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You’re looking forward to long, lazy afternoons relaxing in your crystal clear water, however to do that we must do regular water testing of the pool water.
It’s all part of pool ownership and good pool health management. The better balanced your water, the less cleaning, water changing and the more you can have those long lazy afternoons relaxing.
Why do I need to test my pool water?
The short answer is that any pool which is using chemicals must be tested regularly to ensure the water is clean, balanced and safe to swim in.
So to have a healthy pool, water testing is an essential part of maintaining water that is crystal clear and algae free, also it’s just as important to maintain the balance of chemicals in your pool. Improper water chemistry can cause damage to both your pool, equipment and beyond that imbalanced water can cause eye irritation and hair discoloration.
To prevent this from happening, swimming pool chemical testing is critical, it validates water quality and determines the necessary dosages for correcting water chemistry issues. Testing your water regularly, is the only way to know for sure what those invisible chemicals are doing in your water.
There must be enough sanitiser chlorine to ensure continuous and effective sanitation, but not too much – as this can cause discomfort for the swimmers.
What options are there to test the pool water?
There are four main kinds of testing methods;
- Liquid Testing
- Testing Strips
- Digital Testing Tester
- Professional Water Testing (by far the most thorough and accurate) Bring a water sample to us in store at Rockingham Pool and Spa Solutions or call and book one of our certified Pool Technicians to come to you.
How often do I test my pool water?
How often you test your pool water will vary depending on the time of year;
During Spring and Summer
- Inhouse testing – weekly or more if you are using the pool heavily.
- Professional testing – every 2 weeks
Autumn and Winter
- Inhouse testing – weekly
- Professional testing every 4 weeks
You may want to test 2-3 times a week if you are new to pool maintenance until you get used to the pool fluctuations.
There are other times that you should test for balanced levels;
- After a rainstorm/thunderstorms
- After large groups have used the pool
- Before beginning any form of algae treatment (pH testing is mandatory here)
- After changes in the weather
- After adding water
- If you notice any issues with your water, like cloudiness or color changes.
Professional Water Testing. The Team at Rockingham Pool and Spa Solutions recommend for the best pool health and peace of mind, that you should get your water professionally tested;
- Every 2 weeks thereafter, during Spring/Summer
- If you notice any issues with the water, like cloudiness or colour change
- Every 4 weeks thereafter, during Autumn/Winter
A professional set of eyes keeps your pool clean, but most importantly family and friends safe.
Pool water testing is essential to good pool health and if you don’t test your pool water you have the following issues;
- How do you know what the chemical levels are?
- What undesirable substances are in it?
- How much and what chemicals to put into the water to create a clean and safe swimming environment?
There’s just one main key to making sure you’re testing pool water accurately! The water sample.
How to get a good sample of pool water for testing.The most important factors here are;
- What to use to take the sample in? Use a clean plastic container, plastic cup or plastic bottle (with a cap if you’re taking it to the pool store).
- How to clean the container? The plastic container should be rinsed in the pool water, emptied and then the sample taken.
- Where do you take the sample from? If possible, take the sample from the absolute middle of your pool about 30 – 45 cm down from the water level.
- How do you do it? Hold it upside down so the opening is facing the pool floor. Insert the container into the water elbow-deep and then turn it right side up to collect the sample.
- When is it best to take a pool water sample? Right before testing or going to the pool shop to have it tested.
- Do not take the sample near the skimmer opening or any return jets.
- Don’t leave your pool water sample in a hot car as it will change the pool water chemistry.
Cloudy pool water is such a common issue, it’s one that every pool owner experiences. One minute you have your pool looking amazing, ‘it’s your crystal clear sparkling oasis’, the next it’s looking cloudy, hazy or milky.
Your First Thought is, so what happened to make my pool water turn cloudy, almost before my eyes!
Well the answer is, a large number of tiny particles of matter have been either introduced or fall out of solution into the water and now these particles reflect back light – which results in the appearance of cloudy swimming pool water.
Where do these particles come from, what causes them;
- Environmental – Algae, leaf mold, dust, bird droppings, flower pollen, water run off and fine sand.
- Mechanical – Inadequate circulation,dirty/damaged filtration equipment or insufficient filtration time.
- Chemical – The chemical balance of your pool water, chlorination, pH, calcium carbonate, calcium hypochlorite and alkalinity levels.
- Human – Sunscreen oils/lotions, skin proteins, body oils, perspiration and bodily fluids.
What you need to know about these particles – as this will help make sense of how to treat and get rid of them.
- They are from 0.5 to 5.0 microns so extremely small. Therefore they are too tiny to be easily caught by the pool’s filtration system.
- They carry a negative electrical charge. That means they repel each other and each particle hangs in isolated suspension in the pool water. Why do I need to know this? Because some of the treatment methods involve actually changing the particles’ electrical charge that way they stick together forming large enough coagulated particles that your pool filtration system can then deal with.
Next, is the varying degrees of cloudiness. This is often a clue as to the cause and helps determine the appropriate treatment.
- Dull or Flat – The pool water has lost its sparkle.
- Hazy – More than just appearing dull or flat, the water actually isn’t clear anymore.
- Cloudy – The water has a definite milky quality.
- Opaque – Very milky pool water that you can’t see the bottom.
