Pool Frequently Asked Questions



Question:
My pool water is cloudy and I can't clear it up. What could be causing this?

Answer:
Several things could be the cause.

First, check to make sure that the pH is within proper range. If the pH is within range, it could be that you have a dirty filter and it needs to be cleaned. If you have a sand filter, this doesn't necessarily mean to replace the sand, but to use a filter cleaner, such as GLB FILTER CLEANSE, that will remove both organic materials and minerals.

Check to make sure the sanitizer in the pool is in proper range. If it is not, raise the level.

Another cause could be the amount of calcium in the water. If too much calcium is present, it can become cloudy. Adding a sequestering agent, such as GLB SEQUA-SOL, on a weekly basis, can prevent this.

Lastly, particles too small to be easily filtered out could be causing the cloudiness. A clarifier, such as Robarb SUPER BLUE, can be used in order to make these particles filterable.


Question:
Should I use a water clarifier in my pool?

Answer:
Yes. A clarifier is designed as an aid to the efficient operation of the filter by coagulating most materials, which cause cloudy and hazy water, into larger particles that are removed by the filter. Because the presence of these materials increases the disinfectant demand, the use of a water clarifier decreases pool maintenance costs.


Question:
Why is filtration important to the quality of swimming pool water?

Answer:
Filtration is the mechanical system for removing visible matter from the water. The filter medium is designed to remove hair, dirt, minute skin flakes, metal or calcium precipitates and other visible debris that would otherwise cause the water to be hazy and cloudy.


Question:
How do I know when it's time to clean my pool filter?

Answer:
Normal, periodic rinsing or backwashing will remove most of the dirt from a basically clean filter. However, over a period of time, grease, oils and scale can attack and build up on the elements. When this occurs, you will see build up on the removable elements, short filter runs, reduced circulation and water that does not want to clear up.


Question:
What does "Vacuum to Waste" mean?

Answer:
When you "Vacuum to Waste" you are pumping the debris you vacuum out of the pool and sending the water to the waste line, and not through the pool filter. This method removes a large amount of water from the pool in a short time so be sure the pool is full before you begin. This method is used for large amounts of debris and dirt. This method will only work for circulation systems that use a 6-position filter valve. If you have an older "Push-Pull" style filter valve you must vacuum through the pool filter. Be sure to monitor the location where the waste line is connected to the sewer system in your home, just in case the sewer line cannot handle the large amount of water and overflows.


Question:
I added algaecide to my pool, but the algae didn't go away. What did I do wrong?

Answer:
First, you must add the algaecide according to the directions. If you don't add the correct dosage amount, it won't kill any of the algae. However, be aware that using the entire bottle of algaecide is also ineffective. Not only will you spend additional money, large doses can also lead to staining and foaming in your pool.

In addition to properly dosing your water, it is also recommended that the algaecide be added in the morning on a bright sunny day for best results. Algae are plants and grow in the presence of sunlight. Adding algaecide during algae's best growth time will increase intake of the algaecide and make it more effective. If black algae is present, brushing the algae at least once daily will also help expedite algae removal. Brushing the dead cells away makes the living algae more vulnerable to the algaecide.


Question:
Why do I need to shock my pool?

Answer:
Pool water composition always includes some undesirable elements that actually contaminate the water and reduce the efficiency of the disinfectant or sanitizer. Material such as hair spray, suntan oil, cosmetics, perspiration and other organic material react to combine with the chlorine in the water to form "combined chlorine".

Once "combined chlorine" forms, it acts as a very poor disinfectant, contributing to eye and skin irritations and the forming of unpleasant chlorine odor. Pools with this problem are often inaccurately accused of having too much chlorine.

Routine shock treatment is necessary to destroy combined chlorine compounds and restore the chlorine sanitizer to "free chlorine" efficiency. A pool can be shock treated by adding large doses of chlorine, commonly referred to as superchlorination, or by adding a non-chlorine shock such as GLB OXY-BRITE or Applied Biochemists SHOCKTRINE.


