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Pool Maintainance - Clear Water


Ack! I've got a picnic this weekend and my pool's cloudy, what do I do??? is the cry of many a pool owner this summer. The better question might be what DIDN'T I do??

Keeping your pool clean and clear is all a matter of balance. Just enough sanitizer, enough water movement, the right pH and temperature, and regular brushing and vacuuming, it seems so complicated! Well, relax, if I can keep my pool clean so can you! Since most of you have already opened your pool this summer, let's consider what factors help keep your pool clean and sparkly. We'll cover how to open and close your pool in another article.

The two most important things to consider are sanitizer and water movement. Stagnant water breeds bacteria and other micro-organisms, which is fine if you are a pond, but not so desirable if you happen to be a swimming pool. Humans also introduce bacteria into the pool, as well as oils and, in my family, an occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While you can fish out the sandwich, bacteria are harder to capture.

To combat such assaults, a sanitizer is used, which kills the bacteria and helps control algae growth. The most common sanitizers are chlorine and bromine based compounds. Bromine tends to be easier on the skin and mucous membranes. These compounds must be added routinely to the pool during the course of the summer to maintain high enough levels to prevent bacterial growth. The levels are measured in parts per million (ppm). If your sanitizer level drops below recommended levels for more than a few days the pool may turn cloudy. Routine super chlorinating or "shocking" your pool burns out any residual algae or bacteria.

Now, all the sanitizer in the world won't keep your pool clear without some method of circulating the sanitizer and filtering out the debris that accumulates. That is where your pump and filter come in, besides running up your electrical bill that is...

Ideally, your pump should run for about 10 hrs a day. If you have problems keeping your sanitizer level high enough, run it more. Be aware that problems keeping the sanitizer level up may be caused by high bather load or poor circulation due to pump malfunction. To some extent, lots of activity in the pool will help circulate the water.

Sometimes though, even if your sanitizer level is high enough, the water is still cloudy. This can be caused by a few factors and is usually easy to remedy. The filter is what removes particulate matter from the pool water, this is called polishing the water. If the filter is dirty or clogged, it can't do its job. Watch the pressure gauge on your filter, if it jumps 10psi or higher than normal it is time to backwash, "bump" or clean the filter media, depending on whether you have a sand, cartridge or DE filter. There are also filter cleaning products available which extend the life of the media.

Finally, if the water is still cloudy and your filter is clean, then it is possible that the particulates are too small to be trapped by the filter. A coagulating agent, usually a polymer, can be used. This will aggregate the particles and allow them to be trapped by the filter. This will usually work within a day, but you need to watch the pressure gauge on the filter, and clean it as the pressure rises.

With the warm weather solidly upon us, pools provide a refreshing addition to our outdoor activities. Look here soon for more pool care information. E-mail us if you have any pool questions or comments. Happy swimming!

Read our other Pool Maintenance Articles:
Opening Your Pool
Closing Your Pool

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