The 5 Keys to Pool Care are easy to follow and for the average swimming pool, will only take an hour or less to complete each week.
Each of the keys work synergistically with the others to provide you with the best method of swimming pool care.
Whether you have a custom designed 35,000 gallon pool with rock slides and fountains or a simple 5,000 gallon aboveground pool for the kids or grandkids, proper care is essential for everyone's health and safety as well as long life for the pool and its equipment.
These are the 5 Keys to Good Pool Care:
Let's look at each of them in some detail...
Good circulation in your pool means much more than filtering water - it's getting all of the water in the pool moving & through the filter.
Circulation is more than filter or pump turnover; its removing dead spots - you know those areas where algae always seems to grow or where dirt & debris always seems to accumulate. The better the water is circulating, the better the filtration, the cleaner the pool. In fact it typically takes more than FOUR turnovers to get all of the water completely filtered.
The picture shows how much of your pool water is typically filtered in a normal filter turnover. Turnovers are normally determined by "how much" water can go through the filter system - not what is actually filtered. A "typical" turnover is in the range of 4 - 6 hours depending on horse power of the pump & motor, pipe size, valves, and other plumbing system features. It takes about 4 turnovers to properly circulate & filter 98% of your pool's water!
Why does it take so much time & effort? Mainly, it's due to dead spots. Dead spots are those areas of the pool where the water may not completely move or circulate. Dead spots are the "birthing grounds" for algae & biofilms resulting in green or cloudy water. These are the most common areas of would be dead spots:
Here are the best cures to poor pool circulation & dead spots. And most of the ideas won't even cost you a penny!
One turnover only filters about 42% of the water in your pool!
Now that the water is circulating properly, good filtration removes dirt, debris & even certain large bacteria & algae. Sand filters remove the largest particles, Cartridge filters remove smaller particles & DE filters remove the smallest. Let's look at the 3 types of filters & how they work. Sand, Cartridge & DE (diatomaceous earth).
Sand filters. All sand filters have 3 things in common as to their performance: 1. they all use sand (some older filters may use a combination of sand & gravel). 2. Dirty water enters in the top of the filter tank & flows down through the sand which filters out the dirt & debris (down to a size of about 25 - 40 microns - visible dirt & debris). 3. Cleaner, filtered water is collected at the bottom of the filter tank & pushed out of the filter & returned to the pool.
Sand filters have been the most common filters used in the swimming pool industry until recently. These filters are great when using non-chlorine sanitizing products such as biguanides (i.e. BioGuard Soft Swim or Arch Chemicals Baquacil). For most people, sand filters will perform a very adequate job.
Cartridge Filters. Like sand filters, all cartridge filters have 3 things in common: 1. They all use some type of pleated fiber cartridge. 2. Dirty water enters in to the filter tank & flows through the cartridge which filters out the dirt & debris (down to a size of about 10 - 20 microns - much smaller, but still visible dirt & debris & some algae). 3. Cleaner, filtered water is collected on the other side of the cartridge & pushed out of the filter & returned to the pool. Some folks notice a cleaner difference compared to sand filters.
Cartridge filters can be used with any pool sanitizing system. Because of their relatively large filter surface area (the pleated fiber material can be as large as several hundred square feet as compared to under 4 square feet in the largest residential sand filter), cartridge filters generally take a long time to get dirty between cleanings. A properly sized filter may only need to be cleaned 2 or 3 times per season. When sized right, less vacuuming may be needed due to the finer filtration.
As with all filters, sizing it properly is critical. Never under size. Never. This is a true case for the axiom, "you get what you pay for." An undersized cartridge filter MAY initially do the job, according to the sizing charts, but in short order you will be disappointed in the performance of the filter and in the amount of work you now need to do.
DE Filters. DE or Diatomaceous Earth filters offer the finest filtration available. DE filters use grids or "fingers" called septums that hold DE (fossilized microorganisms) that has the properties of a fine but gritty powder. DE filters have the ability to filter particles as small as 2 - 5 microns in size (the size of algae & even some large bacteria).
Water goes into the filter & passes through the DE coated septum. Under a microscope, DE looks like little sponges with tiny holes & nooks & crannies that trap all kinds of stuff. The clean water is then collected & returned back to your pool.
In many places you can or are urged to use DE replacements, such as Aqua Pearl, which are lighter in weight & more biodegradable than DE. Especially compared to sand filters, you don't get just filtered water, you get polished water.
DE filters eliminate many pool care problems because of the superior filtration. A DE filter has the capability to take a dark green, algae encrusted pool & turn it into a crystal clear paradise in a matter of a few days. Many pool owners notice how less often they "need" to vacuum the pool. However, there is more care needed in maintaining a DE filter.
ALL FILTERS: Filter your water for 8 to 12 hours (minimum, preferably 24 hours) every day from opening to closing. Use a timer so that you don't forget and save money. By the way, for the best filtration, be sure to chemically clean your filter about twice each season to remove accumulations of greases, oils & other swimmer and environmental waste that clog your pool filter & that routine backwashing & rinsing will NOT remove.
Click here for 'How to..." care for your filter.
How a Sand Filter works... unfiltered water goes in, cleaned water comes out
We know that you purchased your pool for enjoyment & relaxation, but like all of our toys, we have to maintain them. Simple, regular cleaning helps circulation, filtration & water chemistry!
By cleaning areas underwater, the circulation is greatly improved, the filter can pick up more stuff or it has less to pick up, and with proper cleaning, less chemicals are used.
Here's what Pool cleaning involves:
A final area to look at cleaning is the pool filtering system - the entire system - especially the plumbing lines. The understanding of biofilms in pool systems is major source of many problems including algae and cloudy water. Click here for more information on biofilms & how to remove biofilms.
Skim & remove heavy debris as needed, Vacuum & brush weekly.
Test your pool water at least 2 times per week & have it professionally tested & analyzed monthly for best results. Testing keeps you up to date on what's going on with your pool water. Don't rely solely on how the water looks.
In fact most of the SERIOUS water problems that we see (skin rashes, colored hair, pool surface etching, etc.) occur when the water is "crystal clear" about the middle of the swimming season. Make pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness adjustments promptly. You'll protect the filter system, the pool surfaces, get better chlorine & sanitizer efficiency and virtually eliminate red eyes & dry skin.
Weekly test for sanitizer levels, pH & Total Alkalinity. Monthly checks of Calcium Hardness & metals, keep your pool not only looking great, but protects the pool, its equipment & most importantly YOU from unseen changes that will cost more to fix rather than prevent.
At PoolSpaGuru, we offer you onsite, in-home Computerized Water Testing & Analysis utilizing the most up to date technology & information. Really on almost 50 years of specialized Pool Water care expertise. Why trust your pool's health to someone who's just following computer prompts?
PoolSpaGuru performs 10 basic or standard tests and can perform up to 15 additional (including metals, bacteria & demand tests) depending on your level of care or need.
Find the right Test kit for your needs right here
Testing is EASY! Do it!
Pool care water chemistry IS easy - just 4 simple steps:
These 4 steps are 4 of the 5 Pillars of Good Pool Water Care. Click here for details.
You don't have to be a certified chemist to operate your home swimming pool! All PoolSpaGuru water care programs are pool owner & consumer friendly.
No matter which one you choose was designed with your safety & enjoyment in mind. As long as you can "follow the program," pool water care is easy & shouldn't take much more than 5 - 10 minutes (including clean up) each week to accomplish.
When it comes to Swimming Pool Chemicals & Chemistry, you get what you pay for...