There are many factors to consider when opening your pool.
First you must look at the weather, is the temperature still below freezing at night ?
Second What type of cover do you have?
Third, did you consider the trees around the pool ?
Safety Cover Pools benefit by opening end of April / Early May to save time and money on chemicals
Opening early does add to the budget and if you don't have a heater wait until late May to open
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The term "Solar" gets used a lot around swimming pools, but what can the Sun do for my pool ? Today I am going to talk about 3 things to think about related to the sun, and how it effects your pool.
First, I am often asked about solar heating. Solar heating is a process that typically lets water flow through Black pipes on a roof of a shed or house, in direct exposure to sunlight. The sunlight heats the black panels or pipe, warming the water inside. There are a lot of pros and cons; But in my opinion, the cons tend to outweigh the pros when it comes to Solar heating. Although there is no Hydro or gas needed, the system will use up a lot of space on the roof. The size of the your pool will determine the amount of panels or pipe needed. For a small pool this system may be a good option, however for most inground pools solar heating is used to augment an eclectic or gas heater and not meant to be the main source of heating. The system is good at maintaining temperature in the summer months, however they do not tend to do as well in spring and fall months when the heating is wanted. Solar heating typically is prone to leaking after a few seasons, Winterization or repair of a solar system on a roof may require working at heights training and can be a headache to repair.
Second, Let's talk about Solar blankets, there are some misconceptions about them and what they do. In todays market solar blankets come in two forms. A Chemical that is added daily to your pool or a blanket you cover the pool with that resembles bubble wrap. In both cases a solar blanket will prevent evaporation from the pool. Evaporation is usually the main source of heat loss in a pool. A solar blanket will not heat a pool, instead it will help keep the pool from cooling. Typically I suggest you use solar blankets in Spring and Fall or when using a heater. Using the blanket will help keep the water from cooling when the water and air temperature have large differences. Avoid leaving a solar blanket on the pool through the daytime unless there are large temperature differences as the lifespan of the "bubble wrap" style of solar blanket can be reduced by UV/ and excess pool chemicals. When buying a solar blanket keep in mind that they typically will not last much more than 3 seasons. You may notice that the blanket will have a rating on them in "years". Although there may be some thickness differences they do not tend to last much longer - Check to see if the warranty will replace the blanket if it decays before the number or years it is rated for. For the chemical version of a solar blanket, we are typically adding a solution to the pool that prevents evaporation. The chemical systems do not work as well as an old school blanket when there are large temperature differences, however they are still effective. The bonus with the chemical system is that you don't have a cumbersome blanket to move around.
Third, we need to consider how the sun will effect our water chemistry. Today I am going to focus mostly on one aspect, UV. there are other ways the sun may effect chemistry but UV is the main one. The sun's ultraviolet rays can cut down the chlorine concentration by 90% in as little as two hours. To combat this effect, we add chlorine stabilizer to our water chemistry. Stabilizer, most commonly cyanuric acid or CYA will be on most water testing solutions or strips. The Acid will bond to the chlorine in the water making the chlorine more resistant to UV. When using chlorine pucks, they are often stabilized meaning they include some stabilizer by default. NEVER directly mix stabilized and non stabilized chlorine, this will cause a chemical reaction that produces dangerous fumes. This reaction will not happen inside the pool do to the dilution in the water. When adding any chemical to your pool read the label or ask a profession to find out how it should be added. A lot of people have started using salt systems and perhaps a sales person told them they wouldn't have to worry about chemicals ever again. This is very wrong, as salt pool only produce chlorine, we should be monitoring PH, Alkalinity and stabilizer as well . One of the benefits of a salt system is that you can maintain a lower level of chlorine in the pool, however when Stabilizer is not used and the chlorine is lost to UV. With out Stabilizer Salt systems don't last as long as they should, because they are working overtime to try to keep chlorine levels up. When the sun is out, we want to use the pool more. The chlorine is also getting used up keeping the water clean from increase number of bathers. Pools green when we get a lot of sunshine, and that is typically because the chlorine solution is not effective. Remember the sun is not constant, as we may have a few cloudy days, or a tree may provide more shade later in the season. To Much stabilizer can cause a problem too. Be sure to check your water chemistry regularly and be ready adjust as needed.
