Whether you are a new Florida swimming pool owner or planning to have one installed, you need to have pool supplies on hand for keeping balanced water chemistry and keeping the pool clean.
Not doing either of these tasks can create problems. First, it can damage your pool and equipment, which can be expensive to repair. Second, it can endanger the health of you and your family and friends from swimming in an unhealthy pool. Water care and pool cleaning are essential to a healthy pool experience.
To accomplish these tasks, you need to keep sufficient supplies and equipment on hand.
To properly care for your water, you will need supplies to test the water, keep the water chemistry balanced, and keep the pool free of harmful microorganisms. This is typically done weekly. If your pool sees frequent use during our beautiful Florida summer and/or there are lots of swimmers for get-togethers, you should test more often.
Water Chemistry Testers: There are several types of testing kits on the market. One may only test for pH and chlorine levels. Another may test everything or each individually – pH and chlorine, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
Some use tablets, some use liquid drops, and some use test strips. Then, you have digitized meters with test strips and photometers using liquids or tablets, taking the guesswork out of water chemistry analysis. The choice is yours.
PH Level: An out-of-balance pH level can corrode the pool walls, irritate or dry the skin of swimmers, cause cloudy water, and put deposits on pool walls. Both pH increase and pH decreaser are used to balance the pH level of the water, which should be kept between 7.2 and 7.6.
Alkalinity: Because the pH level can be thrown out of balance by many factors, an alkalinity increaser is used to help stabilize the pH level. If the alkalinity is too high, the pH level also will be high and the pH decrease will lower both. The alkalinity level should be between 100 and 150 ppm.
Calcium: Too much calcium can cause those hard water stains on the pool wall and accessories – the white cloudy residue. Too little can be corrosive, eating away at your pool surface. Use calcium hardness if needed at the beginning of the swimming season and check monthly thereafter. It should be between 180 and 220 ppm.
Chlorine: Used to kill bacteria and algae and keep the water sanitary. It also is used to “shock the pool water” – rapidly raising the level of chlorine at an extreme rate when the algae is too high for regular chlorine levels to handle. There are several types of chlorine and chlorine alternatives. Ask your pool professional which is best to use for your type of pool. Normal required levels vary, depending on the type of chlorine or alternative you use.
Cyanuric Acid: This is a water stabilizer that protects the chlorine from sun burn off. Typically, you use it when you first fill the pool with fresh water. It should be between 30 and 50 ppm.
Algaecide: Chlorine is best for killing algae. At times, however, it is not enough and an algaecide is required. Too many algae cause a slimy feel to the pool surface and cloudy, colored water. Keep the algaecide on hand for those situations.
Water Clarifier or Flocculant (Floc): When tiny particles are too small to be eliminated with your filtration system and they are making the water cloudy, clarifier or floc will bind them together into larger groups. They can then be filtered out.
There are three keywords to pool cleaning, whether you use a pool service or do it yourself – vacuum, brush and skim! They clear away leaves, bugs, twigs from overhanging trees, dirt and debris blown into the pool by the wind, and other large items that the chemicals and your filtration system cannot clear away.
Pool Vacuum: There are various types of pool vacuums. First, there are manual and robotic – it is a tradeoff between the cost of the vacuum and your time. Some vacuums work better in smaller pools, others work better in large pools. Some do angular corners well, others work best with round pools. Some need to be completely removed from the pool after use or they can damage your filtration system by putting too much of a strain on the elements. Some vacuums will navigate steps, while others will not.
Not all vacuums are energy efficient – they can cover almost 600 miles annually. Not all vacuums operate quietly – the noise can affect both your family and your neighbors. Some clean dirt and minor debris best and work well with no nearby trees, while others clean leaves and twigs best – if you have a nearby tree, you want a vacuum that does all of these.
Lastly, some robotic pool vacuums use a random cleaning pattern, while others use a pre-determined pattern. The random cleaning vacuums are slower to clean the entire pool, while the pre-determined patterned vacuums clean faster.
You should vacuum your swimming pool at least weekly – more often if needed.
Pool Brushes: Dirt, grime, and even algae can stick to the sides of your pool. In such cases, the pool vacuum will not be enough. You will need a good strong pool brush and some elbow grease to scrub it off. Once you are done, the debris can be collected by your pool vacuum and/or skimmer.
Using a pool brush is only done as needed.
Pool Skimmers: A pool skimmer is a netted tool that allows you to manually collect leaves, dirt and dead bugs that float on the surface of the pool water. Skimmers can be handheld or attached to a telescopic pole. Quite frankly, you even can use a window screen, which is sometimes faster and more efficient. Whatever your style of skimmer you choose, it is the tool you will use the most. It should be done weekly. If your children and their friends use the pool frequently, use the skimmer two to three times a week.
Call the Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches today
for all your summer pool service and cleaning needs!