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POOL CARE TIPS - (Disclaimer: All tips and suggestions are just that - tips and suggestions!)


If you are not sure of what you are doing, please call a pool service/repair professional. Even if you know what you are doing, get advice from a professional first. All pools and equipment are plumbed and set up differently, and have their own special “quirks”. Just because your neighbor or friend was able to do something does not mean that it will work on your pool system.

1) Why is my pool running high pressure?
A.) The return (pressure) valve could be turned off or broken.
B.) There could be a clog in the line or valve.

The problem of high filter pressure is usually a dirty filter. The pressure should drop after backwashing the filter. If the pressure is still running high after backwashing, you may need to take your filter apart and clean it. If it is a sand filter you may need to change the sand. Cartridge or Modular Media filters can be hosed off and soaked in cartridge filter cleaners. Always make sure the filter gauge is working properly, that the equipment is turned off and the pressure is released before taking the filter apart.

2) Why is my pool running low pressure?
A.) The suction lines could be clogged.
B.) The valves could be set in the “off” position.

The problem of low pressure is usually a clogged pump basket (the basket connected to the pool pump) or skimmer baskets full of leaves. Clogged baskets restrict the flow of water into the filter, which causes low pressure. A clogged impeller (blade inside the pump) can also cause low pressure. This should not happen if your pump basket is kept free of debris and in good condition.

3) What is a freeze guard?
A freeze guard is a temperature sensor that overrides the pool timer. Most freeze guards are set at a temperature of 38 degrees. If the pool timer is off and a cold front moves in, the freeze guard will override the timer and turn on the pool pump. Once the pool is circulating (moving water at proper pressure) it will usually prevent the water from freezing. A freeze guard is not a heater.

4) My plunger type backwash valve is hard to move up and down. What should I do?
A plunger type backwash valve needs to be lubricated at least twice a year, or when it first starts to show resistance when you move it. The plunger valve needs to be lubed with a lubricant made only for pool applications, such as Magic Lube. Do not use an oil based lubricant. The power must be off and the shaft section of the backwash valve removed, to lube the `o’rings or wafers. A multiport type valve can also be hard to turn. These types of valves can be a bit more complicated to deal with. There could be a bad spider gasket, or top assembly with a bad spring. If a multiport type valve is not seating properly you could be draining water down the waste (sewer) line, or possibly do damage to the filter.

5) Can I put a larger pump on my pool equipment to move more water?
Pumps should be sized to the pool plumbing, filter and size of pool. Newer pumps are much more efficient than pumps (old brass type pumps) that were installed just 8-10 years ago. Because of the more efficient pumps, plumbing is usually too small in size to let a larger horsepower pump prime up and operate at its full potential. In most cases it actually moves less water than the older, smaller horsepower pumps. If the plumbing and number of jets will allow the use of a larger horsepower pump, you need to make sure that the filter is large enough to handle the extra force/pressure that the pump will create.

6) Can I change light bulbs and / or fixtures without draining the (gunite) pool?
Pool lights and electrical problems should be taken care of by a trained technician. Changing bulbs and fixtures in a gunite pool can be done without draining the pool.

7) Why are my tiles falling off?
Tiles can fall off for several reasons, and obviously a bad tile installation could cause this problem. The most common problem though is due to cantilever type decks, or decks with no expansion joint between the deck and coping. If a deck should move/shift due to ground movement it puts pressure on the tile, which in turn causes the tile to pop off. Even in cases where coping is installed you can have tile problems if there is not a true expansion joint between the deck and coping.

8) Why is my pool cloudy?
A pool can be cloudy for several reasons. Bad water chemistry or a dirty filter are the first things to look for. When testing the water always perform a complete chemical check using a reliable test kit with good reagents. Keeping the filter clean and backwashing (washing cartridges if you have a cartridge filter) on a regular basis is the best way to keep the filter in good condition. Diatomaceous Earth or D.E. filters (on residential pools) need to be taken apart and cleaned on a yearly basis. Sand filters (on a residential pool) need to have the sanded changed out approximately every 5 years.

Once a pool is cloudy, you need to clean or backwash the filter daily and keep the chemicals in balance until the pool clears up. There are clarifiers that can be used to clear the water faster. Clarifiers can cause the solid matter to settle out onto the floor of the pool. If this happens you may need to use a portable pump to vacuum out the settlement. With a portable pump you will not have any settlement going through your own equipment.

9) When should I replaster?
Replastering can be a choice of cosmetics as well as one of need. If the plaster is discolored or stained, you may want to replaster to brighten up the pool. You may just want to try a different color, or texture of the surface to give the pool/spa a different look. There are many new types of plaster surfaces to choose from today. Pebble type surfaces, colored plasters, diamond sanded surfaces, etc. There are also additives to make the white plaster whiter and longer lasting. It may become one of need when the pool/spa has reached a point where the surface is rough and abrasive to the touch, when the gunite is showing or when there are leaks around the fittings. Rough plaster can also cause premature wearing of pool cleaners and gives algae a more suitable surface to grow on. If you don’t mind the roughness or discoloration, then it is simply a cosmetic decision.

10) Can I paint my pool?
There are occasions when painting a pool is a choice that is made, instead of replastering. We do not know of any pool builders that build a pool and then choose to paint the surface instead of plastering it. Plaster, in most cases, is the best choice of surface for a pool. If a pool is painted, you must keep the chemicals in perfect balance. Once a painted pool gets too acidic the paint will start to break down and chalk. Once this happens the pH is very hard to control and the chalking can clog the filter. If painting is the option you choose, there are several types of pool paint available, such as water base, rubber base and epoxy. If you have a painted pool and wish to have it plastered you will need to have it sandblasted before replastering can be done.



11) My salt cell is not generating chlorine?
Not enough salt in pool or a dirty salt cell. Readouts on salt units and test strips are not always accurate. Keep your test strips fresh and indoors. Manufacturers recommend cleaning your cell 4 times per year. Calcium will build up and prevent the cell from working properly.



12) Should I run my salt cell in the winter?
Salt cells do not operate well if at all when water temperatures drop below 55 degrees. Some cells shut themselves off at 55 degrees ,some have a winter mode, some you can manually turn off or down, others have no control. Cells do wear out faster at higher settings or running for no reason. You may as well shut them down for the winter.



13) I was told that I don't need chemicals if I have a salt pool?
Salt pools still use the same basic chemistry as a non-salt pool. You may still need to shock the pool or use chlorine tablets in the heat of the summer, you just use a bit less. pH levels will be higher and require larger amounts of muriatic acid to keep the pH under control. The alkalinity will also be more critical with a salt pool. You may even need to keep your cyanuric acid level (chlorine stabilizer ) a bit higher to help maintain chlorine levels.

 
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