Category Archives: Pool Maintenance

Swimming Pool Heating Options

GET READY FOR HOT SUMMER FUN!

There are a lot of options for extending your swimming season. They include both active heating and passive heat collection along with heat retention. Here are some basics to help you select the pool heating options that are right for you!

 

POOL HEATING OPTIONSnirvana_heat_pump

  • SWIMMING POOL COVERS
  • SOLAR SUN RINGS
  • LIQUID SOLAR BLANKET
  • GAS POOL HEATERS
  • POOL HEAT PUMPS
  • SOLAR POOL HEATERS
  • SUN DOME ENCLOSURES


SWIMMING POOL COVERS

Swimming pools lose energy in a variety of ways, but evaporation is by far the largest source of energy loss. Evaporating water requires tremendous amounts of energy. It only takes 1 Btu (British thermal unit) to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree, but each pound of 80ºF water that evaporates takes a whopping 1,048 Btu of heat out of the pool.

Types of Swimming Pool Covers

Technically, all you really need for a pool cover is a large sheet of plastic. Plastic meets the requirement of being a vapor barrier. But a large sheet of plastic that you get from the lumber store is probably not your best choice. It will be very difficult to handle and store, it tears easily, and sunlight will deteriorate it rapidly.

You can use a sheet of plastic, but it will be very inconvenient and it will probably only last 1 to 2 seasons maximum. It’s best to use a cover designed specifically for swimming pools. They’re made of special materials, such as UV-stabilized polyethylene, polypropylene, or vinyl. They can be transparent or opaque. Covers can even be light or dark colored.

 

This illustration shows the characteristics of a bubble/solar cover, vinyl cover, and insulated vinyl cover.One of the lowest cost covers made specifically for swimming pools is the bubble (or solar) cover. Bubble covers are similar to bubble packing material except they use a thicker grade of plastic and have UV inhibitors.

 

Vinyl covers consist of a heavier material and have a longer life expectancy than bubble covers.Insulated vinyl covers are also available with a thin layer of flexible insulation sandwiched between two layers of vinyl.

 

Outdoor pools gain heat from the sun, absorbing 75%–85% of the solar energy striking the pool surface. This is an important contribution to the pool’s heating needs. A pool cover will decrease the solar gain contribution to some extent, depending on what type you use.A transparent bubble cover may reduce pool solar energy absorption by 5%–15 %. A completely opaque cover will reduce it by 20%–40%. You need to consider this when selecting a pool cover.

 

You also need to decide whether you want a manual, semi-automatic, or an automatic pool cover.You can manually pull the cover on and off, fold it, and place it somewhere out of the way. You can also purchase a pool cover reel to help manually roll up the pool cover. The reel, usually on wheels, can be rolled out of the way.

 

Semi-automatic covers use a motor-driven reel system. They use electrical power to roll and unroll the cover, but usually require someone to pull on the cover when unrolling, or guide the cover onto the reel when rolling up the cover. Semi-automatic covers can be built into the pool deck surrounding the pool, or can use reels on carts.

 

Automatic covers have permanently mounted reels that automatically cover and uncover the pool at the push of a button. They’re the most expensive option, but they’re also the most convenient.Some pool covers fit into tracks along the sides of the pool. This prevents anything or anybody from getting into the pool. They even support the weight of several people. If liability is a concern, these are a good option to explore. They can be run manually, semi-automatically, or automatically. Safety covers are recommended for public pools, and may be required by inspectors.

 

 SOLAR SUN RINGS

The Solar Sun Ring is a passive solar swimming pool heating device made from two sheets of heavyweight U.V. resistant vinyl. The upper clear layer holds insulating air and focuses sunlight on the blue colored lower layer.

 

The blue layer absorbs about 50% of the sunlight and converts it to heat. The balance of the sunlight is allowed to pass through for deep water heating.

