Pool Care Tips / Frequently Asked Questions
Pool Care Tips / Frequently Asked Questions
In The Swim® has created an Online Pool Care Guide to help both the novice and the veteran pool owner establish and follow a proper pool maintenance routine.
The Online Pool Care Guide takes the mystery out of pool care! Below is an INDEX of broad based category links that bring you to frequently asked questions regarding that category.
We recommend you take a moment to determine your pools capacity. This information is key to determining the amount of chemicals needed to maintain your pool, as well as sizes of items such as pool covers, liners, heaters and pumps that you may need to purchase.
Important Things You Should Know About Your Pool
- How to determine your pool's capacity?
- What is pH and how does it affect my pool water?
- What affects the pH level in my pool?
- What is backwashing and why is it necessary?
- What does "shocking" do to my pool?
How to determine your pool's capacity?
Before you begin your water treatment program, you must know the capacity of your pool. The amount of chemicals you need will depend on the amount of water your swimming pool holds. Please use the convenient Above Ground pool or In Ground pool gallonage chart below to determine the capacity of your pool.
Above Ground Swimming Pool Gallonage Chart
|Pool Depth||Pool Depth|
|Pool Size||48 in.||52 in.||Pool Size||48 in.||52 in.|
|12' Round||3,500||4,000||12x24 Oval||8,000||8,500|
|15' Round||5,500||6,000||15x24 Oval||9,300||10,000|
|18' Round||7,600||8,300||15x30 Oval||12,000||13,000|
|21' Round||10,000||11,000||16x32 Oval||14,000||15,000|
|24' Round||14,000||15,000||18x33 Oval||16,000||17,000|
|27' Round||17,000||19,000||21x41 Oval||23,000||25,000|
Average Depth (for In Ground Pools)
You are required to know the Average Depth of your In Ground pool to use the convenient pool gallonage chart below. Please use this simple equation to determine the average depth of your pool:
Deep End (feet) + Shallow End (feet) / 2 = Average Depth
In Ground Swimming Pool Gallonage Chart
|Average Pool Depth|
|Pool Size||5 ft.||6 ft.||7 ft.||8 ft.|
What is pH and how does it affect my pool water?
pH is the most important factor controlling water balance. If pH is too high (above 7.8 ppm), cloudy water will result. If pH is too low (below 7.2 ppm), corrosion of metallic pipes, etched plaster, rapid loss of chlorine residual and irritation to swimmers may result.
What affects the pH level in my pool?
Alkalinity, sun, rain and bather load all affect pH levels. It is important to maintain proper pH levels to prevent loss of chlorine and irritation to swimmers.
What is backwashing and why is it necessary?
Backwashing is the process, which cleans sand filters. The first step in backwashing is to turn the handle on the top of the valve from "filter" to "backwash" while the motor is off. This reverses the flow of water and instead of spraying water over the sand it pushes water down the standpipe, which forces the sand to be flooded with water, essentially lifting all debris out of the sand and filter. During this process, you should watch the sight glass carefully; you will first see dirty water in the sight glass, then, after about 3-4 minutes, the water should be clean. This means that all the debris is out of the tank. When finished, rotate the handle from "backwash" to "rinse" while the motor is off. Allow water to circulate approximately one to two minutes. This will clean all debris out of your valve. Then, rotate handle from "rinse" to "filter" and you're on your way! Keep in mind that sand filters rely on pressure gauges to notify you when the tank should be cleaned. It is a good idea to change your pressure gauge once per year.
What does "shocking" do to my pool?
"Shocking" means super-chlorinating. This process helps to rejuvenate pool water by burning off chloramines or bromamines, which are sanitized, or "dead" particles. This helps to kill bacteria and algae, which cause your pool water to become cloudy. You should shock your pool one time per week, or more often during periods of heavy bather use or when combined chlorine is .7 ppm or higher.
How do I open my pool?
