Monday, June 27, 2016

Pleatco PureStart® Disposable Sentiment Filter - for Pool and Spa Filling

In this article  I go over the Pleatco PureStart disposable fill sediment filters. They make two models, the PPS2100 for spas and pools up to 10,000 gallons and the PPS6120 for large pools up to 40,000 gallons. These gallon ratings are the lifespan of the filter media so if you are topping off your pool or spa they will last a long time.

These disposable sediment filter cartridges are made from unique melt-spun filtration technology for perfect depth filtration. PureStart cartridges attach to a garden hose and capture dirt particles before they enter your pool or spa.
First let me say what these filters will and will not filter out. The filter will filter out metal and sediments suspended in the water, but won’t filter dissolved metals or impurities in water. So any “particulate” or “suspended” solids larger than 5 microns will be filtered out. Anything dissolved in the water (TDS) or any metal ions in the water will not be filtered out.

I also looked at Pleatco's internal testing documents that show very good test results with these sediment filters filtering out Nitrates, Hardness, it lowered the pH and filtered out suspended copper. So these filters are effective.

If you do have metal ions in the water the CuLator product is the only thing that will actually draw the metals out of your pool or spa water. I have done some videos also on that product and it is highly effective.

CuLator Metal Eliminator & Stain Preventer:

So these filters would be a good idea for anyone filling up their hot tub or spa, above ground pool and in-ground pool if your fill water has sediments or other particulates. If your filling your pool for the first time or have a new constructed in-ground pool the PPS6120 would be ideal to use in that case. It is designed to float on the water so it is perfect for new pool fills. The rounded edges also keep it from marring new plaster as the pool fills.

Basically if you fill your pool or spa and notice the pool is cloudy or dirty – these sediment filters are for you.

If you wish to order these filters I have provided links for you:
Pleatco PPS2100 Spa Fill Sediment Cartridge:

Pleatco PureStart Filter - 40,000 gallons PPS6120:

Visit my Website:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mamba Above Ground Pool Suction Side Cleaner by Aqua Products (priced under $100)

 The Aqua Products Mamba Automatic Pool Cleaner is made for an above ground pool. I wouldn't purchase this cleaner for an in-ground plaster pool but it would be okay for an in-ground fiberglass or vinyl pool. The Mamba is a very good suction side cleaner and is priced under $100, giving it an outstanding price point.

The Mamba comes with 32 feet of hoses which is good for most above ground pools. It is also designed to work off of low suction so it will do fine with a pool with a smaller pump. It is a really light cleaner but it is made out of durable material and the parts are well made also.

The reason I would not recommend it for a plaster or Pebble Tec pool is because if it gets caught in the step area, the bouncing motion will cause it to rub right trough the plastic tubes. I think at one time Aqua Products did market it for every pool type but were getting bad reviews and warranty returns due to this. I know on their website listing it says it is okay for Cement pools but when I spoke with the manufacturer they confirmed that it is only for a Vinyl or Fiberglass pool.

It operates much like the familiar Kreepy Krualy with a Hammer/Flapper in the mouth of the cleaner. This allows it to pick up sizable debris in the pool. So much so that the earlier version would have large debris caught at the top of the cleaner – which until this redesign was impossible to remove. Now there is a plastic window that you can unscrew to remove any stuck debris. A worthy upgrade for such a low priced cleaner.

The Mamba is a suction side cleaner so it connects to either your skimmer or vacuum port and runs off of your existing pool pump.

The Mamba will clean the walls in most pools up to the tile line. It is a bouncing type cleaner so it is great for a pool with a lot of surface debris. The bouncing motion will help knock debris down to the pool bottom to be vacuumed up. I suggest a canister also for the cleaner – to prevent the pump from being clogged up with debris. It uses universal hoses so any canister will work.

The Mamba comes with a one year warranty and you couldn't expect more for a cleaner priced under $100. The hose are surprisingly thick and they appear to be very durable.

If you have an above ground pool or a vinyl in ground pool, the Mamba is worth a look. It is a good cleaner with a great price point.

