Importance of Good Water Balance For your Swimming Pool

What good water balance means to you…

Our customers ask, “why do I have to worry about testing & balancing my swimming pool water? If it looks clear, everything must be good. Right? ” The answer is, “Usually not. ” The short answer is if the water isn’t properly balanced, you’re not safe, the pool & its components (filter, pump, heater, pool surfaces, fittings, etc) just won’t last long, and finally, you’ll be wasting your money!

Here’s what we mean:

Pool Water balancing for you & your body: When the pH & Total alkalinity are out of balance, your chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer don’t work as efficiently as they should. When the sanitizer doesn’t work efficiently, bacteria & other stuff you don’t want in your spa start gaining control. You could easily end up with skin rashes and eye irritations at least.

Pool Water balancing for your pool: Without proper chemical maintenance, you can get water line scum build-up, much shortened heater life (the heater either corrodes away due to low pH & Total Alkalinity; we’ve seen people buy 2 heaters in one season because they don’t think they need to balance their water! )#) or scale build-ups (high pH, high Total Alkalinity, high Total Hardness) prevent efficient heating (scaling of the thickness of just 1 sheet of paper can easily cause you to use at least 10% MORE electricity or gas), clogged filters and shortened filter life. Left completely alone, we’ve even seen the pool liners become faded & brittle & other damage because of it’s constant contact with out-of-balance water. Consistent, low total alkalinity & especially calcium hardness over a period of several months can lead to a shortened vinyl liner life (lots of little, tiny pinholes – no warranty coverage). You didn’t buy your pool for that mess!

Remember that the source water for filling your pool can have certain properties that can cause chemical changes as you top off your pool; especially pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness & metals & minerals. If your tap water is “soft” or “hard”, those chemical make ups, make a difference. The use of water softeners makes a difference. Certain salts will directly affect the water balance.

Here are the proper water balance parameters to keep in mind:

pH – 7. 4 – 7. 6
Total Alkalinity – 80 – 120 ppm in concrete pools, 120 – 150 ppm in vinyl or fiberglass pools
Calcium Hardness – 200 – 250 ppm in concrete pools, 175 – 225 ppm in vinyl or fiberglass pools
Total Dissolved Solids – less than 2500 ppm (in NON-salt pools)
Iron or Copper – ZERO
Cyanuric Acid – 40 – 100 ppm (chlorine pools ONLY; bromine Cannot be stabilized; biguanide pools – Soft Swim or Baquacil – do not require stabilizer)
Maintaining Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness in the middle of their respective “good” ranges is just a really good idea. Everything works just the way it should. The water looks great, feels comfortable, chlorine & bromine are acting properly, water balance is bouncing around.

Total Alkalinity is a measure of carbonates and bicarbonates in the water. Total alkalinity works as a buffer for the pH helping to eliminate “pH bounce” or pH sensitivity. In other words, let’s say your pH is low, under 6. 8, and your total alkalinity is low as well, under 50 ppm. You may add the correct amount of pH increaser and fix the problem but you find that the pH is back low again within 3 days. It’s difficult to get the pH correct and keep it there. If the TA is high, you may notice that it is difficult to get the pH down to a proper level. We often see this problem with pool owners who indiscriminately add baking soda to their pool on a regular basis. Increasing Total Alkalinity is pretty simple. Lowering it because of improper chemical use can be tough.

Calcium Hardness is on parameter that many people choose to ignore; mainly because they don’t understand it. Calcium hardness is a measure of dissolved calcium and other minerals in the water. When the CH is low, the water is aggressive and wants to satisfy its calcium deficiency. The water will “rob” calcium from ANY pool surface, including vinyl liners (vinyl becomes brittle) and fiberglass (spider cracking of the surface). Concrete or plaster finished pools will experience “etching” of the walls & floor, almost like scraped, scaly grooves in the pool surface. High CH will potentially cause cloudy water and scaling of pool surfaces and equipment such as the filter and heater because calcium is one of those minerals that dissolves best in cooler (under 85 degrees F) water. These problems are seen over a longer period of time as compared to pH and Total Alkalinity.

