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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Solving a Green Pool

Once you have seen the way your pool looks when maintained properly, you’ll know that it should be sparkling, clear and blue. When the water is off-colour, a problem is lurking.
Is the water cloudy and green? This is caused by algae. When you see them, you will already have about 30 million algae per 32ml of water. Luckily we have treatments for all types of algae.
Keep the filtration and circulation running continuously until the pool has cleared.
Remove all floating debris from the pool using a leaf net.
Check the skimmer and pump strainer baskets are clean and free of debris.
Brush pool walls and floor thoroughly to ensure that all matter is put into suspension.
Adjust the pH level to 7.2 – This will ensure that the sanitizer is working efficiently. If you need to adjust the pH, wait for 2 hours before moving to the next stage.
Shock dose the pool and wait a further 2 hours before moving to the next stage.
Add algaecide at the rate of 450ml per 45m3 (10,000 gallons). Wait 12 hours or overnight before moving to the next stage.
Check the free chlorine level and if it is below 3mg/l (ppm), repeat the above shock dose.
Thoroughly brush the pool walls and floor again.
If you have a sand filter then you can add some Jelly Clear Cubes to help the filter remove debris from the pool water.
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

Pool Chemical Functions



Chlorine is a very efficient sanitizer. It not only kills bacteria it will break down organic material. Like most sanitizers though it is unstable. You should use chlorine that is bonded to another chemical to make it solid and easier to handle. When the solid dissolves in the water the chlorine breaks free and destroys bacteria. The chlorine gets used up as it destroys bacteria but it can also be burnt off by sunlight, so if you want it to stay longer in your pool this unstable chemical needs to be stabilized.
There are 3 main types of chlorine you can put in your home pool. The two most common types have chlorine bonded with Cyanuric acid. These are 'Granular Chlorine' and 'Trichlor Tablets'. The granules go straight in your water, the tablets go in a feeder or your skimmer basket.
The Cyanuric acid stabilizes the chlorine helping it stay in the pool and not be burnt off by the sun. But the chlorine will eventually go but the Cyanuric acid stays behind and each time you add these to the pool you add more and more cyanuric acid. So what? If it stabilizes the chlorine it must be good? Well, no, too much Cyanuric acid will 'over stabilize' your pool and the chlorine won’t be able to destroy bacteria properly. To lower the Cyanuric acid level you have to 'dilute' your water. Silly as the concept of diluting water may seem it is quite logical. You must remove some over stabilized water to rid yourself of the Cyanuric acid and top up with tap water. A well maintained pool rarely has this problem because its owner regularly gives the filter a good backwash thus taking out pool water and replacing it with tap water.
The other type of chlorine is un-stabilized. This is called shock treatment. But you do not want the high levels of chlorine to remain because you want to swim in the water later. Un-stabilized chlorine soon burns off leaving you with a clean pool and normal chlorine levels. The chlorine used in shock treatment is usually bonded to calcium and this does not cause excessive problems as a residue.
