Pool Care Advice
Pool Chemicals: Maintenance of your pool is not difficult. Listed below are a few things to bear in mind to ensure that your pool water remains clean and healthy:-
Hygienic and clean pool water.
Ensure that your pool water is tested and dosed regularly so that it is clean and safe continuously. The proliferation of bacteria, pollution from swimmers and algae must be avoided so that pool water is clean. Untreated water will in time cause infections and discomfort to users of the pool.
Filtration and circulation of pool water
Regular circulation is vital to ensure all of the pool water is balanced, not just in the treated area. Cloudy water is not safe for use even if has been recently treated to the correct levels.
Proper filtration should ensure that small particles are removed from the pool but a strainer basket is required for larger debris.
Caring for the structure and lining of your pool
After investing in a pool, you will want it to last. Some damage could occur through the use of tap water to fill your pool but this is easily solved by testing the water regularly.
Water corrosion will be prevented by maintaining the correct conditions in your pool.
Further Points to Consider.
Rain, sunlight and air pollution can alter your pool-water balance.
Lotions, cosmetics and perspiration can cause the water to become cloudy or irritable to eyes and skin.
Large numbers of people using the pool can change the water balance significantly.
Pool Chemical Safety: Pool chemicals can be harmful if used or stored incorrectly. Please ensure that you adhere to the following guidelines:-
Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
Chemical reagents for test kits should be replaced each year.
Keep the original lids on all chemical containers and make sure the lids are closed tightly when not in use.
Do not stack different chemicals on top of one another.
Store chemicals in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area preferably off the floor.
Do not store your pool chemicals where other flammable items may mix with them.
Before using chemicals, carefully read the label and follow manufacturers' instructions.
Always add chemicals to water - never add water to chemicals.
Never add chemicals to the pool water while swimmers are using the pool.
Test the water in your pool regularly with a reliable test kit. As a rule, the more people who use your pool, the more frequently you should test the water.
Never reuse old chemical containers.
Handle all chemicals, both liquid and dry, carefully.
Never mix chemicals together. Explosions or fire can occur.
Do not inhale dust or fumes of chemicals.
Do not smoke when using chemicals.
Wash your hands thoroughly after using chemicals.
Do not allow chemicals to contact your eyes, nose or mouth. (In case of contact or if a chemical product is swallowed, follow the manufacturer's label or advice. Call your doctor or your local hospital).
Initial Start-Up: The correct start can make a big difference. The simple steps that follow will help you avoid potential problems.
Cleaning your pool
Leaves and debris must be removed with a strainer basket.
The sides and bottom of the pool should be brushed, using a soft brush on liner pools.
Filling your pool
A dose of Shock Granules can be added when the pool is approximately half full, to prevent bacteria building up. To ensure an even distribution, first dissolve the granules in luke-warm water in a well-ventilated area (preferably outside) and then stir the solution into the water with a pool brush.
When refilling your pool, dose with STABILISER/POOL CONDITIONER, using the amount recommended on the packaging. This should be kept to a minimum as some chlorine donors already contain stabiliser. Do not backwash the filter until 24 hours have passed, to ensure the product has dissolved.
Turn on the filtration system, once the pool is full, maintaining the daily filtration requirements.
You will need to test the pH of your water with a pool test kit. A pH value of between 7.2-7.6 is needed for healthy pool water.
Proper disinfection is essential to ensure the pool water is safe for bathing in. This sanitising process removes harmful bacteria and any other possible sources of infection from the water.
Traditionally, chlorine has been used for disinfection. This comes in several different forms but we recommend our SHOCK GRANULES, STABILISED CHLORINE GRANULES & TABLETS.
Other disinfectant chemicals are available such as our BROMINE TABLETS, and other non-chlorine products.
OXYGEN TABS are also rapidly gaining popularity. It is much gentler on the skin than traditional chlorine treatments and doesn't leave the odour that chlorine does. It's also a lot more environmentally friendly!
Controlling the pH of your Pool
The degree of acidity or alkalinity of water is measured by its pH value. A pH of 7 is neutral; a fall below 7 indicates increasing acidity, and a pH rising above 7 indicates an increasing degree of alkalinity. For healthy pool-water, a pH of around 7.2 - 7.6 should be maintained. The pH of the water should be measured regularly and adjusted accordingly.
Alkaline Conditions - High pH
A pH of above 7 indicates the presence of alkaline substances. If the pH value rises above 8, the effectiveness of the disinfection process is reduced and the water has an increase tendency to precipitate hard salt. The water can become cloudy and the filter capability reduced, due to blockage.
Acidic Conditions - Low pH
A pH value below 7 indicates the presence of acidic substances. If the pH falls, the water becomes increasingly corrosive to metals and the chlorine level decreases, weakening the disinfection process. Finally, and most importantly, if the pH is too low or high, irritation of the eyes and skin may be caused by the water.
A pH in the range 7.2-7.6 is the ideal value for healthy pool-water. In practice, it is sufficient to keep the pH value within an optimum range for each different disinfectant.
The chemical(s) needed to adjust the pH depends on the disinfection being used.
Chlorinated isocyanurates (STABILISED CHLORINE GRANULES) and chlorine gas (which produce acidic reaction products) are acidic and require the addition of alkali, usually sodium carbonate (pH PLUS).
Calcium or sodium hypochlorite (GRANULAR SHOCK CHLORINE) are alkali and require the addition of an acid, normally sodium bisulphate (pH MINUS).
A simple to use kit is available within our range of chemicals.
Water Hardness: Tap water may not be ideal pool-water for the following reasons:
The quality and properties of tap water depend on the area that you live in. For example, water in Scotland is very "pure" due to the ground consisting of predominantly hard, granite rock. Hard rock does not readily dissolve on contact with rainwater. So, the water remains relatively unaffected, only collecting minor material after it hits the ground. This is given the term soft water and will have a slightly low pH value (acidic). If left untreated, this will lead to corrosion.
In Kent, with the chalky white rock, the rainwater picks up "impurities" such as calcium salts that increase the alkalinity of the water. This hard water can be cloudy and cause limescale formation.
The "Total Hardness" (calcium hardness) of water is a measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium salts such as the carbonates, bicarbonates, sulphates and chlorides present. This is usually expressed in parts per million (ppm).
Water hardness is aided by water evaporation. If water evaporates, the dissolved minerals in the water remain behind and thus, the concentration is increased. Water hardness is important due to the water's "hunger" for calcium. If there is a lack of calcium (below 200ppm), the water will seek it out from the pool's surroundings and fittings. This causes erosion problems.
An excess of calcium, however, leads to scale formation (calcium deposits). The ideal calcium hardness level is between 200 and 300 ppm.
The "Total Alkalinity" of water is a measure of the amount of carbonates, hydroxides and bicarbonates present. This has an essential role in the control of pH in your pool. The higher the alkalinity, the more resistant the water is to changes in pH: the alkalinity "buffers" the water.
Common problems are limescale and cloudy water. When the total alkalinity drops too low, rapid changes in the pH can occur which could cause corrosion and harmful or disagreeable swimming conditions.
You can monitor the total alkalinity with a test kit. The alkalinity should be maintained within a range of 80 to 120 ppm. If alkalinity is too low, add some sodium bicarbonate (T.A. PLUS). This increases the alkalinity without affecting the pH value. If the alkalinity is too high, add sodium bisulphate (PH Minus). Full instructions are on the labels of these products to help you.