Keep Your yard Clean To Eliminate Predator Insects Hiding Around Your Swimming Pool
The temperature matters
Typically, it takes 75 minutes to raise the temperature of 1000 gallons of water 30 degrees with a 250,000 BTU gas heater. The amount of gas you use will depend on the temperature of the water to start with and how warm you want to make it. The colder the water is, the more time and fuel it will take to raise the temperature to 100+ degrees. Lets say for example you have a 1000 gallon spa and a 250,000 BTU gas heater. During the month of January, the water temperature is often 65 degrees here in the valley. When I use a spa, I like to heat the water to 103 degrees. This is an increase in temperature of 38 degrees, which will take about an hour and a half. Now on the other hand, if it were July and the starting water temperature is 80 degrees, it would only take about 45 minutes to go up 23 degrees, requiring a lot less fuel. An 11K electric heater will raise the temperature approximately 5 degrees an hour in a 1000 gallon spa. Under the same conditions mentioned above, it will take about 8 hours to bring the 65 degree water to 103 degrees and 4.5 hours to raise the temperature from 80 degrees to 103 degrees.
I cannot stress this enough…if you have a heater, you must pay attention to the water chemistry weekly through out the year. You want to make sure you are keeping your pH between 7.2 and 7.6. Scaling will form on the heat exchangers when the pH is allowed to get high, over 7.6. When the pH is left to drop below 7.2, the water is more acidic, which can also damage heat exchangers as a result of corrosion. Corrosion can also happen through oxidization, so you want to avoid putting chlorine tabs in the skimmer when you own a heater. Damaged heat exchangers due to poorly maintained water, or neglect, will void the manufactures warranty on new products.
What is a Skimmer Weir
Inside of your skimmer, there is a plastic gate called the weir. The weir is a very small part that makes a very big difference in how clean your pool looks through out the week. Its amazing how often I see the skimmer missing its weir gate and how many people, including pool technicians who clean pools every week, that don’t know what it is, or what it does.
The weir gate is simply a way to keep the debris that is sucked into the skimmer, from getting back out into the pool. While the pump is on, the weir gate will be pulled back as water comes into the skimmer and just like the name describes, the water skims over the top of the weir. Styrofoam makes the weir gate buoyant, so when the pump shuts off and there is no longer water pulling across the top of the weir, it stays upright in the skimmer trapping the leaves inside.
Here is a great example of the weir gate doing its job. This last week it has been breezy. Many trees in Arizona are flowering, or dropping leaves this time of year which can litter the surrounding yards for weeks at a time. What you see in the basket would have been floating on the surface of the water had the weir gate not held it back. Not only did the weir gate keep the pool looking cleaner during a breezy week and shedding trees, but the amount of time netting the pool has been reduced by a lot.
Weir gates can break when they become old and brittle, or from a lot of splashing when kids are swimming. If the weir gate is broken, or missing, it should be replaced. You will have a cleaner pool and reduce the time required to net each week as long as the weir is functional.
How to Maintain DE and Cartridge Filters
DE filters and cartridge filters must be taken apart and cleaned at least once every year. Depending on the amount of dirt, debris, or dog hair that gets into your system, it may be necessary to clean a filter 3-4 times a year. You can back wash a DE filter, but residual build up of dirt, DE and debris, gets compacted between the grids and sits on the manifold. The tear down must happen in addition to back washing through out the year. Doing this maintenance can save you from unwanted problems and it can help save you money. Manifolds, air breather screens, cartridges and DE grids will last longer if they are kept clean and not allowed to get ‘caked up’ with debris.
Anytime you have a filter apart, you should be inspecting the filter components for damage. Shown below, are some worst case scenarios. More than likely, if there are cracks, or tears to the degree shown in the images below, you may already have a green pool, or a dirty pool. Dirt and water would be bypassing the filter and blowing back into the pool. The idea of routine cleanings and inspections, is to discover potential problems early. What you will be looking for is hairline cracks in the manifold, or the cartridge filters rubber, or tiny tears in the DE filter grid material. If you see any kind of wear, or damage in the early stages, this is the time to replace the damaged parts before it becomes a bigger problem.
Cracks in the manifold like this one, can start as hairline cracks and get worse. It can also happen if you over tighten the nuts to the rods that hold the grids together. Always inspect the manifold for signs of stress.
This cartridge filters lower collection manifold had cracked and has holes in it. The filter went too long between cleanings. The cartridges were clogged, and the water had no where else to go.
This DE filters air breather screen has frayed and must be replaced. Once a hole has worn through the fabric, DE will get into the pool.
Pool Pump Shaft Seal Leak
Dont let this happen to you! Check your pool equipment each week and look for any wetness under, or around the pump. Catching things like this early and staying on top of small repairs will save you time and money in the long run, allowing you and your family more time in the pool enjoying your investment.
How Often Do I Check My Pool? Bi-weekly Checks Are Not a Good Idea
Arizona has very hard water and calcium build up is unfortunately a common site around the valley. It is very important to keep the pH between 7.2 and 7.8 consistently. Copper elements in pool heaters can become crusted with scale buildup when the water is too hard, restricting water flow and ruining the heater. Hard water scale build up will increase on tile with a high pH and build up on salt cells, restricting water flow and reducing the life if the cell. Chlorine is more effective as a sanitizer if the pH is kept balanced. In hind site to having a high pH, if the pH is too low, the water is acidic. When the water is acidic, it will leach calcium from the plaster and the grout between tiles, eventually ruining the pool surface and loosening tile. Acidic water can damage copper heating elements in heaters too.
Bottom line? It’s important to keep checking on your pools equipment and the water chemistry consistently through out the year. Reduce unwanted problems and damage to the pool and pool equipment, by dedicating 15-30 minutes each week. It is never a good idea to neglect your investment over the winter months simply because its too cold to swim.
Pool and Spa Safety Act
Who is Virginia Graeme Baker? The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) takes its name from Virginia Graeme Baker. A twin and the youngest of five, 7-year-old Virginia, was the daughter of Nancy and James Baker IV, the son of former Secretary of State James Baker III. In June 2002, Graeme became stuck to a hot tub drain and was unable to pull herself free. Efforts by her mother to pull Virginia from the drain proved unsuccessful. Two men who eventually freed Virginia Graeme from the spa, pulled so hard, that the drain cover broke from the force. Virginia died from drowning, but the real cause of her death was entrapment from the suction, due to a faulty drain cover.After her tragic death, her mother, Nancy Baker, worked tirelessly to advocate for pool and spa safety. Virginia’s family and Safe Kids Worldwide actively lobbied Congress to support a law, to require anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices for pools and spas. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida sponsored the statute, which was signed into law by the President in December 2007.
State Requirements for replacing drain covers in swimming pools and spas