It is a good idea to 'shock' your pool every two weeks or so even if you may think it does not need it. Never use stabilized chlorine to 'shock' your pool - it is a waste of good chlorine, it will take much longer to 'calm' down to normal levels and will add loads of unwanted Cyanuric acid to your water.
pH Adjustment
Good water balance is essential to allow your chemicals to work properly and for the water to be pleasant to swim in.
The most important part of water balance is its acid content. Acid content is measured on a scale called the pH scale. 7 on the scale is neutral, 2 is most acid, 14 is least acid (alkaline). The water in your eyes comes in at 7.4 on the pH scale and so, for 'bather comfort', as it is called, that is the ideal pH for your pool water. But to get best use out of your chlorine the pH should be 7.0 or lower. So the best compromise is anything between 7.2 and 7.6.
Getting water to the right pH is a slow procedure though simple. You add acid (or alkali) to your pool in the dosages recommended on the pack and wait 24hrs to see if it was enough and if it wasn't do it all again until it is. In hard water areas you may be adding acid all summer long.
There is more to water balance than just pH levels. Another factor is the water's 'Total Alkalinity' (TA). If the TA level is too low the water will not maintain a consistent pH and if it is too high it becomes hard to move the pH value. The ideal level is 100ppm to 150ppm but many pool owners are forced to put up with high TA because the water out of the tap has such a high TA.
Floc is short for flocculent. Flocculents are a chemical that make small particles join with each other to make bigger particles. This is handy for swimming pool owners because their pools tend to get little bits of dead algae and skin in them that make the water go cloudy and these can be too small for the filter to strain out.
There are two main types of flocculent but they are both the same chemical - Aluminium Sulphate also know as just plain 'alum'. In one form it is in flaky granules in the other it is a solid tablet (kibbled alum). The latter is used to 'polish' up a pool that is getting a bit cloudy the former as a last resort on a truly mucky pool (or as a first resort when opening up after winter).
Kibbled alum tablets are added to the water via the skimmer basket. Don't put them in the circulation pump strainer basket because the water in there goes to fast for them, keep the filter going full time. The alum dissolves and forms a coating on top of the filter sand. Then, as the little particles come by it grabs them and keeps them. But in doing so it blocks up the top of the filter and can increase the filter pressure. If the pressure gets too high the coating breaks up and gets washed through the filter and back into the pool taking all the little bits with it and you are back to square one. So, always thoroughly backwash the filter before putting the alum in and keep an eye on the pressure while it is in there. If it gets too high backwash add more tablets. In any case backwash after 48hrs of filtration and if the pool isn't clear enough do it again. It may take three or four goes before you get it perfectly clear.
There are other chemicals you can use to clarify your pool, the term floc tends to apply to Alum. Pool Clarifiers, as they are usually called, do the same as Alum in that they gather small particles together but they work by putting an electrical charge on the particles. The general name for them is Cationic Liquid Clarifiers and there are many types. They work very well and quite quickly but are much more expensive than Alum. They now make them in a gel form that makes them easier to handle and use but no less expensive.
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