Step 1: Remove Your Cover
To make removal of your cover easier, be sure to drain as much water off the top of the cover as possible. This task is made simple with the [In The Swim Economy Pump](https://intheswim.com/p/dynamo-340210-1-1-2hp-single-speed-above-ground-pool-pump-115v/300046.html) or Water Wizard Pump. Slowly remove your cover so that unwanted debris (leaves, twigs, etc.) that has accumulated on your cover over the winter does not fall into your pool. To further extend the life of your pool cover, thoroughly remove any dirt and grime from your cover with a mild soap and rinse with your garden hose. To prevent the cover from sticking or forming mildew, let it dry completely before storing it for the swimming season.
Step 2: Connect Your Pool Equipment
If your filtration system was cleaned before closing your pool in the fall, then attach the hoses and open all valves. If your system needs to be cleaned or the sand needs to be replaced, now is the time to do it. Follow manufacturer's guidelines to accurately ready your pump, filter and heater for the swimming season. Be sure to lubricate all o-rings with water-based lubricant, free skimmer basket and lint pot of debris and remove all winterizing plugs. If In The Swim [Antifreeze](https://intheswim.com/p/pool-antifreeze/W1150-VAR.html) was used, vacuum out the lines or let it drain into the pool.
Step 3: Add Water
Begin adding water until ¾ of the skimmer is covered.
Step 4: Clean Your Pool
Once the pool is filled, it is time to skim and vacuum. Chemicals are much more effective if the pool is clear of debris. In The Swim [Clarifier](https://intheswim.com/p/super-clarifier/B-Y2112-VAR.html) will help your filter remove small particles that ordinary vacuuming can't pick up.
Step 5: Adjust Your Pool's pH & Alkalinity Levels
pH is the most important component of your pool water. The pH level must be between 7.2 and 7.6. This can be accomplished withIn The Swim [pH Increaser](https://intheswim.com/p/ph-increaser/Y7000-VAR.html), [pH Reducer](https://intheswim.com/p/ph-reducer/Y7100-VAR.html). To keep your pool's pH from fluctuating, maintain an Alkalinity level of 80-120 parts per million (ppm). Use In The Swim [Alkalinity Increaser](https://intheswim.com/p/alkalinity-increaser/Y5670-VAR.html) or [pH Reducer](https://intheswim.com/p/ph-reducer/Y7100-VAR.html) to control your alkalinity level.
Step 6: Shock Your Pool
To effectively oxidize your pool water, add In The Swim [Pool Shock](https://intheswim.com/p/pool-shock-treatment/B-Y8030-VAR.html), [Super Pool Shock](https://intheswim.com/p/super-pool-shock/B-Y7930-VAR.html), [Lithium Shock](https://intheswim.com/p/pool-shock-treatment/B-Y8030-VAR.html) or [Chlor-Free Shock](https://intheswim.com/p/chlorine-free-pool-shock/B-Y8255-VAR.html) at a rate of 1 lb. per 10,000 gallons.
Step 7: Stabilize Your Pool
To prevent the rapid loss of chlorine, add In The Swim [Stabilizer](https://intheswim.com/p/pool-stabilizer-conditioner/Y7500-VAR.html) at a rate of 2-1/2 lbs. per 10,000 gallons. Completely dissolve the required amount of Stabilizer in a bucket of water and add to pool water.
Step 8: Sanitize Your Pool
To make swimming safe and economical, maintain proper levels of sanitizer with In The Swim® Chlorine or Bromine. The chlorine level must read between 1-3 ppm and bromine must be between 2-4 ppm.[Chlorine(https://intheswim.com/c/chlorine-bromine/) can be added in tablet, stick or granular form. Bromine is only available in tablet form and requires an automatic feeder for dispensing.
Step 9: Add Algaecide
Add algaecide as a preventative measure for keeping your water free of algae. In The Swim® offers several types of [algaecides](https://intheswim.com/c/pool-algaecides/) at different concentrations to help fight off those pesky algae blooms!