Related Videos:

Aquabot Pool Rover Junior Robotic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner:
Aquabot Pool Rover S2-50 Robotic Pool Cleaner for Above-Ground and Small In-Ground Pools:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Solar Pool Covers (Solar Blankets) Tips, the Good & the Bad

Solar Pool Covers or Solar Blankets do have some benefits, but they also have some drawbacks that you need to be aware of. Solar Blankets do reduce evaporation by 30-50% and can also help your pool retain the heat from the Sun. Chemical usage is also reduced in most cases. But the benefits have been overblown in some cases, especially in areas suffering from drought.

Even with a Solar Blanket on top water will evaporate, but just at a lower rate. To get the full benefits of evaporation reduction the cover needs to be left on 24/7. If you take the cover off a few days during the week to use it, the benefit becomes less noticable.

Having the pool covered can reduce your chemical usage by up to 30%. Since the cover blocks some of the Sun's UV rays the chlorine will last longer in the pool. You will still need to check the pool chemistry at least once a week and adjust the pH and Alkalinity but you will notice a reduction in the chlorine usage. This would not be a reason to purchase a Solar Blanket, but it is a good side benefit.

As far as heat retention or heating up your pool, they can raise the pool water temperature in some cases up by as much as 10 degrees. Most people will experience a 3-4 degree increase as there are a lot of factors that determine how much heat is retained in the pool. When installing for maximum effectiveness for heat retention, the bubble side goes down and the flat side goes up.

The number one factor is how much sunlight actually hits the pool all day. If your pool is shaded most of the day, don't expect much of a bump in the water temperature. The size of the pool is also a factor. If you have a very large pool, the heat will not be retained as well as in a very small pool. The temperature at night is also a factor as most of the pools heat is lost at night. If the nights are very cold don't expect the pool to hold the heat.

So if your buying a Solar Blanket to keep the pool water warmer during the season, note the above factors.

The actual color of the cover may also effect heat retention. Lighter colored covers seem to warm the pools up more than the darker blue colored or silver colored covers. But the lighter color covers are also usually thinner.

Which brings me to the issue of cover longevity. The thinner the cover the more heat benefits you will experience, but the thinner the cover the quicker it will wear out. The Sun's UV rays are very powerful and if you leave your cover on all Summer long, expect a short lifespan for your cover. 1 to 3 years would be a reasonable expectation.

The darker covers and thicker covers will last longer but won't allow as much heat to be retained in the pool. The bubbles will eventually pop due to Sun exposure and chemical exposure which in turn will lessen the covers effectiveness and make is heavier. You will notice platic particles in the pool when the cover starts to wear out.

There are of course drawbacks to a Solar Blanket. It takes away from the overall look of a backyard pool. If you like the look of the water reflecting on a Sunny day, a solar blanket is not for you. Dirt, calcium and algae will start to settle on the cover, as well as leaves and debris making it look even less attractive.

Algae can bloom very quickly under the cover if you let the chlorine drop down to zero. This can be very bad as algae grows in the shade and it will cover the entire pool in some cases under a covered pool. Keeping your pool balanced is critical if you decide to cover it.

Taking the cover off and putting it on can be a real chore. A lot of the dirt and debris will fall into the pool when you remove it and wear to put it in the off season becomes an issue. I suggest purchasing a reel to store it on and the reel also makes getting it off and on the pool easier.

Most of my customers who do purchase a cover only use it for one season. They find it is a real hassle to get it on and off the pool and that it takes too much away from the look of the pool. As a pool service guy I personally don't care for them as they make maintaining the pools on my route a real hassle.

But they do have some good benefits such as reducing evaporation and possibly warming up the pool water so a solar Cover may be worth the hassle.

Related Videos:
Poolman Tips and Tricks: For Pool Service Professionals and DIY Homeowners:

How to Maintain and Service A Swimming Pool: A Step By Step Guide:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Is Digital Swimming Pool Water Testing Accurate?

So are swimming pool Digital Water Testers accurate? The answer is YES, as long as they are calibrated correctly and it is a reliable brand. In this video I will show you results from various digital testers and match them against each other.