How to Recover a Cloudy Pool

If you look after your pool correctly then it should be so clear that you can make out whether a coin on the bottom is heads or tails. If you can’t, one of several things could be wrong.
Always check your circulation and filtration system, and make sure the flow from the inlets is powerful enough and not weak, if not increase the filter running time to 24 hours per day until the water clears. The filter must be in proper working order, with clean filter media and the pump should be running for at least 8 hours a day – longer when the pool is being heavily used.
Check the chlorine level, is it below 1mg/l? Are chloramines present? If the sanitiser level drops then bacteria and algae may invade, or organic wastes can build up causing water to cloud and loose its sparkle. Maintain chlorine levels between 1 to 3mg/l, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If the pH level of the water is over 7.6, it may cause cloudiness and scale build up. If the total alkalinity of the water is over 150mg/l, it can cause cloudy water and scale information. You will need to monitor pH and total alkalinity and adjust as necessary.
Check for signs of Algae, make sure the walls or other fixtures are not slick or slimy. Algae growth in its early stages may not be visible, or may show up as black or mustard spots on the pool surface. If this is the case then shock dose your pool.
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

How to balance your Pool Water

It may surprise you, but the water you drink may not be suitable for your pool. Tap water can have a high or low pH and mineral levels that can harm your pool. Improper levels of pH and minerals can also prevent pool chemicals from doing their job effectively, not to mention damaging your pool and its equipment with stains, scale and corrosion. So, even if you fill your pool from the tap, it may need to be chemically balanced.
In addition to balancing your pool water after the initial fill, it is a good idea to have your water balanced at the beginning of each swimming season.
This is the most important water balance test that can be carried out. A low pH reading indicates that the water is too acidic, which causes chlorine to be used up too quickly and leads to corrosion of equipment and damage to pool surfaces. Use a pH increaser to raise the pH level. A high pH reduces chlorines effectiveness, and can cause cloudy water and scale formation on equipment and surfaces. Use a pH de-creaser to lower the pH level.
Total Alkalinity
The correct total alkalinity will make your water’s pH level much easier to maintain. If the total alkalinity is low the pH will fluctuate and the water could become corrosive. Use an alkalinity increaser to raise the total alkalinity level. If the total alkalinity is high the pH will be difficult to change and a bicarbonate scale could appear on the heater, within pipe work and on pool surfaces. Use an alkalinity reducer to lower the total alkalinity level.
Calcium Hardness
This is the term used to describe the amount of dissolved calcium in pool water. The idea level is approximately 175-275mg/l depending on the pool finish. High calcium hardness can cause cloudy water and scale formation. Use a stain & scale inhibitor where calcium hardness levels are high to prevent scale deposits appearing. Low levels of calcium hardness can harm the pool and its equipment.
Minimise chlorine loss to sunlight
The sun’s rays can act like a magnet and draw chlorine from your pool water. This can be reduced by using stabilised chlorine. As Poolmarket offers stabilised chlorine a separate stabiliser is only necessary when the pool has been drained and refilled.
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

Winterise your Pool

When it is time to shut down your pool for winter season here are some tips on what you should do. The following advice applies to in-ground pools and hard sided above ground pools. For soft sided splasher pools goto to the bottom of the page.
Your water
Make sure the pH is in the range 7.2 to 7.8. Add Dry Acid or Soda Ash if necessary to reach the correct pH.
Shock dose your swimming pool water with shock chlorine - raise the chlorine levels to 6 to 10 ppm. Keep your pump running for 6 to 12 hours to distribute the chlorine to all parts of the pool.
Add a winterising product – this is a long life algaecide designed to keep your pool free of algae over the winter months. Keep your pump running for 6 to 12 hours to distribute the algaecide to all parts of the pool.
Switch your skimmer valve off and drain the water down to 4 to 6 inches below the bottom of the skimmer. This is to allow for the winter rainfall to bring the level back up otherwise the pool could overflow.
Protect your walls from damage by expanding ice by floating something on the water surface to absorb expansion. This can be polystyrene or used chemical containers half filled with water. It is a good idea to tether them around the pool because they can all end up in one corner.
Put your winter debris cover on the pool to keep as many leaves out as possible. Always tension it as tight as possible. You do not want it dangling in the water. You may need to re-tension it after the first two or three days. Remember normal winter covers are not safety covers. Pets and children can still end up in the water if they walk on the cover.
Plant Room Equipment
Once you have circulated your chemicals and drained down the top level it is time to drain the water out of your pump, filter and heater. Each should have a drain plug at the bottom to let the water out. This is so it does not freeze inside it and damage it.
Early Spring
As the days get longer and the weather gets a bit warmer in late February/March keep an eye on your water. As the long life algaecide starts to wear off you may need to run the pump to circulate a bit of chlorine or algaecide in the pool to keep the algae at bay until you are ready for the spring open up.
Soft Sided Splasher Pools.
Soft sided inflatable “easy set” pools and frame pools should be emptied and allowed to dry out. Pack them away somewhere dry, not in contact with the ground. Back in their box or on a pallet or on a shelf. Make sure mice don’t nest in it or that the cat chooses it as a bed. To get the last bit of water out when emptying an easy set pool you can deflate the top ring and stand on it or put something heavy on it. Drain all the water out of the pump and pipes and take the filter out. Make sure you keep the bungs in a safe place so you can find them again next year. In the space vacated by the filter is a good place. If you have a solar cover give it a thorough clean with fresh water. If possible jet it off with a pressure washer but don’t use too much intensity if your cover is quite old. Fold it up and pack it away
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