Step 10: In The Swim® Start-Up Kits
Our kits save you time and money! In The Swim® offers the kit in [3 convenient sizes](https://intheswim.com/p/pool-start-up-kit-with-powerful-chlorine-shock/MASTER-SKU1263.html) to fit your pool. Each kit includes the necessary chemicals for getting your pool ready for the swimming season. In The Swim® Start-Up Kits include:
- Chlorine Shock
- Stain, Rust & Scale Preventor
- How do I maintain my filter?
- How do I maintain my water?
- How do I shock my pool?
- Which shock should I use?
- When should I vacuum and skim my pool?
- My pool has scum or "bathtub ring" on the walls, what causes this and how do I clean it?
- How do you sanitize/prepare fill water?
How do I maintain my filter?
Your filter must operate for a sufficient length of time each day in order to completely circulate the water. Circulating pool water is what brings debris to your pool filter, where it is removed from the water. Over time, the filter can become clogged with this debris. This results in built-up pressure and decreased productivity. When this occurs, In The Swim® Liquid Sand Filter Cleaner can be added to the skimmer to bring your filter back to its normal operating efficiency. Adding 8 oz. of In The Swim® Liquid Sand Filter Cleaner weekly can be used to prevent clogging. Note: DE and cartridge filters should also be cleaned regularly with In The Swim® Granular Filter Cleaner.
How do I maintain my water?
Your pool water must be in balance for the most effective use of chemicals. Pool water should be tested everyday to ensure that the water's components are within the desired levels (see chart below for desired readings). In The Swim® offers two types off water testing methods that test for sanitizer (chlorine or bromine), pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and cyanuric acid.
- Liquid Drops Method: Although more time consuming than the test strips, the drop method can accurately determine the amount of chemical adjuster required to establish the desired water component levels.
- Test Strip Method: Simply dip the strip into the water and compare the results to the color chart on the bottle.
Pool Component Reference Chart
|pH||7.2 - 7.6|
|1 - 3 ppm
2 - 4 ppm
|Total Alkalinity||80 - 120 ppm|
|Calcium Hardness||200 - 350 ppm|
|Cyanuric Acid||30 - 60 ppm|
How do I shock my pool?
Add shock by broadcasting it over the pool's surface. Keep the solar cover off during shock treatment because the concentrated chlorine content will make the cover brittle and susceptible to tearing.
Tip - To prevent bleaching your liner, it is best to dissolve shock in a bucket of water before broadcasting it into your pool.
A good rule of thumb for shocking is once every week under normal conditions and twice a week during prolonged periods of warm weather, heavy rainfall and heavy bather loads. The best time to shock your pool is at night because during the day, the sun's rays quickly reduce the effectiveness for the shock. Additionally, shocking overnight will allow the chlorine level to decrease by morning, preventing irritation of swimmer's skin and eyes.
Which shock should I use?
Super Pool Shock is a super powerful chlorine-based shock that is excellent for killing algae. This concentrated shock must be diluted with water before it is added to your pool.
Pool Shock is comparable to Burn Out®, Sock-It® and Power Powder®. In The Swim® Pool Shock should be used when high levels of chlorine are required. Swimming is not recommended for 12-24 hours after use.
Chlor-Free Shock is a powerful non-chlorine oxidizer that destroys chloramines and allows swimming during use. Chlor-Free Shock is the same quality as Oxy Brite® and Shock Brite®.
Lithium Shock is a chlorine-based shock with lithium as its active ingredient. Same quality as Burnout 35®, Fast Shock® and Super Chlorinator 35®. Lithium Shock is 35% available chlorine and will not bleach your pool liner.
Note: To make sure your pool is safe for swimming, be sure to follow all directions for use on the shock treatment you choose.
When should I vacuum and skim my pool?
The final order of business to keeping your pool water crystal clean and clear is vacuuming and skimming on a regular basis. Keeping your pool free of debris allows your chemicals to effectively sanitize your pool water. Vacuuming can be done manually or with one of the reliable In The Swim® Automatic Pool Cleaners. In The Swim® offers in-ground and above-ground cleaners for all your pool needs. In The Swim® carries a complete line of pool equipment and chemical products to keep your pool's water, floor, walls and surfaces clean.
