Top 5 costly mistakes in homeowner pool care.
Words in red can be found in the glossary at the end of the 5 things
1. Not knowing what your pool really needs First let’s clarify the objective; and that is to spend as little money as possible on pool chemicals yet have the result of a pool that’s clean, purified, sanitized, free of algae, balanced, clear, and blue, and ready to use. The chemicals that your pool requires to achieve this objective, is called your “chemical demand.” (Chlorine shock, chlorine tablets, calcium increaser, alkalinity increaser (and decreaser), p.H. increaser (and decreaser), “stabilizer” or cyanuric acid, algaecides, water clarifiers, & phosphate remover, are the most common ingredients used in a normal pool season to achieve the objective.) Your pool may not require all of these, however, your neighbor down the street might. Trees, wind direction, nearby factories, golf courses, sun exposure, “bather load”, filter hours, etc. all go into your pools’ “chemical demand.” The list of chemicals and amounts needed in a given week is what your pool is “demanding.” Pinpointing the recipe for your pool is the key in drastically minimizing you seasonal chemical bill. If your pool gets cloudy, algae blooms, staining, slimy, uses a lot of chlorine, fades the liner, etc. – SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR RECIPE which is actually going to cost even more to rectify and cost valuable swimming time. We will be glad to help you with this task of finding your pool’s money-saving recipe.
*If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always got.
2. Not testing your water yourself weekly Most folks take a sample of pool water to their nearby pool store for “free water analysis” either weekly or monthly, but usually only when a problem arises. Whenever the case is, you are given a computer print out of the current levels of things, what the ideal levels are, and what chemicals you’re going to have to buy to achieve the correct levels for proper water balance. You are usually given some advice and instructions on products and dosages, especially if your pool is currently having a problem. That “free water analysis” doesn’t usually feel that “free” anymore after you walk out with
expensive and sometimes unnecessary products. The computer can only test the water you brought in that particular day for whatever reason. The computer doesn’t take into account what elements your pool is exposed to as described before. The computer doesn’t know that you have a leak, or pollen is falling, or a pool party you had a week prior (with 20 kids in the pool) is a result of your pools temporary problem. Yet you’re advised and sold chemicals that may not even be necessary sometimes by an employee who has no field or industry experience at all. Residential testing kits (not strips) are inexpensive and very easy to use. They will let you know what is happening with your pool, and tell you what chemical to add to make adjustments. Saving on the gas money alone is worth it! Again, Sharky’s is always a phone call away if questions arise, and only proven advice will be given. My business model is not to sell chemicals; it is service and maintenance. We want your pool to look great, and for you and your family to enjoy it. When something breaks, needs servicing or replacing, I hope to have earned your business. Consider the following: As the p.H. level climbs, it renders the chlorine effectiveness percentage less and less. 7.0 = 72.5% 7.2 = 66% 7.5 = 50% 7.8 = 32% 8.0 = 21.5% If your p.H. is 7.8, the chlorine you just put in the pool is only working at 32%. Get the most out of your chlorine dollar and learn to calibrate your p.H. weekly by buying the correct test kit. We’ll be glad to help!
*If your pool doesn’t look good, Sharky’s doesn’t either.
3. Buying pool chemicals from grocery stores The big box stores to be more accurate. In fact, any place you can buy pool chemicals which is not a pool based store is asking for trouble. Let’s speak for a moment on WHY the chemicals at these places are cheaper. There, I already said it. They’re cheaply made with cheap ingredients, to be sold cheaply to attract the homeowner into the store to then to be tempted to buy other things, i.e. groceries, tires, mayonnaise in a 5 gallon jar, etc. Not only that, but the active ingredients are often much less per container.
