A swimming pool is great fun, but people often have many questions about pool maintenance. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you properly maintain your pool.
You’ll feel like a pro in no time!
- Q. How much water evaporates from a swimming pool?
- A.As you can guess, that depends on many variables, such as the size of the pool, whether or not it is heated, air temperature, humidity, and wind velocity.In the desert climate of Arizona, it’s possible for a pool to evaporate its entire water volume in one year. Though water evaporates every day, typically the highest amount of water loss occurs during the months of April through August.
There are mathematical equations to determine the rate of evaporation, but the easiest way to check how much water is being lost is to turn off your automatic refill valve if your pool has one, and then fill a bucket with water and place it next to your pool. Mark the level of water in the bucket and the level of water in the pool. The next day, if the level of water in the pool is lower than the level of water in the bucket, you may have a leak. It is estimated that over 25% of pools have a leak. If your pool has an automatic refill valve, a leak can be hard to detect.
To determine whether the leak is more likely in the pool or somewhere in the plumbing, you can repeat the bucket test described above with the pool pump running, and then again the next day with the pump shut off. If you find that you lose more water when the pump is running, the leak is more likely to be in your plumbing. If you find that you need the services of a pool repair professional, remember that you will probably quickly recoup the cost in savings on water.
Once you have ascertained that your pool is in good running order, you can lessen evaporation by using a pool cover.
- Q. What chemicals are needed for a new pool?
- A.If this is your first experience owning a swimming pool, deciphering what chemicals to use can seem very confusing. Luckily, it gets easier every time.To begin with you will need a water testing kit or test strips. You will need this to measure the chemicals in your pool and keep them at an acceptable level.
Usually the first chemical added is shock. The filter should be running every time you add chemicals. The rule of thumb is 1 lb. of granular shock per 10,000 gallons of pool water. Liquid shock can be added directly to the pool water while granular shock should be dissolved in a bucket of water before adding to the pool. You can also add chlorine now. It’s best to use stabilized chlorine or it will dissipate too quickly in the sun. You will want to keep your chlorine reading around 3.0 ppm. You will become accustomed to how often you need to add chlorine to keep the level stabile. After you run the filter about 24 hours, recheck the level.
Next, it’s time to check the alkalinity and calcium hardness. You will need chemicals that both increase and decrease the alkalinity and increase and decrease the calcium hardness. You will want to keep the total alkalinity level between 120-150 ppm so add small amounts of the chemicals to increase or decrease until it is at the proper level.
Calcium hardness is best kept between 200 – 400 ppm, so again, use chemicals to increase or decrease as needed.
Wait at least 4 hours and then check the pH. If you try to adjust both the total alkalinity and the pH in too short a time span it can cause carbonate precipitation in the water, which will appear white. You will want to maintain the pH of the water between 7.2 – 7.6. Again, you will need a chemical that will increase pH and one that will decrease pH.
Hopefully this will get you started enjoying your pool, but remember that if you can’t get your water just right your pool supply expert will be happy to test a water sample for you.
- Q. What is the proper way to vacuum a pool?
- A.To start, turnoff the skimmers and then remove the skimmer baskets.Attach the pole to the vacuum, and then attach the vacuum hose to the vacuum head.
Lower the entire vacuum into the water, making certain that the hose fills with water before placing the adapter in the skimmer.
Begin moving the vacuum around slowly until the entire floor is clean.
When finished, disconnect the hose and remove the vacuum equipment.
Turn off the pump and clean the skimmer baskets and lint basket. Set the filter to backwash and then turn on the pump. You never want to backwash before removing the vacuum hose and plate, and cleaning the baskets. Continue to backwash until the water becomes clear.
Turn off the pump and set the filter to rinse, and then turn on the pump for another minute.
Turn off the pump and set to filter. Now turn the pump back on and you are all done.
There are also some pretty nifty automated pool vacuuming robots available.
- Q. How do you drain an in ground swimming pool?
- A.Completely draining an in ground pool is seldom necessary, but if you find that you need to, first, ascertain if your pool is safe to drain. In some areas where the water table is high, empty pools have been known to float right out of the ground. It also depends what material your pool is made of. Fiberglass pools can’t withstand the outside pressure while concrete or gunite pools generally can. Pools with a vinyl liner are not good candidates as the vinyl liner often pulls away from the walls of the pool.To drain your pool you will need a submersible sump pump that can be lowered into your pool, and that has a hose long enough to reach your storm drain. If you don’t live in a city where a storm drain is available, you must drain it slowly enough that the water stays in your yard.
If you have any doubts about the advisability of draining your pool, consult your Arizona pool care expert.
- Q. How do you get rid of dirt in a swimming pool?
- A.Run the filter pump as recommended by the pump manufacturer. Change the filter whenever it becomes dirty, or it can’t efficiently filter out the dirt.Skim your pool water with the skimmer to remove surface dirt if you notice floating debris.
If the dirt is on the bottom of the pool, see the above answer regarding how to vacuum your pool.
If there is dirt floating around and it is too much or too fine to skim, there is a chemical you can purchase will cause all of the dirt suspended in the water to sink to the bottom where it can be vacuumed up.