Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Why is my Pool Not Holding Chlorine?


There are a few steps to go through if your pool is not holding chlorine week to week and there are also several things you can do to ensure you have a consistent chlorine level each week. I go over some common reasons why your pool may not be holding chlorine and some remedies for you.



One of the biggest problems that you can run into with your swimming pool is that it stops holding chlorine. We refer to this in the industry is as the chlorine zeroing out. There are a number of reasons for this and it is more noticeable in the Spring and Summer when the weather starts heating up and the Sun’s UV Rays become stronger. I will touch on the most common reasons why your pool is not holding chlorine week to week.

One of the first things to look at is the pool’s filtration system in run time. This is often overlooked and is crucial to the pool holding chlorine. If the skimmer basket is clogged with debris or the pump basket is clogged the pool will not circulate well. The filter is just as crucial so if it is dirty or the cartridges or grids have tears in them, chances are the pool will have a zero-chlorine reading due to the organic contaminates not being filtered out properly. First, check your pool filtration and your skimmer and pump baskets and make sure they are running efficiently.

Next is the overall pool run time. If you are not running your pool long enough each week, chances are the chlorine level will be low each week. Make sure you are running your pool for at least one cycle each day which all the water in the pool is going into the filter and then back out into the pool. If you are running a Variable Speed pump know that on a lower speed the pump needs to run longer. If you were running your standard pump 8 hours a day it was running at a speed of 3450 RPM. So if you set your VS pump for 8 hours and run it at 1800 RPM that is less than 1/3 the actual run time as before. You may be running your VS pump way too short and at too low the RPM for it to be effective. The same is true for your standard speed pump. A good rule is to run your pump as much as you can until the pool starts holding chlorine.

If you have a Salt Water System (Salt Water Generator) and you do not run your pool long enough, the salt cell cannot produce enough chlorine each day to reach a sustainable level. You can also have the pool running long enough but you may have the salt output set too low. Set the salt output to 100% and then decrease it down if it is producing too much chlorine. Not the other way around.

Algae, Organic Debris, Phosphates, and Nitrates can all affect the chlorine in the pool also. If your pool has visible algae chances are the chlorine is being used up fast as it tries to fight the algae. Phosphates and the less common Nitrates can also quickly destroy the pool’s chlorine level. If the pool water is cloudy or there are visible algae, then there is a water quality issue. One way to solve this is to bring the chlorine level up to shock levels of 20 ppm and run the pool for 12-24 hours. You may also have too little Conditioner (CYA) in the pool. Test the CYA level and make sure it is at least at 30 ppm, otherwise, the Sun will burn off the chlorine within hours.

 You could also be using bad chlorine. What I mean by this is chlorine that is expired, especially in the case of liquid chlorine. Over time the power of the chlorine gets weaker. Just like leaving a gallon of bleach in your laundry room and not using it for several months. When you do use it you will notice that it is very weak and does almost nothing when added to the washer. Liquid chlorine also will get weaker over time. So if you purchase it at your local Walmart or Home Depot don’t be surprised if it is ineffective because they failed to rotate their stock. Shock in a bag has a shelf life of about 2 years but that to can get weaker over time. Keep your chlorine fresh by purchasing what you need when you need it and try to buy it from a local pool store versus the big box retail or hardware stores.

These are a few reasons why your chlorine level may be zeroing out each week. There are more but I find these to be the most common.


Monday, July 6, 2020

Hayward pHin Smart Water Monitor Review


The Hayward pHin is marketed as a Smart Water Monitor so what exactly does that mean? There are a slew of these devices now and in a nutshell, these are floating devices that have digital probe/sensor which will read the pool’s pH, ORP (Sanitation) and Temperature. Some will also do salinity but the pHin only does those three parameters. The pHin will send you the results from the probe directly to your smartphone and recommend the adjustment needed to balance your pool water.



Of course none of these floating digital water monitors can currently do Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness (or Total Hardness) and CYA and the pHin has a pretty nice workaround for this so that you can get a true idea if your pool is balanced. Included are 25 test strips that you scan into the pHin app by taking a photo of said test strip after dipping it into your pool. The pHin then records the Total Alkalinity, Total Hardness, and CYA and will let you know if they are in range.
Back to the three tests that the pHin can do with the digital probe. It will actually send you over 1,000 readings per week of the pH, ORP, and water temperature which is really cool for the nerd DIY homeowner type or a pool geek like me. The results from the pHin are pretty spot on too and if the alert says your pH is high, it more than likely is. I actually have another pH, ORP and Temperature monitor in my pool, as well as four photometer testers and a hand, held a digital pH probe and I was able to verify the pHin readings in my pool.

