Questions & Answers

You've got more Questions, I've got more answers...

These are the dig down questions that go into the nitty gritty of 

  • Pool chemical Q & A
  • Vacuuming your pool
  • Filter runs
  • How big is my pool? 


Pool Chemical q & A


How often do I need to test my pool water?

Ideally, chlorinated or brominated pools need to be tested DAILY. SoftSwim®, Baquacil (biguanide) pools can be tested weekly. 

Why do I need to test my pool water?

Regular, accurate testing of your pool water prevents water problems which lead to down time & unhappy pool users. It also prevents long-term problems such as corrosion of filters & metal pool accessories & parts. Prevention of scaling of a pool's heater is another long-term need. 

What's so important about pH?

Your pool's pH is a critical factor in how well everything works. When the pH is high, the water becomes cloudy, the sanitizer works less efficiently, algae & bacteria grow more quickly, scale can begin forming on metal surfaces (especially heaters). Low pH causes very clear, but unhealthy water in that the sanitizer is used up quickly, the water becomes corrosive, eye & skin irritation are noticed. That's what's so important about pH!  

My water is cloudy, why?

Cloudy water is caused my many things & is an indicator of other pool issues such as: high pH or Total Alkalinity high Calcium Hardness (especially true for regular users of calcium hypochlorite in mid-season as the water warms) early algae growth improper filtration improper circulation unfilterable matter such as suntan lotion, body oils, urine, etc., need to be oxidized from the water. Chlorinated/brominated pools need to be shocked at least every 2 weeks. Softswim® pools, every 3 - 4 weeks. Prevention is normally the solution! Here's the scoop on cloudy water.

My pool turns green every couple of weeks. Why?

You have what we call, chronic algae. Chronic algae is normally a symptom of a larger pool care problem, such as the items listed above. We would definitely suggest using Optimizer Plus. The initial cost of Optimizer Plus will definitely pay for itself even with 1 bad algae problem. Chronic algae can be eliminated, but it will take some effort. Chemicals alone won't treat or prevent it. Prevention is normally the solution! For more detailed information on algae found in swimming pools plus how to prevent or treat it, click here. 

Why do I have to "shock" my pool after I've added make-up water to it?

Yes, the tap water may already be treated (well water is generally untreated), however as complaints about chlorine in the water system have risen, the water suppliers have cut back on the amount that is used in treating the water system itself. Because of that, people are seeing much higher incidents of common bacteria and algae in a variety of places; sinks, toilets & most important to you, garden hoses. Pink slime & white water mold love dark, moist, warm areas in which to breed. Your garden hose that is used to fill the pool is a perfect habitat. Let the water run for one or two minutes before putting the hose into the pool. This will help flush out most residue that is accumulating in the hose & prevent it from getting into the pool. 

Pool Vacuuming Q & A


I don't have any suction

 Either the hose has come off of the basket, the  filter has lost its prime (not sucking water) or the hose a leak (make  sure you've got the proper end of the hose on the vac head).  If you  have more than one suction line, be sure you're drawing from the proper  one. 

Dirty water returning to the pool.

If you have a sand filter, DO NOT BACKWASH THE FILTER BEFORE VACUUMING.   Backwashing stirs up the sand & prevents good trapping of dirt for  several HOURS.  In cartridge or DE filters, this rarely happens. 

OR if the sediment you're vacuuming is really fine, you may need to add a filter aid to the sand to remove fine particles.

I vacuum for a few minutes & then it doesn't work anymore.

How dirty is the pool?  If it's REALLY dirty, you may  be better off vacuuming to direct waste (sand filter) or otherwise  vacuuming directly out of the pool by-passing the filter. 

LOTS of fine silt seems to come right back into the pool as I'm vacuuming.

If you have a lot of fine silt & debris (especially so at spring opening), it would be best to vacuum the pool using the "WASTE" feature  found on almost all sand filters and some DE filters that have a 6 or 7 position  multiport valve (sorry, cartridge filters are not equipped with this type of  valve). It's true that you will waste a fair amount of water will vacuuming in  this mode, but it's the best & fastest way to dealing with the problem. Even if  you were to "floc" the pool, you would still need to vacuum that settled  material out of the pool on waste. 

