Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dead Animal in the Pool

There is nothing worse than going out to your pool and finding a dead animal on the bottom. Well, maybe finding one in the skimmer is equally unpleasant.

This is probably the most unpleasant part of my job. But animals fall into a pool and I am left to take care of it. So my list includes rats, mice, lizards, birds, a skunk, gofers and this Possum in the video above. All in a days work as they say.

These are the steps I follow whenever I find a dead animal in the pool. I super chlorinate the pool, run it for one cycle and close it for 24-48 hours or until the chlorine drops down to 5 ppm or less.

Liquid chlorine or Clorox bleach are the best - Sodium Hypochlorite is proven to kill bacteria and virus.

If the pool already was at 2. ppm technically you are fine. But I always like to bring the chlorine up to 10 -20 ppm just to be on the safe side.  It just feels better to have the chlorine blazing high so everything is killed without a doubt.

I run the pool for one complete cycle- all the water passing from the pool to the filter and back into the pool again. This will circulate the chlorine and kill the bacteria.

You can also disinfect your leaf rake or skimmer by setting it in the pool for 30 minutes. Nothing has to be done with the skimmer basket if you find a dead animal in that - water will pass through it and disinfect it while the pool is running.

Not very complicated and easy to do.

If you go to the CDC website the only animal they list as a potential danger is a raccoon since it might be carrying a worm that is transferable to humans - Baylisascaris.

Other then that if your pool is sanitized it will be safe to swim in again once the chlorine level drops down. So it is an unpleasant site for sure but nothing to get too concerned about.

If you are tired of pulling dead critters  out of your skimmer, try this skimmer basket. It has a handle and a push button trigger that open the bottom.

Dead Gofer stuck in the PoolCleaner  Limited Edition
I suppose the only thing worse then finding a dead animal on the pool bottom is finding one in an automatic cleaner like the photo below. Happens often out on my route. A great way to start the day.
Living the dream out here, living the dream...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Above Ground Pool Care & Maintenance

In this video I cover a broad range of things that I think will help you maintain your above ground pool and allow you to enjoy it rather then cursing the decision to purchase it.

Here are some things from the video and some added information.


The key is to keep the water balanced not just for enjoyment and everyday use but because when an above ground pool turns - starts to get algae it is harder to reverse it. Mainly because the equipment is undersized for the amount of water. Manufacturers can't package full size equipment for practical reasons like set-up and assembly. So you are working with equipment that is designed to keep a balanced pool blue and looking good. The equipment is not designed for a green pool clean-up. Some newer above ground pools don't have a skimmer or vacuum port so once it gets out of hand things can get frustrating. One solution is to upgrade to better equipment but the less expensive alternative is to not let the pool turn green in the first place.

A good test kit is essential and testing the water each week or several times a week will keep the pool looking good. So test the chlorine at least once a week, the pH once a week and the Alkalinity every month. At the beginning of season you need to check your Cyanuric Acid level and make sure it is between 30-50 ppm. If not add some Conditioner to the water as Cyanuric Acid helps to protect the chlorine from the Sun's UV rays. Without it the chlorine will burn off in a matter of hours. It is essential and one of the most important things to add.

Ideal Chemistry Range:
pH 7.4-7.8
Total Alkalinity: 80-120
Calcium Hardness: 200-400
TDS: 300-2000 ppm
Cyanuric Acid: 30-50 ppm
Borates: 30 ppm


In the video I recommend the BBB Method of pool care as it is the easiest, safest and best way to keep your pool blue all season long.

BBB Method:
Clorox bleach to sanitize the water
Baking Soda to raise the Alkalinity
Borax to raise the pH

The other chemicals where designed and made for the pool service companies who can only service a pool once a week. But they are marketed now to homeowners for convenience sake.  3" Trichlor Tablets, Trichlor shock and Dichlor will add Cyanuric Acid (CYA) to the pool and with such a small body of water it will raise rapidly. to much CYA in the pool will make the chlorine ineffective. So it is best to avoid these chemicals.

Cal-Hypo shock while good for inground pool use, will cloud your water and could stain the liner.

Liquid chlorine or Clorox bleach are the best way to sanitize your pool. Both contain Sodium Hypochlorite which is the best sanitizer. Don't be deceived by how chlorine is measured. since this is a liquid it is given as a percentage. So 10% liquid chlorine contains 10% Sodium Hypochlorite which is equivalent to a 1 lbs. bag of shock. They are just measured differently but are equal in strength. So a gallon of liquid chlorine is less expensive, more effective and has no negative side effects. Stay away from the shock products entirely.

To help you calculate how much bleach, Baking soda or Borax to add go to this website and plug your numbers in:

This may sound like a no brainer but keep you pool clean each week. Leaves and organic debris will use up the chlorine in the pool so keeping it clean helps keep it balanced.

Investing in good cleaning equipment is a must also. A good brush and leaf rake will make keeping your pool clean a breeze. Brush at least once a week and skim the leaves off the top when you check the chemicals.

Some above ground pools cannot be manually vacuumed but their is a great alternative in the Water Tech Pool Blaster battery operated cleaners. These work really well and I use them on my pool route every week.  They are easy to use and reliable, plus they come with a one year warranty so it is a safe purchase.

Investing in an Above Ground automatic cleaner would also be a wise decision if your equipment is large enough. Some equipment is too small and weak to power a cleaner and pull the water an extra 20 feet through the hoses. So make sure your equipment is large enough and it also helps if your pool has a skimmer or vacuum port.

For lots of product links and more on Above Ground Pool care visit my webpage:!above-ground-pool-care/c12ec