You can virtually witness low pH damage in a matter of days. Low Total alkalinity & Calcium hardness damage is noticed over a series of weeks.

Rain water can dramatically effect your water balance, depending on its pH & obviously the quantity of rain. The pH of rain varies across the country generally becoming more acidic as you go from west to east. As rain falls, it carries down particulate matter that is suspended in the air. This suspended particulate is dust, dirt, soot, chemicals, even bird droppings.

Adding fresh make up water after evaporation or backwashing will eventually have an effect on the water balance. Additions of more than 2 inches of fresh water should be allowed to circulate for 24 hours then tested to make any necessary adjustments.

Also keep in mind that rain water (especially when heavy or copious) can add to chlorine demand.

Wasting money: I think you’re beginning to understand the reason why from the above information. You’ll be purchasing more chemicals when you don’t need them. More frequent filter changes (proper cleaning of the filter cartridge should give a life of 2 to 3 years minimum, DE filter elements should last about 5 years with proper cleaning & maintenance). Par Pool & Spa wants you to have fun. Proper water balancing, testing & care shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes per week on average.

Be sure to test your water with a good quality test kit or test strips. Remember to change the strips or testing reagents each swimming season. For added accuracy seek out a local pool professional who is able to properly and thoroughly test your pool water. These test need to include: Total chlorine or bromine, Free chlorine, combined chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, acid demand, alkali demand, calcium hardness, total dissolved solids, water temperature, mineral or salt level (saline or salt chlorine systems), iron and copper levels. Don’t wait to adjust the water balance. Like most things, it costs more to fix than to maintain.

What are the Disadvantages of a Vinyl Liner Swimming pool?

Thinking about purchasing a vinyl liner swimming pool? Well here are the disadvantages of such a purchase.

Vinyl Liner Pool Disadvantages:

Liner Replacements: Although liner warranties are usually between 20-30 years, these warranties have very little value after the first couple of years because they are very pro-rated. This means the liner loses its value each year. Also, these warranties do not cover labor and water costs during a liner replacement. Although the structure of a vinyl liner pool will typically last over 35 years(assuming it’s not a wood-wall structure), the liner itself will have to be replaced on average every 8-12 years. In other words, I’ve seen vinyl pool owners that have replaced their liner 4 times in 20 years and others that have only replaced it once in 20 years. Currently, the cost of an inground pool’s liner replacement, when you figure in labor, liner and water, is about $4, 000.

Bleaching of Liner: For chlorine users, vinyl pools can fade significantly in only a few years time. What this means is that even though the liner itself may hold up, its appearance can be pretty awful once faded out.

Steps and Benches Don’t Match Liner: In most cases, the steps and benches of a liner pool to not match the actual liner. In other words, let’s say you have a dark blue vinyl liner pool. In order to have steps and benches, usually white fiberglass structures are inserted and the liner butts-up to these units. This lack of color uniformity can make the aesthetics of the pool suffer quite a bit. In recent years, some builders have started overlaying the steps and seats with the actual liner to eliminate this problem. This technology is currently used by few builders due to its difficulty to properly install.

Resell Value: Unlike a fiberglass pool, which is viewed as long term structure without major repairs, vinyl liners pools are viewed poorly by certain potential home buyers. In other words, some home buyers are hesitant to purchase a home with a vinyl liner pool because in its inevitable costs down the road. In fact, I’ve seen many cases where a potential home buyer requests the home seller to install a new vinyl liner in the pool as part of the closing stipulations for the real estate transaction.

Coping: A large majority of vinyl pool builders use an aluminum C-track coping edge for the interior coping of the pool’s patio. Although using a C-track makes the process of pour concrete around a vinyl pool much easier, it also negatively impacts the pool’s appearance. This is why I always recommend cantilever coping when purchasing a vinyl liner pool.

Services Offered by Fiberglass Manufacturers

Did you know that fibreglass manufacturers are responsible for putting kit in just about every transport application you’ve ever encountered? Or that your petrol is stored in fibreglass tanks? These days, the services offered by fiberglass manufacturers cover pretty much every range of industry and application, from transport to leisure, from petrochemical to defence. The services offered by fibreglass manufacturers find their way into race car teams and track days; they turn up on TV sets; they populate half the fixtures and fittings of your local swimming pool or leisure centre. They’re in concert halls and petrol stations. They’re on trains and in buses.