Question:
My pool has a very strong chlorine odor. Is there too much chlorine in my pool?

Answer:
No, you don't have enough "free chlorine" in your pool. Most pools contain both good chlorine and bad chlorine. The good chlorine is called free chlorine and is capable of killing germs. Bad chlorine, on the other hand, is called "combined chlorine" and is a poor germ killer.

Too much combined chlorine in your pool causes the strong chlorine odor. When the combined chlorine level reaches 0.2 ppm or more, it is time to shock your water. Shocking will eliminate the odor.


Question:
When I shock my pool, should I use chlorine or non-chlorine shock?

Answer:
Both treatments accomplish the goal of destroying and removing bather waste and preventing the formation of combined chlorine.

Superchlorination, the addition of large amounts of chlorine, has some drawbacks. Because it requires large amounts of chlorine, it can damage liners and swimsuits and upset water balance. Additionally, it is difficult to determine proper dosage amounts and it requires swimmers to wait until the level of chlorine drops, often a day or more, until they can swim.

Non-chlorine shock, on the other hand, does not require excessive chlorine use and allows swimming almost immediately after application, does not harm liners, has easily determined dosage rates and does not upset water balance.


Question:
Do I need to add a sanitizer regularly?

Answer:
Yes, an E.P.A. registered sanitizer should be added and maintained at proper levels at all times. Non-chlorine shock treatments contain no chlorine, therefore you must make regular additions of sanitizer to ensure that you are disinfecting the water.


Question:
I have an outdoor pool and I am told that the chlorine needs to be stabilized. Why?

Answer:
The chlorine in a pool can be broken down by ultra violet light from the sun. If stabilizer, also called conditioner, is not present, the chlorine level will dissipate very rapidly over the course of the day.

It is recommended that you add stabilizer to the pool to prevent this chlorine break down. The stabilizer level should be between 30-50 ppm to properly stabilize the pool. The use of a stabilizer will reduce your overall chlorine consumption and save you money. However, many of the products available at your retailer are stabilized chlorine.


Question:
What causes the "ring" around my pool's tile line?

Answer:
The accumulation of oils and dirt from bathers is the biggest cause. Using a tile cleaner specifically designed for pools can clean it off. Household cleaners do not contain the needed balance of both oil/grease cutters and scale dissolving ingredients. In fact, these cleaners can actually dull a tile line due to abrasives or cause unsightly foaming. Even worse, they may react with the sanitizer, such as chlorine, in your pool.

Another helpful hint would be to regularly use an enzyme based product in your pool. These biodegradable products will control grease and oil before it builds up.


Question:
Following chemical treatment, how long do I have to wait before I use my pool?

Answer:
With the exception of superchlorinating (which requires waiting until the chlorine level drops to recommended levels), you can generally use your pool when the chemical is dispersed throughout the pool. Fifteen minutes to one hour is a good rule of thumb.

Question:
I have heard of people talking about pink algae. What is that and how do I treat for it?

Answer:
Pink algae is not an algae at all, but a bacteria. Normal algaecides will not reliably work on them. We have products that are designed to assist chlorine with removal of this bacteria. To eliminate pink algae, you must superchlorinate your pool, turn off the filter, and clean it with a good filter cleaner. Let the filter soak overnight then backwash to waste. Let the chlorine level subside before using again. (Hint: a good rule of thumb is to toss into the pool the equipment that is normally used for pool maintenance, including hoses, brushes, etc. prior to superchlorinating. These need to be disinfected too).


Question:
What are enzyme based cleaners and how do they work?

Answer:
Basically, enzymes are substances that speed up chemical reactions. In the case of enzyme based cleaners, they are designed to speed up the process of breaking down oils, proteins, etc. that may be in your pool. Enzymes will break up very large particles into smaller ones that can be handled more easily by your sanitizer. Regular use of an enzyme will help reduce scum line buildup and free up your sanitizer for the work it was intended to do-sanitizing.