 

How Solar Sun Rings Work to Heat Your Pool

At night the contained air acts as an insulating blanket to retain heat gained during daylight. Solar Sun Rings are equipped with six magnets to improve clarity and decrease hardness of the water in your pool. The magnets are positioned to facilitate rafting. The strength of the magnets will permit single position removal but will easily separate to prevent entrapment in accidental falls.Solar Sun Rings Pool Example

 

Solar Sun Rings were designed to be compatible with automatic pool cleaners. In the event the suction hose catches on a ring, the ring will separate from the raft to allow the pool cleaner to continue. Neither water nor pool chemicals can evaporate through the Solar Sun Rings two layers of heavyweight vinyl. You will save water and chemicals about equal to the percentage of the surface covered. Once the water in your pool has reached adequate temperature, Solar Sun Rings may be turned over to conserve water by limiting evaporation without significantly heating the water.

 

Safety: No other floating solar cover matches Solar Sun Rings design for safety. Countless pets and many people have died because of entrapment with the one piece bubble pack covers. The primary design-criteria of the Solar Sun Ring was to prevent entrapment.

 

Durability: Once the design for the Solar Sun Ring was established the material selection began. Polyethylene plastic, which is used for all bubble pack covers, was rejected because of it’s intolerance to and degradation in direct sunlight and inability to retain air. High quality ultra violet resistant vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) is used exclusively for durability that cannot be achieved by the inferior plastic used in bubble pack covers. Vinyl will normally outlast polyethylene 3 to 1. The vinyl used to manufacture Solar Sun Rings is not destroyed by pH fluctuation, higher than normal chlorine concentration or salt water systems. Furthermore, vinyl is easily repaired if punctured.

 

SOLAR SUN RINGS EXCEPTIONAL FEATURES

Solar Efficiency: By using the high quality polished vinyl for the top layer and a 50% density lightly frosted lower layer, we achieved a solar efficiency that greatly surpasses bubble pack covers. The milky translucent inferior plastic used in bubble pack covers reflects much of the sun’s energy and fails to allow adequate deep water heating. Solar Sun Rings design and materials allow greater solar efficiency with greater nighttime insulation due to greater captive air thickness. Solar Sun Rings were designed to safely heat swimming pools, not cushion packages. The effect is that Solar Sun Rings with 70% to 80% coverage outperform bubble pack covers with 100% coverage.

 

Mustard Algae: The 100% coverage and inefficient solar effect of bubble pack covers creates additional problems. By blocking all direct sunlight, mustard algae will form within a very short time. This negates the continuous use of the bubble pack covers. The Solar Sun Ring with its increased solar efficiency is designed for continuous use without culturing a pool full of mustard algae.

 

Compatibility: The Solar Sun Ring is designed to be compatible with automatic pool cleaners. The many features that give Solar Sun Rings greater safety at the same allow them to be used with automatic pool cleaners. Solar Sun Rings are also compatible with solar panel systems giving a pool a double shot of the sun’s energy during the day and great nighttime insulation.

 

Placement and Removal: Solar Sun Rings were designed for easy placement and removal by one person. The magnets for conditioning the water are placed into the perimeter of each ring to facilitate rafting. The five foot diameter of each ring also allows for easy cleaning.

 

Aesthetics: We have never heard anyone praise the aesthetics of the bubble pack cover. Solar Sun Rings were designed to add festive colors to an otherwise drab device. The silk screen printing of the Solar Sun Rings is similar to a window screen to allow solar heating while adding color to the swimming pool.

 

 

SOLAR FISH – LIQUID SOLAR BLANKET

Heatsavr™ is a transparent liquid solar pool blanket that greatly reduces heat loss. Evaporation is one of the main forms of heat loss from swimming pools and spas; slowing it can yield large cost savings.

 

Heatsavr™ is made of simple biodegradable ingredients that form the best barrier currently available to slow heat and water loss.

 

Heatsavr™ will save energy in every pool, but heat cost savings vary according to the hours of swimmer use per day, ventilation efficiency, and especially the type and cost of fuel used. The cost of energy also varies from region to region. Tests have proven that heating bill savings range from a low of 15.5% at a high use 50 meter municipal pool, to a high of 40% at a low use condominium pool.

