Insta Test

May 26th, 2016

child sliding into swimming poolInsta-Test pool test strips are easy and convenient for anyone to use to test pool and spa water. These simple tips from LaMotte, in addition to the instructions on the bottle, will help you get the most consistently accurate results from Insta Test 5 Pool Test Strips.

Do:

  • Use the pool test strip on-site and swirl in a one-foot circle.
  • Always read the result promptly after swirling the Insta Test and lifting it level from the water.
  • Always remove sunglasses, since they can make color-matching more difficult.

Don’t:

  • Never dip the Insta Test next to a make-up water inlet, return line, or chemical feeder.
  • Never test the water prior to one complete filter cycle after a large amount of chemical has been added.
  • Never swirl a strip in spa water with the jets running.

Insta Test 5 Test Strips were developed specifically for use in pool and spa water by the first company in the United States to produce field test kits for pH. Since 1919, the LaMotte Company of Chestertown, MD has played a key role in developing simplified methods to help professional analysts monitor water quality.

If you have questions about Insta Test, please call 888-718-7946 to speak to a Pool Care Expert.

AquaPure Ei

April 26th, 2016

clean pool waterThe Jandy AquaPure Ei chlorine generator allows you to convert your ordinary swimming pool into a saltwater oasis! Here’s some information about pool water chemistry that you need to know before installing the AquaPure Ei.

  • Chlorine Stabilizer: Also known as cyanuric acid, chlorine stabilizer is needed to maintain proper levels of chlorine. Most non-stabilized pool chlorine is destroyed by UV radiation from the sun within two hours. Chlorine stabilizer should be maintained between 30-50 ppm (parts per million) when using the AquaPure Ei. It is not necessary to add chlorine stabilizer to indoor swimming pools.
  • Nitrates: Nitrates can cause extremely high pool chlorine demand and will deplete chlorine from your swimming pool. In some cases, nitrates may even lower your pool chlorine levels to zero. Use pool test strips to test for nitrates and ensure that nitrates are not present in your pool.
  • Metals: Some metals can cause loss of chlorine and stain your pool. If you have high levels of metals in your pool, call 888-718-7946 to speak to a Pool Care Expert about methods of removal.
  • Chloramines: When organic materials combine with free chlorine, chloramines are formed. Chloramines should not be present in pool water; they keep pool chlorine from disinfecting, cloud pool water, and burn swimmers’ eyes. Use pool shock to remove chloramines at the initial start-up of the pool.
  • Super Chlorination: Super chlorination burns out the organic material that has combined with pool chlorine, which frees the chlorine for sanitizing. Super chlorination is accomplished by raising the pool chlorine level quickly and dramatically. To super-chlorinate the pool using the AquaPure Ei chlorine generator, set the chlorine production to 100% and then set the pool pump and the cell to run for 24 hours.
  • Shocking: Also known as superoxidization, this is another means of eliminating the organic material that has combined with pool chlorine. This method involves the manual addition of pool chemicals to quickly raise the level of chlorine. When the pool chlorine level is quickly raised to 5-15 ppm, the pool water is said to have been shocked. Note: It is best to shock the pool with a pool shock treatment on initial start-up of the pool.
  • Pool pH: The pH condition resulting from the operation of a salt water chlorination system such as the AquaPure Ei is close to neutral. However, other factors usually cause the pH of the pool water to rise. Therefore, pool pH in a pool chlorinated by a salt water system tends to stabilize at approximately 7.6. If pool pH rises above 7.6, use a pool water test to see if other factors such as high calcium hardness or total alkalinity are the cause and then balance accordingly. Caution: Never use dry acid to adjust pool pH in arid geographic areas with excessive evaporation and minimal dilution of pool water with fresh water. A buildup of byproducts can damage the electrolytic cell.
  • Total Dissolved Solids: More commonly known as TDS. Adding salt to pool water will raise the TDS level. While this does not adversely affect pool water chemistry or clarity, you will need to keep in mind that salt has been added to the sanitizing system and subtract the salinity level to arrive at the correct TDS level when testing pool water for TDS.
  • Sequestering Agents: Sequestering agents can be used to compensate for source water which may have unusually high calcium hardness. High calcium hardness can contribute to pool scale formation. Sequestering agents will help keep minerals in soltion and under some conditions can prevent pool scale. Call 888-718-7946 to speak to a Pool Care Expert about using a sequestering agent.
  • New Pool Water: New pool water in a recently filled or newly refinished pool may contain undesirable matter that could interfere with the chlorine generator’s ability to sanitize properly. Make sure to test and properly balance pool water before turning on the AquaPure Ei.