The initial first year of monitoring is free and after that each additional year is $99 per year. So about $8.25 month. I think it is worth it to know if your pool is swim-ready and safe, especially if you use your pool often. Here is more on how the pHin tests the sanitation level in your pool.

“Traditionally, water chemistry is measured about one time per week. This certainly helps to monitor the health of your water, but we, at pHin, have developed a smarter approach. pHin measures your vessels’ pH, sanitizer and temperature over 1000 times per week.

There are many environmental factors that affect water chemistry like: usage, weather, water temperature, sunlight exposure, etc. pHin’s built-in intelligence takes all of that collected information, analyzes it and then creates recommendations based on your pool or hot tub’s unique averages.

This means that pHin’s recommendations may be different from what you are used to or what your pool store recommends, but we find when customers follow our recommendations their pools are more likely to stay balanced.” -pHin

The app is really well made and it will display various things for you. The Home screen will let you know right away if the pool needs some attention which is a nice feature. Here is more on what the pHin includes:

Water history charts
Easy, accurate chemical dosing directions
Alerts for when attention is needed
Tests for total alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid monthly or as needed
Shareable water data for in-person help or to order new chemicals at your favorite pool store
Unlimited pHin monitor replacement warranty

AUTOMATIC NOTIFICATIONS: The pHin app automatically alerts you when you need to adjust your chemicals and lets you know exactly how much of which chemicals to use. Works with both Android and iOS.

TAKES GUESSWORK OUT OF ADDING CHEMICALS: Scan any supported chemical’s barcode and the pHin app will calculate how much to add to your water. Supports most major chemical brands.

POOL AND HOT TUB CARE SIMPLIFIED: Instead of showing you continuously changing raw readings, pHin’s built-in intelligence samples your water chemistry more than 1000 times per week and creates customized recommendations based on your pool or hot tub’s unique measurements.

SUPPORTS ALL WATER TYPES: Works with chlorine, bromine, and salt water-based pools, hot tubs and swim spas.

LIFETIME WARRANTY: Your pHin Smart Water Care Monitor has a lifetime warranty. If it ever fails while you are a paying subscriber, we will send you a new monitor free of charge.

I like these floating smart pool monitors and really think that this is where pool testing is moving in the future. The pHin was one of the first of these devices and is still one of the best.

To order the pHin:


Monday, June 29, 2020

All Season Turf why Artificial Grass is the Way to Go!


After a lot of research we decided to have artificial turf installed at our house. Since this is more or less a permanent upgrade we wanted it to look the best. The old saying, “You get what you pay for” couldn’t be more true when it comes to choosing your artificial turf. If you have ever seen a bad inexpensive turf job around your neighborhood you know what I mean.



After getting four different bids we decided to go with a local Southern California company, All Season Turf.


This is a smaller family-owned and operated company, but you can see from the video that they definitely know what they are doing. They also install Tiger Turf which is made here in the USA and comes with a 15-year warranty (100% lead-free).

Here is more of why you should think about installing Artificial Turf (courtesy of All Season Turf):

Artificial grass offers many advantages over a traditional lawn
Artificial grass offers an excellent landscaping option for just about any residential or commercial property, because:

It Always Looks Beautiful: Artificial grass stays lush and green under all weather conditions. UV protection built right into the blades means it never fades.

It’s Low-Maintenance: There’s no need to mow, water, weed, or feed your lawn when you have artificial grass. All you have to do is rinse it and brush high-traffic areas periodically.

It’s Durable: Artificial grass is designed with reinforced tufts and a strong backing to withstand heavy foot traffic and all kinds of other activities.

It’s Fast-Drying: When properly installed, artificial turf can drain off rainwater quickly to prevent puddles and soggy spots and let you spend more time enjoying your lawn.

It’s Eco-Friendly: You can save thousands of gallons of water per year by switching to artificial grass. Plus, you won’t need any potentially harmful weed killers, pesticides, or fertilizers.

It’s Pet-Friendly: Pets can run and play on artificial grass without tearing it up or wearing bare spots around the edges of the lawn. Plus, it’s easy to clean up after they do their business.

It’s Kid-Friendly: Artificial grass and infill products are non-toxic and safe for kids to play on. Plus, artificial turf is cleaner and softer than lawns grown in hard-packed dirt.

It Lasts: When you choose a quality product, have it installed professionally, and take care of it, artificial grass can last for 15 years or more.

Save Time and Money with Artificial Grass
No Mowing: Artificial grass is always the perfect length. You never have to mow or weed-eat your lawn to keep it looking its best. This will save you hours of labor as well as the cost of gas and maintenance for your mower and weedeater.