 

 

Heatsavr™ is designed for commercial pool owners and Ecosavr is designed for residential pool owners, the difference being in the delivery system.

 

Heatsavr™ can be applied manually or by the Automatic Metering System (AMS).

 

Ecosavr™ is a small disposable plastic fish containing the Heatsavr™ liquid. The product is dispensed through a patented valve in the fin and forms a transparent, mono-molecular layer on your pool.

 

 

Ecosavr™ and Heatsavr™ belong to a family of innovative water and energy conservation products developed by Flexible Solutions Limited of Victoria, BC. Our products are proven to conserve heat, energy, water and are environmentally friendly and safe.

 

 

Using Ecosavr™ is convenient and easy to use: just snip the fin, squeeze out any air and toss it into your pool. With no cover to roll up or store, your pool is ready to use whenever you want!

 

An Explanation for Non-Chemists

 

Heatsavr™ works by slowing evaporation from the surface of a swimming pool; either indoor or outdoor.

When your pool is warmer than the air around it, or when the air has lower than 100% humidity, your pool ‘sweats’. Invisible steam escapes into the air and blows away from outdoor pools, or is exhausted by the air handling system of an indoor pool. It takes fuel energy to heat the pool water, and fuel costs money. The escaping steam of a pool is 70% of the cost of keeping your pool water warm enough to attract paying customers. Heatsavr™ is an effective method in reducing the steam loss per hour and therefore the dollar cost of keeping your pool warm. It does this by forming a safe invisible layer one to two molecules thick on the surface of the pool.

Heatsavr™ is a mixture of carefully chosen ingredients which are lighter than water so that they automatically float to the surface. They are attracted to each other so that they try always to form a perfect very thin layer over the whole pool surface. They are individually so small that they are 500 times smaller than the spaces in a super high quality filter. After a swimmer stops disturbing the water they rush to reform a complete layer because they are molecularly organized and happiest that way.

And most importantly – when they are in position they REDUCE THE SWEATING SPEED OF THE POOL BY UP TO ONE HALF.

 

Heatsavr™ theoretically could save half your heat bill if no one ever swam in the pool and if the circulation pump were turned off. This is not likely but Heatsavr™ does achieve savings as high as 40%. Most pools will find energy bill reductions between 17% and 30%. For every dollar spent on Heatsavr™, you should expect a minimum of three dollars off your heat bill.

Pool managers buy Heatsavr™ for a variety of reasons. Saving money on their energy bills is the biggest one. Others are already using a pool blanket and find that while there are energy savings, there are also inconveniences and that staff are not motivated to use the blankets correctly and consistently. Heatsavr™’s ease of use without loss of energy savings is attractive to these operators. Some indoor pool operators are primarily interested in reducing the humidity levels in their pool rooms. They don’t mind receiving the energy savings as a bonus.

 

 

CHEMISTRY

The last step in a total pool maintenance program is applying the right products to your pool water at the right time. This will help you:

  • Provide a sanitary swimming environment.
  • Balance the water to protect the equipment and pool surfaces. Unbalanced water can permanently damage both.
  • Provide brilliant, sparkling water that’s inviting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Pool Opening

Opening your pool     

Spring Pool Opening Video
Doing it the right way can mean the difference between a summer of fun and a summer of headaches! Follow these important (and easy) steps to ensure a smooth, carefree pool opening in the spring. And remember, your local BioGuard® Dealer is always ready to assist with information tailored to your specific pool care needs.

 

1.  Remove pool cover (skip this step for new pools)

Drain off any accumulated water on the cover away from your pool. Once removed, clean with BioGuard Stow-A-Way® to prevent sticking and odors. Store in a dry place, free of debris and protected from the sun and weather.

 

  

2.  Fill your pool

Your pool should be filled to the middle of the skimmer opening to allow for proper circulation.

 

3.  Check your pump, skimmer basket & filter

 

4.  Get your water tested

Be sure to circulate pool water 24 to 48 hours before taking a water sample. Using a clean plastic container (or better still, one that your dealer provides), scoop about one quart of water from elbow-depth. Seal the container and take it to your BioGuard Dealer for testing and analysis.