Spa Chemicals 101: Enjoying Your Spa this Holiday Season

December 1st, 2015

It’s the perfect ending to a hectic day….or a romantic way to celebrate the holiday season….a soak in your spa or hot tub. Turn on the soothing jets and relax your muscles as you sink into the toasty-warm water. You’ve earned a break!

To fully enjoy your spa, however, it must be a clean, healthy environment. Bacteria and algae grow very quickly in warm water, so diligent spa maintenance is the key to pristine, alluring water. This article, the first in our series on spa chemicals, is designed to help you get the most out of your spa or hot tub during the holidays.

Keeping spa water sanitized is the only way to prevent the growth of bacteria, algae, and organic contaminants. You can purchase spa chemicals individually or as part of spa chemical kits, which contain all the necessary ingredients for spa and hot tub maintenance. If you make spa maintenance part of your weekly routine, you will experience fewer water problems and your spa will always be ready when you need to unwind.

Spa chemicals are formulated so that busy people can perform easy spa maintenance. If you are opening or refilling your spa or hot tub, consider a chlorine or bromine spa start-up kit. Start-up kits provide all of the essential products you need for a fresh, clean start to spa season. Most spa start-up kits come with a guide that provides simple steps for opening your spa. Spa start-up kits typically include:

  • Chlorine sanitizing granules or brominating tablets
  • Metal remover
  • Scale prevention and remover
  • Calcium increaser
  • pH increaser
  • pH reducer
  • Oxidizer
  • Foam eliminator
  • Water clarifier
  • Surface cleaner
  • Water test

Should You Use Chlorine or Bromine to Sanitize Your Spa or Hot Tub?

Sanitizing is the most important step in maintaining a hygienic, vibrant hot tub or spa.  Keep your sanitizer at the recommended level at all times to avoid out-of-control bacterial or algae growth.

Selecting a sanitizer for your spa or hot tub is a personal choice; here’s some information to help you decide.  High-quality chlorine sanitizing granules dissolve quickly and completely to maintain a steady source of available chlorine in your spa.  Chlorinating granules are economical and easy to use.

Brominating tablets offer the sanitizing effects of chlorine without the chlorine odor.  Bromine is more stable in warm water, making it an excellent sanitizer for spas and hot tubs, but it is slightly more expensive than chlorine.  A bromine booster works with brominating tablets to quickly establish a bromide reserve in your spa or hot tub water.

Relax and enjoy your spa during the holidays!

3 Ways to Make Your Patio Enjoyable During Winter

September 10th, 2015

Winter is almost here, but that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your patio. With a few patio additions or alterations you can extend the time you spend outdoors far past summer. This article talks about three ways you can make your patio enjoyable during those chilly days and nights this year.fire pit

