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{"appState":{"pageLoadApiCallsStatus":true},"authorState":{"author":{"headers":{"timestamp":"2025-03-04T08:49:37+00:00"},"authorId":35285,"data":{"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" Kristine Blanchard started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","photo":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0}}},"authorLoadedStatus":"success"},"listState":{"list":{"count":4,"total":4,"items":[{"headers":{"creationTime":"2024-07-06T19:16:47+00:00","modifiedTime":"2024-08-03T16:33:22+00:00","timestamp":"2024-08-03T18:01:03+00:00"},"data":{"breadcrumbs":[{"name":"Home, Auto, & Hobbies","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/33809"},"slug":"home-auto-hobbies","categoryId":33809},{"name":"Home Improvement & Appliances","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/33939"},"slug":"home-improvement-appliances","categoryId":33939},{"name":"Swimming pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"},"slug":"swimming-pools","categoryId":35286}],"title":"How to Handle Common Swimming Pool Mishaps","strippedTitle":"how to handle common swimming pool mishaps","slug":"how-to-handle-common-pool-mishaps","canonicalUrl":"","搜所引挚seo":{"metaDescription":"Learn how to deal with problems that can happen in your swimming pool, including what to do if a kid urinates in the pool, and other situations.","noIndex":0,"noFollow":0},"content":"You never think it will happen to you, but sometimes it does. I’ve heard some wacky stories in my pool maintenance career; some are more common than others. In this article, I cover some of the most common mishaps that I see in the wonderful world of pool ownership, and how to gracefully handle them with as little panic as possible.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299621\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299621\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/swimming-pool-cleaning-adobeStock_382102193.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"414\" /> ©Beton Studios / Adobe Stock[/caption]\r\n<h2 id=\"tab1\" >Someone peed in my pool</h2>\r\nIf you have kids, or know someone who has kids, or just see movies of kids in pools, then you know that pool pee is 100 percent a possibility. In fact, I think it’s more of an inevitable situation — not so much if, but when. Now, this isn’t something I consider okay to do in a pool, but if I had to choose between someone peeing in a pool and any of the other things I cover in this article, I’d choose the pee.\r\n\r\nAlthough urine isn’t something I think very many people would enjoy swimming in, it’s really not terribly dangerous. The chlorine levels in your pool at the regular 2 to 4 parts per million (ppm) will be enough to sanitize the compounds in urine and make it safe.\r\n\r\nWhen urine gets in the water, combined chlorine is created. A good indicator that urine is present in your pool is a strong chlorine smell. (Hence public pools being very stinky — it’s from all of that dirty chlorine in the water.)\r\n\r\nTo handle pee in your pool, shock your pool by using a regular dose of oxidizer. (Use more oxidizer if the pool is cloudy.) If you’re using biguanide chemicals, such as Baquacil or SoftSwim, use a full gallon of your shock for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. Then, let the pool filter run continuously for a 24-hour period, and all can be forgotten.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">For how to handle other unfortunate pool problems, and everything you need to know about pool ownership and maintenance, check out my book <a href=\"//coursofppt.com/book/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-298501/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"><em>Pool Care For Dummies</em></a>.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab2\" >Someone pooped in the pool</h2>\r\nIf someone poops in the pool, treat it immediately. The reason fecal matter in your pool is such an issue is because of the bacteria that may be involved in why it even ended up in your pool in the first place. So, if you're wondering, \"can you get sick if someone poops in the pool,\" the answer is yes.\r\n\r\nIf it’s regular poop in the pool, your chlorinated water should kill the bacteria. But, if it’s diarrhea caused by viruses, those viruses can be spread through the water after the pooping in the pool and infect others. Treat the water, no matter which type of accident occurs.\r\n\r\nIf the feces are solid, the protocol involves following these steps:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Have all swimmers exit the pool immediately.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li class=\"first-para\"><strong>Remove any fecal matter from the water and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. </strong>Anything you use to remove the feces from the pool should be thoroughly sanitized afterward (or disposed of), too.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Add in a small dose of your sanitizer or oxidizer to raise your chlorine levels to over 2 parts per million (ppm).</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Wait one hour.</strong></li>\r\n</ol>\r\nAfter one hour, the pool is perfectly safe to swim in, and you can all pretend it didn’t happen.\r\n\r\nRemember diarrhea is usually from an issue inside the body, such as a virus. You want to take stricter precautions to prevent anyone from becoming ill after this type of incident. If the accident is in the form of diarrhea, follow these steps:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Have all swimmers exit the pool immediately.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Remove as much of the fecal matter as possible and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. </strong>Thoroughly sanitize anything you used to remove the fecal matter or dispose of those items, as well.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Add a double dose of your shock oxidizer.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Run the pool filter for a 24-hour period before re-entering and test every 8 hours to be sure the chlorine level stays high on your test kit for the full 24-hour period.</strong></li>\r\n</ol>\r\nDuring any treatments, always be sure your pH is in proper range to ensure that oxidizer is as effective as possible. Test with your home test kit before and after treatment.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab3\" >I found a dead animal in the pool</h2>\r\nThis can be a common occurrence when you’re a pool owner. Some people definitely have it worse than others, but it’s never fun finding a critter belly-up in the pool. Honestly, most of the time, a dead animal in the pool isn’t a big health threat to humans, other than being very unpleasant. Based on what type of animal you find, you want to treat it accordingly:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Small animals:</strong> When you’re dealing with a small animal, such as a squirrel or chipmunk, within the first 30 minutes, your regular chlorine levels should kill any and all bacteria that could have been introduced. Remove the animal and allow an hour before entering the pool to give your chlorine time to sanitize any bacteria.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Larger animals:</strong> If you’re dealing with something about the size of a cat, you’ll have more bacteria to kill. Remove the animal and make sure you raise your sanitation levels to over 3 parts per million (ppm) by adding in a partial dose of your oxidizer. Allow the pool water a few hours of filtration before swimming, just to be safe.</li>\r\n \t<li>\r\n<p class=\"first-para\"><strong>Raccoons:</strong> The reason I specify raccoons in this list is because they’re more likely to be infected with a worm called Baylisascaris, which can easily spread to humans. The eggs of this worm are resistant to chlorine, thus making the treatment of your pool a little bit different after finding a raccoon in it.</p>\r\n<p class=\"child-para\">If you find a dead racoon in your pool, start by removing the deceased animal, and then shock the pool with your regular oxidizer. (Be sure the pH is in range to ensure the chemicals are 100 percent effective.) Then filter the pool continuously for 24 hours. Filtering for this length of time should turn over the pool enough times to filter out any eggs that may be in there. You’ll want to be sure to sanitize your filter, as well:</p>\r\n\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><em>For a DE filter:</em> Remove the internal assembly with gloves. Clean off all of the media and double bag as much as possible by hand and then spray off the residual. You can spray the internal assembly and the inside of the filter tank down with a mild bleach for extra sanitization if desired. Then you can reassemble the filter, and all pesky eggs should be eliminated.</li>\r\n \t<li><em>For a sand filter:</em> Remove the sand and start fresh, you can spray the inside of the tank with a mild bleach solution after the tank is empty of sand for extra sanitation.</li>\r\n \t<li><em>For a cartridge filter:</em> Rinse thoroughly and use an acidic cleaner on the cartridges before returning them to the filter.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<h2 id=\"tab4\" >My dog took a dip</h2>\r\nMost dog and pool owners will run into this scenario pretty often. My dogs personally don’t love the pool, but I certainly know of plenty of dogs who can’t get enough of the water. The tricky part with dogs swimming in your pool is that your filter can get clogged with fur and they can make keeping up with maintenance more difficult.\r\n\r\nNormal chlorine levels will help any bacteria that may have been on the dog from becoming a problem. But, a dog swimming in the pool will introduce more contaminants than a human will. Treat your pool as if a dozen kids had just gone swimming. Hit it with a small dose of oxidizer after each swim that your dog takes to help keep your pool clean.\r\n\r\nThe real problem you’ll face with your faithful friend in the pool is dog hair causing issues. Dog hair will clog your filter very quickly, so always pay attention to your filter pressure if you have a dog that swims regularly.\r\n\r\nAs the filter gets dirty the pressure will rise on the pressure gauge. Once it reaches 7 to 10 psi higher than it started at when it was clean, it is time for the filter to be backwashed or cleaned out.\r\n\r\nAlso check your skimmer and pump baskets every few days if a dog is swimming daily; the fur can clog up the baskets and cause strain on the pump motor.\r\n\r\nA dog swimming definitely will introduce a lot more contaminates into the pool water than a human will, so treat your pool like ten kids just went swimming after your dog is done. If you hit it with a small dose of oxidizer after every swim, you will be safe!\r\n<p class=\"article-tips warning\">Keep your dog safe around the pool. Always supervise the dog while it’s in the pool, just like you would a kid. <strong>And never assume that all dogs can swim.</strong> I grew up with a Doberman that almost drowned falling off the end of a dock at a lake house because he couldn't swim. <strong>Lastly, the main concern with your dog (and all living things, really) is if they drink too much water.</strong> This concern is especially important for pools that use salt. The levels of sodium that your dog may ingest by drinking the pool water could actually become fatal, so always monitor your dog to be sure it isn’t drinking too much pool water.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab5\" >There are thousands of tiny black bugs in my pool</h2>\r\nIf you know what I’m talking about when I mention these little pests, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. These tiny bugs, called springtails, live in large swarms and tend to enjoy your pool as much as you do.\r\n\r\nWe pool pros see them mostly in the middle of summer, but you can get them any time of the year. They can’t fly, and they can’t swim (but they’re light enough to not break the water’s surface tension by standing on it). And if you try to touch them, they jump into the air the same way that fleas do. They’re annoying little pests that drive many pool owners crazy, so let me give you some pointers:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Break the water’s surface tension so that the bugs sink.</strong> After they sink to the bottom of the pool, vacuum out their bodies and go about your business. You can reduce the surface tension in a couple of ways:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Buy a product at your local pool store called Bug Off<em>.</em> This product will do exactly what you need.</li>\r\n \t<li>Make a mixture of water and dish soap<em>.</em> Spray the mixture around the border of the pool’s surface, and then spritz the surface of the pool evenly. The biggest downside to using dish soap is the obvious side effect of suds and an oil slick effect on the pool’s surface. That will filter out over time, but that’s why I prefer the chemicals made for pools that are designed to perform specific tasks.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Get skimmer socks and place them over your skimmer baskets.</strong> This fine mesh is enough to filter out the tiny bugs and allow you to remove them from the pool after they die.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Prevent moisture and limit light use.</strong> These bugs love lights and moisture, so to prevent them swarming your pool as much as possible, limit your pool light use and keep your pool area as dry as you can and clear of leaves, which may trap water and attract the bugs. If you offer a less attractive environment for the springtails, you may be able to avoid getting them at all.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">Because of their tiny size, you can try to skim springtails off of the pool’s surface, but it may not work very well. They’re tiny enough that they can fit through your pool net, and you end up spreading them around.</p>","description":"You never think it will happen to you, but sometimes it does. I’ve heard some wacky stories in my pool maintenance career; some are more common than others. In this article, I cover some of the most common mishaps that I see in the wonderful world of pool ownership, and how to gracefully handle them with as little panic as possible.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299621\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299621\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/swimming-pool-cleaning-adobeStock_382102193.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"414\" /> ©Beton Studios / Adobe Stock[/caption]\r\n<h2 id=\"tab1\" >Someone peed in my pool</h2>\r\nIf you have kids, or know someone who has kids, or just see movies of kids in pools, then you know that pool pee is 100 percent a possibility. In fact, I think it’s more of an inevitable situation — not so much if, but when. Now, this isn’t something I consider okay to do in a pool, but if I had to choose between someone peeing in a pool and any of the other things I cover in this article, I’d choose the pee.\r\n\r\nAlthough urine isn’t something I think very many people would enjoy swimming in, it’s really not terribly dangerous. The chlorine levels in your pool at the regular 2 to 4 parts per million (ppm) will be enough to sanitize the compounds in urine and make it safe.\r\n\r\nWhen urine gets in the water, combined chlorine is created. A good indicator that urine is present in your pool is a strong chlorine smell. (Hence public pools being very stinky — it’s from all of that dirty chlorine in the water.)\r\n\r\nTo handle pee in your pool, shock your pool by using a regular dose of oxidizer. (Use more oxidizer if the pool is cloudy.) If you’re using biguanide chemicals, such as Baquacil or SoftSwim, use a full gallon of your shock for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. Then, let the pool filter run continuously for a 24-hour period, and all can be forgotten.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">For how to handle other unfortunate pool problems, and everything you need to know about pool ownership and maintenance, check out my book <a href=\"//coursofppt.com/book/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-298501/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"><em>Pool Care For Dummies</em></a>.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab2\" >Someone pooped in the pool</h2>\r\nIf someone poops in the pool, treat it immediately. The reason fecal matter in your pool is such an issue is because of the bacteria that may be involved in why it even ended up in your pool in the first place. So, if you're wondering, \"can you get sick if someone poops in the pool,\" the answer is yes.\r\n\r\nIf it’s regular poop in the pool, your chlorinated water should kill the bacteria. But, if it’s diarrhea caused by viruses, those viruses can be spread through the water after the pooping in the pool and infect others. Treat the water, no matter which type of accident occurs.\r\n\r\nIf the feces are solid, the protocol involves following these steps:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Have all swimmers exit the pool immediately.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li class=\"first-para\"><strong>Remove any fecal matter from the water and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. </strong>Anything you use to remove the feces from the pool should be thoroughly sanitized afterward (or disposed of), too.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Add in a small dose of your sanitizer or oxidizer to raise your chlorine levels to over 2 parts per million (ppm).</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Wait one hour.</strong></li>\r\n</ol>\r\nAfter one hour, the pool is perfectly safe to swim in, and you can all pretend it didn’t happen.\r\n\r\nRemember diarrhea is usually from an issue inside the body, such as a virus. You want to take stricter precautions to prevent anyone from becoming ill after this type of incident. If the accident is in the form of diarrhea, follow these steps:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Have all swimmers exit the pool immediately.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Remove as much of the fecal matter as possible and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. </strong>Thoroughly sanitize anything you used to remove the fecal matter or dispose of those items, as well.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Add a double dose of your shock oxidizer.