Tools and Chemicals
Taking care of the cleanliness of your pool just makes sense to keep it running smoothly and maintain safe and enjoyable swimming conditions all season long. Of course, having the right tools for the job is essential. Here are a few that you’ll need if you don’t have them already.
- Debris like pollen, dirt, leaves, and twigs frequently invade the pool, polluting the water. A pool cleaner/sweeper removes these objects and helps defend against the build-up of dirt and grime along the walls and floor of the pool.
- Manual pool cleaners are the least expensive and allow you to clean most dirt.
- More expensive, time-saving automatic tools are available such as suction-side, pressure-side, and robotic systems.
- Suction-side cleaners – use the suction power of the filtration system to navigate the pool’s surface and remove dirt and debris. They are especially effective at removing fine particles such as sand and dirt because they suck the material right into the pool’s filter.
- Pressure-side cleaners – attach to the return side of the pool’s circulation system and roll over the surface of the pool using the power of water pressure. Debris is vacuumed into a bag attached to the top of the unit. These cleaners have an opening of 2 ½ inches in diameter and are great for removing large leaves, branches, and acorns. Some models have their own booster pump motor with a dedicated water pressure line to power the cleaner and a tail that stirs up the water as it moves along the bottom of the pool.
- Robotic cleaners – move themselves around the pool using a chargeable battery, solar power, or a water-safe electric cord that is plugged into a standard or GFCI-protected outlet. Robotic cleaners are the only type of pool cleaner that can be used when the pool’s circulation system is turned off. They have rotating brushes that scrub the pool’s surface and typically have two intake ports with a combined 11-inch opening to accommodate varying sizes of debris.
- Increasing circulation with cleaners/sweepers will reduce dead spots in the pool where algae can thrive and will also ensure the water is properly sanitized and clearer.
- The filter is responsible for keeping the pool water clean on a regular basis. As the pool’s pump circulates the water, the filter sifts out any floating matter before the water returns to the pool. The three types of filters are sand, D.E. (diatomaceous earth), and cartridge.
- Sand filters (most common) use sand to trap debris and prevent it from circulating back into the water. When the filter becomes plugged with materials, you must run the pump in reverse to dispose of the waste water. (This process is called backwashing)
- D.E. filters operate in a similar way to sand filters; they use D.E. powder to coat grids in the filter tank. As water passes through the grids, dirt and other debris get blocked by the powder. D.E. filters also require backwashing to remove built-up debris.
- Cartridge filters are another option and use a pleated polyester or paper filtration material, called media, to catch dirt and other substances as water flows over it. These cartridges are shaped like cylinders and inserted into a designated section of the filter. Unlike sand and D.E. filters, cartridge filters require no backwashing, which makes them low maintenance and eco-friendly. To clean a cartridge filter, use Clean then simply spray it with a garden hose to rinse and, if needed, brush the media with a soft brush once the cartridge is dry. With new waste water legislation in many municipalities, cartridge filters are becoming more popular and are widely used on salt pools so that the “salt” is not released from the pool into the environment.
- Sanitizers eliminate organics such as sweat, lotion, and other germs from the pool water. Chlorine is extremely effective and the most commonly used sanitizer.
- Tip: Concept 10 water care system makes it easy! Other forms of chlorine can be added to a pool in the traditional forms of granules (Chlor or Super Chlor) or tablets and sticks (Super Disc 3, Grand Slam or Super Z Pucks), which are used in floating chemical feeders or filter baskets. Concept 10 removes any need for hydro (like salt generators) and the need for a chemical feeder when using traditional pucks or sticks.
- Saltwater pools are also sanitized with chlorine, but the benefit is that you do not have to handle or store the chlorine; instead, you add several bags of salt to the pool. A chlorine generator contains a catalytic cell that converts the salt (sodium chloride) to chlorine. After the chlorine sanitizes the water, it reverts back to sodium chloride. Because most of the water contains saline rather than chlorine, it becomes smooth to the touch.
- Tip: too much salt from a pool can have a negative effect on your environment and vegetation. In addition, the salt generator uses additional electricity. Use Ocean Salt to help minimize the negative impact of salt systems on your equipment
- Supplemental sanitizers can be used in addition to chlorine and bromine. Mineral cartridges fit into your filter and slowly release minerals into the water. Ionizers release silver, copper, or zinc ions that kill bacteria and algae, while ozonators release ozone, a short-acting oxidizer which is aggressive to pool equipment and surfaces.
- Tip: Our Z Pucks contain Zinc to supplement the sanitizer in keeping your pool water clear and safe.
- Ultraviolet light systems use UV light to destroy algae and chloramines. While these sanitizers cannot be used on their own (Health Canada does not approve them for sanitation in pool water), they often decrease the amount of chlorine or bromine your pool will need.
- While your pool water might look great, you need to check the chemical levels at least once a week to ensure a safe swimming environment.
- No two pools are the same. Everything from source water to weather patterns to vegetation and proximity to other environmental factors can have a profound effect on your pool or spa. Because many of these factors can change from day to day, regular testing is a must to avoid problems before they occur. The two most important things to test for are the pH and the level of active sanitizer present in the water in your pool. We recommend two to three times per week – more often if your pool has an unusually large number of bathers on a regular basis. Finally, it’s a great practice to have your source water tested prior to opening up your pool. This can go a long way to get your season started on the right foot.
- Test Strips:
- Simply dip the strip into the water for a specified number of seconds and then compare the colors to those provided by the manufacturer; this will tell you the water’s current levels of sanitizer and pH.
- Wet Chemistry Kit:
- A wet chemistry kit involves adding liquid chemical reagents to water samples and observing the color change. The results are then compared against a comparator block to determine the levels.
- Other options:
- Digital test strip readers that display the level of sanitizer, pH, and total alkalinity in the water on an LCD screen.
- Tip: For a full and complete water analysis, see your Sani Marc Professional Retailer monthly. They will provide you with Sani Marc’s exclusive Prof 2 report which consists of a personalized, easy to follow, step by step printout to guide you through any necessary water balancing.
- Test Strips:
- For most pool owners in Canada a cover is necessary to close the pool for the winter. They can also be used on a regular basis to keep your pool clean. The double benefit is that they create a barrier that prevents dirt and debris from entering the pool while they prevent heat, water, and chemicals from escaping. There are many different types of pool covers, and the one you choose will depend on your needs.
- Solar covers float on top of the water and resemble a giant sheet of bubble wrap. Their tiny air pockets transfer heat from the sun into the swimming pool to warm the water. Used on a daily basis during the swim season, these lightweight covers can also help retain water and chemicals. Solar covers should be removed regularly and the pool walls brushed down to increase circulation and prevent algae from growing.
- Track-style covers are usually made of heavy-gauge vinyl and slide open and closed on tracks that run along the side of the pool. Available in manual, semi-automatic, and automatic styles, these covers make it easy for you to cover your pool after every use, which aids in maintenance and chemical and heat conservation.
- Tie-down covers, available in mesh and solid styles, are anchored to the deck by straps around the perimeter of the pool. While typically used to close a pool for winter, tie-down covers can also be utilized during the swim season.
- Tip: Use Speed to maintain your cover and avoid early replacement.