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03 Jul The Chemical Breakdown: Salt and Chlorine


Although very different systems, there are advantages and disadvantages to both salt and chlorine pools. Here is a breakdown that explains the options you have when building your pool and selecting equipment:

Chlorine

Chlorine pools are the most common type of pools built today. Chlorine filter systems are relatively easy to operate and maintain. In addition, most professional pool supply stores stock chlorine tablets so it’s easy to ensure the proper chemicals are available. How chlorine systems work is that chlorine is added regularly to either a pump unit that circulates your pool water or through a floating disbursement device that has tablets that dissolve over time. Chlorine is added to kill mildew, mold, and bacteria that can grow in your water.

Advantages to chlorine systems:

More efficient at cleaning bacteria
Clears water in 24-48 hours
Easy to operate
Salt

Salt pools use dissolved salt instead of chlorine to maintain clean and balanced pool water. With this type of system, a salt chlorinator unit uses electrolysis to slowly add salt to the water to maintain a consistent salt-water ratio. One thing that’s significantly different from chlorine systems is that salt in the water never disappears like chlorine, so you end up having to add small increments to maintain a properly balanced pool.

Advantages to salt systems:

Larger upfront cost but lower maintenance costs
Less exposure to chemicals when swimming
Safer on skin and hair
Less time-consuming in terms of maintenance
Both water cleaning methods produce great results that end in clear, sparkling pool water that you and your family can enjoy. The decision is mostly up to personal preference and what you feel your pool needs are!

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03 Jul The Science of Chlorine

Most pool owners know that chlorine keeps your pool clean. They know that it helps make the water look clear and that it works to kill water-borne bacteria that can be harmful to your health. However, have you ever wondered exactly how it works though? Here’s a brief yet thorough explanation to help you understand what chlorine does to your pool and how it does it.

First, chlorine is typically added to a pool in the form of either a powdered or liquid solution. When added to pool water it breaks into a series of chemicals, two of the most important being hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ion (OCi-). These two chemicals attack the cell walls of bacteria and other microorganisms in order to get to the structures inside the cells that oxidize them and render them harmless. What is unique about the combination of HOCl and OCl- though is that they oxidize bacteria at different rates and therefore pack a powerful one-two punch. The HOCl takes effect in seconds and attacks the bulk of bacteria cells while the OCl- waits in hiding and kicks in after 30 minutes or so to clean up the rest.

Chlorine cannot function properly on its own however. Essential to proper sanitizing is also a balanced pH level of anywhere between 7 and 8 with 7.4 being the ideal. pH levels can be manipulated by the addition of basic solutions like baking soda to raise pH and acidic solutions like chlorine to lower it. Once chlorine is done killing bacteria, the HOCl and OCl- particles begin to disappear by either combining with other chemicals that end up in the water or by breaking down into single atoms through exposure to sunlight and heat. This is a regularly occurring process so pool water must be continuously monitored for chlorine levels and when levels drop below acceptable, chlorine must be added.

The addition of chlorine to pool water has enabled us to keep crystal clear and sanitary backyard swimming pools for our families to safely enjoy but chlorine should still be treated like the acidic chemical that it is. High chlorine levels that are typically present immediately after a pool is shocked should be avoided as the solution will attempt to attack the cell walls in a swimmer’s skin, just as it does in a bacteria cell, and can cause irritation and rashes. Chlorine can also off-gas with the then airborne chemical hovering above the surface of the pool and cause breathing difficulties especially for children and those with chronic respiratory illnesses. For these reasons, the swimming pool industry has begin to develop chlorine alternatives that may be safer for human exposure like salt water sanitizing systems, the addition of alternative chemicals like bromine, or even ozone generating machines that are installed in-line with your pool’s plumbing.

The bottom line is that chlorine and other sanitizing agents make it possible to enjoy clean and clear water, especially during the summer months when contaminating factors like higher rain fall and more regular pool parties can dirty up your pool water more often. Remember though that water chemistry is just one part of a proper pool maintenance routine. Don’t forget to keep a close eye on filters and pumps to prevent potentially costly future repairs!

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03 Jul Fall Pool Care

As summer winds down here in Connecticut, it is time to start looking ahead and planning for the next season. Fall is a beautiful time in this part of the country but it does require a shift in your pool care and maintenance routine. Here is how you can best prepare your pool for the upcoming changes in weather:

  • Less Chemicals
    In the busy season of summer, your pool requires more chemicals than during fall and winter. This is due to fewer pollutants from people’s bodies from use but also due to evaporation, temperature, and sunlight.  During the summer months, your pool water evaporates more quickly and algae/bacteria grows more rapidly hence the need for replacing chemicals more frequently.  As the cooler weather rolls in, you can expect to have to check and balance your pool’s chemistry approximately once a week. Chlorine usage (and other sanitizers) as well as filter run-times will also decrease. The costs associated with owning a pool decrease in the fall and the water will be inherently clearer. So “deal” with those leaves and enjoy the beauty of the pool as the season progresses.
  • Decrease Chlorine
    As your water temperatures drop, you can start to lessen the amount of chlorine you normally add to your pool. Once your waters hit 51 degrees, you can stop adding chlorine altogether. This is because at 51 degrees and lower, algae and bacteria can no longer grow.
  • Foliage
    The beautiful colors of the leaves are stunning once they change but as they begin to fall into your yard, they can wreck havoc on your pool’s filter system if left unattended. Be sure to pay attention and skim your pool to capture leaves and debris to avoid costly stains on your pool’s finish and to keep your system running well! Clean skimmer baskets as required (sometimes twice a day).
  • Pump Time
    Similar to requiring less chemicals, you can also limit the amount of time you run your pool pump and filter to four to eight hours a day to compensate for the reduced use of your pool.