No Watering: No matter how hot and dry the weather is, artificial grass will stay lush and green. You never need to water it, so you can save thousands of gallons of water each year.

No Weeding: Most kinds of artificial turf—with the exception of pet turf—can be installed over a weed barrier that will prevent weeds from springing up in your lawn. You won’t have to spend hours hunched over plucking weeds ever again.

No Chemicals: Real grass lawns typically need to be fertilized at least once per year. You may also need to apply pesticides or weed killers. But with artificial grass, these products are unnecessary.

Maintaining Your Artificial Grass is Easy
Artificial grass is low-maintenance, not no-maintenance. You will need to complete a few quick and easy maintenance tasks to keep it looking its best:

Rinse It: Airborne dust and dirt can settle on your artificial grass and make it look dingy. Fortunately, cleaning it off is as simple as rinsing with water. You can even set up a sprinkler to do this for you.

Brush It: Heavy foot traffic can cause artificial grass to look flat and matted. To prevent or correct this, simply brush it against the direction of the blades with a plastic-bristled brush. This will get the blades standing up perkily again. – “All Season Turf”


Saturday, June 27, 2020

ITS Photometer Testers


Industrial Test Systems (ITS) makes several photometers and digital pool testers. The eXact iDip, Pool eXact EZ are just two of their popular models. All of these are also sold as kits and their premiere pool service kit is the eXact iDip® Pool Pro+ Test Kit. Below is a summary of some of their more popular kits.



The eXact iDip® Pool Pro+ Test Kit Part No. 486101-KP2-K:
This kit does everything. Literally. Over 40 test factors. When you purchase the Kit SenSafe will give you a code to download all of the test factors for the app for free. It comes with 25 tests of each of Total Alkalinity, pH, Free Chlorine (DPD-1), Combined/Total Chlorine (DPD-3), Calcium Hardness, Cyanuric Acid. You can purchase additional eXact Strip Micros for the other 30 plus test factors.

The pH+ Meter does Conductivity, TDS, Salinity, and Temperature.

Here is more about this kit:
The first is the revolutionary Level 1 NSF/ANSI-50 Certified eXact iDip® Smart Photometer System which integrates patented 2–way wireless communication with any compatible iOS or Android smart device and has the potential to test over 40 water parameters. The second is the NEW eXact® pH+ Smart Meter system which capitalizes on electrochemistry technology combined with Bluetooth connectivity.

Details:
Standard navy blue plastic carrying case w/ Foam included
eXact iDip® 525 Photometer
eXact pH+ Smart Meter System
pH 4 & pH 7 buffer solution pouches
Cleaning brush
Acrylic Calibration Key
Instruction manual

Pool eXact® EZ Photometer Master Kit Part No. 486201-KM
If your looking for a great Photometer that can do almost all of the test factors needed for the pool and spa industry this Kit is for you. The included Pool eXact EZ comes pre-programmed with 10 test factors. No app or Bluetooth needed. This is the complete kit and all of the eXact Strip Micros are included for the 10 test factors (Except Borate). Easy to use and very accurate. It comes with 25 tests of each for Total Alkalinity, pH, Free Chlorine (DPD-1), Combined/Total Chlorine (DPD-3), Calcium Hardness, Phosphate, Copper, Chloride (Salt) and Cyanuric Acid

eXact® Pool EZ Photometer Basic Kit Part No. 486201-K
Almost exactly like the Master Kit except is comes in a smaller case and only includes
25 tests of each for Total Alkalinity, pH, Free Chlorine (DPD-1), Combined/Total Chlorine (DPD-3), Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid (Chloride, Copper and Phosphate reagents sold separately). It is the same Pool eXact EZ photometer with less Micro Strips to start.

Standard blue plastic carrying case w/ Foam includes:
Pool eXact® EZ Photometer
Cleaning brush
Instruction manual

Here is more about the Master and Basic Kits:
The NSF/ANSI 50 L1 Certified Pool eXact® EZ photometer delivers 10 pool water parameters with lab quality results! Most tests with the Pool eXact® EZ photometer use our patented eXact® Strips, a quick and easy reagent system for analysis. Simply dip an eXact® Strip Micro into the water sample for 20 seconds using a simple back and forth motion, discard the strip, and read the results instantaneously!

