How to prepare your pool for huricane season

Hurricane season takes place June 1 through November 30.

There are many myths regarding throwing outdoor furniture inside pools and even draining a swimming pool before a hurricane. Both of these actions can be dangerous and detrimental to a swimming pool. Below are some tips from FSPA to help you become better prepared for a storm.

  1. Do not drain your pool before a storm. Keeping sufficient water levels in your pool provides the important weight to hold sides and bottom in place.
  2. Before and after the storm it is recommended to super chlorinate pool water.
  3. It is important that all electric power be turned off at the circuit breakers before a storm hits. Any exposed electrical equipment such as motors for the pumps should be tightly covered with plastic wrap. If flooding is expected, disconnect and remove.
  4. Storms can cause ripped lanai screens which can be expensive to replace. This can possibly be avoided if you provide a “vent” for wind to escape through. Screen panels may be removed on either side of the pool area.
  5. Remove any loose objects such as chairs, tables, pool equipment and even toys. These items can become weapons in high wind storms. Do not throw your furniture in the pool, or anything else for that matter. If you cannot store items inside a building, carefully place items in the pool, this is not recommended.
  6. After the storm use a “pool rake” or other net/skimming device to remove small debris from inside the pool. Do not use your regular pool vacuum equipment or pool pumps as they are likely to clog the plumbing.
  7. Before touching any electrical equipment after the storm, be sure that everything is dry. Check circuit breakers to be sure they are off before attempting to reconnect electrical equipment such as pump motors. Inspect wiring for proper connections. If electric motors have been exposed to water, they should be checked by a professional.
  8. Be sure clocks, timers, etc. have been properly reset and balance the water chemistry. Keep a close eye on your operating systems for a few days to ensure everything is in working order.

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How to Identify and Remove Pool Stains

Stains are one of the most irritating detriments to their investment that a pool owner can endure. To address this problem, the source of the stain must be identified, and the appropriate solution introduced as soon as possible.

Pool stains generally fall into two categories:

  • Metal or rust-based: Metals can accidentally be introduced into pools from well water or corrosion from copper pipes.
  • Organic: Leaves, berries, and other organic debris can also leave stains if allowed to settle on pool surfaces.

The best way to distinguish metal from organic stains is by color. Different color combinations provide good indicators of exactly what substance is causing a given stain:

pool-stains

Green and Brown Stains

These stains are most likely organic stains caused by leaves or other plant matter.

Red and Blue Stains

These stains are more than likely from brightly colored berries; check the area around the pool for the offending bush.

Blue, Green and Black Stains

When a stain is a mixture of dark blue, green and black, and there is no evidence of organic matter, it is likely to have been caused by copper.

Green, Brown and Red Stains

This combination indicates iron as the culprit.

Brown, Black and Purple Stains

This dark color combination is caused by manganese.

Once you’ve got a good idea of the cause of a stain, it’s time to test the theory and confirm the source of the problem. If an organic stain is suspected, try applying a small amount of chlorine directly to it. An organic stain will come away easily.

Metal stains, on the other hand, react best to ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C, most often found in citrus fruits. The best method is to apply some ascorbic acid powder to the stain, and see if it is removed or lightens.

How To Get Rid of Pool Stains

For Organic Pool Stains

Organic stains are best addressed by super chlorinating the water, then brushing. First, test the water to ensure the balances of pH and alkalinity – pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6, while alkalinity should be between 100 and 150 ppm (parts per million). Use can use test strips to test the water.

For multiple or large stains, the water should be triple shocked by adding 3 pounds of calciumhy pochlorite pool shock for every 10,000 gallons of water. Remember always to shock at dusk, or at night, for best results.

Once it’s been shocked, thoroughly brush all the stains, then let the pool circulate for at least eight hours. Continue to brush the stains intermittently, and keep the chlorine level high until the stains are finally gone.

 

For Metal Pool Stains

Metal stains can be a little more difficult to get rid of, but they’re not impossible. The first step is to take a water sample to your local pool care retailer to determine exactly what kinds and levels of metals are plaguing your pool.