The benefits of a digital water tester are that you get spot on results and they can preform tests the reagents cannot, such as Total dissolved Solids (TDS), Salinity (Salt level) and ORP. Most have a small margin of error +/- or 1% in most cases.  I use them on my pool route and as a homeowner you can benefit also from certain digital testers.

The number one tester I would suggest if you are a homeowner and have a salt pool is a Salinity tester. That way you will know the salt level and can maintain your pool properly. Even if your salt system displays the Salinity level – that reading can be effected by a dirty salt cell and can give you a false low salt reading. In that case you may add salt when it is not needed and raise the salt level to levels that are not recommended adversely affecting your pool.  Simply using a digital Salinity tester can eliminate that error.

A pH digital tester can be handy also but the reagent test is cheaper and accurate so I would only recommend that one for a pool service professional looking to compare readings – especially at a commercial pool account to make sure the pH is within range of the local Health Department regulations. This can be very helpful for hotel and apartment spas where the pH tends to drift down rapidly. The digital pH reading is the most accurate one and some Health Departments use digital testers themselves also.

ORP is a great way to test if the water is at the safest level to swim in. Again, if you service commercial pools this would be a great digital tester to invest in. If you are a homeowner and your child gets frequent ear infections or has a lower immune system – an ORP tester would be a good thing to have. That way before the pool is used you can see if the level is high enough, 650 or higher, to insure the fastest kill rate against bacteria and viruses. To learn more about ORP see the video link below.

I used a combination of the HACH and the LaMotte Tracer testers to verify the results. I also used the Color Q Pro7 and a Pentair automation to triplicate some test results. As you can see from the video the results lined up with each other in all the testing. There are many other brands of digital testing, these are the two that my local supplier carry and both brands are very good.

As more consumers and pool service professional purchase digital testers, the price has now dropped making them an affordable option. It is still a big investment but worth it if you need verifiable and spot on test results.

Bottom line, digital testing is accurate and reliable.

I have many videos on digital testing and to learn more see the links below:

ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit  by Lamotte: Water Testing & Tips:
ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit - Review & Overview:
HACH® Pocket Pro and Pro+ Testers: Overview of Features and Use:
HACH® Pocket Pocket Pro+ Multi 2 Tester for pH/Cond/TDS/Salinity:
LaMotte Pool Water Testing Products- Overview:
ORP and Your Swimming Pool - Testing the Effectiveness of the Sanitizer:
Pocket Pro+ ORP Tester #9532100 by Hach®:
Pocket Pro Salinity Tester #9531600 by Hach®:
TDS: Total Dissolved Solids in your Swimming Pool, Salt Water Pool and Spa:
Total Chlorine TRACER w/ pH & ORP Sensor by LaMotte 1740-kit-01:
TRACER PockeTester with Carrying Case by LaMotte – Salt/TDS/Temp:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taylor SpeedStir 9265 Magnetic Stirrer

In this video I show you the Taylor SpeedStir (#9265). The SpeedStir® makes quick work of drop tests performed in Taylor’s #9198 sample tube. This is a great addition to your Taylor K-2006 test kit as it will give you accurate readings without the need for you to swirl the tube.

Any 10 or 25 mL test performed in a 2000 Series test kits can also can be done in the #9198 sample tube. The SpeedStir will give you accurate results and speed up your testing, plus it is so cool to use.

Here is how Taylor Technologies describes the SpeedStir:

“This palm size, portable magnetic stirrer will thoroughly incorporate each addition of reagent in a fraction of a second. No more manual swirling! Place the water sample on the mixing platform then gently drop in the Teflon®-coated stir bar. Use the pad to turn the unit on in well-lit conditions. Use the pad to start the stirrer when ambient light is poor—six LEDs below the mixing platform will light up to make color changes in the test sample easy to see. Press the same pad to stop the stirring action, or the unit will turn itself off after one minute. The SpeedStir runs on four AA alkaline batteries at 600 rpm. Made of high-impact polystyrene, it is water-resistant (you can spill water on it, but you should not submerge it).”