My pool has scum or "bathtub ring" on the walls, what causes this and how do I clean it?
This scum is caused by grease and oil from swimmers. Regular use of Pool Perfect will prevent the ring from forming, and In The Swim® Tile & Vinyl Cleaner easily removes existing scum. Use In The Swim® Super Tile & Vinyl Cleaner+ for tough jobs.
How do you sanitize/prepare fill water?
It is necessary to remove all metals, balance the pH, alkalinity and calcium levels, introduce algaecide and shock products, and most importantly, run your filter and chlorinator when pool is filled.
Pool Water Balancing
- How do I balance pH?
- How do I balance Alkalinity?
- How do I balance Calcium Hardness?
- How do I balance Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid)?
- Sanitation (Chlorine or Bromine)
How do I balance pH?
Optimal Range = 7.2 to 7.6
The most important component of pool water is pH. If pH is too high, (above 7.6), the result is cloudy water. In The Swim® pH Reducer will effectively lower the pH to the required levels. If pH is below 7.2, objects in the pool will corrode and swimmers may experience skin irritation. To keep pH in its desired range of 7.2-7.6, simply add In The Swim® pH Increaser or pH Reducer as necessary.
How do I balance Alkalinity?
Optimal Range = 80 to 120 ppm
Alkalinity, in its desired range of 80-120 ppm, will help keep your pH level from fluctuating. When total alkalinity is above 120 ppm, pH will gradually rise. Adding In The Swim® pH Reducer will lower the total alkalinity to its required level. When alkalinity is below 80 ppm, simply add In The Swim® Alkalinity Increaser. If alkalinity remains low, it will be difficult to keep pH levels in the desired range.
How do I balance Calcium Hardness?
Optimal Range = 200 to 350 ppm
Calcium hardness is an integral component to water chemistry that prevents corrosion and cloudy water.
When calcium hardness is above 350 ppm, the water tends to become cloudy. In The Swim® Stain Away reverses the effects of high calcium hardness.
When calcium hardness is below 200 ppm, corrosion of metals in your pool will occur. In The Swim®Calcium Hardness Increaser returns calcium hardness to the required levels.
How do I balance Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid)?
Optimal Range = 30 to 60 ppm
In The Swim® Stabilizer (cyanuric acid) is used to prevent the rapid evaporation of chlorine. A dosage of 1-2/3 lbs. Per 100,000 gallons of water should decrease the amount of chlorine consumed during the season.
Sanitation (Chlorine or Bromine)
Chlorine levels must be between 1-3 ppm. In The Swim® offers four forms of chlorine:
- 1" Tablets
- 3" Tablets
Which variety you choose is a matter of personal preference, however, 3" Tablets are the most popular variety and can easily be used in floating chlorine dispensers or simply placed in your skimmer basket.
Bromine levels must be between 2-4 ppm. Bromine is only available in 1" Tablets and must be dispensed by an automatic feeder, which is available through In The Swim®.
- How do I close my pool?
- What types of covers are available for my pool?
- How do I install my above-ground solid winter cover?
- How do I install my in-ground solid winter cover?
How do I close my pool?
Step 1. Clean Your Pool
Clean-up next Spring will be greatly reduced if your pool is thoroughly cleaned before closing it in the fall. Be sure to vacuum the bottom and skim the surface before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2. Balance Your Water
Balance the components of your pool the same way you would if you were maintaining your pool for the swimming season. All components should be within their desire ranges; add the appropriate corrective chemicals to bring levels into the required range.
Step 3. Shock Your Pool and Add Algaecide
In The Swim® Lithium Shock or Chlorine-Free Shock is recommended when closing a swimming pool. Chlorine Pool Shock may also be used, but is not recommended for a pool with a vinyl liner because the chlorine shock may bleach or stain the liner. In The Swim® Algaecide or Algaecide 50 is recommended for preventative maintenance of algae growth over the winter months. Add the recommended dosage of algaecide and shock treatment while your pool filter is circulating the water.