  1. Add cushions to your outdoor patio furniture. With the help of patio cushions your seating will retain warmth and body heat by those who sit on them. You can find patio cushions with insulated foam that are still weather-proof and perfect for the outdoors. Keep blankets outside near the patio furniture to make it extra cozy and warm. Adding a rug to your patio seating area will also help retain here and give your feet a warm place to rest on.
  2. Add an outdoor heater or fire pit. A patio heater or fire pit will become the new gathering place for family and friends. Patio heaters tend to be expensive so if you are looking for an affordable option check out portable fire pits. Cook meals, roast marshmallows over the open flame of the fire pit, or gather chairs around the fire pit for late night conversation. Fire pits not only provide a heat source at home but they are also great to take on trips! Portable fire pits can go with you on your next vacation, camping trip, football tailgate, or to the beach! They are compact and will fit in the car. Portable fire pits can be easily taken down and put together for convenience.
  3. Hang curtains around the patio exterior to block winter wind. Without wind chill, your patio temperature can feel up to 15 degrees warmer! Get thick curtains that you can fasten on top and on bottom, like a wind screen, so they don’t flap. The curtains will also help retain heat; just make sure they are far away from the fire pit!

Enjoying your patio during winter isn’t impossible with a few additions like warm furniture cushions, fire pits for friendly conversation and curtains to block the winter chill. After a long winter day enjoy a hot cup of cocoa in the crisp fall air. The patio is still, and will always be, the best place in the house to unwind and relax no matter what time of year.

Pool Maintenance: Comparing Pool Chemistry to a House

July 21st, 2015

The Foundation: Total Alkalinity

The chemistry of a swimming pool can be compared to a house. Every house must have a foundation. In the case of your pool, the total alkalinity is the foundation, because if it is incorrect, the rest of the pool water chemistry will eventually become out of balance. You must start with a solid foundation when building a house and you must begin the same way when balancing your swimming pool chemistry. The proper total alkalinity for your pool is 100 ppm.

First Floor: pH

The first floor of your pool house is the pH. pH measures the acidity of your pool water. The proper pH for your swimming pool is 7.4, for two main reasons. First, the pH of your eyes is approximately 7.4; your eyes will burn if the pH of your pool water is above or below 7.4. The second reason for maintaining a pH of 7.4 is that the water has a nearly neutral pH, which not only helps protect the finish of the pool and pool equipment but allows chlorine to work at its most effective level. There are several reasons why Total Alkalinity and pH relate to each other. If your Total Alkalinity is low (the fulcrum in the diagram below is pushed to the left), your pH will be low. If your Total Alkalinity is high (the fulcrum is pushed to the right), your pH will be high. Always keep your Total Alkalinity in balance (100 ppm) in order to maintain a proper pH level in your pool water.

Second Floor: Chlorine

The second floor of your “pool house” is chlorine. Chlorine is the primary means of providing daily sanitation for your pool. Chlorine will keep your pool water healthy and free from bacteria and algae. Chlorine is the second floor of the house because pH drives the effectiveness of chlorine. Just as you cannot have a second floor in a house without a properly-constructed first floor, you cannot have effective chlorine sanitizing without a proper pH level. If the pH of your pool water is too low, chlorine will be consumed too quickly and it will be difficult to achieve a proper chlorine residual (the amount of chlorine needed to provide daily sanitation). If the pH is too high, the chlorine in your pool will not work; though still present, it won’t be effective against bacteria, organic contaminants, or algae. The proper range for your chlorine residual is 1.5 – 3.0 ppm; try to consistently retain at least a 2.0 ppm chlorine level.

Roof: Stabilizer

The roof of your pool house is your stabilizer level. Stabilizer is a chemical that helps protect pool chlorine from the destructive rays of the sun. Without stabilizer, chlorine will be used too rapidly, and you’ll have a difficult time maintaining the appropriate chlorine residual. Adding chlorine to your pool without stabilizer would be like air conditioning or heating a real house with no roof! The proper stabilizer level for your swimming pool is approximately 50 ppm.

Walls: Calcium Hardness

The final portion of your pool house is calcium hardness, which is pictured above as the walls of the house. Calcium hardness is important because it acts as a buffering agent to pool water by protecting it from the water’s corrosive qualities. Without a proper calcium hardness level, the finish of your swimming pool and your pool equipment will be subject to corrosion. A high calcium level is not a good thing either because it will cause scale to form. Scale is unsightly and can reduce the operating efficiency of your pool equipment. The proper calcium hardness level is approximately 300-350 ppm.

Pool House