That’s basically because fibreglass, or glass reinforced plastic (to give it its proper industry name) is one of the most versatile and widely used materials in the world – and has been for almost 60 years, ever since a very clever chap from across the pond realised that you could make plastic much stronger by weaving glass fibres into it. The resulting material was as mouldable and light as plastic, but with the strength of a metal. The services offered by fiberglass manufacturers were born that day – and they’ve only changed since as people have tried the material with yet another application, found it successful and added it to the list.

The services offered by fibreglass manufacturers, then, are to a great extent limited only by the imagination of the manufacturer in question, and by the needs of its clients. British fibreglass legend Stuart Pease, for example, has made an international name for him and itself by bonding the material to, or combining it with, all sorts of other things – thermoplastics, for one, which means that the services offered by fiberglass manufacturers in the uk include the making of superbly stable chemical tanks and containers. The thermoplastics used repel the chemicals inside, insulating the fibreglass from corrosion or damage.

The services offered by fibreglass manufacturers like Stuart Pease also include the creation of whole units, where moving or mechanical parts are moulded into the glass reinforced plastic. That’s one of the major reasons why the material is so popular – because it is essentially a plastic, it can be formed around other things. When the plastic sets, those things are bonded with it – they become a part of the whole structure. Containment tanks with opening doors, door locks, the lot – all of this is part of the services offered by fiberglass manufacturers in the 21st century.

Inevitably, glass reinforced plastic technology has changed as the companies using it grew more used to its properties and potentials. Uniquely, though, the material itself hasn’t – because it is basically ergonomically perfect. Light but strong, malleable but capable of taking huge forces in its stride, GRP is the ideal solution to almost every engineering problem. No wonder the services offered by fibreglass manufacturers in the uk and abroad have grown to compass virtually every industry under the sun. Chances are, wherever you go today and whatever you go there in, or on, you’ll be using some fibreglass in the process.

Traditional Versus Specialized Garbage Removal Services: Which are Best for your Home or Business?

Garbage and rubbish removal are a necessary part of any community. This service is very often coordinated and executed by the municipality in which you live, or it may be a service that you have to contract on your own for your home or business. In either case, most companies will only complete a garbage pickup that conforms to certain parameters. If your waste disposal needs differ from these limitations, you’re left to deal with the garbage in question on your own time and your own dime. In a one-time situation, this can be feasible, but if your trash removal needs consistently don’t match up with what your regular trash service offers, looking into another private company that can meet your needs is in your best interest.

The standard practice of most trash pickup services, especially those that are coordinated by your town or city, is to issue (or to have you buy) a certain size trash can. You’re then expected to put that can out by the curb or roadside on a specific day for pickup. You’re often not allowed to exceed a certain number of trash cans and can be charged extra for putting out more than your allotted amount of rubbish in some areas. You’re also not permitted to dispose of particular types of waste, such as old furniture, appliances, tires, construction debris, or hazardous materials. These limitations are totally understandable and are in place for reasons of health, safety, security, and aesthetics. They are, nonetheless, frustrating if you do need to dispose of items of this type.

If, in your home or business, you find that one or more of the limitations mentioned above make it difficult for you to dispose of your waste in a timely and responsible manner on a regular basis, consider contracting a private trash pick up service that is able to meet your needs. There are many reliable, trustworthy companies out there who can handle bigger-than-usual amounts of trash and large or hazardous items. You can also often choose your own pickup day with a private company, which means that your trash gets taken away on a schedule that works for you, not just for whatever company you happen to be with. These professional trash removal firms also offer everything from dumpster rental service to junk hauling. This means that you can get rid of large amounts of garbage and/or ungainly items when you need to, be that on a one-time or a consistent basis.

Garbage collection is vitally important to keeping your home or business running smoothly. If your current trash service isn’t working for you, consider contacting a new company for garbage service that works for you.

