POOL START-UP AND CHEMICAL BALANCE
We understand that pool chemistry can be a bit overwhelming. This section is to help you get your pool chemicals in balance and get you started on the right track.
Tips for spring start-up
1. Raise water level to the top of your skimmer and do your first major vacuum to waste before adding any chemicals. The debris and algae that builds up on your liner over the winter is difficult for the filter to catch
2. Test the level of stabilizer (cyanuric acid) and raise to around 35 ppm. Stabilizer is slow dissolving. We recommend putting it in a sock or nylon and tying it off to the ladder where it can dissolve slowly over a few days. Squeeze the sock multiple times a day until it is all gone. Do not add any stabilizer if it is already over 35 ppm as high stabilizer will cause problems over the summer.
3. Add chlorine shock. Most likely your chlorine level is zero and the pool is full of organics which need to be neutralized. Start by dissolving 1.5 Kg of shock in a bucket of pool water and slowly adding it to the pool. Check the chlorine the next day. If it is zero again, repeat the process. Continue every day until the chlorine residual is 2ppm or higher.
4. Raise the pH to 7.4, then test and raise the alkalinity to 100 ppm. Alkalinity will help to keep the pH in range for the summer. Both of these chemicals are quick dissolving and can be applied directly to the pool surface. Use the table above for a quick rough estimate on how much to add.
5. Test and raise the calcium level to at least 200 ppm. Again, this chemical can be added directly to the pool water surface.
6. Backwash the filter every day if the water is green or cloudy. If algae is present on the liner, continue to vacuum this out of the pool on waste. Check your skimmer and pump baskets daily and remove debris as required to keep the water flowing optimally. Once the chlorine residual holds at 2ppm or higher, you can start adding chlorine pucks to the skimmer. As long as your chemicals are in range, your pool will start to clear over the next few days.
Tips for summer pool chemical maintenance
Test your pH and chlorine levels at minimum twice per week. Most in-ground pools will use between 4 and 6 chlorine pucks per week to maintain a chlorine residual even if you are not using the pool. Every pool is different so you need to keep checking to figure out the optimal number of pucks required for your particular pool. Chlorine pucks lower the pH so you may need to add pH Up about once per week. Add enough pH-Up to bring your water pH back up to around 7.4. Keeping your pH in range is crucial to prevent corrosion of pool equipment.
Test alkalinity once per week. Alkalinity is the buffering agent which will prevent your pH level from dropping quickly. You will use far less pH up over the summer and have an easier time maintaining the pool is your alkalinity stays in range. Make sure it is between 100 and 120 ppm.
Test calcium and cyanuric acid once per month after initially getting them into range. A pool with no cyanuric acid will not hold a chlorine residual for very long leading to heavy chlorine use and a difficult time. However, it is equally important that the cyanuric acid levels stay below 50ppm, otherwise the chlorine residual may not be disinfecting the pool properly.
Add 1 Kg Oxy-Clear every week directly onto the pool surface. Oxy-Clear is a non-chlorine oxidizing pool shock Oxidizers are critical for boosting free chlorine levels and maintaining proper sanitation of your pool water. Simply adding chlorine pucks will not be good enough to protect your pool against bacterial growth or algae blooms. Over time, your free chlorine will turn to chloramines (combined chlorine) and become ineffective. Oxidizers reverse that process and keep your pool water sparkling clear.
Add 250 ml concentrated aglaecide every week. Chlorine is your first and best defense against algae. However, when combined chlorine is present and/or free chlorine drops below 1ppm, algae blooms can erupt quickly. Algaecides give you an extra level of defense and is an essential component of preventative maintenance. Add 1 Litre of algaecide at the beginning of the season and also every time the chlorine level drops below 0.5 ppm to quickly neutralize any potential algae growth. For best results use a 60% Poly-Quat algaecide (Formula 6000).
Add 250 ml concentrated Stain-Prevent (sequestering agent) every week. Dissolved metals in the pool water can cause your liner, pool stairs and ladders to stain yellow or brown. Sequestering agents bind these metal ions so that they can be removed by the pool filter. This chemical is underappreciated and overlooked by new pool owners but is crucial to keeping your pool looking great.
1 Litre of Stain-Prevent should also be added at the beginning of the season and just before winterizing for extra protection against liner stains.
Backwash your sand filter once per week or after every time you vacuum the pool. If you have cartridge filters, remove and pressure wash them once per month or if the filter pressure reaches 25 psi.
Every pool owner will experience algae problems at some point in time. Algae may be prevalent just after opening, or it may develop mid-summer after a few hot and sunny days. Regardless, it needs to be dealt with immediately as it spreads and multiplies very quickly.
Algae can form in two distinct ways; on the liner, or dispersed in the pool water
Algae on the liner: If algae has formed on the liner, but the water is still clear, you must remove that algae by vacuuming it out to waste. If you have a sand filter, roll out your backwash hose, set your filter dial-head to "drain" or "waste", then slowly vacuum the visible algae out of the pool. You will need to use a vacuum head with brushes as the algae is often very sticky and difficult to pull off the liner. Once the algae is physically removed, you will need to top up the water, put the dial back to filter and start up the pool. Chlorine shock and algaecide should be added immediately after the algae is removed.
Dispersed algae: This is what turns your pool water green. Often you will find your water is green but the algae hasn't stuck itself to the liner. To deal with this, simply shock your pool with 1.5 Kg of chlorine shock. Wait one day and check your free chlorine levels. If free chlorine is less than 2.0 ppm, add another 1.5 Kg of shock. Continue this process every day until the free chlorine holds over 2.0 ppm. In addition, backwash the pool filter every day until water turns clear. The algae will eventually die off and some will filter out the sand filter, but some may settle out as a fine light brown deposit on the bottom of the pool. Any dead algae deposits will need to vacuumed to waste.
Important note on algaecides: Algaecides should never be used to deal with visible algae. Algaecides are used in prevention only and are also quite expensive. Raising free chlorine levels with chlorine shock should be your first choice to eliminate and keep away algae in your pool water. Use algaecides as your backup prevention method after the water is clear again.