Step 4. Add In The Swim® Non-Chlorine Winterizing Kit
To make winterizing simple and economical, we suggest one of In The Swim®'s Winterizing Kits, available in 3 convenient sizes to fit your pool. Our kit comes complete with Winterizing Inhibitor, Winterizing Stain-Away, Chlor-Free Shock and a float containing a non-chlorine oxidizer. (You may skip Step #3 if you're using a Winterizing Kit )
Step 5. Lower The Water Level
Lower the water level in your pool to 4-6 inches below the skimmer. In The Swim® suggests taking all above-ground pool filter equipment indoors for the winter to prevent cracking from freezing water. In-ground pool filters require that the lines be drained, plugged and filled with anti-freeze. Be sure to follow manufacturer's guidelines and instructions for protecting your underground pool lines.
Step 6. Drain and Plug Your Lines
In-ground pools require the lines to be drained, plugged, and filled with anti-freeze. First, the valves must be closed. The next step is to drain or blow out the lines. Plug them with In The Swim® Winterizing Plugs. Proceed to fill the skimmer line with In The Swim® Non-Toxic Anti-Freeze. In the Spring, In The Swim® Anti-Freeze can be vacuumed out or drained into the pool since it is a non-toxic formula. Be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and instructions for protecting in-ground pool lines.
Be sure to place an In The Swim® Skimmer Guard into the skimmer to prevent costly damage from ice. TheSkimmer Guard acts as an ice compensator, and will prevent your skimmer from cracking once the rain/snow water accumulates in the skimmer.
TIME-SAVING TIP - After you've drained your pool equipment and plugged all your lines, place all the drain plugs, return jet fittings, light screws, etc. into your skimmer basket. Store your skimmer basket filled with these items next to your other pool supplies over the winter and you won't have to look for them next Spring!
Step 7. Covering Your Pool
Taking the time to correctly cover your pool is the single most important step to opening a clean pool in the Spring. Proceed to "What types of covers are available for my pool?" below.
What types of covers are available for my pool?
Solid Winter Covers (For In-Ground or Above-Ground Pools)
With a correctly installed Solid Winter Cover, your properly treated pool water is as clean in the Spring as it was when the pool was closed in the Fall. Debris, snow and rain accumulate on top of the cover, but cannot contaminate the pool water below.
In The Swim®'s quality Solid Winter Covers are made to last. Inferior covers on the market use a heating process to apply an extra-thick polyethylene coating to make their covers look thick and durable, when in reality, this heating process weakens the woven strands of the winter cover, making it brittle and easy to rip.
In The Swim®'s covers derive their strength from the individual strands making up the weave, or "inner scrim" of the cover. These strands are made of numerous polyethylene fibers tightly wound together into super strong "cords" that are locked together during the weaving process, creating a cover that is over 50% stronger than any other available.
In The Swim®'s winter covers are available in many sizes to fit standard pools, or can be custom-made to fit unusually shaped pools. The experts at In The Swim® can recommend a size best suited to your pool type. Contact Us: email@example.com
TIME-SAVING TIP - In the Spring, drain as much water from the cover as possible a few days before removing it. This allows the last inch or two of water to evaporate completely by the time the cover is to be removed. Remember, a couple of inches of water on a solid winter cover can weigh hundreds of pounds, making removal difficult.
Mesh Winter Covers
Fine Mesh Winter covers (For In-Ground or Above-Ground Pools) can offer an advantage over solid Winter pool covers, and make Spring clean-up quicker and easier. Mesh Winter covers allow rain water and melting snow to pass directly through the Winter cover, and trap leaves and debris on top. You no longer have to drain all of the standing water off the top of the pool cover in the Spring! You can simply lift a mesh Winter cover off of the pool with the debris.