Benefits of Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools have many different advantages that should be taken into consideration when it comes to purchasing a swimming pool. Generally speaking, there are four main advantages of installing a fiberglass swimming pool:

1) Ease of installation
2) Smooth finish
3) Maintenance
4) Durability

Ease of Installation:

Fiberglass pools are much easier to install than other types of concrete pools. The fiberglass shape is completely formed at the manufacturer, then delivered to your home, ready to be placed into the ground (or above ground if it is an above ground fiberglass pool). This can save you several weeks in terms of installation time.

Smooth Finish:

The smooth finish with a pool made from fiberglass is amazing. Your knees and hands will thank you later, as you will no longer have to worry about scraping them as you get in and out of the pool.

Maintenance:

The fiberglass surface on the pools is both non-porous and has a special coating finish. These two factors deter the growth of algae and mold, which will save you both time and money when it comes to taking care of your pool. Don’t forget to include this when determining how much money you can potentially save with a pool made of fiberglass instead of concrete (shotcrete, gunite, etc. )#) pools.

Durability:

Such pools are great for climates that are both hot and cold. They are extremely durable in these situations due to the fact that the fiberglass is somewhat flexible, making it more resilient to the hold/cold temperature swings. In addition, because of this flexibility, repair costs are generally less as well since the damage is not as bad as it otherwise would be.

Overall, there are many advantages of fiberglass pools, so be sure to take them into consideration when looking at all your swimming pool options.

Fiberglass Pool Growth Explodes in US

The growth of fiberglass pools in the us market has been nothing short of phenomenal in the past 10 years, and many experts in the industry predict fiberglass pools will overtake concrete pools in construction numbers within the next few decades.

Just to give an example of this growth, in 1994, 61, 540 fiberglass pools were installed in the united states. In 2005, over 283, 000 fiberglass units were installed. Neither concrete nor vinyl liner pools experienced even close to such growth during this time period.

So what are the reasons for such growth?

When fiberglass pools first came out, they were mainly available in white colors. Also, most of the patios and coping around these pools were poured in a non-bullnose manner. In other words, the concrete was poured up to the fiberglass lip, instead of on top of the lip. This left the pool with a cheap, ‘bathtub’ like appearance.

To combat this “bathtub” perception, manufacturers have rolled out a variety of alternative finishes. For example, our pool manufacturer, Leisure Pools, has 4 different shades of blue available for the pool’s finish. This selection of color is now true for just about all fiberglass pool manufacturers, with shades of blue being the most popular.. Such a selection has virtually eliminated the white fiberglass pool market.

Some other features that are now seen on fiberglass pools: waterline tile, mosaic inlays, fiber optic lighting, water features, swim/therapy jets, and spill-over spas. These features, in conjunction with cantilevered concrete(which has become almost standard in the industry) can certainly create an impressive back-yard feature, not just a swimming pool, and certainly one that would rival any concrete pool.

With regards to swimming pool patios, stamped and decorative concrete finishes have exploded, adding a much more luxurious or natural look to the poolscape.

Although these aesthetic improvements have made a major impact on fiberglass growth, there are two other main factors which have led to their strong presence. Because the fiberglass surface is non-porous and has no seams, unlike concrete and vinyl, it is much harder for algae to grow. This leads to less brushing, cleaning, and chemical use, which in turn saves the homeowner time and money. This smooth surface is also not abrasive to feet, which can be a major draw back to plaster finishes in concrete pools. The second factor leading to this growth is the durability of fiberglass, which will typically last of 50 years.

Also, with its high tensile strength and ability to move with shrink/swell soil, there is no soil incompatible to a fiberglass pool. This also allows for exceptional warranties. For example, our manufacturer carries a 35 year structure warranty, and a 15 year finish warranty on their pool shells. This feature allows homeowners to enjoy their pools for many years without the worry of major repairs, such as replasterings and liner replacements.

Aesthetics, longevity, and low-maintenance- These are the features pool owners want and this is what they get with fiberglass. Times have changed, and with its stigmas having been virtually removed with the help of technology, the future looks extremely bright for the fiberglass pool industry.