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Run the pool filter for a 24-hour period before re-entering and test every 8 hours to be sure the chlorine level stays high on your test kit for the full 24-hour period.</strong></li>\r\n</ol>\r\nDuring any treatments, always be sure your pH is in proper range to ensure that oxidizer is as effective as possible. Test with your home test kit before and after treatment.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab3\" >I found a dead animal in the pool</h2>\r\nThis can be a common occurrence when you’re a pool owner. Some people definitely have it worse than others, but it’s never fun finding a critter belly-up in the pool. Honestly, most of the time, a dead animal in the pool isn’t a big health threat to humans, other than being very unpleasant. Based on what type of animal you find, you want to treat it accordingly:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Small animals:</strong> When you’re dealing with a small animal, such as a squirrel or chipmunk, within the first 30 minutes, your regular chlorine levels should kill any and all bacteria that could have been introduced. Remove the animal and allow an hour before entering the pool to give your chlorine time to sanitize any bacteria.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Larger animals:</strong> If you’re dealing with something about the size of a cat, you’ll have more bacteria to kill. Remove the animal and make sure you raise your sanitation levels to over 3 parts per million (ppm) by adding in a partial dose of your oxidizer. Allow the pool water a few hours of filtration before swimming, just to be safe.</li>\r\n \t<li>\r\n<p class=\"first-para\"><strong>Raccoons:</strong> The reason I specify raccoons in this list is because they’re more likely to be infected with a worm called Baylisascaris, which can easily spread to humans. The eggs of this worm are resistant to chlorine, thus making the treatment of your pool a little bit different after finding a raccoon in it.</p>\r\n<p class=\"child-para\">If you find a dead racoon in your pool, start by removing the deceased animal, and then shock the pool with your regular oxidizer. (Be sure the pH is in range to ensure the chemicals are 100 percent effective.) Then filter the pool continuously for 24 hours. Filtering for this length of time should turn over the pool enough times to filter out any eggs that may be in there. You’ll want to be sure to sanitize your filter, as well:</p>\r\n\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><em>For a DE filter:</em> Remove the internal assembly with gloves. Clean off all of the media and double bag as much as possible by hand and then spray off the residual. You can spray the internal assembly and the inside of the filter tank down with a mild bleach for extra sanitization if desired. Then you can reassemble the filter, and all pesky eggs should be eliminated.</li>\r\n \t<li><em>For a sand filter:</em> Remove the sand and start fresh, you can spray the inside of the tank with a mild bleach solution after the tank is empty of sand for extra sanitation.</li>\r\n \t<li><em>For a cartridge filter:</em> Rinse thoroughly and use an acidic cleaner on the cartridges before returning them to the filter.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<h2 id=\"tab4\" >My dog took a dip</h2>\r\nMost dog and pool owners will run into this scenario pretty often. My dogs personally don’t love the pool, but I certainly know of plenty of dogs who can’t get enough of the water. The tricky part with dogs swimming in your pool is that your filter can get clogged with fur and they can make keeping up with maintenance more difficult.\r\n\r\nNormal chlorine levels will help any bacteria that may have been on the dog from becoming a problem. But, a dog swimming in the pool will introduce more contaminants than a human will. Treat your pool as if a dozen kids had just gone swimming. Hit it with a small dose of oxidizer after each swim that your dog takes to help keep your pool clean.\r\n\r\nThe real problem you’ll face with your faithful friend in the pool is dog hair causing issues. Dog hair will clog your filter very quickly, so always pay attention to your filter pressure if you have a dog that swims regularly.\r\n\r\nAs the filter gets dirty the pressure will rise on the pressure gauge. Once it reaches 7 to 10 psi higher than it started at when it was clean, it is time for the filter to be backwashed or cleaned out.\r\n\r\nAlso check your skimmer and pump baskets every few days if a dog is swimming daily; the fur can clog up the baskets and cause strain on the pump motor.\r\n\r\nA dog swimming definitely will introduce a lot more contaminates into the pool water than a human will, so treat your pool like ten kids just went swimming after your dog is done. If you hit it with a small dose of oxidizer after every swim, you will be safe!\r\n<p class=\"article-tips warning\">Keep your dog safe around the pool. Always supervise the dog while it’s in the pool, just like you would a kid. <strong>And never assume that all dogs can swim.</strong> I grew up with a Doberman that almost drowned falling off the end of a dock at a lake house because he couldn't swim. <strong>Lastly, the main concern with your dog (and all living things, really) is if they drink too much water.</strong> This concern is especially important for pools that use salt. The levels of sodium that your dog may ingest by drinking the pool water could actually become fatal, so always monitor your dog to be sure it isn’t drinking too much pool water.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab5\" >There are thousands of tiny black bugs in my pool</h2>\r\nIf you know what I’m talking about when I mention these little pests, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. These tiny bugs, called springtails, live in large swarms and tend to enjoy your pool as much as you do.\r\n\r\nWe pool pros see them mostly in the middle of summer, but you can get them any time of the year. They can’t fly, and they can’t swim (but they’re light enough to not break the water’s surface tension by standing on it). And if you try to touch them, they jump into the air the same way that fleas do. They’re annoying little pests that drive many pool owners crazy, so let me give you some pointers:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Break the water’s surface tension so that the bugs sink.</strong> After they sink to the bottom of the pool, vacuum out their bodies and go about your business. You can reduce the surface tension in a couple of ways:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Buy a product at your local pool store called Bug Off<em>.</em> This product will do exactly what you need.</li>\r\n \t<li>Make a mixture of water and dish soap<em>.</em> Spray the mixture around the border of the pool’s surface, and then spritz the surface of the pool evenly. The biggest downside to using dish soap is the obvious side effect of suds and an oil slick effect on the pool’s surface. That will filter out over time, but that’s why I prefer the chemicals made for pools that are designed to perform specific tasks.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Get skimmer socks and place them over your skimmer baskets.</strong> This fine mesh is enough to filter out the tiny bugs and allow you to remove them from the pool after they die.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Prevent moisture and limit light use.</strong> These bugs love lights and moisture, so to prevent them swarming your pool as much as possible, limit your pool light use and keep your pool area as dry as you can and clear of leaves, which may trap water and attract the bugs. If you offer a less attractive environment for the springtails, you may be able to avoid getting them at all.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">Because of their tiny size, you can try to skim springtails off of the pool’s surface, but it may not work very well. They’re tiny enough that they can fit through your pool net, and you end up spreading them around.</p>","blurb":"","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"primaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":35286,"title":"Swimming pools","slug":"swimming-pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"}},"secondaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"tertiaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"trendingArticles":null,"inThisArticle":[{"label":"Someone peed in my pool","target":"#tab1"},{"label":"Someone pooped in the pool","target":"#tab2"},{"label":"I found a dead animal in the pool","target":"#tab3"},{"label":"My dog took a dip","target":"#tab4"},{"label":"There are thousands of tiny black bugs in my pool","target":"#tab5"}],"relatedArticles":{"fromBook":[{"articleId":299627,"title":"How to Test Your Swimming Pool Water","slug":"how-to-test-your-swimming-pool-water","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299627"}},{"articleId":299599,"title":"The Basics of Swimming Pool Maintenance","slug":"the-basics-of-swimming-pool-maintenance","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299599"}},{"articleId":298671,"title":"Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet","slug":"pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/298671"}}],"fromCategory":[{"articleId":299627,"title":"How to Test Your Swimming Pool Water","slug":"how-to-test-your-swimming-pool-water","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299627"}},{"articleId":299599,"title":"The Basics of Swimming Pool Maintenance","slug":"the-basics-of-swimming-pool-maintenance","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299599"}},{"articleId":298671,"title":"Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet","slug":"pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/298671"}}]},"hasRelatedBookFromSearch":false,"relatedBook":{"bookId":298501,"slug":"pool-care-for-dummies","isbn":"9781394166114","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"amazon":{"default":"//www.amazon.com/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","ca":"//www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","indigo_ca":"//www.tkqlhce.com/click-9208661-13710633?url=//www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/1394166117-item.html&cjsku=978111945484","gb":"//www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","de":"//www.amazon.de/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20"},"image":{"src":"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-care-for-dummies-cover-9781394166114-203x255.jpg","width":203,"height":255},"title":"Pool Care For Dummies","testBankPinActivationLink":"","bookOutOfPrint":true,"authorsInfo":"<p><p><b><b data-author-id=\"35285\">Kristine Blanchard</b></b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees.</p>","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/books/"}},"collections":[],"articleAds":{"footerAd":"<div class=\"du-ad-region row\" id=\"article_page_adhesion_ad\"><div class=\"du-ad-unit col-md-12\" data-slot-id=\"article_page_adhesion_ad\" data-refreshed=\"false\" \r\n data-target = \"[{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;cat&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;home-auto-hobbies&quot;,&quot;home-improvement-appliances&quot;,&quot;swimming-pools&quot;]},{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;isbn&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;9781394166114&quot;]}]\" id=\"du-slot-64cbeb5fa21e2\"></div></div>","rightAd":"<div class=\"du-ad-region row\" id=\"article_page_right_ad\"><div class=\"du-ad-unit col-md-12\" data-slot-id=\"article_page_right_ad\" data-refreshed=\"false\" \r\n data-target = \"[{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;cat&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;home-auto-hobbies&quot;,&quot;home-improvement-appliances&quot;,&quot;swimming-pools&quot;]},{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;isbn&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;9781394166114&quot;]}]\" id=\"du-slot-64cbeb5fa285a\"></div></div>"},"articleType":{"articleType":"Articles","articleList":null,"content":null,"videoInfo":{"videoId":null,"name":null,"accountId":null,"playerId":null,"thumbnailUrl":null,"description":null,"uploadDate":null}},"sponsorship":{"sponsorshipPage":false,"backgroundImage":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0},"brandingLine":"","brandingLink":"","brandingLogo":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0},"sponsorAd":"","sponsorEbookTitle":"","sponsorEbookLink":"","sponsorEbookImage":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0}},"primaryLearningPath":"Solve","lifeExpectancy":"Five years","lifeExpectancySetFrom":"2024-07-06T00:00:00+00:00","dummiesForKids":"no","sponsoredContent":"no","adInfo":"","adPairKey":[]},"status":"publish","visibility":"public","articleId":299616},{"headers":{"creationTime":"2024-07-06T20:59:14+00:00","modifiedTime":"2024-08-03T16:32:45+00:00","timestamp":"2024-08-03T18:01:03+00:00"},"data":{"breadcrumbs":[{"name":"Home, Auto, & Hobbies","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/33809"},"slug":"home-auto-hobbies","categoryId":33809},{"name":"Home Improvement & Appliances","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/33939"},"slug":"home-improvement-appliances","categoryId":33939},{"name":"Swimming pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"},"slug":"swimming-pools","categoryId":35286}],"title":"How to Test Your Swimming Pool Water","strippedTitle":"how to test your swimming pool water","slug":"how-to-test-your-swimming-pool-water","canonicalUrl":"","搜所引挚seo":{"metaDescription":"It's important to test your swimming pool water regularly. Learn about the different types of home test kits, and testing at a pool store.","noIndex":0,"noFollow":0},"content":"When you have a pool in your backyard, testing the water on a consistent basis is crucial to keeping up with the changing water chemistry. With an outdoor pool, all of the elements around it affect the water inside of it, and it’s your responsibility to keep the chemicals in check during the season.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299631\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299631\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-water-testing-strip-adobeStock_440974917.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"420\" /> ©Eveniya Sheydt / Adobe Stock<br />A pool water testing strip[/caption]\r\n\r\nCommon questions among new pool owners are about how often to test pool water. On average, pool owners get into the habit of testing their water once a week, and that’s the maximum amount of time I recommend waiting between tests. If you go longer than that, things can sometimes get away from you without you even noticing! Checking your pool’s water weekly helps you develop a consistent schedule for both chemical and equipment maintenance.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab1\" >How to test pool water</h2>\r\nChecking the various components of your pool water involves testing kits. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and types, and all of them can give you the information that you seek. However, some of them may be a little easier to interpret, and others may be a little more exact.\r\n\r\nThe most common kinds of testing kits are testing strips, drop test kits, and digital test kits. Find one that fits your personal preferences, and testing your pool will be a breeze.\r\n\r\nAll testing kits, whether strips or drops, have an expiration date, and they become less accurate the closer you get to that date. For test strips, they start to lose accuracy even just six months after you first open the container’s cap. This is due to the oxidation of the chemicals in the pads of the test strip.\r\n\r\nSo, always be sure you’re using testing equipment that’s less than a year old or check it against a more accurate testing system, such as the laser readers that you can find at a pool store, every six months.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">For more information about testing your pool water, as well as everything else you need to know about owning and maintaining a swimming pool, check out my book <em><a href=\"//coursofppt.com/book/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-298501/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Pool Care For Dummies</a></em>.</p>\r\n\r\n<h3>Testing strips</h3>\r\nAlso commonly given the nickname <em>dipsticks,</em> test strips (shown in the photo above) are an inexpensive, quick and easy way to check your levels in under 30 seconds. Test strips typically come in a bottle that has a chart on the back, and the bottle contains small strips that have testing pads on them.\r\n\r\nThe strip will test your sanitizer, pH, and alkalinity at a minimum and some others will also test your cyanuric acid and your calcium hardness. Just follow these steps to use a test strip:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Gently dip a test strip into the pool’s water. </strong>You can also scoop a sample of water from the pool into a cup and dip the test strip in there. Be sure to reach 18 inches down for the water sample to get the most accurate reading.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Hold the test strip horizontally, pads-side up, for 15 seconds.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>After the 15 seconds, match the colors of the testing pads on the strip to the chart on the back of the bottle.</strong></li>\r\n</ol>\r\nThe chart will have a range of color options for each of the corresponding pads, ranging from low to ideal to high.\r\n\r\nUsing a test strip is simple and quick, and one of the most common ways to check the levels.\r\n\r\nThere are some downsides to using the test strips, though:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>As simple as they are, it’s a little tricky to get accurate results from them.</strong> Most brands recommend a very controlled dip into the water — so no swishing around, and no shaking the test strip off after it’s out of the water. Too much strip jostling may cause colors to appear faded or even bleed into each other.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>The colors on the pad are sometimes hard for the reader to decipher.</strong> For instance, the pH is almost always indicated by a shade of red, but not all people can easily tell the difference between one shade of red and the next.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nFor these reasons, I like to consider test strips a great way to tell you whether you’re basically in the range. They’re wonderful rough-estimate testers that can help you quickly identify whether you have an issue. If they seem off, I recommend using a more accurate or easy-to-read method of testing like a drop kit or a store’s testing system before making large adjustments to your water chemistry.