So Why Is My Pool Cloudy? Just as there are any number of sources for the cloudy pool water, there are any number of reasons why these particles suddenly appear. Very often, there’s not so much a single reason, as there are a number of different reasons which combine together and feed off one another, giving you the end result that your pool water turned cloudy.
Also, if you’ve recently treated your pool for an algae infection, the water will be cloudy. That’s because what you’re now seeing is dead, white algae. To be sure, dead algae are a lot better than live algae, but your pool will be cloudy until you vacuum it away.
How to Fix a Cloudy Pool – accurate water testing is the first step in fixing a cloudy pool. Rockingham Pool and Spa Solution offer a free water testing service or you can book one of our certified technicians to come and sort this out for you. We strongly recommend professional testing if you have cloudy pool water .
Now for the Good News. In most cases, the fix for how to clear cloudy pool water is fairly simple. All that’s normally required is the administration of the correct dose of some products, a water clarifier and/or flocculants dependent on the pool water testing results.
Remember these two important things about the particles…
- They’re small, and
- They repel each other.
The way that clarifiers and flocculants work is that they neutralise the electric charge so that the particles bond together into something either big enough to be filtered, or else heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the pool for later vacuuming.
The important thing however when treating cloudy pool water, is DON’T USE TOO MUCH product to treat (overdose your pool water). Using too much won’t just neutralise the electrical charge, it will reverse it. Making your pool water worse. Rockingham Pool and Spa Solutions strongly recommend you contact us to get professional testing, advice on the diagnosis, treatment products and amount to administer.
2 Take Away Points.
- Remember that cloudy pool water can be caused by multiple factors. Check that one of these isn’t mechanical – make sure your filtration system is clean and operating efficiently.
- Make sure that your pool has consistent and sufficient chlorination.
The staff at Rockingham Pool and Spa Solutions are waiting to help you.
Winter is coming to us here in Perth and with the right pool prep, you’ll save yourself a bunch of time and a tonne of cash.
In summer, the Health Department recommends your pump is running 8 hours a day and pumping 2-4ppm chlorine into your pool.
In winter, because there are lower demands on the pool, you should be able to halve your running costs by running your pump for 4 hours a day pumping half your normal chlorine amount. But only if your pool is properly prepared!
Here are the steps at a glance;
Make sure is pool is balanced
Add an Algaecide
Use a Clarifier
Add Phosphate Remover
Overall, we’re going to bring the water back to pure water so we don’t have to use as many chemicals when it’s not needed. This allows us to drop the filtration time and the chlorinate down 50%.
Step one – Make sure your pool is balanced
First step is make sure your pool is balanced. Get your water tested and then take the steps recommended to make sure the water is balanced properly. We don’t want to be putting a copper based algaecide in a pool that already has a super high copper level, excessively high chlorine or a high or low ph level for example.
Step Two – Add an Algaecide
Algaecide is an algae killer. It’s like an insurance policy for your pool. First up, it kills any algae. Secondly, it stays in the pool for 3 months just in case.
Which algaecide? We recommend Zodiac Long Life Algaecide, which is a copper based algaecide. The copper base is what keeps it present in the pool for up to three months.
Be aware though, do not use a copper based algaecide with a Chemigem or Equilibrium system, as it will coat the system’s probes. Probes are how your system reads the ORP and the pH of the water, and if they’re hindered, this can cause them to mis-read the chemical levels in your pool’s water thus causing your system to overdose or underdose by mistake. If you have these systems on your pool, we can recommend an alternative product.
Step 3 – Use a Clarifier
A clarifier is the next step. It breaks down any oils and fats like sunscreen and sweat, allowing your filter to filter them out.
We usually recommend Chitosan clarifier. Chitosan is a natural clarifier made of recycled shellfish. It’s a seriously powerful product, able to break down the oils and fats in our pools, especially that sticky scum line around the pool’s edge that can be difficult to get off.
Step 4 – Phosphate Remover
Phosphates are everywhere. They’re in our air, our food, fertiliser, certain plants and trees and of course, in our pool water. They are not harmful, but in your pool, they chip away at your chlorine supply and are also the main food for algae. If you don’t put in phosphate remover (we recommend this one here), the phosphates will rapidly accelerate algae spread and you’ll have a green pond instead of a sparkling backyard oasis in no time.
Just one more thing – Pool heaters in winter are excellent
Did you know you can heat your pool in winter? Imagine being able to use your pool on one of our nice sunny 27 degree Perth days because your pool is a lovely 32 degrees. It can be done!
Heat pumps for outdoor pools are available and there are some great options out there that are efficient and work really well. These are plumbed in, aligned with your equipment. You can set your temperature and before you know it, Robert is your father’s brother and you can use your pool all year round.
There’s a tonne of heaters on the market, you can check out our range of heaters here. We stock the eVoHeat, they are a fantastic option. Australian made, Australian owned, great quality and we think they’re the best on the market. Definitely keep them in your research when looking for a heat pump!
And That’s That
Thanks for reading folks, let us know if you need a hand with any and all pool and spa related enquiries and we’ll see you next time for more pool and spa tips and info.
Remember, there are different ways to approach this depending on the brand and type of product you are using. Always read the labels and check with your local pool professional. Everyone has their own approach, it’s not a one size fits all process.