After that, you can use a metal stain remover to treat the stains on your liner. Use the remover according to manufacturer’s instructions, brushing the stain to help the process along.

 

Future Prevention

Preventing pool stains is as important, easy, and important as any other facet of pool maintenance.

To keep organic stains from forming, make sure to keep the correct level of sanitizer (i.e. chlorine) in the pool at all times.

Make sure pH and alkalinity are balanced, to keep the sanitizer working properly. Keep your pool clean by regularly vacuuming (manually or with an automatic pool cleaner) and skimming the surface of the water.

The best preventative measure against metal stains is to test water regularly for the presence of metals, and address it before stains form. If your pool is prone to metal contamination due to well water or other factors, be sure to use a metal sequestrant to prevent metals from binding to pool surfaces.

In the case of a copper problem, it’s worth noting that low pH can also cause a recurrence of stains. Low pH indicates acidic water, which corrodes copper and introduces it into your pool. Adjust pH levels accordingly.

Happy Swimming!

 

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How to Test Pool Water Accurately

It’s important to learn how to test pool water, and do it at least once a week to make sure the pH and alkalinity are balanced, and to keep your sanitizer level in check (i.e. chlorine at 3 ppm).

What most pool owners don’t know, however, is there’s a right and wrong way to test your water, no matter what type of testing you’re doing. It all starts with the water sample.

You can watch a full video on how to test pool water, or read below (or both).

 

The Water Sample

There are 3 ways to test pool water:

  • Liquid test kit
  • Test strips
  • Taking your sample to a local pool store to have it professionally checked.

To take a proper water sample, use a clean cup or bottle (with cap if you’re taking it to the pool store) and hold it upside down so that the opening is facing the floor. Insert into the water elbow-deep and turn it right side up to collect the sample. Do not take the sample near any return jets or skimmer opening. If possible, take the sample from the absolute middle of your pool.

Now you can take this sample to your pool store or check it yourself.

Using Test Strips

For home testing, this is my personal favorite. It’s easy to do and very accurate – much more accurate than using a liquid test kit because of human error when it comes to matching up the colors and using chemical droplets.

Take your water sample and quickly dip one, dry strip into the water. Hold it still in the air for about 15 seconds (do not shake off the excess water). Then match up the colors of the strip to the back of the bottle to get your readings.

There are all different kinds of test strips you can buy that check for all sorts of things, but you really only need to check for pH, alkalinity and free chlorine.

Use test strips at least once a week. I like to check my water every other day. And bring a sample to your local pool store once a month to have it professionally checked – also when opening and closing your pool.

Using a Liquid Test Kit

There are very advanced liquid test kits, but for home use, just stick with pH and chlorine or phenol red and OTO. Phenol red is a red chemical you add to a small sample of water to check the pH. The redder the water, the higher the pH.

OTO is the chemical that tests for total chlorine. It’s a yellow liquid you add to your sample. The more yellow, the more chlorine.

With a liquid test kit, it’s hard to see the low end of the colors. Make sure you use a white background to examine the colors to be accurate.

Happy Swimming!

 

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Tips to Remove Wrinkles From a Pool Liner

There is nothing quite like the soft and slick feeling of a pool liner on your feet while you swim. However, sometimes those liners can become wrinkled. If that happens, what are you to do?

Dealing with pool liner wrinkles is just part of owning a pool with a liner, so you need to be prepared to deal with them when they happen. There are many ways you can remove wrinkles from a pool liner that are relatively easy for you to do yourself, although it will take a little bit of work.

Tips to Remove Liner Wrinkles

If you have noticed wrinkles in the liner of your pool, then the time has come to act. Don’t allow those wrinkles to sit there for too long. The longer they are allowed to exist, the tougher it will be to get rid of them. Try the following tips to remove wrinkles from a pool liner so your feet don’t have to touch those ugly wrinkles whenever you go for a swim.

