swimming pool pump should run for at least 6 – 8 hours each day. There is usually a timer which cycles the pool pump on and off to ensure this constant filtration. The circulation of pool water will remove floating or suspended particles of dirt from the water, but has no effect on the substances which have settled to the bottom of the swimming pool or “stuck” to the walls.
Depending on the environmental conditions and swimmer load, the swimming pool needs regular brushing and vacuuming, generally about once a week in the swimming season for home pools. With the circulation pump turned off, the walls and floor of the pool are swept with a stiff brush. When the “dust” from the brushing settles, it is vacuumed off the floor of the swimming pool. The pool must also be vacuumed after treating with a flocculant. Nowadays, there is a variety of automatic swimming pool cleaners, which suck the dirt off the walls and floor of the swimming pool whenever the pool pump is running. These are really great for pool owners who never seem to have the time for swimming pool chores.
Now that the vacuuming is done, it is time to backwash the filter. Sand filters trap dust and dirt, as the name implies, in a bed of sand. When the filter has accumulated a large amount of dirt, the water cannot pass freely through the sand and the filter loses efficiency as the pressure increases. Backwashing sends water backwards through the filter and flushes the trapped dirt out. After backwashing, you will notice an increase in return pressure to the pool, and if you have a pressure guage, you should notice an increase of at least 0,5 bar.
With the pool pump off, turn the filter setting to “backwash”. Remove the leaf basket from the weir, clean and replace it. Turn on the pump and let it run until the water coming out of the waste pipe is clear. This generally needs a few minutes. Turn off the pump and set the filter to rinse; this cleans out the pipes and prevents any dirt from returning to the pool. It also settles the sand in the filter which has been stirred up by the backwashing. Run the pump for about a minute and then turn it off. Set the filter to “closed”. Open the leaf trap near the pump, remove the basket and clean out all the leaves, twigs and rubbish it may have collected. Replace the basket, set the filter to “filter” and turn your pump back to its automatic (timer) operating position.
Great! The swimming pool looks clean and the filter has been rejuvenated. Now it’s time to test the pool water and adjust the pH and chlorine levels.
If your swimming pool needs topping up, now is the ideal time to put the hose in the pool. It is very healthy for the swimming pool water to be replaced bit by bit, to prevent it becoming stale and creating chemical problems or pool water problems. A routine of 5-minute backwashing followed by a 1-minute rinse every week will ensure that you replace about 5% of the swimming pool water each month. This means a complete changeover of swimming pool water approximately every 2 years.
REMEMBER too, that the useful lifespan of the sand in your filter is 3-5 years. If you neglect to change the sand, your filter will not be able to remove the finer particles of dirt and your swimming pool can never be completely clean. Have the pool filter opened for inspection at least every 2 years to avoid filtration problems.
Adding Chlorine To Your Pool
Assuming that the total alkalinity is at the right level and the pH is correct, chlorine can be added. The amount of chlorine to add depends on the present chlorine level and the type of chlorine used. Refer to the manufacturers instructions for quantity.
As discussed previously, chlorine degrades rapidly under the influence of UV light. For this reason chlorine should be added only in the late afternoon or early evening, when it can dissolve and mix thoroughly before the damaging sun’s rays can affect it.
The chlorine should be evenly scattered/ poured around the pool or poured slowly in front of the return flow jets to ensure rapid and even distribution.
Chlorine should be kept at a level of 1.0-3.0 ppm to ensure sufficient sanitation. If you are using a Pool Wizard, a level of 0.5 ppm is required. This combination will provide a far superior sanitation to chlorine alone.
If the pool has very high levels of contamination or there is a strong smell of chlorine around the pool, you may need to shock treat the water. This involves adding large quantities of non-stabilized chlorine (or non-chlorine oxidizers) to the pool, which rapidly destroys the offending matter.