It is a pretty simple to use device as you can see from the video. So any test that requires you to swirl the sample can be done on the SpeedStir. That would include Free Chlorine, Combined Chlorine, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. For the pH test you simply invert the test tube included in your Taylor Test kit.

So this is more than just a gimmick device and it will help you get solid accurate test results. I have been using it for a few weeks now and simply love this thing. I just wish Taylor sold it in a carrying case.

For a pool service professional and a DIY homeowner it is worth the $30.00 investment in my opinion.
To purchase the SpeedStir you can use this link:

For more on the Taylor Test Kits and other Test Kits see these videos:

Taylor Complete FAS-DPD Pool Water Test Kit K-2006:
Taylor Test Kit (K-1006 - K-2150):
Test Kit Comparison: Which Kit is the Best?:
Test Kit 5 in 1: Chlorine, PH and Acid Demand:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Zodiac® MX8™ Elite Installation (MX8 and MX6)

This is the Installation Process of the Zodiac MX8 Elite. It also works for the MX8 and MX6 cleaners. The installation process is pretty easy and I go over my preferred method of installing the MX8 Elite.

All the parts for a skimmer installation are in the box. However, if you are using the side port/ vacuum port there are two additional parts you will need.

One is a vac lock for the threaded port. This is a safety device to prevent entrapment if the cleaner hose comes loose and the pool is in use. I highly suggest installing it with one.

Here is a link for a good one:

I wish manufacturers would include this with the cleaner as many consumers use a side port when installing.

I also do not like the adapter that Zodiac includes for the side port installation. It tends to pop out when the pool is in use or can easily be pulled out. I like this adapter better - Baracuda MX8 Cleaner Leaf Catcher Hose Adaptor X77094

Here is a link for it:

This fits in the vac lock much better and the vac lock actually will latch onto it and hold it in place. Zodiac should consider including this adapter in every box.

I try to cover everything you will run into in the video but for the sake of time I left out what to do if the cleaner has too much suction. Not a common problem but it can happen. You can adjust the skimmer Flow Keeper Valve (Included in the box) to a lower setting but in my experience it doesn't do a whole lot. If I run into this problem when I am installing the cleaner I simply put in a different skimmer regulator valve. I have a bunch in my garage that are manually adjustable. The Zodiac Flow Keeper valve is self-adjusting so you can't really reduce the suction - speed of the cleaner.  With too much suction the MX8 Elite will surface and take in air.

So here is a regulator valve that can be easily adjusted:

Zodiac does a great job with their products but again, their Flow Keeper Valve just is not adjustable enough for all situations. If I were packing the box I would include these three products, it would make the installation much more universal.

If you have too little suction make sure the filter is clean and that all of the flow is going to the skimmer. You can also again replace the Flow Keeper Valve with a more adjustable one and close it off to increase suction.

From a side port it is very easy to set the suction. Simply turn the handle until you achieve the correct wheel RPM of the cleaner.

The RPM - Wheel revolutions per minute is the most critical part of the installation. The MX8 Elite needs just the right flow to work correctly. It is a pretty sensitive cleaner so too much or too little suction will affect the cleaners overall performance.

I also highly suggest a leaf canister so that the pump basket does not get clogged up with debris. Zodiac makes a specific canister for the MX8 cleaners - Zodiac Cyclonic Automatic Pool Cleaner Leaf Catcher Canister. It is a bit over priced in my opinion, but so is everything else in the pool category.

Here is a link for the canister:

I really like the Zodiac MX8 Elite. It is a solid cleaner and a top choice for your swimming pool. To learn more about the Zodiac MX8 Elite visit my website:!zodiac-mx8-elite-suction-side-cleaner/j33fq

Related Videos:
Zodiac® MX8™ Elite Automatic Suction Side  Pool Cleaner:
Zodiac MX8 Cyclonic Scrubbing Kit - Retrofit Kit for your Zodiac MX8 Cleaner:
Zodiac "MX6 Elite" - Adding the Cyclonic Scrubbing Kit to Your MX6:
Cleaning Algae From Your Pool - MX8 Elite’s Active Scrubbing Action Works!: