F.A.Q.

Q. How do I determine how many gallons are in my swimming pool?

A. For a rectangular pool you can figure the rough volume of your pool by multiplying the pool length x pool width x average pool depth x 7.5.  This will give you a pretty good estimate of the total amount of gallons in your swimming pool. 

Q. What is the ideal range my swimming pool chemicals should be in? 

A. Water chemistry can vary slightly from pool to pool but here is a general ideal range:

Free Available Chlorine: 1-3ppm
Combined Available Chlorine: 0ppm
Total Available Chlorine: 1-3ppm
Bromine: 2-4ppm
pH: 7.2-7.8
Total Alkalinity: 80-140ppm
Cynauric Acid: 30-50ppm
Calcium Hardness: 200-400ppm
Copper: 0ppm
Iron: 0ppm

Q. How often should my pool water chemistry be tested?

A. Residential pool owners should test the water and make adjustments NO LESS than once a week (the more often, the better). The sanitizer in a swimming pool makes it safe for the swimmers, the pH and other chemical balances keep the pool system in good shape.

Q. My pool is cloudy, how do I fix it?

A. Pool water clarity is dependent on two things: the effectiveness of the filter and the chemical balance in the pool. The pool’s filter provides 85% of the water clarity and the chemicals used to treat a pool add the other 15%. Chemicals or filters alone cannot keep a pool clear. If the filter media is old it may need replacing. If the pool ‘balance’ is wrong it needs to be corrected. The problem usually associated with a cloudy pool is the filter media. A D. E. filter may need a manual cleaning, a sand filter may need backwashing or replacement of the sand, a cartridge filter usually always requires replacement of the cartridges. If the pool water chemistry is okay, it’s time to perform maintenance on the filter.

Q. The pressure gauge on the filter is high, what do I need to do?

A. There are several reasons a filter gauge pressure can be excessive. The filter needs backwashing, the return line valves (the pipes that push water back to the pool) are shut or partially closed, the filter needs to have new media installed (D. E. manual breakdown, new filter sand, or a new cartridge element).

Q. Why is the pressure gauge on the filter is abnormally low?

A. A low pressure on the filter gauge usually indicates that water is not being allowed to get to the pool pump. The usual suspects are that the skimmer baskets and the pump strainer basket are clogged with debris (and should be cleaned), there could be a leak at the suction side of the pump, the pool water level is too low and the skimmer is sucking air, the skimmer weir (the little door in the mount of the skimmer) is stuck in the up position and must be freed, or the pump lid o-ring is missing or seated incorrectly (may just need lubrication).

Q. When should I backwash my filter?

A. The industry standard for backwashing is when the filter gauge shows a pressure that is five to ten pounds higher than a ‘clean’ pressure. All filters work by forcing water through a porous media which traps the larger particles from the water. When the filter media is clean, the water passes easily through and the gauge pressure is lower. As debris is caught in the media it is harder to push the water through the filter which makes the gauge pressure higher. When enough debris is in the filter to clog it up by five to ten pounds, it’s time to backwash. Call us for complete backwash instructions for your filter or we’ll be glad to schedule a visit to insure your equipment is optimal.

Q. How often should my D. E. filter be manually cleaned?

A. While periodic backwashing takes care of most of the debris inside a D. E. filter, only ‘breaking down’ the filter and manually cleaning it will get rid of all the debris. Filter manufacturers recommend that a filter be manually cleaned twice a year (spring and fall are best). To prevent mishap the filter should be cleaned by a professional, however, anyone who is mechanically handy can take on the task of opening the filter, cleaning the grids, inspecting the grid assembly, and reassembling the filter. Call us to schedule an appointment to have your filter elements cleaned or with questions you may have if you decide to clean them yourself. 

Q. The pool equipment is leaking, why?

A. Almost any pool equipment leak involves the replacement of defective parts with new. As pool equipment ages it develops stress fractures in the plastic and the metal because of the pressures involved and the equipment vibration. Some equipment leaks are very minor but all leaks should be repaired as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage. We recommend that you note the location of the leak, the model name of the device that is leaking, and call us with this information for service.