Detects:
Total Alkalinity 10 - 200ppm
Copper 0.00 - 9.0ppm
Calcium Hardness 20 - 700ppm
Cyanuric Acid 1 - 110ppm
Chloride (as salt) 80 - 6700ppm
pH 6.4 - 8.4
Free Chlorine 0.00 - 12ppm
Phosphate 0.2 - 3.0ppm
Total Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppm
Combined Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppm

Details:
Large black plastic carrying case w/ Foam includes:
Mini-dilution kit
Pool eXact® EZ Photometer
Cleaning brush
Instruction manual


Either of these Kits would be perfect for your pool route or if you are a homeowner looking for an easy and accurate testing method, these are a great buy.




Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Polaris Quattro P40 (Quattro Sport) VS Polaris P39 (3900 Sport)


So, which is better? The premium Polaris3900 sport (P39) or the Polaris Quattro Sport (P40)?
I think it is a matter of budget and overall use/need. The P40 does a much better job of climbing and scrubbing the walls to the pool waterline and overall has better coverage. The P39 is less expensive and will also clean your pool in an excellent fashion, it just lacks the wall scrubbing ability and some other cool features of the P40.



The Polaris P40 is the sister cleaner to the Polaris Quattro Sport and it is the first real update of the Polaris Pressure Side Cleaner in over 40 years. Over the years Polaris has tweaked the design of the Polaris by changing the drive from a drive shaft to a belt and then to a chain, but the basic 3-wheel design stayed the same. The Polaris P40 is a huge leap forward in Pressure Side Cleaners.

Here are some of the great new features of the P40:

Active Brushing
Equipped with rotating brushes that actively scrub and scour floors, walls and the waterline —P40 penetrates deep to remove fine, stuck-on debris.

Aggressive Wall Climbing
P40 boasts 4WD agility, enabling unmatched climbing to ensure superior cleaning from floor to waterline.

Dual-Stage Filtration
From leaves and acorns to sand and silt, the dual-stage filtration system collects both large debris and fine particulates.

Large Easy-Clean Debris Canister
P40  replaces the customary filter bag with a large capacity easy-clean debris canister and transparent window — allowing users to see when the canister is full, so they can simply remove, shake, and spray the canister clean.

Multi-Directional Navigation
Engineered to turn on a dime, its innovative navigation technology ensures quick, efficient and complete cleaning coverage for the entire pool.

 Looking at the Polaris P40 you will see a great combination of Polaris/Zodiac technology. It has a scrubbing brush on the front just like a robotic pool cleaner and a canister debris chamber taken right from their robotic cleaner line. Then you have the scrubbing assembly of the MX-8 Elite cleaner to give the P40 better traction on the walls and floor.

The Polaris P39 is the sister cleaner to the Polaris 3900 Sport. It is a solid premium pressure side cleaner for your pool and is designed to last for years without parts or servicing. The P39 is sold exclusively at Leslie’s Pool Supplies and is backed by a 2-year warranty.


The Polaris P39 Pressure Side Pool Cleaner is designed to bring your pool the most power of any cleaner by supplementing the pool's filtration system by circulating an additional 40 gallons of water per minutes though it's dual chamber zippered SuperBag to distribute cleaner, healthier water back into your pool. This results in more even temperature throughout the pool and brings you healthier pool water in less time. it's all-wheel PosiDrive system with durable stainless steel drive chain delivers up to 50% more torque for a faster clean, better maneuverability, and fewer hang-ups.

Pool Cleaner Features:
Pressure side pool cleaner
Suitable for use with in-ground pools
Works with all pool surfaces
All-Wheel PosiDrive with Stainless Steel Chain
WideTrax Tires
Dual Chamber SuperBag Debris Bag
Includes: Dual Chamber SuperBag Debris Bag and TailSweep PRO Scrubber (with 3 extra Scrubbers)

Note that both the P40 and P39 will require a dedicated Cleaner Pump/Booster Pump installed at the equipment area. The cleaner works off of a dedicated return line powered by the Cleaner Pump and if you have an existing pressure side cleaner the P39/P40 is a plug and play type upgrade. Simply disconnect your old pressure cleaner and plug the P39/P40 into the threaded wall fitting.



Monday, June 22, 2020

Jacuzzi J-D300 Suction Side Cleaner


As far as bouncing type cleaner go, I was surprised at how well the Jacuzzi J-D300 actually faired and would say for the price and three-year warranty it is a cleaner worth looking at. There are basically two categories of suction side cleaners, the geared type and the bouncing type like the J-D300. The 3-year warranty is an attractive feature and the fact that the cleaner actually works very well is another.




Here is more about the J-D300:
The J-D300 includes a FREE Backup Diaphragm and 40 feet of installation hose for easier installation. This cleaner offers you strong cleaning power without the power of a booster pump and with few moving parts. No tools required, this cleaner installs in just minutes saving you time! Save on maintenance and keep your pool clear of dirt and debris with the J-D300 Suction Side Pool Cleaner!
Covers more pool is in less time than standard cleaners.
FREE Backup Diaphragm and 40-foot hose included!
Saves you on maintenance and installation time with only one moving part.