How much Do Fiberglass Pools Cost?

You started this journey with the hope that you would be swimming in a pool in your own backyard. You’ve done extensive research on the different types of pools. You’ve decided that above ground pools are too small and clunky, inflatable pools are too cheap and unreliable, and fiberglass inground pools are the best way to go. You know you’ve got enough space for an inground pool and you’ve decided to have it built with fiberglass rather than concrete or vinyl. Now comes the most important part of the whole process: the cost.

Fiberglass pools offer the highest quality pool structures. You can fit a fiberglass pool into just about any sized yard and you can have it shaped to fit just about any form. Variety and flexibility may seem like benefits but it can be a real problem when you’re trying to estimate just how much a fiberglass pool is going to cost you.

Obviously, you don’t want to jump into a pool contractor’s office and ask how much it will cost without having a rough idea yourself. High pressure sales pitches are never fun and you’re liable to get ripped off if you’re not educated. The problem is that you won’t be able to determine the exact cost of your fiberglass swimming pool without asking the builder but I can at least give you some ball park estimates. Fiberglass pool prices vary widely.

The fiberglass pool shell itself is going to be the most expensive part of the pool. Small fiberglass pool shells which are about 26′ or less in length will run between ten and twelve thousand dollars. Medium fiberglass pool shells (27′ – 34′ long) will run you about thirteen to fourteen thousand dollars and any pools larger than that could go for anywhere between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars.

Those estimates are based on the average price of the fiberglass shells. They don’t take into account installation fees or any additional features you’re adding to your pool. If you’re still willing to spend that much, get to it! Inground fiberglass pools will add value to your property and pleasure to your life.

Choose Fiberglass Pools For Backyard Fun

Swimming pools can be great assets to property, as they add value to the house, and provide and easy way to relax during the summer. There are many different types of swimming pools that are in the market today: a gunite, concrete, vinyl-lined, or fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are popular because they do not fade or build up algae on their surface, and are sturdier than both vinyl and concrete.

A fiberglass pool is a preformed shell made of fiberglass and is coated with a gel to form a non-porous surface. The fiberglass is made of tiny fibers of glass, which are strengthened with a polymer, making it a composite material. This makes fiberglass a flexible material that can bend with the ground and does not split like other types of pools.

These pools are built at a factory and are then sent to an excavated site until they are ordered. The installation of these pools only takes about five to thirteen days, compared to the eight to twelve weeks for concrete pools. The cost of fiberglass may seem expensive, but when you consider that they can last a lifetime, the cost is less than concrete pools.

One advantage of a fiberglass pool is safety-you don’t have to worry about scrapes because of its smooth surface. This kind of pool is also low maintenance because it is easy to clean, and does not need a liner replacement. Additionally, a fiberglass pool does not crack easily, so things like resurfacing, repainting, and replastering are not needed. These pools can withstand drastic changes in weather due to the fact that minuscule cracks on the surface do not affect the entire pool.

The main disadvantage to a pool made of fiberglass is water must always remain inside, which avoids structural damage to fiberglass, such as cracking and buckling. Another disadvantage is that the pools are prefabricated, and so because they cannot be customized, you have to choose from the available sizes. Because the pool is prefabricated, the property layout must be wide enough to allow for the size of the pre-constructed pool.

All in all, fiberglass pools are the most attractive choice, because they save time, money, and energy. Ever since the mid 1950’s, fiberglass has been the fastest growing segment in the American pool market. Today, they remain as the most popular type of pool because of their sturdiness and flexibility.

Seeking out the Top Fiberglass Pool Manufacturers

Since buying a fiberglass pool will be among one of your biggest purchases as a homeowner, you want to make sure you buy from one of the top fiberglass pool manufacturers. Learning about where to buy fiberglass pools may seem intimidating, as all fiberglass swimming pool companies will often make their claim of being among the very best in the business. In this article, we will give you several tips on selecting pool builders that are, in fact, among the top fiberglass pool manufacturers in the business.