BioGuard pioneered the idea of computerized water analysis. Over the past 25 years, we have used our resources to research, develop and refine the science of water analysis. Today, our computerized water analysis system provides accurate results almost instantly. You receive personalized instructions for starting the pool. Help keep your water perfectly balanced by bringing in a water sample at least once every month during the pool season.

 

5.  Test sanitizer & pH levels

You can test sanitizer and pH levels yourself using the BioGuard 1200V Test Kit or BioGuard Test Strips to check free chlorine, total bromine residuals and pH levels and Total Alkalinity. Use the following chart to determine proper levels.

Free chlorine residual 1.0 to 3.0 ppm
Total Bromine residual 1.0 to 3.0 ppm
pH 7.4 to 7.6 is ideal range (7.2 -7.6 is acceptable)
Total Alkalinity 125 to 150 ppm

Calcium Hardness:
     Plaster pools
     All other types 

200 to 275 ppm
175 to 225 ppm

 

6. Routine maintenance

Routine maintenance is the best way to maintain your pool. And with one of BioGuard’s easy-to- use 3-step pool care programs, it’s as easy as 1-2-3! We even have a non-chlorine system-our SoftSwim® Program-if you prefer pool care that doesn’t use chlorine to sanitize!

Five Essentials of Swimming Pool Maintenance

KEEP IN MIND …
Each pool maintenance key is very important. Consider each key as a simple, preventive maintenance step.

 

CIRCULATION

Pool water must be circulated for maximum sanitizer effectiveness. The more your water is in motion, the harder it is for bacteria and algae to take hold. Debris is captured by your filter, too. The best time to circulate the water is during the day, for 10 hours or more.

 

FILTRATION

The filter is one of your most important pieces of equipment. It removes both visible debris and most microscopic matter. Generally, a filter should be backwashed (the removal of material trapped on or in the filter media) when the water pressure in the filter reaches 8 to 10 pounds above normal. (Check manufacturer’s guidelines.) Because backwashing does not remove oils and deeply embedded debris, every filter needs to be chemically cleaned regularly. Your BioGuard Dealer can help you establish a filter maintenance program.

 

CLEANING

Some swimming pools have areas with little or no circulation. This is where algae and bacteria can begin to grow. At least once a week, the walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed to remove debris that the filter misses. Brushing is a must, even if you use an automatic pool cleaner or retain a weekly service.

 

TESTING

Every pool has characteristics that must be regularly measured and adjusted. Most important are the pH and the level of active sanitizer. By testing these two factors at regular intervals, you’ll understand how bather load, weather and product application affect the water. Test your pool water two or three times per week. Also, take a sample to your BioGuard Dealer when you open and close your pool, and every four to six weeks during the season. This will help you maintain proper water balance and greatly reduce the potential for problems.

 

CHEMISTRY

The last step in a total pool maintenance program is applying the right products to your pool water at the right time. This will help you:

  • Provide a sanitary swimming environment.
  • Balance the water to protect the equipment and pool surfaces. Unbalanced water can permanently damage both.
  • Provide brilliant, sparkling water that’s inviting.

Maximize Your Cartridge Life

How can I tell when a Filter Cartridge needs to be replaced?

Pleatco Pool and Spa Cartridges

Pleatco Pool and Spa Cartridges

With no moving parts or electrical switches to fail, Filters Cartridges do not have a defined end-of-life. Instead media will gradually plug up over time.In a typical spa, the culprit that plugs the media is perspiration and body oils combined with soaps, chemicals, and very fine particulate. In a swimming pool, the loading is primarily debris along with suntan lotions and organic matter, such as, algae.

Assuming the Filter is properly maintained and correctly sized to the pump, determining when the Filter Cartridge is exhausted depends primarily upon three factors:

1) Shorter cycle time between cleanings

2) Low water flow rate and high differential pressure

3) Catastrophic failure such as a tear in the media or center core collapse.