\r\n<h3>Drop (or reagent) test kits</h3>\r\nAs a professional, I prefer this style of test kit as a home test kit, which is shown in the photo below. They may take you an extra minute or two to get the readings you want, but the colors in the charts and the accuracy of the results is what I admire.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299630\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299630\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-water-test-kit-adobeStock_111596179.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"424\" /> ©Rocklights / Adobe Stock<br />A drop (or reagent) testing device[/caption]\r\n\r\nWhen I do weekly service on customers’ pools, I personally use a drop test kit as my regular testing system. There are a lot of different brands that you can try, and a lot of different options. They range from testing only chlorine or pH levels, to being able to test all of the balancing levels in your pool like total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid along with the chlorine and pH in your pool.\r\n\r\nDrop test kids will all have the same components to them, beakers and the little bottles of liquid reagents. Different brands will have slightly different instructions, but the concept with the tests are all the same.\r\n\r\nYou will fill the beaker with your pool water up to the suggested fill line. There may be two different lines for two different amounts of water, so follow your test kit’s instructions thoroughly. You will then add the appropriate amount of drops of the liquid reagent that is meant for testing the chemical you are looking to check.\r\n\r\nEach chemical level you are trying to check, like pH or alkalinity, will all have a separate corresponding liquid drop reagent. You will thoroughly mix the drops with your pool water and it will turn a certain color. Check that color against the color chart provided with your kit and it will indicate if the level you are testing is low, ideal, or high.\r\n\r\nI personally don’t have a preference on brand; I’ve used a few different brands and find them all to be accurate. The big thing in selecting your drop test kit is that you want to be able to replace the drop reagents as needed. Worst case is you could replace the whole kit, of course. But if only one bottle runs out or expires, it’s much simpler to get just the drop reagent you need.\r\n\r\nI like drop test kits that have the ability to test chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and your pool’s acid demand. (I discuss the importance of those levels in later sections of this chapter.)\r\n\r\nDrop test kits can be pricy, depending on the brand you choose. Some of the lesser-known brands can have a price ticket of around $20, but other brands can range up to $100, and they will both test for the same levels!\r\n\r\nHigher quality brands tend to be more accurate and reliable, which is where you get the price increase from. The bottles can range in size, but most of them are one or two fluid ounces each and will easily last you a whole season with weekly testing.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips warning\">Most of the reagent drop-style testing kits are made for halogen (chlorine/bromine) based pools. There aren’t many that are meant for biguanide-based pools. So, if you do have a biguanide pool, you’re usually stuck with strips as your only at-home testing method.</p>\r\n\r\n<h3>Digital test kits</h3>\r\nToday, it’s nearly impossible to find something that doesn’t have an app that you can use to control it. Well, testing your pool water is no different. And just like all things, there are a variety of brands and price points to choose from. Here are a few options:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Strips that have a corresponding app that you download to a tablet or smartphone:</strong> You dip the test strip into your pool water, then snap a photo through the app, and it reads the results for you. But, of course, the app’s accuracy is all based on how precisely you dipped the strip and the lighting in which you took the photo. The concept is great and works reasonably well, especially considering they’re in the lower price range of digital options, around $15 to $20.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Specialty test strips that have a separate digital reader:</strong> With this style, you use the strips like you would any other kind of test strip, dipping them into your pool sample. And then you insert the strip into the reader. The readers are designed to work with only the strips made specifically for it, but they’re quick, easy, and accurate. They’re a mid-price range, usually around $75 to $90.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>All-in-one testing meters:</strong> There are two styles of these meters:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>An electronic testing meter where you dip the sensor into the pool, and the results come up on the meter itself.</li>\r\n \t<li>A floating device that has a sensor in your pool that sends information to an app on your phone.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nBoth types of all-in-one testing meters are the most accurate way to test your pool at home, but they tend to fall on the more expensive side. The electronic meter is usually between $200 and $250, and the floating style is commonly priced around $500 for the good ones.\r\n\r\nAll of these readers are great ways to step up your ability to check your levels accurately at home, but none of them are perfect. It never hurts to get your pool water tested at a local pool store that you trust (see the following section), or even to check the accuracy of your main testing system with another style (which I go over in the preceding sections). Having basic test strips and a digital floating meter can only help in making you a better pool owner.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab2\" >Testing at a store</h2>\r\nJust like a digital testing meter (see the preceding section) is more accurate than a test strip, the majority of pool stores have a testing system that’s even more accurate than some of the best home kits.\r\n\r\nThe system used in most pool stores has a high-tech meter that reads small plastic disks that are filled with your pool water. Basically, here's how it works:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>The disk is inserted into the meter.</li>\r\n \t<li>The meter spins the disk, mixing the sample water into a variety of chambers along the sides.</li>\r\n \t<li>The meter uses lasers to read the colors that those chambers turn.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nThese meters are expensive — and, if well maintained, very accurate.\r\n\r\nThe meters are usually connected to a computer where the results are automatically entered into a program. That program creates the printout that a pool store employee reviews with you.\r\n\r\nThis type of highly accurate testing you get at a pool store isn’t something that you do weekly or even biweekly. Your pool’s chemistry can change in that short a time period, but not enough that you need to visit the pool store. If you use a testing system like this too often, you will go slightly crazy trying to get your pool “perfect” when you have an acceptable variance within your levels.\r\n\r\nPerfect range for alkalinity is 100 ppm, and if you test it at a pool store and it says your level is 89 ppm, it can get really overwhelming to try to get it exact when 89 ppm is still considered in the acceptable variance. These testing systems are also expensive to run for the pool company, so a majority of them may limit you to only six free tests a year and begin charging for each one after that.\r\n\r\nTesting at your pool store should be done\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Two to three days after the pool has been opened and started running</li>\r\n \t<li>One week after completing the initial balancing on your first test</li>\r\n \t<li>Once a month during the season</li>\r\n \t<li>Two weeks prior to the winterization of your pool</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nYou can always test your pool water at the pool store if you’re dealing with an issue in the pool that won’t resolve or that you need advice on, or if you just want to be positive that your home kit is accurate.\r\n<h3>Guidelines for water testing at a pool store</h3>\r\nWhen it’s time to bring a water sample to your local pool store, be sure to follow these guidelines:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Take your sample from at least 18 inches below the surface of the pool to get an accurate sample and use a container that allows you to get at least 12 ounces of sample water. The pool store may never use that full 12 ounces, but if you need to have extended tests run or have the test repeated, you want to make sure you bring enough water to cover it.</li>\r\n \t<li>If you're wondering how to bring pool water to be tested, use a container that has had no other liquids in it, if possible. Acidic liquids such as pickle juice, wine, or orange juice will alter your results. It doesn’t matter how many times you rinse the bottle out, the traces of the acidic liquid distort the numbers, especially your pH. The only safe reusable bottle I would really recommend is an old water bottle.</li>\r\n \t<li>If you just opened your pool, don’t bring a sample in until the pool has been circulating for at least 24 full hours. It’s amazing how much your chemicals actually sink to the bottom of the pool over the course of winter!</li>\r\n \t<li>Don’t bring in a water sample if you’ve shocked the pool with chlorine-based shock within 48 hours. (You can read about this cleaning process in Chapter 10.) Almost all testing systems are based on the color your water turns when mixed with a certain solution. Just like how chlorine bleaches your clothes, it absolutely lightens the color that the water turns when mixed with the testing solution. This advice goes for all color-based testing systems — if your chlorine is over 8 parts per million (ppm), you probably aren’t getting a very accurate reading.</li>\r\n \t<li>If the water turns a certain color when the testing solutions are added, then water that has a distinctive color in the container in which you collect it most likely will be inaccurate when you add those test solutions. If the water in your sample bottle is green, all the colors that your test samples are supposed to turn will be mixed with green, not allowing for accurate results.</li>\r\n \t<li>If your water sample has been sitting in your hot car all day at work, its chemistry changes while it’s sitting in the container. If you’re going to bring a water sample somewhere, always be sure to bring it as fresh as possible.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">Try not to over-test your pool water. I know that may seem crazy, but just like when you’re on a diet, checking your weight daily doesn’t give you an accurate representation of what’s happening. If you check your pool every day — or even twice a day — you get slightly different results every time. Testing the water isn’t a perfect science, and you’ll make your head spin if you try to make your water’s chemical balance perfect every second of every day.</p>","description":"When you have a pool in your backyard, testing the water on a consistent basis is crucial to keeping up with the changing water chemistry. With an outdoor pool, all of the elements around it affect the water inside of it, and it’s your responsibility to keep the chemicals in check during the season.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299631\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299631\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-water-testing-strip-adobeStock_440974917.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"420\" /> ©Eveniya Sheydt / Adobe Stock<br />A pool water testing strip[/caption]\r\n\r\nCommon questions among new pool owners are about how often to test pool water. On average, pool owners get into the habit of testing their water once a week, and that’s the maximum amount of time I recommend waiting between tests. If you go longer than that, things can sometimes get away from you without you even noticing! Checking your pool’s water weekly helps you develop a consistent schedule for both chemical and equipment maintenance.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab1\" >How to test pool water</h2>\r\nChecking the various components of your pool water involves testing kits. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and types, and all of them can give you the information that you seek. However, some of them may be a little easier to interpret, and others may be a little more exact.\r\n\r\nThe most common kinds of testing kits are testing strips, drop test kits, and digital test kits. Find one that fits your personal preferences, and testing your pool will be a breeze.\r\n\r\nAll testing kits, whether strips or drops, have an expiration date, and they become less accurate the closer you get to that date. For test strips, they start to lose accuracy even just six months after you first open the container’s cap. This is due to the oxidation of the chemicals in the pads of the test strip.\r\n\r\nSo, always be sure you’re using testing equipment that’s less than a year old or check it against a more accurate testing system, such as the laser readers that you can find at a pool store, every six months.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">For more information about testing your pool water, as well as everything else you need to know about owning and maintaining a swimming pool, check out my book <em><a href=\"//coursofppt.com/book/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-298501/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Pool Care For Dummies</a></em>.</p>\r\n\r\n<h3>Testing strips</h3>\r\nAlso commonly given the nickname <em>dipsticks,</em> test strips (shown in the photo above) are an inexpensive, quick and easy way to check your levels in under 30 seconds. Test strips typically come in a bottle that has a chart on the back, and the bottle contains small strips that have testing pads on them.\r\n\r\nThe strip will test your sanitizer, pH, and alkalinity at a minimum and some others will also test your cyanuric acid and your calcium hardness. Just follow these steps to use a test strip:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Gently dip a test strip into the pool’s water. </strong>You can also scoop a sample of water from the pool into a cup and dip the test strip in there. Be sure to reach 18 inches down for the water sample to get the most accurate reading.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Hold the test strip horizontally, pads-side up, for 15 seconds.</strong></li>\r\n \t<li><strong>After the 15 seconds, match the colors of the testing pads on the strip to the chart on the back of the bottle.</strong></li>\r\n</ol>\r\nThe chart will have a range of color options for each of the corresponding pads, ranging from low to ideal to high.\r\n\r\nUsing a test strip is simple and quick, and one of the most common ways to check the levels.\r\n\r\nThere are some downsides to using the test strips, though:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>As simple as they are, it’s a little tricky to get accurate results from them.</strong> Most brands recommend a very controlled dip into the water — so no swishing around, and no shaking the test strip off after it’s out of the water. Too much strip jostling may cause colors to appear faded or even bleed into each other.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>The colors on the pad are sometimes hard for the reader to decipher.</strong> For instance, the pH is almost always indicated by a shade of red, but not all people can easily tell the difference between one shade of red and the next.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nFor these reasons, I like to consider test strips a great way to tell you whether you’re basically in the range. They’re wonderful rough-estimate testers that can help you quickly identify whether you have an issue. If they seem off, I recommend using a more accurate or easy-to-read method of testing like a drop kit or a store’s testing system before making large adjustments to your water chemistry.\r\n<h3>Drop (or reagent) test kits</h3>\r\nAs a professional, I prefer this style of test kit as a home test kit, which is shown in the photo below. They may take you an extra minute or two to get the readings you want, but the colors in the charts and the accuracy of the results is what I admire.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299630\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299630\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-water-test-kit-adobeStock_111596179.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"424\" /> ©Rocklights / Adobe Stock<br />A drop (or reagent) testing device[/caption]\r\n\r\nWhen I do weekly service on customers’ pools, I personally use a drop test kit as my regular testing system. There are a lot of different brands that you can try, and a lot of different options. They range from testing only chlorine or pH levels, to being able to test all of the balancing levels in your pool like total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid along with the chlorine and pH in your pool.\r\n\r\nDrop test kids will all have the same components to them, beakers and the little bottles of liquid reagents. Different brands will have slightly different instructions, but the concept with the tests are all the same.\r\n\r\nYou will fill the beaker with your pool water up to the suggested fill line. There may be two different lines for two different amounts of water, so follow your test kit’s instructions thoroughly. You will then add the appropriate amount of drops of the liquid reagent that is meant for testing the chemical you are looking to check.\r\n\r\nEach chemical level you are trying to check, like pH or alkalinity, will all have a separate corresponding liquid drop reagent. You will thoroughly mix the drops with your pool water and it will turn a certain color. Check that color against the color chart provided with your kit and it will indicate if the level you are testing is low, ideal, or high.\r\n\r\nI personally don’t have a preference on brand; I’ve used a few different brands and find them all to be accurate. The big thing in selecting your drop test kit is that you want to be able to replace the drop reagents as needed. Worst case is you could replace the whole kit, of course. But if only one bottle runs out or expires, it’s much simpler to get just the drop reagent you need.