Quick Ways to Identify Builders of a Top-of-the-Line Fiberglass Swimming pool

Lifetime Warranty – If a manufacturer is unwilling to stand behind his product being free of manufacturing defects, chances are he is not completely confident in the product he is selling.

Fabrication/Construction Materials – The materials used to construct and install can prove to be the most important aspects. Premium composites and lamination epoxy sealers will be the deciding factor in overall quality of the finished product. Sun Pools do not use materials like bondo layers or resin fillers.

Tried and True Does not Always Make the best Modern Product – Beware of manufacturers who have grown complacent and who are unwilling to try new, innovative technology in building fiberglass pools. Technological advancements have broadened the choices in that are structurally more resilient. Not all manufacturing techniques are created equal.

Factory Standards Speak Volumes – Be leery of factories that do not create their products to EPA approved standards. This is a sure sign that the company cares more about cutting corners to save money than actual standard of quality.

Honesty vs. Sales Pitch – Top manufacturers care more about the integrity of their name, because they worked so hard on building it. Steadfast pool manufacturers will be more inclined to educate you on the product, so you can make the right choice for your lifestyle, as opposed to just trying to get you to buy their product over that of the competition.

Knowing where to buy quality materials and craftsmanship is only one part of the research you must undertake before deciding on buying a new pool. The other part is researching the top fiberglass pool manufacturers in your area. Gather all the useful information that is available to you: use referrals through friends and family or conduct your own searches on the internet to find where to buy fiberglass pools that meet the highest standards. The good news is, the top manufacturers will be easy to spot, because their names will be praised over and over again; whether through local better business associations, professional pool builders’ associations, or word of mouth from neighbors who have been enjoying their swimming pools for years and are elated to share the name of the pool company that constructed it. Good luck moving forward on one of the most enjoyable homeowner investments you will ever make; happy swimming!

Gunite Pools Versus Fiberglass Pools: Pros and Cons

You may not know exactly what gunite is because over the years people have grown accustomed to calling any type of concrete in a pool by that name. Gunite was invented by a man in North carolina.

It is brought to the site in dry form and water is added there, where it is applied through a hose to make a smooth surface inside the pool. Shotcrete is another name for this product.

A plaster is applied to the surface of the gunite afterwards, which is what the swimmers actually touch. This was the primary type of pool in existence before vinyl liners and fiberglass began to be commonplace.

Gunite Pools – Pros and cons

The gunite pool still represents an excellent choice for a durable and long-lasting swimming facility. A definite pro for this type of construction is the fact that it will last indefinitely if properly cared for.

The biggest kick against the gunite pool is the cracking that occurs, in both the plaster and the gunite itself. Settlement and changing temperatures cause the inevitable cracking that may not be seen for several years. The best way to repair cracked pools is to drain them and re-plaster, which is expensive.

Although most people seem to believe that water doesn’t have to stay in a concrete pool year-round, hydrostatic water pressure has been known to exert enough force to raise some units when the water was removed.

Fiberglass Pools – Pros and cons

In the early days, fiberglass pools were limited to small units because of the methods of production and the difficulty in shipping them. Although transportation is still difficult, units are constructed in sizes that rival those of residential gunite pools. Once a fiberglass pool is set in place, it must remain full of water or ground water will push it out of the ground.

One of the primary selling features of the fiberglass pool is it is much faster to install than a concrete or gunite pool. If the hole has been dug and the plumbing is in place when the pool arrives, leveling the unit and shoring it takes a little time because it has to be accurate.

It doesn’t take long to hook up the electrical and plumbing and begin filling the pool with water. The interior is already finished, so there’s no waiting for that. Of course, the deck and coping still need to be installed, but the pool can be functional the day it is delivered.

Fiberglass pools generally come with a 15-year warranty, but some are longer. There is no reason to believe that the pool won’t last much longer than that. If damaged because of abuse, it can be patched in short order. The surface of fiberglass is much smoother than the plaster in the gunite pool.

Fiberglass comes in some colors and in stark white, and it is possible for the colors to fade in the sunlight over time, especially the darker ones.

Fiberglass and gunite are the top of the line in swimming pools, and either one will provide you and your family with countless hours of pool fun.