Warranty
Three (3) Year Limited Warranty on Product with exclusive Leslie's Equipment Protection Plan, see the manual for a full description of warranty claims and coverage details.

This cleaner is very similar to the Zodiac G3 and the Diaphragm looks exactly the same. So, if you already have a bouncing type cleaner in your pool this one will work just fine. I was surprised at how well it navigated around in the pool and actually worked its way out of the step areas. It does look durable also and the three-year warranty doesn’t cover the Diaphragm or the hoses but the body itself. So it is built very well in making it very long last and as a bonus, an extra Diaphragm is included!

The box includes everything you will need to set up the cleaner except for the side port Vac-Lock. This is the threaded safety self-closing fitting that you will need if you plan on installing the cleaner at a side port/vacuum port.


The skimmer adapter in the box can be used to connect the J-D300 to your pool skimmer directly. I would suggest an aftermarket Hole In One Basket to help prevent debris from entering through the skimmer and into the pump basket. Normally you would need to completely remove your skimmer basket but with the Hole In One basket you don’t need to. Learn more and order it here:


One of the great features of the bouncing type, cleaners are that the movement of the cleaner also knocks down debris from the surface to the floor. To also prevent your pool pump basket from getting clogged up with debris I highly suggest you invest in a good in-line leaf canister. Jacuzzi makes two very good models and they fit the J-D300 hoses perfectly.


Overall for the price point, the J-D300 is a good cleaner and it will leave your in-ground or above-ground pool spotless each week.



Sunday, June 21, 2020

How to Have A Perfectly Balanced Swimming Pool


Is it possible to have a perfectly balanced pool? How do you balance a pool? What is a balanced pool? Is it like Anakin bringing balance to the Force? And last at what point is a pool considered balanced? These are all things I get asked often (minus the Star Wars Nerd Question) and the answer is just as elusive as these questions.



Let’s start with the first question which is can you have a perfectly balanced pool? Here are some ideal pool parameters and although they all differ slightly, these are the preferred ranges across the industry.

Free Chlorine 1.0-3.0 ppm
Combined Chlorine 0 ppm
Bromine 4.0-6.0 ppm
pH 7.4-7.8
Total Alkalinity 80-120 ppm
Calcium Hardness 200-400 ppm
Cyanuric Acid 30-50 ppm
TDS <2000 ppm
ORP 650 or above

Is there a way to adjust these readings in your pool to get them within these ideal ranges? The answer is yes, with enough trial and error you can get your test factors to line up with these guidelines.

The next question was how do you balance a pool? Basically, if the pH is high you would add an acid like Muriatic Acid to lower down. If the pH was low you would add a base to bring it up. If the Cyanuric Acid level is at 100 ppm you would drain 50% of the water to drop it back down to 50 ppm. So by adding chemicals or by partially draining your pool, you can get your reading within these ranges. That is more or less the easy part.

What exactly is a balanced pool is the question I think that should be asked. Is having all of your readings in line with the above chart a balanced pool? Technically no. Because what we are balancing is not these recommended parameters but the water quality itself. Keeping the free chlorine in the range is obviously important because if it gets too low the water may not be safe to swim in since it is the chlorine acting as the sanitizer in the water that kills viruses, bacteria, and pathogens. But to truly have a balanced pool you really need to be looking at the LSI (The Langelier Saturation Index).

The LSI is an index that was developed to indicate if a particular body of water was either scale forming or acidic in nature. If for example, your pH is 6.5 it is in the acidic range and the pool water would be corrosive. If the pH was 8.4 and the Alkalinity was 150 and the Calcium Hardness was 350 the water would be scale forming. Both of these are not good and one reason that it is important to shoot for the ideal ranges is to prevent the pool water from going in one or the other direction, either corrosive or scale forming.

To achieve a balanced pool you really need to calculate the pool’s LSI. This takes into account many factors including water temperature, pH level, ALK level, CYA level, Calcium Hardness, and the pools TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) to come up with the range. The closer you get to 0.00 to +.30 the more perfectly balanced your pool water will be. The interesting thing is that you may think your pool is balanced but unless you plug your numbers into a good LSI calculator it may actually be scale forming or corrosive. One of the best LSI calculators can be found on the Orenda website here:


So the short answer is you can come close to having a perfectly balanced pool but if you are not using the LSI index in some fashion, you really are just guessing even if you keep your pool within the ideal ranges.