\r\n\r\nI like drop test kits that have the ability to test chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and your pool’s acid demand. (I discuss the importance of those levels in later sections of this chapter.)\r\n\r\nDrop test kits can be pricy, depending on the brand you choose. Some of the lesser-known brands can have a price ticket of around $20, but other brands can range up to $100, and they will both test for the same levels!\r\n\r\nHigher quality brands tend to be more accurate and reliable, which is where you get the price increase from. The bottles can range in size, but most of them are one or two fluid ounces each and will easily last you a whole season with weekly testing.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips warning\">Most of the reagent drop-style testing kits are made for halogen (chlorine/bromine) based pools. There aren’t many that are meant for biguanide-based pools. So, if you do have a biguanide pool, you’re usually stuck with strips as your only at-home testing method.</p>\r\n\r\n<h3>Digital test kits</h3>\r\nToday, it’s nearly impossible to find something that doesn’t have an app that you can use to control it. Well, testing your pool water is no different. And just like all things, there are a variety of brands and price points to choose from. Here are a few options:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Strips that have a corresponding app that you download to a tablet or smartphone:</strong> You dip the test strip into your pool water, then snap a photo through the app, and it reads the results for you. But, of course, the app’s accuracy is all based on how precisely you dipped the strip and the lighting in which you took the photo. The concept is great and works reasonably well, especially considering they’re in the lower price range of digital options, around $15 to $20.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Specialty test strips that have a separate digital reader:</strong> With this style, you use the strips like you would any other kind of test strip, dipping them into your pool sample. And then you insert the strip into the reader. The readers are designed to work with only the strips made specifically for it, but they’re quick, easy, and accurate. They’re a mid-price range, usually around $75 to $90.</li>\r\n \t<li><strong>All-in-one testing meters:</strong> There are two styles of these meters:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>An electronic testing meter where you dip the sensor into the pool, and the results come up on the meter itself.</li>\r\n \t<li>A floating device that has a sensor in your pool that sends information to an app on your phone.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nBoth types of all-in-one testing meters are the most accurate way to test your pool at home, but they tend to fall on the more expensive side. The electronic meter is usually between $200 and $250, and the floating style is commonly priced around $500 for the good ones.\r\n\r\nAll of these readers are great ways to step up your ability to check your levels accurately at home, but none of them are perfect. It never hurts to get your pool water tested at a local pool store that you trust (see the following section), or even to check the accuracy of your main testing system with another style (which I go over in the preceding sections). Having basic test strips and a digital floating meter can only help in making you a better pool owner.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab2\" >Testing at a store</h2>\r\nJust like a digital testing meter (see the preceding section) is more accurate than a test strip, the majority of pool stores have a testing system that’s even more accurate than some of the best home kits.\r\n\r\nThe system used in most pool stores has a high-tech meter that reads small plastic disks that are filled with your pool water. Basically, here's how it works:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>The disk is inserted into the meter.</li>\r\n \t<li>The meter spins the disk, mixing the sample water into a variety of chambers along the sides.</li>\r\n \t<li>The meter uses lasers to read the colors that those chambers turn.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nThese meters are expensive — and, if well maintained, very accurate.\r\n\r\nThe meters are usually connected to a computer where the results are automatically entered into a program. That program creates the printout that a pool store employee reviews with you.\r\n\r\nThis type of highly accurate testing you get at a pool store isn’t something that you do weekly or even biweekly. Your pool’s chemistry can change in that short a time period, but not enough that you need to visit the pool store. If you use a testing system like this too often, you will go slightly crazy trying to get your pool “perfect” when you have an acceptable variance within your levels.\r\n\r\nPerfect range for alkalinity is 100 ppm, and if you test it at a pool store and it says your level is 89 ppm, it can get really overwhelming to try to get it exact when 89 ppm is still considered in the acceptable variance. These testing systems are also expensive to run for the pool company, so a majority of them may limit you to only six free tests a year and begin charging for each one after that.\r\n\r\nTesting at your pool store should be done\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Two to three days after the pool has been opened and started running</li>\r\n \t<li>One week after completing the initial balancing on your first test</li>\r\n \t<li>Once a month during the season</li>\r\n \t<li>Two weeks prior to the winterization of your pool</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nYou can always test your pool water at the pool store if you’re dealing with an issue in the pool that won’t resolve or that you need advice on, or if you just want to be positive that your home kit is accurate.\r\n<h3>Guidelines for water testing at a pool store</h3>\r\nWhen it’s time to bring a water sample to your local pool store, be sure to follow these guidelines:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Take your sample from at least 18 inches below the surface of the pool to get an accurate sample and use a container that allows you to get at least 12 ounces of sample water. The pool store may never use that full 12 ounces, but if you need to have extended tests run or have the test repeated, you want to make sure you bring enough water to cover it.</li>\r\n \t<li>If you're wondering how to bring pool water to be tested, use a container that has had no other liquids in it, if possible. Acidic liquids such as pickle juice, wine, or orange juice will alter your results. It doesn’t matter how many times you rinse the bottle out, the traces of the acidic liquid distort the numbers, especially your pH. The only safe reusable bottle I would really recommend is an old water bottle.</li>\r\n \t<li>If you just opened your pool, don’t bring a sample in until the pool has been circulating for at least 24 full hours. It’s amazing how much your chemicals actually sink to the bottom of the pool over the course of winter!</li>\r\n \t<li>Don’t bring in a water sample if you’ve shocked the pool with chlorine-based shock within 48 hours. (You can read about this cleaning process in Chapter 10.) Almost all testing systems are based on the color your water turns when mixed with a certain solution. Just like how chlorine bleaches your clothes, it absolutely lightens the color that the water turns when mixed with the testing solution. This advice goes for all color-based testing systems — if your chlorine is over 8 parts per million (ppm), you probably aren’t getting a very accurate reading.</li>\r\n \t<li>If the water turns a certain color when the testing solutions are added, then water that has a distinctive color in the container in which you collect it most likely will be inaccurate when you add those test solutions. If the water in your sample bottle is green, all the colors that your test samples are supposed to turn will be mixed with green, not allowing for accurate results.</li>\r\n \t<li>If your water sample has been sitting in your hot car all day at work, its chemistry changes while it’s sitting in the container. If you’re going to bring a water sample somewhere, always be sure to bring it as fresh as possible.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">Try not to over-test your pool water. I know that may seem crazy, but just like when you’re on a diet, checking your weight daily doesn’t give you an accurate representation of what’s happening. If you check your pool every day — or even twice a day — you get slightly different results every time. Testing the water isn’t a perfect science, and you’ll make your head spin if you try to make your water’s chemical balance perfect every second of every day.</p>","blurb":"","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"primaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":35286,"title":"Swimming pools","slug":"swimming-pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"}},"secondaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"tertiaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"trendingArticles":null,"inThisArticle":[{"label":"How to test pool water","target":"#tab1"},{"label":"Testing at a store","target":"#tab2"}],"relatedArticles":{"fromBook":[{"articleId":299616,"title":"How to Handle Common Swimming Pool Mishaps","slug":"how-to-handle-common-pool-mishaps","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299616"}},{"articleId":299599,"title":"The Basics of Swimming Pool Maintenance","slug":"the-basics-of-swimming-pool-maintenance","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299599"}},{"articleId":298671,"title":"Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet","slug":"pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/298671"}}],"fromCategory":[{"articleId":299616,"title":"How to Handle Common Swimming Pool Mishaps","slug":"how-to-handle-common-pool-mishaps","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299616"}},{"articleId":299599,"title":"The Basics of Swimming Pool Maintenance","slug":"the-basics-of-swimming-pool-maintenance","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299599"}},{"articleId":298671,"title":"Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet","slug":"pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/298671"}}]},"hasRelatedBookFromSearch":false,"relatedBook":{"bookId":298501,"slug":"pool-care-for-dummies","isbn":"9781394166114","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"amazon":{"default":"//www.amazon.com/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","ca":"//www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","indigo_ca":"//www.tkqlhce.com/click-9208661-13710633?url=//www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/1394166117-item.html&cjsku=978111945484","gb":"//www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","de":"//www.amazon.de/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20"},"image":{"src":"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-care-for-dummies-cover-9781394166114-203x255.jpg","width":203,"height":255},"title":"Pool Care For Dummies","testBankPinActivationLink":"","bookOutOfPrint":true,"authorsInfo":"<p><p><b><b data-author-id=\"35285\">Kristine Blanchard</b></b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees.</p>","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/books/"}},"collections":[],"articleAds":{"footerAd":"<div class=\"du-ad-region row\" id=\"article_page_adhesion_ad\"><div class=\"du-ad-unit col-md-12\" data-slot-id=\"article_page_adhesion_ad\" data-refreshed=\"false\" \r\n data-target = \"[{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;cat&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;home-auto-hobbies&quot;,&quot;home-improvement-appliances&quot;,&quot;swimming-pools&quot;]},{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;isbn&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;9781394166114&quot;]}]\" id=\"du-slot-64cbeb5f9b592\"></div></div>","rightAd":"<div class=\"du-ad-region row\" id=\"article_page_right_ad\"><div class=\"du-ad-unit col-md-12\" data-slot-id=\"article_page_right_ad\" data-refreshed=\"false\" \r\n data-target = \"[{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;cat&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;home-auto-hobbies&quot;,&quot;home-improvement-appliances&quot;,&quot;swimming-pools&quot;]},{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;isbn&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;9781394166114&quot;]}]\" id=\"du-slot-64cbeb5f9ba6d\"></div></div>"},"articleType":{"articleType":"Articles","articleList":null,"content":null,"videoInfo":{"videoId":null,"name":null,"accountId":null,"playerId":null,"thumbnailUrl":null,"description":null,"uploadDate":null}},"sponsorship":{"sponsorshipPage":false,"backgroundImage":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0},"brandingLine":"","brandingLink":"","brandingLogo":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0},"sponsorAd":"","sponsorEbookTitle":"","sponsorEbookLink":"","sponsorEbookImage":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0}},"primaryLearningPath":"Explore","lifeExpectancy":"Five years","lifeExpectancySetFrom":"2024-07-06T00:00:00+00:00","dummiesForKids":"no","sponsoredContent":"no","adInfo":"","adPairKey":[]},"status":"publish","visibility":"public","articleId":299627},{"headers":{"creationTime":"2024-07-05T20:57:28+00:00","modifiedTime":"2024-07-06T19:41:28+00:00","timestamp":"2024-07-06T21:01:02+00:00"},"data":{"breadcrumbs":[{"name":"Home, Auto, & Hobbies","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/33809"},"slug":"home-auto-hobbies","categoryId":33809},{"name":"Home Improvement & Appliances","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/33939"},"slug":"home-improvement-appliances","categoryId":33939},{"name":"Swimming pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"},"slug":"swimming-pools","categoryId":35286}],"title":"The Basics of Swimming Pool Maintenance","strippedTitle":"the basics of swimming pool maintenance","slug":"the-basics-of-swimming-pool-maintenance","canonicalUrl":"","搜所引挚seo":{"metaDescription":"Learn the basics of swimming pool maintenance, including the chemicals needed how to clean the various parts of a pool.","noIndex":0,"noFollow":0},"content":"If you’re going to be responsible for an expensive investment into your staycation wonderland, you’re going to want to know how to keep your swimming pool clean, and how to keep it safe and protected.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299604\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299604\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/man-cleaning-pool-adobeStock_374091414.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"420\" /> ©Rocklights / Adobe Stock[/caption]\r\n\r\nA pool isn’t a self-sustaining environment with an ecosystem and natural water chemistry to keep it in check. It takes a bit of work to keep it nice and clean, and to make sure it’s safe to swim in.\r\n\r\nYou want your pool to be fun and safe. When it comes to pools, safety comes in two forms:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Using caution when dealing with chemicals</li>\r\n \t<li>Providing a safe swimming environment</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<h2 id=\"tab1\" >Proper pool maintenance</h2>\r\nPool problem prevention is always less expensive and more effective than correction. Pool cleaning and maintenance, including keeping the water chemistry well balanced, will prolong the life of every part of your pool.\r\n\r\nIf you clean often, you filter will last longer. If you balance your water, literally every piece of equipment in your pool, whether rubber or metal, will last longer. If you keep up on algaecides and shocks, you can prevent a costly algae bloom from forming. The list goes on and on — proper maintenance will save you money in the long run.\r\n\r\nPutting off weekly maintenance might mean having to spend extra time and money cleaning up a cloudy pool. When you have limited days in which to enjoy your pool, you want to be able to use the pool whenever you want.\r\n\r\nYou don’t want to risk using up good pool days cleaning because you let the upkeep slip. Create a good maintenance schedule and stick to it.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">This article gives a good overview of pool maintenance. But for all of the details on how to maintain a pool, including the nitty gritty on chemicals and cleaning, check out my book <em><a href=\"//coursofppt.com/book/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-298501/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Pool Care For Dummies</a></em>.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab2\" >Discovering your inner chemist</h2>\r\nChemistry is essential to swimming pool maintenance, and it's my favorite subject! Your pool chemistry is what will keep you and your pool safe from long-term damage. There’s a little bit that goes into the balancing of all those chemicals, and figuring out how all the parts relate to each other will be the biggest hurdle. Chemicals are used to sanitize and balance your pool’s water.\r\n\r\nFor pool chemistry to make sense, you must be familiar with the concepts related to what each chemical is supposed to do and how they react with one. Don’t look at the long chemical names and become overwhelmed. Look at what that chemical does to your water to make it a safer and more comfortable environment for bathers.\r\n<h3>Keeping your pool clean and clear</h3>\r\n<em>Sanitation</em> is what you do to keep your pool water clean. You add chemicals to your water to kill bacteria and other contaminants and to help keep the water nice and clear — and safe for people to swim in. When you’re picking a way to keep your pool clean, you have three major types of products to choose from:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Chlorine:</strong> This is the most common and usually least expensive way to sanitize a pool. It is highly efficient because of its aggression on bacteria and other contaminates, but that also makes it known for being slightly more aggressive on surfaces of the pool and on skin and eyes. It is used as a maintenance sanitizer through tablets or powder and also can be found in a liquid form which is more for shocking (oxidizing).</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">Saltwater pools are becoming very popular. Some people don’t realize that saltwater pools still require chlorine. These pools use a salt-to-chlorine generator to create chlorine gas by splitting the sodium chloride (salt) molecules.