All three are dependent upon proper pool or spa water chemistry and following a routine maintenance schedule. Filter elements are plastic and should be handled and maintained accordingly.

How do I maximize the life of a filter cartridge?

• Clean the elements per manufacturers cleaning instructions

• Never use a stiff brush to clean the media

• Maintain your pool or spa water chemistry in proper balance

• Alternate two sets of filter cartridges when cleaning

For swimming pools, clean the cartridge when filter canister pressure reaches 8 PSI above the initial system or new cartridge starting pressure. For spas, establish a routine cartridge cleaning schedule based on the amount of spa usage. If Baquacil is used as a sanitizer, the filter element must be cleaned with Baqua Clean before any cartridge cleaner is used.

 

What is the procedure to clean my filter cartridge?

1) Remove the cartridge from the filter housing following the manufacturer’s instructions

2) Use a garden hose with a straight flow nozzle to wash down the filter element. Work from the top down, holding the nozzle at a 45 degree angle, and wash all the pleats with emphasis between the pleats.

3) Rinse until all dirt and debris is gone

4) For all spa cartridges and elements used in swimming pools where perspiration, suntan lotions, and other oils are present, soak the element for at least one hour (overnight is most effective) in:

(A) a commercial filter cleaner, or,

(B) one cup tri sodium phosphate (TSP) to five gallons of water

(C) one cup dishwasher detergent to five gallons of water.

5) Rinse the cartridge again to remove oils and cleaning solution.

6) If the filter has a coating of algae, calcium carbonate (residue from calcium hypo chlorite), iron, or other minerals, soak the cartridge in a solution of one part muriatic acid to twenty parts water until all bubbling stops.

7) Rinse the filter cartridge clean and reassemble housing.

Filter cleaning instructions for chlorine users.

The life of your Pleatco Replacement Filter Cartridge depends upon you the consumer. Our heavy duty Polyester filter cartridge elements will show maximum longevity with proper care and maintenance. Here are some helpful hints to help you get the most out of our product.

The best indications of a “soiled” filter cartridge in need of a cleaning are an increase in pressure within the cartridge’s housing canister or a visible decrease in the system’s water flow rate. Generally an increase in pressure of 8 pounds per square inch (PSI) or greater above the filer’s normal operating pressure (as prescribed in the manufacturer’s owner’s manual) indicates the need to clean the cartridge.

The filter cartridge can be cleansed of coarse dirt and debris by pressure washing inside and out with a garden hose. Fine particles of dirt are more easily removed from the filter pleats when the cartridge is dry. Therefore after hosing the cartridge, allow the filter to dry and either CAREFULLY BUSH. Do not – scrub the pleated surface areas or apply a stream of compressed air to the filter’s outer surface to remove fine particles.

Algae, suntan oil, and body oils can form a coating on the filter pleats which may not be thoroughly removed by hosing. Such a film of algae and/or oils will rapidly clog up the filter’s pores thereby greatly reducing filtration. Therefore, it is imperative to remove such materials from the filter element as soon as possible. We recommend soaking the cartridge in a solution of commercially available filter element cleaner to remove algae and /or oils from the filter media. Follow the manufacturers’ directions for the proper use of such (surfactant, soap) – cleaning solutions. Allow one hour for soaking and then hose the cartridge thoroughly before re-installing in the filer. If clogging persists due to either algae or oils readjustment of water chemistry is necessary to combat the problem.

Excessive calcium or mineral deposits on the filter media can be removed by treatment with a muriatic acid soaking solution. Use commercially available 20% muriatic acid and add to water in a 1 to 1 ratio to make a 10% muriatic acid solution. CAUTION: Make sure to use a plastic container and take extreme care when handling acid solutions as they can be harmful to eyes, skin, and clothing. After cleaning the cartridge, flush the filter element with water, and remember to dispose of the acid solution properly.

A spare “stand-by” filter cartridge is an excellent investment. It provides convenience and a well maintained clean cartridge assures you that your filter will always be ready to operate at peak efficiency.