How to look after your Liner

The pool liner is the most important part of your pool. After all, it's the only part that you really see after you have finished installing your pool.
Proper care and maintenance must be practiced to maintain its beauty year after year. Weekly maintenance will assure your pool will never "get ahead of you", thus preventing most common problems from occurring.
There can be many contributing factors that lead to the fading of your liner. All of those factors can be grouped under the heading of chemical attack, however the leading cause is simply over chlorinating. Just as excessive use of bleach will fade your clothes, over chlorinating of your pool water will greatly accelerate the fading of your liner.
From the vinyl's standpoint, any chlorine level above 3 PPM will accelerate the fading process. The use of a chlorine based sanitizing system is going to bleach your liner. There is no way around this fact. The higher the active chlorine level, the quicker the fading will occur.
Be especially careful when shocking, closing or opening your pool. It is critical that you circulate the water for a minimum of 72 hours after any of these procedures. The average shock treatment is going to bring the chlorine level of your water to at least 25 PPM and as high as 50 PPM.
The specific gravity of the chlorine is higher (weighs more) than that of the water. It is therefore critical that you circulate your water long enough to insure that the chlorine will not settle out of the water and concentrate in the deepest part of the pool.
It is also important that you do not cover your pool for at least 24 hours after one of these treatments. The covering of the pool will greatly restrict the chlorine's ability to dissipate, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood of damage.
Our experience has shown that of all the sanitizing systems, Trichloroisocyanuric acid has the greatest potential to bleach a vinyl liner. Alkaline sanitizers (Hydochlorite) are much more vinyl friendly and just as effective. No matter what system you use, always use the minimum amount of chemical that will get the job done.
Less is best when adding chemicals to your vinyl lined pool.
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

Green ways to heat your Pool

There are 2 green ways of heating your pool. One is called solar thermal, and it consists of panels that absorb the heat of the sun’s rays, heating the water for the pool. The other is a combination of an air-to-air heat pump coupled with a small solar electric system. Although both methods are better than traditional gas or oil fired heaters, our heat pump/solar electric combination provides the best cost/benefit, comfort, and maintenance profile. Here is how it works:

Heat Pump Swimming Pool Heaters
Heat pump: Heat pumps are an energy efficient way to heat your pool without the use of combustion of gas or oil. As the pool pump circulates the swimming pools water, the water drawn from the pool passes through a filter and the heat pump heater. The heat pump uses a liquid solution within an evaporator coil to absorb the heat from the outside air. The warm gas in the coil then passes through a compressor. The compressor increases the heat, creating a very hot gas. This heat is then transferred to the cooler pool water circulating through the heater. The heated water then returns to the pool.

Small solar electric system: The only energy required to power the pool heat pump is electricity, which can easily be generated from a small solar electric system that typically fits on the pool house, pergola, garage, main house, or is tucked away on your grounds. The amount of solar electric required for a typical pool is 2-3KW, which can fit on a 15’x15’ roof.
Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660

What if i don't want to use Chlorine

by There are many benefits to having a non-chlorine pool and options available to help you do so. You will read many pros and cons about a non-chlorine pool. Ultimately, the choice is yours in which system you choose to use. There is a salt system that is said to be a non-chlorine system but since salt’s chemical name is sodium chloride and sodium chloride is the raw ingredient to make chlorine this is just a smoke screen. You will experience the same problems with a salt system that you would incur in a chlorine pool: the red and burning eyes etc. You also have the choice of a mineral cartridge system. This system uses cartridges that kill bacteria as the water passes through them. In order for the water to be continuously cleaned by this system your pump must remain running 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Ozone generators are another non-chlorine pool system choice. These generators kill bacteria by using ultra violet light. These units can be expensive. They are better suited for a spa or small pool because of their operating costs. Ionizers are a good choice for killing the bacteria in your non-chlorine pool, however they do not sanitize and you will have to use other chemicals to do so. Some private, public, commercial, water-park and hotel pools have switched to Ozone technologies as people become more concerned about chlorine and chlorinated by-products. Other than the issue of carcinogens and other health problems, what are the relative benefits of Ozone vs. chlorine? One of the main problems with adopting Ozone is that there is a higher initial capital cost to the swimming pool compared to chlorine. However, over the life of the pool Ozone and ultraviolet technologies reduce the on-going operating and maintenance costs. These costs can be significant. Chlorine is famous for destroying pool infrastructures, rusting out ventilation systems and destroying pool liners etc. Ozone poses no such problems. The Ozone pool will be much cleaner, which means dirt, grease, oils, organics and other materials will wind up in the filter system much faster than with chlorinated systems. If the filter and strainer maintenance is not stepped up accordingly, the pool re-circulating system will slow down and the pool will actually look dirtier than with Chlorine. However, proper maintenance of the filter system will solve this problem. What is the difference in technologies? Chlorine is a complex man-made chemical that found original use in the infamous "mustard gas" of the First World War. Ozone has been in use for over 100 years, primarily in Europe and was first put to use for water purification, odour control and in medical hospitals. Ozone is made from Oxygen or O2, which is converted through electricity to Ozone or O3. Ozone is a much more powerful oxidant than chlorine. However, the "shelf life" of Ozone is limited. It must be manufactured and used on-site. This is done through Ozone Generators which convert Oxygen in the air into Ozone. As well, Ozone is considered a "short-term" sanitizer and chlorine is considered a "long-term" sanitizer. Chlorine is also an entrenched technology. It has been widely used in North America and was first adopted at the turn of the century. It is still the reigning champion of sanitizers and has many supporters in the chemical and swimming pool industries. Other options for a non-chlorine pool would be polymeric biaguanide chemicals. These chemicals are very expensive but they do provide a higher quality of water than what chlorine systems do. This also can be more time consuming since it has to be added manually to the pool. The best know polymeric biguanide is polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) but for the purposes of this article we’ll call it Baquacil. Baquacil keeps the water sanitised but it needs help from BaquaCheck and BaquaShock. BaquaCheck is an algaecide and BaquaShock is 36% Hydrogen Peroxide solution used as a shock treatment to break down bather waste. Baquacil is totally incompatible with chlorine and before you use it you must get all of the chlorine out of the pool. Likewise if you change your mind and go back to Chlorine you must get all the Baquacil out. You can’t use persulphates with Baquacil either. Like all non-chlorine alternatives it is expensive and has its own rather tricky testing system. It is not a popular system in this country and is not without its critics, particularly in the USA, but those that do use it seem to love it. Hopefully this article has given an insight in to the various ways of cutting down or eliminating Chlorine from your pool. Non-Chlorine alternatives cost more and require more maintenance but we think it is worth it for the improved water quality. Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us. Tel: 0117 230 9660

How to Open your Pool in the Spring


The right start at the beginning of the Swimming pool season can make all the difference to how easy your pool is to maintain. With Poolmarket’s products, the right start is easy. Just follow these simple steps below:
1. Fill your pool. If the pool was closed for the winter and the water level is low, top up the water level to the middle of the skimmer opening.
2. Remove your pool cover. If your pool is new, skip this step. If your pool has been covered with a winter debris cover, sweep it and clean it to prevent mildew and unpleasant odours. Once it is clean, store the cover in a clean, dry place, away from sunlight and weather.
3. Check your pump skimmer and basket filter. Make sure all equipment is clean and in working order. Start the circulation system and remove debris from the pool. Your filter is a very important part of your pool maintenance programme. If it is not working properly, neither will the chemical products you add. If the filter media is dirty or was not cleaned before the pool was closed, remove grease, oil and scale deposits.
4. Minimise Chlorine loss to sunlight. The sun’s rays can act like a magnet and draw chlorine from your pool water; this can be reduced by applying stabiliser. As Poolmarket offer stabilised forms of chlorine a separate stabiliser is normally only necessary when the pool is drained and refilled.
5. Test Chlorine and pH. Use your water analysis test kit to check the free chlorine and pH levels. When you have achieved a free chlorine level of 1 to 3mg/l and a pH level between 7.2 and 7.6, you’re ready to swim.
6. Now that you are swimming. Start your routine maintenance.

Please check out our other guides for more help and advice for your swimming pool or spa or if you have any questions then feel free to contact us.

Tel: 0117 230 9660