Filter & Filtration Questions


How many hours should I run my filter?

I recommend a minimum of 8 to 12 HOURS of swimming pool filtration time per day (preferably during the day), everyday that the pool is open & the water temperature is in excess of 70 degrees F. To make life a little easier,  put a timer on the filter so you don't forget. For BEST results, run the filter 24/7. You MUST run the filter DAILY! 

How often should I backwash my filter?

Generally speaking, a filter should be backwashed only when needed. Backwash it only when the pressure reads about 10 points higher than initial start-up. Frequent backwashing doesn't allow  the filter to trap finer particulate as the filter media becomes dirty.  Usually there is no need to backwash a filter after vacuuming.  

Is it really necessary to Chemically clean my filter?

Unequivocally, YES!! Over time, unfilterables such as  suntan lotion, hair conditioner, body oils, tree sap and more, foul the  filter & prevent optimal filter efficiency. Water problems such as  algae & cloudiness begin to spoil your summer. Think of backwashing as simply rinsing your clothes. How often could you do that before the  clothing became "un-wearable"? Chemically cleaning the filter is like  properly laundering your clothing.  

Never Use ACID to clean your filter.  Why?  Acids set greases & oils into the filter medium, especially Cartridges.  Permanently.  This causes the cartridge to lose most of its life.  If you really want to acid clean it, then use   Strip Kwik® Filter Degreaser first, then use acid or better yet, something safer like  Kleen It® Filter Cleaner which does contain a blend of acids. 

Click here for filter cleaning details.

Should I worry about the small leak of water out of the backwash line?

Yes. A small leak does add up to a lot of lost water.  As more water is added to the pool, the water chemistry changes &  in time the sanitizing abilities will be affected. Plus, it's a matter  of wasting a precious resource. 

My filter keeps getting clogged up. Why?

If your filter keeps clogging, it's doing its job!  That's why regular (every 4 to 6 weeks) CHEMICAL cleaning of the filter  is recommended. Filter clogging if the water is cloudy or green is  normal, especially if it's a cartridge or DE filter that naturally  filters a finer, smaller particle.  

My filter pumps runs really hot. Why?

Pump motors run much warmer than in years past.  That's just the way they are made.  It's actually a good sign because the heat is being transferred away from the windings & onto the shell. IF IT'S REALLY HOT THERE ARE 3 CAUSES: 

  1. Low voltage, causing high amperage typically caused by a power supply wire being undersized or too long a wire (extension cords are definite NO-NO's) 
  2. There is a blockage in the motor causing it to bind 
  3. The motor bearings are beginning to wear out (may become noisy). 

Aboveground Pool Sizes & Gallons

If you don't know the size & gallons of your pool, you could be wasting money.

Knowing the proper number of gallons or liters in your swimming pool is very important for successful chemical care & treatment.  And that goes along with first knowing the actual pool dimensions! Oh, we could tell you stories of 50,000 gallon aboveground pools... but here's what you're really after: 

 Aboveground Pools  -  based on 52" wall height pools, flat bottom (ACTUAL average approximate water depth of 44"; this is the true fill, not the capacity) 



Know your pool!

Inground Pools - based on a typical, rectangular (2 ft. radius corners), vinyl liner construction (ANSI / NSPI standard Type 1 Pool, 16x32 and larger; smaller pools are Type 0 with deep depth of 5'6") , with average wall height of 42", shallow end water fill of 36" depth and a deep end water fill depth of 7'6" (90").  Gallonage also takes typical piping & filtration system (100 lineal feet of pipe plus filter capacity) into consideration. 


Gallonage Calculations (US gallons):
Rectangular Pools - length x width x average depth x 7.5
Round, Oval & Free-form Pools - aver. length x aver. width x aver. depth x 5.9

Convert to Liters:  Gallons multiplied by 3.7854 = total liters