</p>\r\n\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Bromine:</strong> Most commonly used in hot tubs, this chemical is very similar to chlorine in a lot of ways because it’s also a halogen-based sanitizer (chlorine and bromine are grouped together on the periodic table). For pools, bromine is most commonly found in a tablet form and used in a similar way to chlorine tablets as a maintenance sanitizer. It can be found in a powder form but that is most commonly seen in use for spas.</li>\r\n \t<li>Bromine has two major flaws in the pool world:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>It breaks down in sunlight: Bromine doesn’t hold up well in the sun. UV light destabilizes it and breaks it down, so the numbers drop quickly in a pool sitting in direct sunlight.</li>\r\n \t<li>It costs a pretty penny: Over the past few years, bromine has become extremely expensive, costing almost double the amount of chlorine.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Biguanide:</strong> This bromine- and chlorine-free sanitizer was originally created to be a less aggressive hand sanitizer for scrubbing in as a surgeon. Biguanide has become a popular choice for people who want a pool that’s completely halogen free. It tends to be on the more expensive side, and it certainly has a learning curve to it. But if you have money, and dedication required to use this system, you’ll never want a different one because it is so soft on your skin and your pool will be looking brand new for decades.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nAll of these products come in a liquid form with very simple dosing. You use the same amount every week of the same chemicals for maintenance. If you run into a problem, like algae or water mold, just use higher doses of the products you use weekly.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">For a recommended weekly pool maintenance checklist, see \"<a href=\"//coursofppt.com/article/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet-298671/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet</a>.\"</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab3\" >The importance of balancing pool chemicals</h2>\r\nBalancing your pool chemical levels is more important than almost any other thing when it comes to pool maintenance. Your pool water balance is made up of your total alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, temperature, total dissolved solids (TDS), and cyanuric acid (CYA). All those pieces fit together like a puzzle to keep your pool from basically eating itself from the inside out.\r\n\r\nWhen I say “balance your water,” I’m referring to the process of getting your water to not be scale-forming or corrosive. Those two water states can quickly lead to a disaster in your system, on your surface, and on the surrounding pieces of equipment. Essentially, your goal is to make sure that the water in your pool craves no extra minerals that it doesn’t have or need.\r\n\r\nWater will always try to reach some sort of equilibrium, and to get there, it requires a certain amount of minerals in its balance. If it’s lacking them, it will take those minerals from anything it touches. And if it has too much, it will deposit them on all those same things.\r\n\r\nAnother important part about water balancing involves making sure the sanitizer that’s killing bacteria and preventing illness remains efficient. Your pool chemistry’s cause and effect will change the way the water wants to go. For example, if your acidity level is very high, the water lands on the scaling side and could create actual physical scale on the inside of things that are in your pool system.\r\n\r\nIt also directly affects the speed and efficiency with which your sanitizer reacts, especially chlorine. If you have a bunch of chlorine in the pool, but it’s only 8 percent efficient because of the poor balance of the other chemical components of the water, then the chlorine in the water isn’t doing you much good.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab4\" >How to use pool chemicals safely</h2>\r\nA pool and pool chemicals probably seem different to you than a science lab filled with beakers and chemicals, but they’re both equally as dangerous. Chemical handling is the most overlooked part of owning a pool because it’s assumed that if you can buy the chemical at your local discount supply store, it must be perfectly safe to handle. Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips warning\">Getting chemicals on your skin or in your eyes can cause irritation and even injury. And mixing chemicals incorrectly can result in fires, explosions, and death. These chemicals are no joke: Always handle your pool chemicals with care and never put them in the hands of a child.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab5\" >Keeping your pool area safe</h2>\r\nKeep the people and pets who will be using your pool safe. Pools have hazards that require having safety procedures in place. Here are a few points to keep in mind:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Create a list of safety rules for guests to follow and post them near the pool.</li>\r\n \t<li>Be sure to have a secure fence either around your yard or around the pool itself.</li>\r\n \t<li>Make sure safety equipment, such as a life ring, is easy to access.</li>\r\n \t<li>Install equipment such as drain covers and safety covers to prevent injuries.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nBy taking preventative safety measures, you can guard against accidents.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab6\" >How to keep a swimming pool clean</h2>\r\nIf there’s one part to this whole maintaining-a-pool thing that you can totally handle, it’s cleaning. Trust me when I tell you it’s one of the most relaxing and rewarding parts.\r\n\r\nOne thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that cleaning a pool is sort of like cleaning your house: You do it at your own pace and to your own liking. There’s no real weekly schedule; it’s all based on when the pool needs it and when you have time to do it. But, it typically ends up that weekly maintenance on routine cleaning is the way to go. A tidy pool is a more enjoyable experience.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips\">If you leave some things on the pool floor, such as leaves or dead animals, they can cause staining. Remove those items quickly to prevent that possibility. You want to remove them for safety and cleanliness reasons too.</p>\r\nThere are times and environments where you should, or may need to, clean more often. Yards that have a lot of trees, neighbors who have a lot of trees, well-manicured lawns, a yard of mostly dirt with a few patches of lawn trying to survive — you get it. All of these things can end up playing a part in your regular cleaning regimen.\r\n<h3>Manual cleaning</h3>\r\nWhen it comes to cleaning your pool by hand, there are three major parts you want to pay attention to:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Bottom</li>\r\n \t<li>Walls</li>\r\n \t<li>Water’s surface</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nTo clean these areas of the pool, you'll need to vacuum, brush, and skim. Some tools can take care of more than one cleaning need; other tools are more useful for certain types of cleaning; and some tools you can use on only certain surfaces. The best strategy for cleaning your pool involves starting with the floor and working your way up.\r\n\r\nManually vacuuming is typically done by using your pool’s pump for suction and having the dirt, leaves, and dead worms go into your pump basket or filter. For the most part, manually vacuuming is done very similarly in all types of pools, whether it’s above the ground, below the ground, or just a blow-up pool.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299598\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299598\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-cleaning-equipment.jpg\" alt=\"Photo of swimming pool vacuuming equipment\" width=\"630\" height=\"498\" /> ©Kristine Blanchard<br />Tools needed to vacuum a pool: a vacuum head, hose, telescopic pole, and vacuum plate.[/caption]\r\n<h3>Automatic pool cleaners</h3>\r\nThe world of automatic pool cleaners is where the party gets started — nothing better than not having to clean but reaping all of the cleanly benefits! There are three different types of automatic pool cleaning vacuums (also referred to as APCs):\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Suction-side cleaners</li>\r\n \t<li>Pressure-side cleaners</li>\r\n \t<li>The ever-so-popular robotic cleaners, including solar skimming robots</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">All automatic pool cleaners, regardless of type, are meant to keep a clean pool clean. They’re not designed to carry heavy loads or clean algae blooms. Do all initial vacuuming by hand when opening the pool. And after the pool is pretty clear and clean, you can use your automatic cleaners to maintain it that way.</p>","description":"If you’re going to be responsible for an expensive investment into your staycation wonderland, you’re going to want to know how to keep your swimming pool clean, and how to keep it safe and protected.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299604\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299604\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/man-cleaning-pool-adobeStock_374091414.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"630\" height=\"420\" /> ©Rocklights / Adobe Stock[/caption]\r\n\r\nA pool isn’t a self-sustaining environment with an ecosystem and natural water chemistry to keep it in check. It takes a bit of work to keep it nice and clean, and to make sure it’s safe to swim in.\r\n\r\nYou want your pool to be fun and safe. When it comes to pools, safety comes in two forms:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Using caution when dealing with chemicals</li>\r\n \t<li>Providing a safe swimming environment</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<h2 id=\"tab1\" >Proper pool maintenance</h2>\r\nPool problem prevention is always less expensive and more effective than correction. Pool cleaning and maintenance, including keeping the water chemistry well balanced, will prolong the life of every part of your pool.\r\n\r\nIf you clean often, you filter will last longer. If you balance your water, literally every piece of equipment in your pool, whether rubber or metal, will last longer. If you keep up on algaecides and shocks, you can prevent a costly algae bloom from forming. The list goes on and on — proper maintenance will save you money in the long run.\r\n\r\nPutting off weekly maintenance might mean having to spend extra time and money cleaning up a cloudy pool. When you have limited days in which to enjoy your pool, you want to be able to use the pool whenever you want.\r\n\r\nYou don’t want to risk using up good pool days cleaning because you let the upkeep slip. Create a good maintenance schedule and stick to it.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">This article gives a good overview of pool maintenance. But for all of the details on how to maintain a pool, including the nitty gritty on chemicals and cleaning, check out my book <em><a href=\"//coursofppt.com/book/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-298501/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Pool Care For Dummies</a></em>.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab2\" >Discovering your inner chemist</h2>\r\nChemistry is essential to swimming pool maintenance, and it's my favorite subject! Your pool chemistry is what will keep you and your pool safe from long-term damage. There’s a little bit that goes into the balancing of all those chemicals, and figuring out how all the parts relate to each other will be the biggest hurdle. Chemicals are used to sanitize and balance your pool’s water.\r\n\r\nFor pool chemistry to make sense, you must be familiar with the concepts related to what each chemical is supposed to do and how they react with one. Don’t look at the long chemical names and become overwhelmed. Look at what that chemical does to your water to make it a safer and more comfortable environment for bathers.\r\n<h3>Keeping your pool clean and clear</h3>\r\n<em>Sanitation</em> is what you do to keep your pool water clean. You add chemicals to your water to kill bacteria and other contaminants and to help keep the water nice and clear — and safe for people to swim in. When you’re picking a way to keep your pool clean, you have three major types of products to choose from:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Chlorine:</strong> This is the most common and usually least expensive way to sanitize a pool. It is highly efficient because of its aggression on bacteria and other contaminates, but that also makes it known for being slightly more aggressive on surfaces of the pool and on skin and eyes. It is used as a maintenance sanitizer through tablets or powder and also can be found in a liquid form which is more for shocking (oxidizing).</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">Saltwater pools are becoming very popular. Some people don’t realize that saltwater pools still require chlorine. These pools use a salt-to-chlorine generator to create chlorine gas by splitting the sodium chloride (salt) molecules.</p>\r\n\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Bromine:</strong> Most commonly used in hot tubs, this chemical is very similar to chlorine in a lot of ways because it’s also a halogen-based sanitizer (chlorine and bromine are grouped together on the periodic table). For pools, bromine is most commonly found in a tablet form and used in a similar way to chlorine tablets as a maintenance sanitizer. It can be found in a powder form but that is most commonly seen in use for spas.</li>\r\n \t<li>Bromine has two major flaws in the pool world:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>It breaks down in sunlight: Bromine doesn’t hold up well in the sun. UV light destabilizes it and breaks it down, so the numbers drop quickly in a pool sitting in direct sunlight.</li>\r\n \t<li>It costs a pretty penny: Over the past few years, bromine has become extremely expensive, costing almost double the amount of chlorine.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong>Biguanide:</strong> This bromine- and chlorine-free sanitizer was originally created to be a less aggressive hand sanitizer for scrubbing in as a surgeon. Biguanide has become a popular choice for people who want a pool that’s completely halogen free. It tends to be on the more expensive side, and it certainly has a learning curve to it. But if you have money, and dedication required to use this system, you’ll never want a different one because it is so soft on your skin and your pool will be looking brand new for decades.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nAll of these products come in a liquid form with very simple dosing. You use the same amount every week of the same chemicals for maintenance. If you run into a problem, like algae or water mold, just use higher doses of the products you use weekly.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips tip\">For a recommended weekly pool maintenance checklist, see \"<a href=\"//coursofppt.com/article/home-auto-hobbies/home-improvement-appliances/swimming-pools/pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet-298671/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet</a>.\"</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab3\" >The importance of balancing pool chemicals</h2>\r\nBalancing your pool chemical levels is more important than almost any other thing when it comes to pool maintenance. Your pool water balance is made up of your total alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, temperature, total dissolved solids (TDS), and cyanuric acid (CYA). All those pieces fit together like a puzzle to keep your pool from basically eating itself from the inside out.\r\n\r\nWhen I say “balance your water,” I’m referring to the process of getting your water to not be scale-forming or corrosive. Those two water states can quickly lead to a disaster in your system, on your surface, and on the surrounding pieces of equipment. Essentially, your goal is to make sure that the water in your pool craves no extra minerals that it doesn’t have or need.\r\n\r\nWater will always try to reach some sort of equilibrium, and to get there, it requires a certain amount of minerals in its balance. If it’s lacking them, it will take those minerals from anything it touches. And if it has too much, it will deposit them on all those same things.\r\n\r\nAnother important part about water balancing involves making sure the sanitizer that’s killing bacteria and preventing illness remains efficient. Your pool chemistry’s cause and effect will change the way the water wants to go. For example, if your acidity level is very high, the water lands on the scaling side and could create actual physical scale on the inside of things that are in your pool system.\r\n\r\nIt also directly affects the speed and efficiency with which your sanitizer reacts, especially chlorine. If you have a bunch of chlorine in the pool, but it’s only 8 percent efficient because of the poor balance of the other chemical components of the water, then the chlorine in the water isn’t doing you much good.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab4\" >How to use pool chemicals safely</h2>\r\nA pool and pool chemicals probably seem different to you than a science lab filled with beakers and chemicals, but they’re both equally as dangerous. Chemical handling is the most overlooked part of owning a pool because it’s assumed that if you can buy the chemical at your local discount supply store, it must be perfectly safe to handle. Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips warning\">Getting chemicals on your skin or in your eyes can cause irritation and even injury. And mixing chemicals incorrectly can result in fires, explosions, and death. These chemicals are no joke: Always handle your pool chemicals with care and never put them in the hands of a child.</p>\r\n\r\n<h2 id=\"tab5\" >Keeping your pool area safe</h2>\r\nKeep the people and pets who will be using your pool safe. Pools have hazards that require having safety procedures in place. Here are a few points to keep in mind:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Create a list of safety rules for guests to follow and post them near the pool.</li>\r\n \t<li>Be sure to have a secure fence either around your yard or around the pool itself.