Q. Why is water constantly running out my backwash line?

A. The backwash valve is under pressure from the pump, and so if a failure occurs in the backwash valve, water will tend to ‘squirt out’. The two main reasons for this problem are that the valve gaskets have unseated or are missing, or the gaskets and o-rings need lubrication.  If your backwash line is leaking, call us to schedule an appointment for repair.  A leaky backwash line can cause a great deal of water loss which can become rather expensive if not repaired timely. 

Q. Why does my circulation system lose prime when it’s turned off?

A. There is a leak somewhere in the above ground plumbing. An intact circulation system is like putting a straw into a glass of water. Place a finger over the end of the straw and then pull the straw out of the glass. Note that the water stays in the straw. If there is a hole in the straw or if your finger isn’t sealing the straw well, the ‘water column’ will drip or fall out of the straw. The system of pipes and equipment associated with the pool or spa is like a big straw. If there is a leak somewhere in the circulation system, the entire system will slowly (or quickly, depending on the size of the ‘hole’) leak down to the water level of the pool. Once the piping system is empty it takes a lot of time to purge the air from the system and pick up a prime on the pump again. Leaks can stem from loose gaskets or o-rings, leaky valve stems, a leaking pump seal, a broken pipe, poorly sealed threaded fittings… quite a few places, actually. The loss of prime should be fixed in order to prevent damage to the pump (pumps are not meant to run dry for any period of time).

Q. My pool pump is very noisy, is this bad?

A. There are several reasons a pump can be noisy and each poses a different repair aspect. When air is introduced into a pump it is called cavitation. Sometimes air is introduced because of a poor hydraulic design in the plumbing. Most of the time, air is introduced due to a leak in the pipes that lead into the suction side of the pump. All pumps have two ‘ball bearing’ assemblies, one at the front of the motor and one at the back. The most common bearing failure is due to a leaking seal which allows water to enter the motor through the front bearing. Bearing failures usually start as a ‘whine’ and quickly develop into a loud grinding noise, or an all out ‘screaming’ sound. As a motor repair or replacement is fairly technical, we recommend you call us for a service appointment to determine and fix the source of the noise.

Q. My pool pump hums but it won’t start.

A. Please note that electrical repairs can be hazardous or fatal if done improperly – always refer electrical repairs to a professional. There are several reasons a pump won’t ‘spin’, they are:

  • The starting capacitor has failed.
  • The start switch has failed or is fouled.
  • A damaged pump seal has allowed water into the motor which has caused the bearings to fail.
  • The stator or armature windings have burnt out
  • The pump impeller is bound and can’t spin.

Q. Why isn’t my heater coming on?

A. All pool heaters have a series of safety switches inside that monitor if it’s okay for the heater to turn on. There is a pressure switch that senses if there is water coursing through the heater (heater MUST only engage if there is water flowing through the system). There are switches that sense if the heater is ‘too hot’ that will keep a heater from turning on. Sometimes the thermostat needs to be adjusted ‘higher’ to create a ‘demand for heat’. A dirty filter can prevent adequate water pressure from reaching the heater which will keep the heater from firing. The heater’s gas valve may be in the ‘off’ position. Please note that we provide instruction on lighting ‘standing pilot’ heaters in the event the pilot light has blown out in the heater. There are quite a few reasons that a heater may not fire, and if the problem involves mechanical repairs, we recommend that the unit be serviced by one of our trained service technicians.

Q. My pool light doesn’t work, why not?

A. There are several possible reasons the pool or spa light doesn’t work.

  • The bulb is burnt out and the bulb and lens gasket should be replaced.
  • The ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protecting the light circuit has tripped and needs to be reset.
  • The light is activated with a timer or a photocell that has failed.
  • The light circuit at the breaker panel has tripped and needs to be reset.

Please note that electrical repairs can be hazardous or fatal if done improperly – always refer electrical repairs to a professional.  Please contact us to schedule an appointment for repair on all pool lighting.