In addition to the standard mesh Winter cover, a Micro Mesh Winter cover is also available (For In-Ground orAbove-Ground Pools). This mesh Winter cover features reinforced stitching and hems, and a reflective silver coating. This reflective coating aids in the melting of snow in the Spring, allowing you to open you pool sooner and avoid unpleasant algae growth in the pool water.
Leaf Catchers (For In-Ground or Above-Ground Pools)
If your pool is surrounded by trees, In The Swim® offers Leaf Catchers, which are fine-mesh covers that can be laid on top of your winter cover to catch leaves and debris in the fall. After all the leaves have fallen off the trees, simply remove the Leaf Catcher and your cover is spared from rotting leaves! Additionally, the Leaf Catcher can be used year-round directly on your pool water to keep out debris.
Safety Pool Covers (For In-Ground Pools Only)
Safety pool covers perform the same function as a standard Winter pool cover, by protecting your pool from harsh weather and debris, but also offer the added benefit of preventing drowning accidents and keeping animals and intruders out of the pool. A safety cover is installed tight over the surface of the swimming pool using a unique anchoring system, and can safely support many times the weight of a person. There are several Safety Cover options available, and additional information for each is provided below.
Meyco® Safety Covers are made of a fine mesh material, allowing rain and melting snow to pass into the pool, while screening out leaves, twigs and debris. Because this cover doesn't need to be pumped off in the Spring, less time is spent opening the swimming pool. The mesh material is lighweight, making Meyco®Safety Covers easy to install. For additional information about Meyco® Safety Covers order an Information Packet and a free video, brochures and measuring guide will be mailed to you. Please Click Here to determine whether a stock safety cover will fit your pool properly, or if you will need a custom made cover.
In The Swim Economy Safety Covers offer the same strength and safety features as the name brand covers at more economical prices. These mesh safety covers feature a two-ply mesh material which resists rot, mildew, sunlight & harsh chemical damage. Rain and melting snow to pass through the cover into the pool, screening out leaves, twigs and debris for an easy Spring clean up. For additional information about In The Swim Economy Safety Covers order an Information Packet and a free video, brochures and measuring guide will be mailed to you. Please Click Here to determine whether a stock safety cover will fit your pool properly, or if you will need a custom made cover.
Pro-Mesh Safety Covers are constructed of an upgraded mesh material, making these covers more resistant to tears and abrasions. The revolutionary new mesh material is woven tighter than the mesh material of other safety covers, which blocks almost 100% of the sunlight that algae needs to grow in your pool water. Rain and melting snow to pass into the pool, and leaves, twigs and debris are screened out for an easy Spring clean up. For additional information about Pro-Mesh Safety Covers order an Information Packet and a free video, brochures and measuring guide will be mailed to you. Please Click Here to determine whether a stock safety cover will fit your pool properly, or if you will need a custom made cover.
Solid Safety Pool Covers are constructed of a solid material, which does not allow rain water or melting snow to pass through into the swimming pool. Sunlight is completely blocked from reaching the pool water, which eliminates the chance for algae to grow in the pool water before the pool is opened for the Spring. Because these covers do not allow water to pass through into the pool, an electric pump is required to periodically remove water from the surface of the cover. These safety covers are also available with fine mesh drain panels, to allow water to enter the pool in only one place and drastically reduce the amount of Spring clean up required inside the pool. For additional information about Solid Safety Pool Covers order an Information Packet and a free video, brochures and measuring guide will be mailed to you. Please Click Here to determine whether a stock safety cover will fit your pool properly, or if you will need a custom made cover.
Hyper-Light Solid Safety Covers offers all of the benefits of a standard solid safety cover, with a material that weighs 30% less! This results in a much quicker and easier installation and removal of the cover. The revolutionary new Hyper-Light fabric is 50% stronger that other solid safety cover material, which allows a much tighter installation for an increased snow load capacity. The hardware and anchors included with this cover have been newly redesigned for increased durability and strength. For additional information about Solid Safety Pool Covers order an Information Packet and a free video, brochures and measuring guide will be mailed to you. Please Click Here to determine whether a stock safety cover will fit your pool properly, or if you will need a custom made cover.
How do I install my above-ground solid winter cover?
Inflate and secure an air pillow in the center of your pool. In The Swim® offers 2 different sized air pillows: a 4 ft. square pillow and a 4 ft. x 8 ft. pillow. The purpose of the air pillow is to absorb the expansion of ice during the winter. (An economical insurance policy!)
Place the cover directly on the water allowing it to "hug" the sides of the pool.
Run the cable though the loops of your pool cover. Lift the cover and place it over the pool. Place the cable through the cable tightener and turn the crank until the pool cover is secure.
TIP - Be sure to drain the cover after heavy rainfall to prevent the cover from tearing. In The Swim® offers Cover Clips to help hold the cover down during windy conditions. The clips prevent the cover from flapping and consequently tearing.
How do I install my in-ground solid winter cover?
Place the cover directly on the water allowing it to "hug" the sides of the pool.
Use Aqua Blocks along the perimeter of the cover to hold it in place. When using water tubes to hold down your in-ground winter cover, partially fill four tubes to use as temporary weights to hold the cover in place while the remaining tubes are inserted into the loops and filled with water. It is important that the cover hug the sides of the pool to prevent the Water Tubes or Aqua Blocks from being pulled into the pool.
TIP - Water should be drained off the cover after periods of heavy rainfall. The Water Wizard is the perfect solution to the problem.
What causes algae and how can I get rid of it?
Algae are the microscopic aquatic plants that are constantly being introduced into the pool water from the atmosphere. If not kept under control, algae can discolor your pool water, clog your filter, cause unpleasant odors and produce slimy, slippery walls and floor. Algae growth is common when the sanitizer level in the water is low or neglected. If the sanitizer is maintained at the proper level at all times, algae will never be able to grow. There are different types of algae, each with a different treatment. (below)
Algae types and treatment
Green Algae: The most common form of algae, it is identified by a cloudy green water appearance.
Treatment: Shock treat the pool at a rate of one pound per 10,000 gallons. Add In The Swim® Super Algaecide or Algaecide 50 (non-metallic) according to bottle directions.
Mustard Algae: A difficult algae to control, it is identified by a cloudy greenish-yellow water color.
Treatment: Shock treat the pool at a rate of one pound per 10,000 gallons. Add Yellow Out according to bottle directions.
Black Algae: Very dark green slippery patches clinging to walls and floors.
Treatment: Good circulation of water around the affected area is very important. Direct return line fittings towards the area, and if you have a main drain be sure it is open. First, use a brush to help loosen and expose the algae. Add Pool Shock at the rate of 2 lbs. per 5,000 gallons until the free chlorine level reads 5-10 ppm. Make sure you are using a test kit or test strips that read free chlorine. Add a dose of In The Swim Black Algaecide. Test the pH of the water and lower it to 7.0 using pH Reducer. Keep brushing the affected area periodically, and re-test the free chlorine level. Add Shock at the rate of 1 lb. per 5,000 gallons to maintain the free chlorine level at 5-10 ppm until the algae is gone. The filter system should be run continuously until the algae is brushed off. After the algae is eliminated restore the pH level to the optimum range (7.2-7.6 ppm) and resume normal chlorination. To avoid future black algae problems add a dose of Black Algaecide weekly.
Pink Algae: Frequently called "red algae", this is actually a bacteria that originates from salt water. The best prevention is to thoroughly wash with bleach all items that have come in contact with salt water before allowing them into your pool area.
Treatment: Shock pool at rate of 1 pound per 10,000 gallons until bacteria disappears.
Note: If an algae problem exists, the filtration system should be run continuously for a minimum of 72 hours, and the pool surface should be brushed daily. This will remove dead layers of algae and allow the chemicals to combat the remaining layers of algae growth.
Pumps & Filters
- How often do I need to run my filter?
- How often should I clean my filter?
- How do I select a filter type, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
How often do I need to run my filter?