For instance: calcium hypochlorite (a.k.a. granular chlorine or “shock”) is sold in different quantities. Regardless, the active ingredient can’t exceed 45% due to insurance purposes. You see, they have to insure all of that other stuff they sell. Normal shock is 65 to 72% is too unstable, thus volatile and a “risk”. They can only stock that which is not so volatile so their insurance companies will cover them. Now they have to dress up the product and packaging with things that may attract you into believing you’re still getting the same value like “swim immediately after adding” and “includes clarifiers and balancers”. And if that doesn’t work, they’ll sell Di-chlor or Tri-chlor which are other forms of granular chlorine but containing “stabilizer.” Now, it’s not as volatile and less dangerous to the insurance company. The active ingredient can be higher, thus making sense to you to buy it. NOT SO FAST! – “Stabilizer” is also found in your chlorine tablets, also known as tri-chlor. What does all this mean? The stabilizer (a.k.a. cyanuric acid) level in a chlorine sanitized pool should be between 30-50 ppm. This level is very important as it prevents the decomposition of chlorine by UV rays of the sun and is usually maintained by the tablets always being administered to the pool to maintain a chlorine level. If your chlorine is unprotected, your chlorine only lasts a short time. If your stabilizer level is too high, what’s known as “chlorine lock” happens. Now your chlorine is SO well protected by these other molecules, that it is not considered “free chlorine” any longer. It is not “free” to go kill bacteria, organic waste, and disinfect. *Note: There is no chemical to bring the stabilizer level down. Partially draining of the pool must be done then re-filled to diminish the stabilizer level. Remember – this is only one example! Get the most out of your dollar and buy quality products from a known pool dealer. (Like us!) Pool chemicals and products is the same as buying anything else you shop for. There is cheap/poor quality, good/standard quality, and best/great quality. Shop value and not price. You’ll save in the long run every time.
*The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot…it can’t be done. or (as I know it); “ if you pay a little, don’t expect a lot.”
4. Not brushing your pool. Believe it or not, the single most powerful thing you can do weekly or every other week is brush your pool. Just like your furniture, your pool gets a layer of dust on it. In that dust, microscopic algae find a place to hide and flourish. This will inevitably increase your chlorine usage which has to combat it. Brushing the pool will push the dust and whatever else into the water where now it is in the open to be oxidized and will eventually get filtered out. Let’s examine this “dust” and what we’ll now call “small particles”. Have you ever looked at your water near the pool light at night and seen how many particles are in the water? These particles are actually using up your chlorine as well as making the pool seem hazy. If your pool was free of these particles, your chlorine would last much longer. The particles are sized and measured in microns. Most of you in this area have a sand filter to filter the water. Sand filters are ideal for this area but they are an antiquated method of filtering pool water, mainly because they can only filter down to about 25 microns. (Cartridge filters capture 15 microns, and D.E. filters can capture 5 microns) That means on its best day, those particles you see will not be captured by the filter; they go right through the sand and back to the pool. Let’s get even more technical – All of these particles in the water have a negative charge to them, which means they repel one another, thus never clumping to make a bigger particle (bigger than a 25 micron) that can get filtered. Water clarifiers are designed to do just that; provide a positive charge to some of them so they will attract one another (like a magnet) coagulate, and be filtered out. Brushing the pool and having a quality water clarifier will help diminish your pools’ overall chemical demand, saving you money. Your pool will be more crystal clear than you’ve ever seen it too! Pool stores are banking on you not brushing because it’s a little work for you. They’ll be happy to sell you the chemicals to rectify upcoming problems.
5. Running the pool pump 24/7 In our area in the Triad, I’ve noticed most pools are not equipped with a timeclock. A timeclock is merely a box mounted near your pump and filter area that controls when you’d like the pump to come on and turn off automatically. I’ve asked around and have heard various reasons for this, but I believe it’s just because when the pool was being sold, the builder didn’t offer it as a part of the filter system. The reason might have been
because it was to stay closer to his competitions price when selling the job, or maybe just didn’t think they are necessary. After being in the pool industry for over 22 years, and living in Texas and Florida during most of that time, I’ve noticed that in a given area, builders copy each other’s specifications to better compete. The fact is I never came across a pool in my life that didn’t have a timeclock equipped on the filtration system until I moved to North Carolina. In my opinion, and as well as other states, (with even harsher pool seasons) running the pump 24 hours a day for 5 to 6 months a year IS COSTING YOU A LOT OF MONEY on electricity and shortening the life of your pump motor by half! *Cost of a 1 hp motor replacement is $365 Quick math: On average, your single speed pump costs around $4.75 per 24 hours. That’s $4.75 x 30 days = $142.50 per month Your pool should only run 10 to 12 hours at peak sunlight. 9 am to 9pm is what I would recommend for this area, and that is only from June to Through August. The other months your pool is open, 10 hours is sufficient. Quick math: Running the pump 12 hours per day - $2.38 x 30 days = $71.40 per month Would you like to see over $70 off of your summer electric bill? *For exact figures, multiply your pumps’ horse power by .746, multiply that figure by the hours per day that you run the pump, then multiply that by the kilowatt per hour your electric company charges you. We can install a timeclock to control your pool pump for $230. Thank you so much for visiting our website. We are always looking for new and better ways to help our customers. If you have any suggestions, they are greatly welcomed. For more info and pool education, visit the “Pool School” section of our website. We hope to see you soon. The following is a glossary, (also located on the website) of common terms.