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Pool & Spa Care

You’ve invested in recreation and enjoyment with your pool or spa. Keeping it enjoyable is a matter of maintaining it correctly to prevent problems before they occur. We will give you the basics in pool and spa care so that you can enjoy clean, sparkling clear water.

Remember to practice safety as you’re enjoying your pool or spa this season. Always read and follow directions, dosages and precautionary statements.

Chemical Safety

  • Always read the product labels. More is not always better.
  • Never mix different chemicals together. Add each chemical separately and allow each to dissolve in turn.
  • Store chemicals in a cool, dry and well ventilated place, sealed and protected from children and pets.
  • Never add water to chemicals. Always add chemicals into water.
  • Always empty container and rinse clean before disposing. Read label for disposal instructions.
  • Immediately wash hands after handling chemicals.
  • Do not use floor sweeping compounds to clean up pool or spa chemicals.

Pool Care

There are 3 main factors in your overall water quality: filtration/circulation, water chemistry, and sanitation. They work together to keep pool water clean and clear. So, your job as a pool owner is to maintain all three. But, before you can do that, you must first determine your pool’s water capacity since it determines the dosage requirements of any water treatment products. To figure this out, use one of the formulas below:

For Rectangular Pools
Length (in feet) X Width (in feet) X Average Water Depth* (in feet) X 7.5 = Pool Volume in Gallons (U.S.)

For Circular Pools
Diameter (in feet) X Diameter (in feet) X Average Water Depth* (in feet) X 5.9 = Pool Volume in Gallons (U.S.)

For Oval Pools
Long Diameter (in feet) X Short Diameter (in feet) X Average Water Depth* (in feet) X 5.9 = Pool Volume in Gallons (U.S.)

For Irregularly Shaped Pools
Check with the builder, if possible. Otherwise, use the calculation for either an oval or rectangular pool and substitute an average diameter, width or length.

* Average Water Depth for inground pools = (Depth of Deep End (in feet) + Depth of Shallow End (in feet)

Now that you know your water volume, here are the basics of pool care:

Filtration/Circulation:

Water quality is affected by any foreign matter that naturally enters the pool during use, such as leaves, dirt, sweat, lotions, etc. Part of maintaining your pool is removing these contaminants. This is done through filtration and circulation. Your pump and filter are the “heart” of your pool. The pump circulates the water so it flows through the filter, which then traps and removes contaminants in the water. Be sure to run them long enough to filter your pool effectively. The longer you run the pump, the cleaner your pool will stay. A minimum of 8 hours a day is recommended. It’s also important to keep your pump and filter in good operating condition by keeping the components clean. Your filter should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year. Vacuuming and leaf skimming are also essential to proper pool care, as they are merely other ways of filtering out foreign matter.

Water Chemistry:

Water chemistry is the makeup of your pool water. It consists of water balance (pH and total alkalinity), calcium hardness, stabilizer level, sanitizer level, and mineral levels. It’s important to keep your water chemistry within the recommended parameters below. There are several factors that can affect your water chemistry, including one level affecting another. So, the best way to maintain it is to test your water regularly to determine your pool’s levels and adjust accordingly.

Spa Care

Pool care and spa care are similar yet different in many ways. As with pools, there are 3 main factors in your overall water quality that work together to keep spa water clean and clear: filtration/circulation, water chemistry, and sanitation. Therefore, you must maintain all three generally the same way. However, with spas, because you’re dealing with smaller amounts of water and hot water temperatures – conditions that provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and algae – a little diligence is required in maintaining water chemistry and sanitation to help avoid such undesirable conditions.

The first step is to determine your spa’s water capacity since dosage requirements of any water treatment products are dependent on it. The best way is to contact your spa manufacturer. Or, you can calculate the volume using one of the methods below:

Fill Time Method
Using a wristwatch or stopwatch, time how long it takes to fill your spa. Convert the time into seconds by multiplying the minutes by 60 (e.g., 30 minutes 40 seconds = 1800 + 40 = 1840 total seconds). Now, using the same hose and pressure, time how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon pail. To calculate water volume, use the following formulaLength of time to fill spa (in seconds) = Length of time to fill 5 gallon pail (in seconds) x 5 = Total Gallons

Dimensional Method
Since many spas have internal contours and seats, calculations based on external dimensions will be slightly inaccurate. Nonetheless, this is the quickest method of calculating water capacity:

Rectangular or Square Spas:
Length (in feet) x Width (in feet) x Average Depth (in feet) x 7.5 = Total Gallons

Circular Spas:
Diameter (in feet) x Diameter (in feet) x Average Depth (in feet) x 5.9 = Total Gallons

Oval Spas:
Long Diameter (in feet) x Short Diameter (in feet) x Average Depth (in feet) x 5.9 = Total Gallons

Filtration/Circulation:

Water quality is affected by any foreign matter that naturally enters the spa during use, such as sweat, lotions, etc. It’s important to remove these contaminants from your spa to keep water clear. Your pump and filter, for the most part, will take care of that for you. So you need to maintain them so they operate efficiently. This entails cleaning your filter cartridges regularly (every 2-3 months). Simply remove your filter cartridge, spray with a garden hose to remove any debris caught between the filter pleats, then soak in a filter cleaning solution overnight, according to label instructions. Carefully inspect your filter cartridge annually and replace with a new cartridge as necessary.

Water Chemistry:

Water chemistry is the makeup of your spa water. It consists of water balance (pH and total alkalinity), calcium hardness, stabilizer level, sanitizer level, and mineral levels. It’s important to keep your water chemistry within the recommended parameters below. There are several factors that can affect your water chemistry, including some parameters that interact with one another. So, the best way to maintain your spa’s water chemistry or balance is to test your water and adjust accordingly.

PROPER RANGES FOR POOL/SPA WATER
pH: 7.2 – 7.6 (for chlorine); 7.2 – 7.8 (for bromine)
Total Alkalinity 80 – 120 PPM
Free Chlorine: 1 – 3 PPM
Total Chlorine: Not more than 1 PPM higher than the Free Chlorine
Bromine: 3 – 5 PPM
Calcium Hardness: 80 -120 PPM (vinyl or fiberglass); 150 – 200 PPM (masonry finishes)
Chlorine Stabilizer: 20 – 40 PPM (in northern areas); 40 – 80 PPM (in sunbelt areas)
Iron: 0 PPM
Copper: 0 PPM (from natural sources); less than 1 PPM from product or algaecide use
* With the exception of the chlorine and chlorine stabilizer levels, these parameters are the same for all other pools or spas being maintained on other sanitizers, unless specifically recommended otherwise by the equipment or product manufacturer.

Sanitation:

If your pool is properly sanitized, it will help keep your water free of algae and bacteria. There are different ways of sanitizing a pool, using chlorine, bromine, ozone or ionization. Chlorine, which has been used for sanitizing drinking water for almost 100 years, is the most popular choice. For chlorine-maintained pools, you must maintain a Free Chlorine level of 1-3 PPM. Chlorine can either be manually added to the pool or produced right in the water with a saltwater chlorinator.

For information on the alternative methods, contact your local pool professional. Regular water testing will ensure that your pool is being sanitized effectively. Under certain conditions, you may also have to shock treat or super chlorinate your pool in order to destroy any buildup of contamination that the normal level of chlorine cannot effectively destroy. It is recommended that you shock weekly, as well as after heavy bather loads, heavy rain or windstorms, extremely hot temperatures, and at first signs of diminished water quality or algae growth.