Tip 1 – Fill Your Pool

Sometimes wrinkles can form after the pool has sat for an extended period of time. If your pool water is low or you need to replace the water after it has sat there for a while, then try filling your pool with fresh water and slowly working the wrinkles out as you fill the pool.

Tip 2 – Start Walking

One of the easiest ways you can get rid of at least some of those wrinkles is by putting on some soft soled shoes and walking across the wrinkles gently stretching then from one side or another as you go. This will often take care of most minor wrinkles without you having to do anything else, but some wrinkles may be tougher to remove.

Tip 3 – Grab a Plunger

Believe it or not, a toilet plunger is a great tool for pulling out those wrinkles in your pool. Place the plunger on either side of the wrinkle and then plunge. This will pull the liner each way removing that wrinkle once and for all. Just make sure you use a clean, unused plunger for the task. After all, who wants to swim in water that has had your nasty toilet plunger in it?

Tip 4 – Warm up the Pool

Liners often develop wrinkles in colder water. These colder temperatures cause the liner to harden forcing it to wrinkle. Before you try anything, you may want to consider trying to heat the water up to 92 degrees Fahrenheit so the liner softens. You can then work out the wrinkles with a pool brush, your feet and even the plunger solution we talked about above.

Tip 5 – Drain the Water

Sometimes, the wrinkles may be so bad that you have no choice but to completely drain the pool. Once all the water is gone, you can then take a shop vac and use it to suck out those wrinkles one by one. When you do this, make sure that the liner remains wet at all times and be sure you vacuum between the frame and the liner instead of directly on the liner as the shop vac could damage the liner.

Tip 6 – Check Your Landscape

Double check your landscape to see if any trees, bushes or shrubs are directing water where it shouldn’t be or even extending into your pool area. If you have noticed any shifting of the ground, you will need to take the proper steps to shore up the ground so it doesn’t continue to shift. Once this is done, you can get rid of those wrinkles and they shouldn’t return.

Tip 7 – Watch for Leaks

One of the most dangerous causes of wrinkles can be small water leaks. These leaks allow water to get underneath the liner forcing it up in places. When this happens, you will need to locate the leak quickly and you may even have to drain the pool to patch it properly before you can start pulling out those unsightly wrinkles.

Tip 8 – Blow Out the Liner

If all else fails, you can try draining your pool and then blowing out the liner itself. Using a shop vac in reverse, place the hose between the liner and the frame and turn it on. This will push air between the liner and frame and push those wrinkles right out of the liner. Once they have come out, reverse the suction again and pull out the excess air that you have pushed under your liner.

Tip 9 – Call in the Pros

No matter how much or how hard you work on your pool liner, sometimes you have to call in the professionals. Draining your pool regularly to try and fix wrinkles can put the structure of your pool in danger, not to mention cost you an arm and a leg in water bills. If you have tried everything and you still have wrinkles in your pool, then you may want to call for backup.

Tip 10 – Replace the Liner

I have to admit, sometimes you simply won’t be able to get those wrinkles out of your pool liner. Sometimes they are just there to stay and no amount of work will make any difference. If you have reached that point, then the time has come for you to replace that liner with a new one. Just make sure the new one is installed correctly so you don’t notice wrinkles forming in it soon after it has been installed.

Conclusion

Dealing with wrinkles is just part of owning a pool with a liner. These ten tips should help you remove those unsightly wrinkles so your pools liner is as smooth as it was the day it was installed. Remember, pool liner wrinkles look bad and feel even worse on your feet, and the longer they stay there the harder they will be to remove. So make sure you act fast.

By following these tips, you should be able to get rid of those wrinkles with just a little bit of hard work on your part. If you do run into problems, don’t be afraid to call in a professional to help you. In most cases, if you follow these tips you should be able to get rid of the wrinkles in your liner. Once they are gone, you can refill your pool and go back to enjoying a nice long swim to cool off in the warm weather.

Happy Swimming!

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