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This filter will have pleated Fabric filter inside a pressure vessel
Cartridge filters will come in various sizes or Designs, some will have multiple pleated filters inside. They do a great Job keeping your water clean. These filters require less maintenance than a Sand filter, but there are some things to note. After your initial opening and first cleaning - it’s time to clean the filter. Often with a safety cover the pool may have some algae upon opening. Rather than cleaning the filter right away, vacuum and clean the algae first and then clean the filter to have a nice fresh start to the season. To Clean the filter simply rinse it off with a hose spraying out all the folds or pleats in the filter. Once a Season typically after opening I would suggest also using a cleaning solution. For the first cleaning of the season, use a Pleated filter cleaning solution and soak the filter ( in a bucket or Rubbermaid garbage can ) for 24 hours before spraying it off with a hose. This will ensure a clean filter and extend the life of the filter over time. To know when it is time to clean the filter, watch the pressure gauge on the filter. For most systems anything over 25 PSI, ( or 10 PSI more than the system ran when it was first cleaned ) means the filter should be cleaned. Typically a cartridge filter may need to be cleaned 2-3 times a season, however if you have a lot of pollen or seasonal debris you may need to do it more often.
Advantages: Filters contaminants as small as 10 microns, no backwashing; less water waste, performs well at low speeds, such as with variable-speed pool pumps, cartridge inserts are inexpensive to replace, mid-cost filter Disadvantages: Requires slightly more manual work than sand pool filters, cartridge needs to be replaced every 5-10 years, deep cleaning required 1 to 2 times per year
This Filter will be filled with sand, with fine tubes or laterals that will allow the water to travel through the sand. I would suggest that this filter requires weekly maintenance, in some situations you may be able to do the maintenance less often but I would not recommend it. Rather than a fabric filtering the water, the sand does the job. Contaminants and debris are caught on the spiky edges of each sand particle. Standard sand used in sand pool filters are capable of filtering contaminants that measure 20 microns and larger. As water continuously flows through the filter, the contaminants trapped between the sand begin to build up — eventually restricting the flow of water, increasing internal pressure and reducing the filter's efficiency. Occasionally you will need to backwash the filter to clear out all the built-up debris. This is an easy cleaning method that simply reverses the flow of water back through the sand filter, flushing debris out to waste. Knowing when to backwash a sand filter is easy. A pressure gauge on the sand filter alerts you when internal pressure increases. When the pressure gets to 20 PSI it's time to backwash the filter. HOWEVER- In my experience, pressure gauges break or are not as accurate as they should be. Backwashing once a week for 1-2 minutes will ensure there is no pressure build up. A Dirty pool with lots of algae can clog a sand filter in under a week. High pressure of 25 -30 PSI can break the laterals in the filter causing sand to flow with the water back into your pool. If you see sand in your pool, it may be too late and you will likely need to replace the filter.
- Turn Pump off
-Adjust the dial/lever on the filter to backwash
-roll out the backwash hose if it is not plumbed in
-Turn pump on for 2 mins or until the discharge water is clear ( make sure it is pumping)
-When done turn pump off and move back to filter setting and turn the pump back on
( never change the filter setting while the pump is on)
This will drain the pool - you may want to fill the pool as this process take place to save time filling it later .
Advantages: Low upfront cost, easy maintenance, sand will last at least 10 years before needing to be changed , filtration efficiency can be boosted with additives or alternative media Disadvantages: 20-micron filtration is the least effective of the three types and backwashing is viewed by some as not environmentally friendly due to water waste
Typically Algae group together and when we can see them, they are in clumps 5-15 microns in size. While most cartridge filters can handle some algae , small amounts will still get through. As sand get older it erodes and get smooth like glass on the beach. Causing sand to be even less efficient at filtering Algae. For this reason the best way to get rid of Algae is to vacuum. First Brush all the algae off the wall and surfaces and use chemicals to prevent further growth. When we vacuum algae we want to make sure we vacuum to waste. On a sand filter there will be a waste or drain setting that will drain from the pool like a backwash. rather than water going into the sand it will go straight out the waste line. In a Cartridge filter this option needs to be plumbed separately typically using a three way valve. We just open the valve between the filter and pump letting the water out to a waste line or hose. Vacuuming large amounts of algae through filter media will cause you to have to do maintenance more often.
Most people will have one of these two filters, a Cartridge Filter or a Sand filter. However there are more types of filters available, if you want info on maintaining a filter other than a cartridge or sand filter please feel free to contact me anytime.