At Aqua Pool and Patio, we think that there is nothing better than a quick dip in a pool at the start of the brisk season to really rejuvenate your mind and body. Take advantage of the crisp autumn weather before it is time to close the pool down for winter. Plus, if your backyard has a fire pit, there’s nothing like warming yourself up around a nice fire with family and friends to celebrate the change of seasons after a swim!

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03 Jul Circulation: The Importance of Movement for Your Pool Water

Circulation is a key component to any pool care routine. In order for your pool to get clean, filtration is required and movement of your pool water is critical for successful filtration. Not to mention that the circulation of chemicals is what enables the chemicals to properly do their work.

Pool Circulation Explained

Most pools are circulated via pump action. Your pool’s pump is what draws in water either through a skimmer or drain, passes said water through the pump and into the filter where it is then cleaned before passing back into your pool through return jets. This circular system is similar to the body’s circulatory system and how blood is moved throughout your body.

Proper Circulation

The location and placement of your drains and jets should enhance the internal movement of your waters. It’s a good idea to aim these items in opposing directions in order to promote the mixing of your pool water, both laterally, and from surface to depth.

Common Problem Areas

There are a few areas that constantly crop up where good water circulation presents an issue. They are as follows:

-Around your pool steps or ladder
-Where any cracks or crevasses are present

-Beneath your skimmer

To ensure movement amongst these problem areas, you may need to manually stimulate water with a small pool brush to help remove any dirt or debris build-up.

Speaking of Brushing

It’s a good rule of thumb to brush your pool at least once a week. This can help the dead areas listed above but also is a good habit in preventing algae or other micro-organism build-up.

Final Components
Good pool circulation isn’t difficult but it does take some set-up. Set your pump and filter to run at least eight hours a day for movement, be sure to keep baskets and filters clean and clear of debris, and angle your return jets to face different ways to promote circular movement in your water. Remember, a well circulated pool is more likely to save you time and money in the long run!

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03 Jul The Three Basic C’s of Pool Care

If you want sparkling blue waters that look inviting to friends and family, encouraging them to jump in all season long, then it’s integral you take the right steps to provide proper care for your pool waters. Most often, one of the biggest mistakes we see people make is not taking regular care of their pool. The three most basic tenets of a good maintenance routine are:

Cleaning
Regular cleaning sessions to remove dirt and debris that makes its way into your waters is the first step in attaining that crystal clear, swimmable quality. We aren’t saying that every time a single leaf blows into your pool, it’s time to blow the whistle and get the skimmer but making a positive habit of routinely checking skimmer baskets, cleaning filters (especially after big storms or lots of wind) can set you on the right path. Shoot for vacuuming, brushing, and cleaning your pool filter each week if you can.

Chlorine
One of the least expensive ad most effective sanitizers on the market, chlorine, can work wonders if applied appropriately to your waters. With capabilities to sanitize, oxidize, and perform as an algaecide, chlorine is your secret weapon to attaining and keeping the perfect pool. NOTE that when chlorine is a “problem”, it is usually the operator and NOT the chlorine that is the problem. When used properly, chlorine is NOT annoying, foul smelling, or the cause of burning eyes! Many people blame chlorine, by itself, when they experience a pool that smells bad or causes their eyes to burn right away. Those problems are NOT caused by the chlorine but rather poor use of chlorine.

Consistency
Last but not least, consistency is the third critical component. Similar to a pet, your pool needs attention and upkeep from you. This attention and time invested each week is minimal but if left on its own, your pool problems will rapidly multiply resulting in hassle, headache, and expense. Set a calendar or write our your routine to help you stick to the schedule and you’ll rest easy knowing that your pool looks and feels good. Plus, if something does start to go awry, you can get a jump on the problem saving you from future pool woes.  This is the only way to keep you, your family and friends in the water, enjoying a splashing good time.

At Aqua Pool, we provide a host of services for world-class pools so you can achieve your backyard dreams. Let us know how we can help you stay consistent!

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03 Jul Pool Care Videos

At Aqua Pool and Patio, we know that it can be difficult to perform certain pool maintenance tasks without the proper instruction. To help pool owners everywhere, our talented team has created several helpful videos hosted on YouTube that show the correct methods for everyday pool tasks. You may want to bookmark our channel and refer to these tutorial videos whenever needed. That or you are more than welcome to call our knowledgeable staff that is more than happy to assist you with any pool questions.

  • How to Vacuum a Pool: In this video, we prepare a pool for vacuuming by setting the equipment for our demo pool to service mode, turning the filter pump on, and running spa fill to bypass the floor system. Next, a step-by-step demo of setting up a vacuum and then getting down to the business of getting a pool clean.
  • How to Clean your Wet Pump Basket: In this handy video, we show you how to clean the pump basket for pool systems that operate with a wet institute pump or filter. From shutting the filter off to gaining access to your basket, let our professional walk you through how to remove debris from your basket to ensure clean water.
  • How To Drain the Water out of Your Pool: Too much rainwater in your pool can cause issues. In this video, we show you how to adjust the level of your pool’s water to its optimum level to ensure the proper functioning of your equipment.  By using a garden hose, this helpful tutorial sets up exactly what you need to do to drain water out of your pool to the level of the skimmer mouth.

Stay tuned for more informational videos to help you navigate the perks of being a pool owner!

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