The filter is the most important component in keeping your pool clean. Ideally, a filter should run ALL THE TIME for maximum circulation and debris removal. A minimum of 8 hours a day is highly recommended.
How often should I clean my filter?
It depends on what kind of filter you have. Sand filters should be cleaned (backwashed) approximately every 10 to 14 days, check the pressure gauge to be sure. D.E. (diatomaceous earth) filters need to be "bumped" every 10 to 17 days, and the filter should be cleaned approximately once per month. Cartridges in cartridge filters should be hosed off about once per week.
How do I select a filter type, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
- Sand Filters - This is the most common filter and it's very easy to use, however backwashing, which is necessary to clean the sand in the filter, uses a lot of chlorinated water, which essentially wastes the chlorine.
- D.E. Filters - This filter provides the best water quality and requires less weekly care than sand filters, however, end-of-year maintenance is more time consuming than a sand filter.
- Cartridge Filters - This is the most user-friendly filter and provides water clarity close to that of a D.E. filter, however, replacement cartridges for the filter need to be purchased on a regular basis and can tear easily.
- What size filter system will I need for my pool?
- What size heater will I need to effectively heat my pool?
- What size solar heater will I need to effectively heat my pool?
What size filter system will I need for my pool?
- 17" System for up to 17,000 gallons.
- 19" System for up to 21,000 gallons.
- 23" System for up to 30,000 gallons.
- 30" System for up to 40,000 gallons.
What size heater will I need to effectively heat my pool?
- Using the sizing chart (below), determine the difference between desired pool temperature and average air temperature during the coldest month the pool is used.
- Calculate the surface area of the pool (length x width).
- Listed are the pool surface area ranges for each heater model size.
Pool Heater Sizing
|Model||125K BTU||175K BTU||250K BTU||325K BTU||400K BTU|
|Temp. Difference||Surface Area (Length x Width)|
Note: Sizing chart based on 3-1/2 mph average wind and average pool depth of 5-1/2 feet. Blue figures based on zero wind.
What size solar heater will I need to effectively heat my pool?
For In-Ground Pools
The solar panel square footage should equal 55% to 100% of the pool surface area if the panels are oriented to the south. If the panels face east, increase the square footage by 20%. If the panels face west, increase square footage by 15%. See sizing guide below for minimum system requirements:
|Pool Size||# Of Panels|
|15' x 30'||6|
|16' x 32'||7|
|16' x 36'||8|
|18' x 36'||9|
|20' x 40'||11|
For Above-Ground Pools
The solar heating system pack is standard size and comes complete with a 20' x 4' solar panel. To customize a heater system for your pool, use the sizing guide below to determine how many panels your pool requires:
|Pool Size||# Of Panels||Pool Size||# Of Panels|
|12' x 24' Oval||1||16' Round||1|
|15' x 24' Oval||1||20' Round||1|
|14' x 28' Oval||1||24' Round||1|
|16' x 32' Oval||1||28' Round||2|
|18' x 34' Oval||2|
|20' x 40' Oval||3|
Tip - Use a solar blanket to help retain heat in your pool
Spa Care Tips
- What is basic maintenance for spa water?
- How large of a heater would I need to effectively heat my spa?
What is basic maintenance for spa water?
Spa care is very similar to pool water care - maintaining pH and sanitizer levels is most important. Rather than chlorine, the sanitizer that should be used in spas is bromine. Maintain your pH, alkalinity and calcium levels as suggested. Be sure to remove metals on a regular basis.
How large of a heater would I need to effectively heat my spa?
- Identify the number of gallons your spa holds.
- Decide the heat-up time desired, and note on the chart which Laars Lite 2 model is recommended.
Note: The chart indicates the approximate time required to raise the spa temperature 30° F. For example a 250,000 BTU input heater on a 600 gallon spa will take approximately 45 minutes to raise temperature approximately 30° F (depending on wind, insulation, etc).
|Model||125K BTU||175K BTU||250K BTU||325K BTU||400K BTU|
|Spa Size||Time to Heat Spa 30° F in Minutes|