</li>\r\n \t<li>Make sure safety equipment, such as a life ring, is easy to access.</li>\r\n \t<li>Install equipment such as drain covers and safety covers to prevent injuries.</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nBy taking preventative safety measures, you can guard against accidents.\r\n<h2 id=\"tab6\" >How to keep a swimming pool clean</h2>\r\nIf there’s one part to this whole maintaining-a-pool thing that you can totally handle, it’s cleaning. Trust me when I tell you it’s one of the most relaxing and rewarding parts.\r\n\r\nOne thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that cleaning a pool is sort of like cleaning your house: You do it at your own pace and to your own liking. There’s no real weekly schedule; it’s all based on when the pool needs it and when you have time to do it. But, it typically ends up that weekly maintenance on routine cleaning is the way to go. A tidy pool is a more enjoyable experience.\r\n<p class=\"article-tips\">If you leave some things on the pool floor, such as leaves or dead animals, they can cause staining. Remove those items quickly to prevent that possibility. You want to remove them for safety and cleanliness reasons too.</p>\r\nThere are times and environments where you should, or may need to, clean more often. Yards that have a lot of trees, neighbors who have a lot of trees, well-manicured lawns, a yard of mostly dirt with a few patches of lawn trying to survive — you get it. All of these things can end up playing a part in your regular cleaning regimen.\r\n<h3>Manual cleaning</h3>\r\nWhen it comes to cleaning your pool by hand, there are three major parts you want to pay attention to:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Bottom</li>\r\n \t<li>Walls</li>\r\n \t<li>Water’s surface</li>\r\n</ul>\r\nTo clean these areas of the pool, you'll need to vacuum, brush, and skim. Some tools can take care of more than one cleaning need; other tools are more useful for certain types of cleaning; and some tools you can use on only certain surfaces. The best strategy for cleaning your pool involves starting with the floor and working your way up.\r\n\r\nManually vacuuming is typically done by using your pool’s pump for suction and having the dirt, leaves, and dead worms go into your pump basket or filter. For the most part, manually vacuuming is done very similarly in all types of pools, whether it’s above the ground, below the ground, or just a blow-up pool.\r\n\r\n[caption id=\"attachment_299598\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"630\"]<img class=\"size-full wp-image-299598\" src=\"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-cleaning-equipment.jpg\" alt=\"Photo of swimming pool vacuuming equipment\" width=\"630\" height=\"498\" /> ©Kristine Blanchard<br />Tools needed to vacuum a pool: a vacuum head, hose, telescopic pole, and vacuum plate.[/caption]\r\n<h3>Automatic pool cleaners</h3>\r\nThe world of automatic pool cleaners is where the party gets started — nothing better than not having to clean but reaping all of the cleanly benefits! There are three different types of automatic pool cleaning vacuums (also referred to as APCs):\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Suction-side cleaners</li>\r\n \t<li>Pressure-side cleaners</li>\r\n \t<li>The ever-so-popular robotic cleaners, including solar skimming robots</li>\r\n</ul>\r\n<p class=\"article-tips remember\">All automatic pool cleaners, regardless of type, are meant to keep a clean pool clean. They’re not designed to carry heavy loads or clean algae blooms. Do all initial vacuuming by hand when opening the pool. And after the pool is pretty clear and clean, you can use your automatic cleaners to maintain it that way.</p>","blurb":"","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"primaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":35286,"title":"Swimming pools","slug":"swimming-pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"}},"secondaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"tertiaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"trendingArticles":null,"inThisArticle":[{"label":"Proper pool maintenance","target":"#tab1"},{"label":"Discovering your inner chemist","target":"#tab2"},{"label":"The importance of balancing pool chemicals","target":"#tab3"},{"label":"How to use pool chemicals safely","target":"#tab4"},{"label":"Keeping your pool area safe","target":"#tab5"},{"label":"How to keep a swimming pool clean","target":"#tab6"}],"relatedArticles":{"fromBook":[{"articleId":299627,"title":"How To Test Your Swimming Pool Water","slug":"how-to-test-your-swimming-pool-water","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299627"}},{"articleId":299616,"title":"How To Handle Common Swimming Pool Mishaps","slug":"how-to-handle-common-pool-mishaps","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299616"}},{"articleId":298671,"title":"Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet","slug":"pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/298671"}}],"fromCategory":[{"articleId":299627,"title":"How To Test Your Swimming Pool Water","slug":"how-to-test-your-swimming-pool-water","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299627"}},{"articleId":299616,"title":"How To Handle Common Swimming Pool Mishaps","slug":"how-to-handle-common-pool-mishaps","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/299616"}},{"articleId":298671,"title":"Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet","slug":"pool-care-for-dummies-cheat-sheet","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/298671"}}]},"hasRelatedBookFromSearch":false,"relatedBook":{"bookId":298501,"slug":"pool-care-for-dummies","isbn":"9781394166114","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"amazon":{"default":"//www.amazon.com/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","ca":"//www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","indigo_ca":"//www.tkqlhce.com/click-9208661-13710633?url=//www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/1394166117-item.html&cjsku=978111945484","gb":"//www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","de":"//www.amazon.de/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20"},"image":{"src":"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-care-for-dummies-cover-9781394166114-203x255.jpg","width":203,"height":255},"title":"Pool Care For Dummies","testBankPinActivationLink":"","bookOutOfPrint":true,"authorsInfo":"<p><p><b><b data-author-id=\"35285\">Kristine Blanchard</b></b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees.</p>","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. 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To make your life a little easier, this Cheat Sheet offers some helpful tips so you can become a mindful pool owner.","description":"Swimming pool maintenance can be intimidating to someone who may be new to pool ownership, and it can be even more intimidating to go to a pool store seeking out help. To make your life a little easier, this Cheat Sheet offers some helpful tips so you can become a mindful pool owner.","blurb":"","authors":[{"authorId":35285,"name":"Kristine Blanchard","slug":"kristine-blanchard","description":" <p><b>Kristine Blanchard</b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees. ","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"primaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":35286,"title":"Swimming pools","slug":"swimming-pools","_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/categories/35286"}},"secondaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"tertiaryCategoryTaxonomy":{"categoryId":0,"title":null,"slug":null,"_links":null},"trendingArticles":null,"inThisArticle":[],"relatedArticles":{"fromBook":[],"fromCategory":[]},"hasRelatedBookFromSearch":false,"relatedBook":{"bookId":298501,"slug":"pool-care-for-dummies","isbn":"9781394166114","categoryList":["home-auto-hobbies","home-improvement-appliances","swimming-pools"],"amazon":{"default":"//www.amazon.com/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","ca":"//www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","indigo_ca":"//www.tkqlhce.com/click-9208661-13710633?url=//www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/1394166117-item.html&cjsku=978111945484","gb":"//www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20","de":"//www.amazon.de/gp/product/1394166117/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wiley01-20"},"image":{"src":"//coursofppt.com/wp-content/uploads/pool-care-for-dummies-cover-9781394166114-203x255.jpg","width":203,"height":255},"title":"Pool Care For Dummies","testBankPinActivationLink":"","bookOutOfPrint":true,"authorsInfo":"<p><p><b><b data-author-id=\"35285\">Kristine Blanchard</b></b> started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. 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","hasArticle":false,"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/authors/35285"}}],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/books/"}},"collections":[],"articleAds":{"footerAd":"<div class=\"du-ad-region row\" id=\"article_page_adhesion_ad\"><div class=\"du-ad-unit col-md-12\" data-slot-id=\"article_page_adhesion_ad\" data-refreshed=\"false\" \r\n data-target = \"[{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;cat&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;home-auto-hobbies&quot;,&quot;home-improvement-appliances&quot;,&quot;swimming-pools&quot;]},{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;isbn&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;9781394166114&quot;]}]\" id=\"du-slot-6452a15ec3867\"></div></div>","rightAd":"<div class=\"du-ad-region row\" id=\"article_page_right_ad\"><div class=\"du-ad-unit col-md-12\" data-slot-id=\"article_page_right_ad\" data-refreshed=\"false\" \r\n data-target = \"[{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;cat&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;home-auto-hobbies&quot;,&quot;home-improvement-appliances&quot;,&quot;swimming-pools&quot;]},{&quot;key&quot;:&quot;isbn&quot;,&quot;values&quot;:[&quot;9781394166114&quot;]}]\" id=\"du-slot-6452a15ec3f83\"></div></div>"},"articleType":{"articleType":"Cheat Sheet","articleList":[{"articleId":0,"title":"","slug":null,"categoryList":[],"_links":{"self":"//dummies-api.coursofppt.com/v2/articles/"}}],"content":[{"title":"Calculating your pool size","thumb":null,"image":null,"content":"<p>Before you can go shopping or test your water, you need to know the amount of gallons that your pool can contain. Find your pool type in the following sections, and then use the associated formulas to help calculate your pool’s volume.</p>\n<h3>For square or rectangular pools that have a single depth</h3>\n<p>You use this simple formula to calculate the volume of a square or rectangular pool that has only one depth:</p>\n<p>Length x Width x Depth x 7.5 = Volume in Gallons</p>\n<p>For example, say you have a 12-foot-by-24-foot rectangular above ground pool that has a water depth of 4 feet. Here’s the calculation to determine its volume:</p>\n<p>24 feet x 12 feet x 4 feet x 7.5 = 8,640 gallons</p>\n<h3>For square or rectangular pools that have multiple depths</h3>\n<p>You can calculate the volume of a square or rectangular pool that has multiple depths in two ways, depending on how the depths are separated. Here&#8217;s how to do it for gradual-depth and drop-off separations:</p>\n<p><strong>A pool that has gradual depth change:</strong></p>\n<p>If your pool has a gradual decline to your deep end, you’ll want to use this equation:</p>\n<p>Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Volume in Gallons</p>\n<p>Use this formula to calculate the average depth of your pool:</p>\n<p>(Shallow End Depth + Deep End Depth)/2 = Average Depth</p>\n<p>Here’s an example: You have a 16-foot-by-32-foot inground pool that has a 3-foot shallow end and 8-foot deep end. First, you calculate the average depth:</p>\n<p>(3 feet + 8 feet)/2 = 5.5 feet</p>\n<p>Then, you plug your numbers into the volume equation:</p>\n<p>32 feet x 16 feet x 5.5 feet x 7.5 = 21,120 gallons</p>\n<p>So this pool can hold 21,120 gallons of water.</p>\n<p><strong>A pool with a drop-off:</strong></p>\n<p>If your pool has two distinct depths separated by a drop-off, then you treat the pool like two separate pools, using the formula for a pool that has only one depth (Length x Width x Depth x 7.5 = Volume in Gallons), and then add them together.</p>\n<p>For example, say you have a 15-foot-by-30-foot inground rectangular pool that has a shallow end on each side of the pool measuring 5 feet long by 15 feet wide by 3 feet, and a deep end measuring 5 feet long by 15 feet wide by 8 feet deep in the center of the pool.</p>\n<p>First, you calculate the volume for one of the shallow ends:</p>\n<p>5 feet x 15 feet x 3 feet x 7.5 = 1,687.5 gallons</p>\n<p>Then, you calculate the volume of the deep section in the middle of the pool:</p>\n<p>5 feet x 15 feet x 8 feet x 7.5 = 4,500 gallons</p>\n<p>Now, add together the two shallow ends and the deep section in the middle:</p>\n<p>1,687.5 gallons + 1,687.5 gallons + 4,500 gallons = 7,875 gallons</p>\n<p>This entire pool has a volume of 7,875 gallons of water.</p>\n<h3>For round pools</h3>\n<p>Calculating the volume for a round pool takes a little more math work. Here are the math concepts at play in this formula:</p>\n<ul>\n<li><em>Pi,</em> which is a number used in calculations involving circles, is rounded to 3.14 for this calculation.</li>\n<li><em>Radius</em> is defined as half the diameter (and the <em>diameter</em> is a straight line that passes through the middle of a circle).</li>\n<li>When a number is <em>squared,</em> it’s multiplied by itself.</li>\n</ul>\n<p>Now that we have all that math stuff out of the way, here’s the formula you use to calculate the volume of a round pool:</p>\n<p>Pi x Radius Squared x Average Depth x 7.5 = Volume in Gallons</p>\n<p>Here’s an example: You have a round pool that’s 24 feet in diameter and has a 4-foot water depth.</p>\n<p>First, calculate the radius:</p>\n<p>24 feet/2 = 12 feet</p>\n<p>Now, calculate the radius squared:</p>\n<p>12 feet x 12 feet = 144 feet</p>\n<p>Plug your numbers into the original equation:</p>\n<p>3.14 x 144 feet x 4 feet x 7.5 = 13,564.8 gallons</p>\n<p>This round pool can hold 13,564.8 gallons of water.</p>\n"},{"title":"Springtime shopping list","thumb":null,"image":null,"content":"<p>Getting your seasonal supply of chemicals in the spring can save you time and, hopefully, money. Here’s a check list of things to remember to get:</p>\n<ul>\n<li><strong>Sanitizer:</strong> Start with your sanitizer, whether that’s chlorine tablets, salt, bromine, or a biguanide sanitizer, depending on what you use.</li>\n<li><strong>Shock and algaecides:</strong> Get a season’s supply of your favorite oxidizing shock products and your algaecides.</li>\n<li><strong>Alkalinity increaser and calcium hardness increaser: </strong>You won’t know the exact amount of these products to get but start with about 1 pound of each product per 1,000 gallons of water in your pool. (For example, a 10,000-gallon pool would get 10 pounds of each.)</li>\n<li><strong>pH increaser and decreaser: </strong>Grab a small container of both pH increaser and decreaser.</li>\n<li><strong>CYA:</strong> Get at least 5 pounds of cyanuric acid (CYA) for any size pool. It is a good place to start!</li>\n<li><strong>Test strips and filter media: </strong>Don’t forget to pick up new test strips and filter media (depending on what type of filter you have, such as diatomaceous earth or sand).</li>\n</ul>\n"},{"title":"Creating a weekly maintenance schedule","thumb":null,"image":null,"content":"<p>Keeping your pool in tip-top shape can seem overwhelming, so here’s a simple checklist of what you want to try to do weekly (or as needed):</p>\n<ul>\n<li><strong>Test your water. </strong>Testing is key to keeping your pool clean, clear, and safe for bathers. At a minimum, a water test should be done weekly. Most people choose Sunday afternoon/evening because you’ll need to shock the pool after testing, and most people are done swimming for at least a few days by Sunday evening.</li>\n<li><strong>Add shock and algaecide.</strong> Add these chemicals to your pool weekly; you can add them in right after you test your water.</li>\n<li><strong>Vacuum your pool. </strong>Vacuuming will help prevent algae growth or staining from things left on the floor of the pool. A weekly vacuum session tends to be enough, and you can do this chore any day of the week.</li>\n<li><strong>Brush down the pool.</strong> This is an important part of maintenance and preventing algae growth. I’m aware that brushing isn’t the most fun task, but if you can do it right after vacuuming, you’re golden for the week.</li>\n<li><strong>Skim the surface of your pool as often as you want.</strong> Do this task more frequently if there’s a lot of tree debris falling into your pool so that your skimmer baskets don’t get clogged too quickly.</li>\n<li><strong>Don’t forget to clean your baskets. </strong>Your skimmer and pump basket accumulate quite a lot of debris over the week, so I recommend checking them as often as possible, but at least two times a week. This frequent checking (and emptying when they’re getting full) will prevent them from becoming clogged and possibly damaging the system.</li>\n<li><strong>Check your filter pressure.</strong> Pay special attention to your filter pressure if you have a diatomaceous earth (DE) filter. Those filters can clog quickly, and a 4 to 6 pounds per square inch (psi) increase on your gauge is enough of a change to warrant a backwash. Sand and cartridge filters typically must be cleaned less frequently, but still check them weekly.</li>\n</ul>\n"}],"videoInfo":{"videoId":null,"name":null,"accountId":null,"playerId":null,"thumbnailUrl":null,"description":null,"uploadDate":null}},"sponsorship":{"sponsorshipPage":false,"backgroundImage":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0},"brandingLine":"","brandingLink":"","brandingLogo":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0},"sponsorAd":"","sponsorEbookTitle":"","sponsorEbookLink":"","sponsorEbookImage":{"src":null,"width":0,"height":0}},"primaryLearningPath":"Explore","lifeExpectancy":"Five 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Kristine Blanchard

Kristine Blanchard started working with swimming pools when she was just 5 years old. Her professional pool care career started when she was a teenager. Now over a decade into her career as a pool pro, she’s serviced pools in the field, performing pool openings, closings, weekly maintenance, and repairs on all types of pool equipment. She’s also worked in a pool supply store where she’s shared her knowledge in classes for new pool owners and employees.

Articles From Kristine Blanchard

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How to Handle Common Swimming Pool Mishaps Article / Updated 08-03-2023 You never think it will happen to you, but sometimes it does. I’ve heard some wacky stories in my pool maintenance career; some are more common than others. In this article, I cover some of the most common mishaps that I see in the wonderful world of pool ownership, and how to gracefully handle them with as little panic as possible. Someone peed in my pool If you have kids, or know someone who has kids, or just see movies of kids in pools, then you know that pool pee is 100 percent a possibility. In fact, I think it’s more of an inevitable situation — not so much if, but when. Now, this isn’t something I consider okay to do in a pool, but if I had to choose between someone peeing in a pool and any of the other things I cover in this article, I’d choose the pee. Although urine isn’t something I think very many people would enjoy swimming in, it’s really not terribly dangerous. The chlorine levels in your pool at the regular 2 to 4 parts per million (ppm) will be enough to sanitize the compounds in urine and make it safe. When urine gets in the water, combined chlorine is created. A good indicator that urine is present in your pool is a strong chlorine smell. (Hence public pools being very stinky — it’s from all of that dirty chlorine in the water.) To handle pee in your pool, shock your pool by using a regular dose of oxidizer. (Use more oxidizer if the pool is cloudy.) If you’re using biguanide chemicals, such as Baquacil or SoftSwim, use a full gallon of your shock for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. Then, let the pool filter run continuously for a 24-hour period, and all can be forgotten. For how to handle other unfortunate pool problems, and everything you need to know about pool ownership and maintenance, check out my book Pool Care For Dummies. Someone pooped in the pool If someone poops in the pool, treat it immediately. The reason fecal matter in your pool is such an issue is because of the bacteria that may be involved in why it even ended up in your pool in the first place. So, if you're wondering, "can you get sick if someone poops in the pool," the answer is yes. If it’s regular poop in the pool, your chlorinated water should kill the bacteria. But, if it’s diarrhea caused by viruses, those viruses can be spread through the water after the pooping in the pool and infect others. Treat the water, no matter which type of accident occurs. If the feces are solid, the protocol involves following these steps: Have all swimmers exit the pool immediately. Remove any fecal matter from the water and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. Anything you use to remove the feces from the pool should be thoroughly sanitized afterward (or disposed of), too. Add in a small dose of your sanitizer or oxidizer to raise your chlorine levels to over 2 parts per million (ppm). Wait one hour. After one hour, the pool is perfectly safe to swim in, and you can all pretend it didn’t happen. Remember diarrhea is usually from an issue inside the body, such as a virus. You want to take stricter precautions to prevent anyone from becoming ill after this type of incident. If the accident is in the form of diarrhea, follow these steps: Have all swimmers exit the pool immediately. Remove as much of the fecal matter as possible and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. Thoroughly sanitize anything you used to remove the fecal matter or dispose of those items, as well. Add a double dose of your shock oxidizer. Run the pool filter for a 24-hour period before re-entering and test every 8 hours to be sure the chlorine level stays high on your test kit for the full 24-hour period. During any treatments, always be sure your pH is in proper range to ensure that oxidizer is as effective as possible. Test with your home test kit before and after treatment. I found a dead animal in the pool This can be a common occurrence when you’re a pool owner. Some people definitely have it worse than others, but it’s never fun finding a critter belly-up in the pool. Honestly, most of the time, a dead animal in the pool isn’t a big health threat to humans, other than being very unpleasant. Based on what type of animal you find, you want to treat it accordingly: Small animals: When you’re dealing with a small animal, such as a squirrel or chipmunk, within the first 30 minutes, your regular chlorine levels should kill any and all bacteria that could have been introduced. Remove the animal and allow an hour before entering the pool to give your chlorine time to sanitize any bacteria. Larger animals: If you’re dealing with something about the size of a cat, you’ll have more bacteria to kill. Remove the animal and make sure you raise your sanitation levels to over 3 parts per million (ppm) by adding in a partial dose of your oxidizer. Allow the pool water a few hours of filtration before swimming, just to be safe. Raccoons: The reason I specify raccoons in this list is because they’re more likely to be infected with a worm called Baylisascaris, which can easily spread to humans. The eggs of this worm are resistant to chlorine, thus making the treatment of your pool a little bit different after finding a raccoon in it. If you find a dead racoon in your pool, start by removing the deceased animal, and then shock the pool with your regular oxidizer. (Be sure the pH is in range to ensure the chemicals are 100 percent effective.) Then filter the pool continuously for 24 hours. Filtering for this length of time should turn over the pool enough times to filter out any eggs that may be in there. You’ll want to be sure to sanitize your filter, as well: For a DE filter: Remove the internal assembly with gloves. Clean off all of the media and double bag as much as possible by hand and then spray off the residual. You can spray the internal assembly and the inside of the filter tank down with a mild bleach for extra sanitization if desired. Then you can reassemble the filter, and all pesky eggs should be eliminated. For a sand filter: Remove the sand and start fresh, you can spray the inside of the tank with a mild bleach solution after the tank is empty of sand for extra sanitation. For a cartridge filter: Rinse thoroughly and use an acidic cleaner on the cartridges before returning them to the filter. My dog took a dip Most dog and pool owners will run into this scenario pretty often. My dogs personally don’t love the pool, but I certainly know of plenty of dogs who can’t get enough of the water. The tricky part with dogs swimming in your pool is that your filter can get clogged with fur and they can make keeping up with maintenance more difficult. Normal chlorine levels will help any bacteria that may have been on the dog from becoming a problem. But, a dog swimming in the pool will introduce more contaminants than a human will. Treat your pool as if a dozen kids had just gone swimming. Hit it with a small dose of oxidizer after each swim that your dog takes to help keep your pool clean. The real problem you’ll face with your faithful friend in the pool is dog hair causing issues. Dog hair will clog your filter very quickly, so always pay attention to your filter pressure if you have a dog that swims regularly. As the filter gets dirty the pressure will rise on the pressure gauge. Once it reaches 7 to 10 psi higher than it started at when it was clean, it is time for the filter to be backwashed or cleaned out. Also check your skimmer and pump baskets every few days if a dog is swimming daily; the fur can clog up the baskets and cause strain on the pump motor. A dog swimming definitely will introduce a lot more contaminates into the pool water than a human will, so treat your pool like ten kids just went swimming after your dog is done. If you hit it with a small dose of oxidizer after every swim, you will be safe! Keep your dog safe around the pool. Always supervise the dog while it’s in the pool, just like you would a kid. And never assume that all dogs can swim. I grew up with a Doberman that almost drowned falling off the end of a dock at a lake house because he couldn't swim. Lastly, the main concern with your dog (and all living things, really) is if they drink too much water. This concern is especially important for pools that use salt. The levels of sodium that your dog may ingest by drinking the pool water could actually become fatal, so always monitor your dog to be sure it isn’t drinking too much pool water. There are thousands of tiny black bugs in my pool If you know what I’m talking about when I mention these little pests, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. These tiny bugs, called springtails, live in large swarms and tend to enjoy your pool as much as you do. We pool pros see them mostly in the middle of summer, but you can get them any time of the year. They can’t fly, and they can’t swim (but they’re light enough to not break the water’s surface tension by standing on it). And if you try to touch them, they jump into the air the same way that fleas do. They’re annoying little pests that drive many pool owners crazy, so let me give you some pointers: Break the water’s surface tension so that the bugs sink. After they sink to the bottom of the pool, vacuum out their bodies and go about your business. You can reduce the surface tension in a couple of ways: Buy a product at your local pool store called Bug Off. This product will do exactly what you need. Make a mixture of water and dish soap. Spray the mixture around the border of the pool’s surface, and then spritz the surface of the pool evenly. The biggest downside to using dish soap is the obvious side effect of suds and an oil slick effect on the pool’s surface. That will filter out over time, but that’s why I prefer the chemicals made for pools that are designed to perform specific tasks. Get skimmer socks and place them over your skimmer baskets. This fine mesh is enough to filter out the tiny bugs and allow you to remove them from the pool after they die. Prevent moisture and limit light use. These bugs love lights and moisture, so to prevent them swarming your pool as much as possible, limit your pool light use and keep your pool area as dry as you can and clear of leaves, which may trap water and attract the bugs. If you offer a less attractive environment for the springtails, you may be able to avoid getting them at all. Because of their tiny size, you can try to skim springtails off of the pool’s surface, but it may not work very well. They’re tiny enough that they can fit through your pool net, and you end up spreading them around. View Article
How to Test Your Swimming Pool Water Article / Updated 08-03-2023 When you have a pool in your backyard, testing the water on a consistent basis is crucial to keeping up with the changing water chemistry. With an outdoor pool, all of the elements around it affect the water inside of it, and it’s your responsibility to keep the chemicals in check during the season. Common questions among new pool owners are about how often to test pool water. On average, pool owners get into the habit of testing their water once a week, and that’s the maximum amount of time I recommend waiting between tests. If you go longer than that, things can sometimes get away from you without you even noticing! Checking your pool’s water weekly helps you develop a consistent schedule for both chemical and equipment maintenance. How to test pool water Checking the various components of your pool water involves testing kits. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and types, and all of them can give you the information that you seek. However, some of them may be a little easier to interpret, and others may be a little more exact. The most common kinds of testing kits are testing strips, drop test kits, and digital test kits. Find one that fits your personal preferences, and testing your pool will be a breeze. All testing kits, whether strips or drops, have an expiration date, and they become less accurate the closer you get to that date. For test strips, they start to lose accuracy even just six months after you first open the container’s cap. This is due to the oxidation of the chemicals in the pads of the test strip. So, always be sure you’re using testing equipment that’s less than a year old or check it against a more accurate testing system, such as the laser readers that you can find at a pool store, every six months. For more information about testing your pool water, as well as everything else you need to know about owning and maintaining a swimming pool, check out my book Pool Care For Dummies. Testing strips Also commonly given the nickname dipsticks, test strips (shown in the photo above) are an inexpensive, quick and easy way to check your levels in under 30 seconds. Test strips typically come in a bottle that has a chart on the back, and the bottle contains small strips that have testing pads on them. The strip will test your sanitizer, pH, and alkalinity at a minimum and some others will also test your cyanuric acid and your calcium hardness. Just follow these steps to use a test strip: Gently dip a test strip into the pool’s water. You can also scoop a sample of water from the pool into a cup and dip the test strip in there. Be sure to reach 18 inches down for the water sample to get the most accurate reading. Hold the test strip horizontally, pads-side up, for 15 seconds. After the 15 seconds, match the colors of the testing pads on the strip to the chart on the back of the bottle. The chart will have a range of color options for each of the corresponding pads, ranging from low to ideal to high. Using a test strip is simple and quick, and one of the most common ways to check the levels. There are some downsides to using the test strips, though: As simple as they are, it’s a little tricky to get accurate results from them. Most brands recommend a very controlled dip into the water — so no swishing around, and no shaking the test strip off after it’s out of the water. Too much strip jostling may cause colors to appear faded or even bleed into each other. The colors on the pad are sometimes hard for the reader to decipher. For instance, the pH is almost always indicated by a shade of red, but not all people can easily tell the difference between one shade of red and the next. For these reasons, I like to consider test strips a great way to tell you whether you’re basically in the range. They’re wonderful rough-estimate testers that can help you quickly identify whether you have an issue. If they seem off, I recommend using a more accurate or easy-to-read method of testing like a drop kit or a store’s testing system before making large adjustments to your water chemistry. Drop (or reagent) test kits As a professional, I prefer this style of test kit as a home test kit, which is shown in the photo below. They may take you an extra minute or two to get the readings you want, but the colors in the charts and the accuracy of the results is what I admire. When I do weekly service on customers’ pools, I personally use a drop test kit as my regular testing system. There are a lot of different brands that you can try, and a lot of different options. They range from testing only chlorine or pH levels, to being able to test all of the balancing levels in your pool like total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid along with the chlorine and pH in your pool. Drop test kids will all have the same components to them, beakers and the little bottles of liquid reagents. Different brands will have slightly different instructions, but the concept with the tests are all the same. You will fill the beaker with your pool water up to the suggested fill line. There may be two different lines for two different amounts of water, so follow your test kit’s instructions thoroughly. You will then add the appropriate amount of drops of the liquid reagent that is meant for testing the chemical you are looking to check. Each chemical level you are trying to check, like pH or alkalinity, will all have a separate corresponding liquid drop reagent. You will thoroughly mix the drops with your pool water and it will turn a certain color. Check that color against the color chart provided with your kit and it will indicate if the level you are testing is low, ideal, or high. I personally don’t have a preference on brand; I’ve used a few different brands and find them all to be accurate. The big thing in selecting your drop test kit is that you want to be able to replace the drop reagents as needed. Worst case is you could replace the whole kit, of course. But if only one bottle runs out or expires, it’s much simpler to get just the drop reagent you need. I like drop test kits that have the ability to test chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and your pool’s acid demand. (I discuss the importance of those levels in later sections of this chapter.) Drop test kits can be pricy, depending on the brand you choose. Some of the lesser-known brands can have a price ticket of around $20, but other brands can range up to $100, and they will both test for the same levels! Higher quality brands tend to be more accurate and reliable, which is where you get the price increase from. The bottles can range in size, but most of them are one or two fluid ounces each and will easily last you a whole season with weekly testing. Most of the reagent drop-style testing kits are made for halogen (chlorine/bromine) based pools. There aren’t many that are meant for biguanide-based pools. So, if you do have a biguanide pool, you’re usually stuck with strips as your only at-home testing method. Digital test kits Today, it’s nearly impossible to find something that doesn’t have an app that you can use to control it. Well, testing your pool water is no different. And just like all things, there are a variety of brands and price points to choose from. Here are a few options: Strips that have a corresponding app that you download to a tablet or smartphone: You dip the test strip into your pool water, then snap a photo through the app, and it reads the results for you. But, of course, the app’s accuracy is all based on how precisely you dipped the strip and the lighting in which you took the photo. The concept is great and works reasonably well, especially considering they’re in the lower price range of digital options, around $15 to $20. Specialty test strips that have a separate digital reader: With this style, you use the strips like you would any other kind of test strip, dipping them into your pool sample. And then you insert the strip into the reader. The readers are designed to work with only the strips made specifically for it, but they’re quick, easy, and accurate. They’re a mid-price range, usually around $75 to $90. All-in-one testing meters: There are two styles of these meters: An electronic testing meter where you dip the sensor into the pool, and the results come up on the meter itself. A floating device that has a sensor in your pool that sends information to an app on your phone. Both types of all-in-one testing meters are the most accurate way to test your pool at home, but they tend to fall on the more expensive side. The electronic meter is usually between $200 and $250, and the floating style is commonly priced around $500 for the good ones. All of these readers are great ways to step up your ability to check your levels accurately at home, but none of them are perfect. It never hurts to get your pool water tested at a local pool store that you trust (see the following section), or even to check the accuracy of your main testing system with another style (which I go over in the preceding sections). Having basic test strips and a digital floating meter can only help in making you a better pool owner. Testing at a store Just like a digital testing meter (see the preceding section) is more accurate than a test strip, the majority of pool stores have a testing system that’s even more accurate than some of the best home kits. The system used in most pool stores has a high-tech meter that reads small plastic disks that are filled with your pool water. Basically, here's how it works: The disk is inserted into the meter. The meter spins the disk, mixing the sample water into a variety of chambers along the sides. The meter uses lasers to read the colors that those chambers turn. These meters are expensive — and, if well maintained, very accurate. The meters are usually connected to a computer where the results are automatically entered into a program. That program creates the printout that a pool store employee reviews with you. This type of highly accurate testing you get at a pool store isn’t something that you do weekly or even biweekly. Your pool’s chemistry can change in that short a time period, but not enough that you need to visit the pool store. If you use a testing system like this too often, you will go slightly crazy trying to get your pool “perfect” when you have an acceptable variance within your levels. Perfect range for alkalinity is 100 ppm, and if you test it at a pool store and it says your level is 89 ppm, it can get really overwhelming to try to get it exact when 89 ppm is still considered in the acceptable variance. These testing systems are also expensive to run for the pool company, so a majority of them may limit you to only six free tests a year and begin charging for each one after that. Testing at your pool store should be done Two to three days after the pool has been opened and started running One week after completing the initial balancing on your first test Once a month during the season Two weeks prior to the winterization of your pool You can always test your pool water at the pool store if you’re dealing with an issue in the pool that won’t resolve or that you need advice on, or if you just want to be positive that your home kit is accurate. Guidelines for water testing at a pool store When it’s time to bring a water sample to your local pool store, be sure to follow these guidelines: Take your sample from at least 18 inches below the surface of the pool to get an accurate sample and use a container that allows you to get at least 12 ounces of sample water. The pool store may never use that full 12 ounces, but if you need to have extended tests run or have the test repeated, you want to make sure you bring enough water to cover it. If you're wondering how to bring pool water to be tested, use a container that has had no other liquids in it, if possible. Acidic liquids such as pickle juice, wine, or orange juice will alter your results. It doesn’t matter how many times you rinse the bottle out, the traces of the acidic liquid distort the numbers, especially your pH. The only safe reusable bottle I would really recommend is an old water bottle. If you just opened your pool, don’t bring a sample in until the pool has been circulating for at least 24 full hours. It’s amazing how much your chemicals actually sink to the bottom of the pool over the course of winter! Don’t bring in a water sample if you’ve shocked the pool with chlorine-based shock within 48 hours. (You can read about this cleaning process in Chapter 10.) Almost all testing systems are based on the color your water turns when mixed with a certain solution. Just like how chlorine bleaches your clothes, it absolutely lightens the color that the water turns when mixed with the testing solution. This advice goes for all color-based testing systems — if your chlorine is over 8 parts per million (ppm), you probably aren’t getting a very accurate reading. If the water turns a certain color when the testing solutions are added, then water that has a distinctive color in the container in which you collect it most likely will be inaccurate when you add those test solutions. If the water in your sample bottle is green, all the colors that your test samples are supposed to turn will be mixed with green, not allowing for accurate results. If your water sample has been sitting in your hot car all day at work, its chemistry changes while it’s sitting in the container. If you’re going to bring a water sample somewhere, always be sure to bring it as fresh as possible. Try not to over-test your pool water. I know that may seem crazy, but just like when you’re on a diet, checking your weight daily doesn’t give you an accurate representation of what’s happening. If you check your pool every day — or even twice a day — you get slightly different results every time. Testing the water isn’t a perfect science, and you’ll make your head spin if you try to make your water’s chemical balance perfect every second of every day. View Article
The Basics of Swimming Pool Maintenance Article / Updated 07-06-2023 If you’re going to be responsible for an expensive investment into your staycation wonderland, you’re going to want to know how to keep your swimming pool clean, and how to keep it safe and protected. A pool isn’t a self-sustaining environment with an ecosystem and natural water chemistry to keep it in check. It takes a bit of work to keep it nice and clean, and to make sure it’s safe to swim in. You want your pool to be fun and safe. When it comes to pools, safety comes in two forms: Using caution when dealing with chemicals Providing a safe swimming environment Proper pool maintenance Pool problem prevention is always less expensive and more effective than correction. Pool cleaning and maintenance, including keeping the water chemistry well balanced, will prolong the life of every part of your pool. If you clean often, you filter will last longer. If you balance your water, literally every piece of equipment in your pool, whether rubber or metal, will last longer. If you keep up on algaecides and shocks, you can prevent a costly algae bloom from forming. The list goes on and on — proper maintenance will save you money in the long run. Putting off weekly maintenance might mean having to spend extra time and money cleaning up a cloudy pool. When you have limited days in which to enjoy your pool, you want to be able to use the pool whenever you want. You don’t want to risk using up good pool days cleaning because you let the upkeep slip. Create a good maintenance schedule and stick to it. This article gives a good overview of pool maintenance. But for all of the details on how to maintain a pool, including the nitty gritty on chemicals and cleaning, check out my book Pool Care For Dummies. Discovering your inner chemist Chemistry is essential to swimming pool maintenance, and it's my favorite subject! Your pool chemistry is what will keep you and your pool safe from long-term damage. There’s a little bit that goes into the balancing of all those chemicals, and figuring out how all the parts relate to each other will be the biggest hurdle. Chemicals are used to sanitize and balance your pool’s water. For pool chemistry to make sense, you must be familiar with the concepts related to what each chemical is supposed to do and how they react with one. Don’t look at the long chemical names and become overwhelmed. Look at what that chemical does to your water to make it a safer and more comfortable environment for bathers. Keeping your pool clean and clear Sanitation is what you do to keep your pool water clean. You add chemicals to your water to kill bacteria and other contaminants and to help keep the water nice and clear — and safe for people to swim in. When you’re picking a way to keep your pool clean, you have three major types of products to choose from: Chlorine: This is the most common and usually least expensive way to sanitize a pool. It is highly efficient because of its aggression on bacteria and other contaminates, but that also makes it known for being slightly more aggressive on surfaces of the pool and on skin and eyes. It is used as a maintenance sanitizer through tablets or powder and also can be found in a liquid form which is more for shocking (oxidizing). Saltwater pools are becoming very popular. Some people don’t realize that saltwater pools still require chlorine. These pools use a salt-to-chlorine generator to create chlorine gas by splitting the sodium chloride (salt) molecules. Bromine: Most commonly used in hot tubs, this chemical is very similar to chlorine in a lot of ways because it’s also a halogen-based sanitizer (chlorine and bromine are grouped together on the periodic table). For pools, bromine is most commonly found in a tablet form and used in a similar way to chlorine tablets as a maintenance sanitizer. It can be found in a powder form but that is most commonly seen in use for spas. Bromine has two major flaws in the pool world: It breaks down in sunlight: Bromine doesn’t hold up well in the sun. UV light destabilizes it and breaks it down, so the numbers drop quickly in a pool sitting in direct sunlight. It costs a pretty penny: Over the past few years, bromine has become extremely expensive, costing almost double the amount of chlorine. Biguanide: This bromine- and chlorine-free sanitizer was originally created to be a less aggressive hand sanitizer for scrubbing in as a surgeon. Biguanide has become a popular choice for people who want a pool that’s completely halogen free. It tends to be on the more expensive side, and it certainly has a learning curve to it. But if you have money, and dedication required to use this system, you’ll never want a different one because it is so soft on your skin and your pool will be looking brand new for decades. All of these products come in a liquid form with very simple dosing. You use the same amount every week of the same chemicals for maintenance. If you run into a problem, like algae or water mold, just use higher doses of the products you use weekly. For a recommended weekly pool maintenance checklist, see "Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet." The importance of balancing pool chemicals Balancing your pool chemical levels is more important than almost any other thing when it comes to pool maintenance. Your pool water balance is made up of your total alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, temperature, total dissolved solids (TDS), and cyanuric acid (CYA). All those pieces fit together like a puzzle to keep your pool from basically eating itself from the inside out. When I say “balance your water,” I’m referring to the process of getting your water to not be scale-forming or corrosive. Those two water states can quickly lead to a disaster in your system, on your surface, and on the surrounding pieces of equipment. Essentially, your goal is to make sure that the water in your pool craves no extra minerals that it doesn’t have or need. Water will always try to reach some sort of equilibrium, and to get there, it requires a certain amount of minerals in its balance. If it’s lacking them, it will take those minerals from anything it touches. And if it has too much, it will deposit them on all those same things. Another important part about water balancing involves making sure the sanitizer that’s killing bacteria and preventing illness remains efficient. Your pool chemistry’s cause and effect will change the way the water wants to go. For example, if your acidity level is very high, the water lands on the scaling side and could create actual physical scale on the inside of things that are in your pool system. It also directly affects the speed and efficiency with which your sanitizer reacts, especially chlorine. If you have a bunch of chlorine in the pool, but it’s only 8 percent efficient because of the poor balance of the other chemical components of the water, then the chlorine in the water isn’t doing you much good. How to use pool chemicals safely A pool and pool chemicals probably seem different to you than a science lab filled with beakers and chemicals, but they’re both equally as dangerous. Chemical handling is the most overlooked part of owning a pool because it’s assumed that if you can buy the chemical at your local discount supply store, it must be perfectly safe to handle. Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case. Getting chemicals on your skin or in your eyes can cause irritation and even injury. And mixing chemicals incorrectly can result in fires, explosions, and death. These chemicals are no joke: Always handle your pool chemicals with care and never put them in the hands of a child. Keeping your pool area safe Keep the people and pets who will be using your pool safe. Pools have hazards that require having safety procedures in place. Here are a few points to keep in mind: Create a list of safety rules for guests to follow and post them near the pool. Be sure to have a secure fence either around your yard or around the pool itself. Make sure safety equipment, such as a life ring, is easy to access. Install equipment such as drain covers and safety covers to prevent injuries. By taking preventative safety measures, you can guard against accidents. How to keep a swimming pool clean If there’s one part to this whole maintaining-a-pool thing that you can totally handle, it’s cleaning. Trust me when I tell you it’s one of the most relaxing and rewarding parts. One thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that cleaning a pool is sort of like cleaning your house: You do it at your own pace and to your own liking. There’s no real weekly schedule; it’s all based on when the pool needs it and when you have time to do it. But, it typically ends up that weekly maintenance on routine cleaning is the way to go. A tidy pool is a more enjoyable experience. If you leave some things on the pool floor, such as leaves or dead animals, they can cause staining. Remove those items quickly to prevent that possibility. You want to remove them for safety and cleanliness reasons too. There are times and environments where you should, or may need to, clean more often. Yards that have a lot of trees, neighbors who have a lot of trees, well-manicured lawns, a yard of mostly dirt with a few patches of lawn trying to survive — you get it. All of these things can end up playing a part in your regular cleaning regimen. Manual cleaning When it comes to cleaning your pool by hand, there are three major parts you want to pay attention to: Bottom Walls Water’s surface To clean these areas of the pool, you'll need to vacuum, brush, and skim. Some tools can take care of more than one cleaning need; other tools are more useful for certain types of cleaning; and some tools you can use on only certain surfaces. The best strategy for cleaning your pool involves starting with the floor and working your way up. Manually vacuuming is typically done by using your pool’s pump for suction and having the dirt, leaves, and dead worms go into your pump basket or filter. For the most part, manually vacuuming is done very similarly in all types of pools, whether it’s above the ground, below the ground, or just a blow-up pool. Automatic pool cleaners The world of automatic pool cleaners is where the party gets started — nothing better than not having to clean but reaping all of the cleanly benefits! There are three different types of automatic pool cleaning vacuums (also referred to as APCs): Suction-side cleaners Pressure-side cleaners The ever-so-popular robotic cleaners, including solar skimming robots All automatic pool cleaners, regardless of type, are meant to keep a clean pool clean. They’re not designed to carry heavy loads or clean algae blooms. Do all initial vacuuming by hand when opening the pool. And after the pool is pretty clear and clean, you can use your automatic cleaners to maintain it that way. View Article
Pool Care For Dummies Cheat Sheet Cheat Sheet / Updated 05-03-2023 Swimming pool maintenance can be intimidating to someone who may be new to pool ownership, and it can be even more intimidating to go to a pool store seeking out help. To make your life a little easier, this Cheat Sheet offers some helpful tips so you can become a mindful pool owner. View Cheat Sheet
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