Causes Of Heavy Metals In A Swimming Pool
Depending on which fill-water you are using in your pool, a couple of heavy metals may find their way into your pool. The most common metals in swimming pools are copper and iron. Other metals like silver, manganese, and magnesium may only get into your pool if you are located around areas where these metals are mined and you are using well water to supply your pool.
Copper in particular is the most problematic metal in a swimming pool, and it will turn to light green when chlorine is added. When any heavy metal is oxidized by chlorine, your swimming pool water, and parts will discolor as a result of metal stain. As a pool owner, you have to know how metals get into your pool and how you can control or clear them.
Here are the sources of most common metals like copper and iron, which have higher chances of getting into your swimming pool.
What Are The Different Types Of Pool Shock
With different pool shocks or shock products are available, how do you know which one is best for your pool?
Heres a breakdown of the top 3 pool shocks.
- Calcium Hypochlorite: Commonly referred to as cal-hypo, this shock is the most popular option, and contains 70% chlorine for killing algae and contaminants. Its unstabilized nature means the sun will burn it off and it wont increase cyanuric acid levels in your pool.
Cal-hypo has a high pH and will temporarily raise those levels, so its a good choice for pools that test at a normal or low pH level. Of note, your water may become temporarily cloudy, and cal-hypo may also increase your waters calcium hardness.
- Dichlor: Sodium dichlor is 55% chlorine and stabilized, which means it contains CYA. This makes it last longer in your pool water than cal-hypo, and the lower pH level and lack of calcium will keep the pool from getting cloudy.
However, because it contains CYA, CYA levels can increase. This has to be carefully monitored otherwise you may need to invest in a CYA reducer, or even drain/dilute your pool.
- Non-Chlorine Shock: Also known as Potassium Monopersulfate , this is a chlorine-free shock that oxidizes contaminants, but wont rid the pool of bacteria. Compared to chlorinated shock, you can use MPS shock at any time of day and be swimming in the pool 15 minutes later. Its pH neutral so your level wont fluctuate, and by focusing on oxidation, it frees up the pools chlorine to be more efficient at sanitizing.
Test Your Water & Balance Chemicals
For best results, test your water weekly. To keep things easy, opt for a test kit that will tell you ifyou need to add pool chemicals to maintain your water balance. Most pool supply stores and big-boxretailers sell easy-to-use test kits or test strips that allow you to test your swimming pool water forthe key chemicals. Here are the essential ranges to keep in mind:
Here are the ranges for different types of sanitizers:
- Sanitizer, chlorine 1 3 ppm. Higher is better. This prevents algae growth.
- Sanitizer, bromine 3-5 ppm
- Sanitizer mineral, chlorine backup .5 ppm
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How To Get New Pool Water In Safe Swimming Condition
A new swimming pool represents a major investment in property value and family fun. Many homeowners are eager to jump in and start using the new pool right away, but this is never recommended. Preparing the new pool for safe swimming involves a careful balance of chemicals. Allow several days to get the pool in proper working order before diving in.
Cyanuric Adjusting Chemicals For Pool Start Up
This is the next step in getting the chemicals in your pool set up. This one addresses something that isnt often tested in pool water, the cyanuric acid.
Most pools should have very little of this in them at start up. This builds up over time because of the chlorine added. The stabilizers are in the chemicals that you add to your pool water. These accumulate in your pool and affect the water.
This does take a while to build up, but testing for and correcting any of it found is important for a fully successful start up.
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S To Follow After You Just Filled Pool With Water
Safety comes first, so lets cover it now. There are plenty of things that can go wrong unexpectedly. It might be leaking which happens a lot. So, detect such pool leaks first.
Its true for sure if this is the first time you are prepping your pool. Follow these steps to make your backyard pool safe for everyone:
Pool drowning is real and there are serious consequences of chemical injuries. So, you must take preventive measures against drowning and injuries from pool startup chemicals.
I am not trying to scare you but the leading cause of injury-related death of children is drowning. And most of the drowning happens in the pool.
So, in addition to fencing around the pool, install window locks and alarms as well. And never leave your children in the pool unsupervised.
Chemical related injuries involve water splashing to the eyes and sometimes on to the skin. So, everyone should be wearing safety masks or goggles and you want to post aquatic safety signs around your pool.
Assuming you have taken and ensured all the safety issues, turn on the filter as per the pool manufacturers instruction to get started.
Make sure the filter is working properly. If not, contact the manufacturer immediately. Dont try to troubleshoot the problem yourself if you dont know what you are doing.
When you use some chemicals needed for pool start-up, you must ensure the water quality.
Test And Adjust Total Alkalinity
Your pools Total Alkalinity represents the number of alkaline substances present in the water.
Every swimming pool should have a healthy amount of alkaline in it. Why?
Because alkaline is a pH stabilizer. So when your pools alkaline is properly adjusted, your pH fluctuates less.
Ideal Total Alkalinity range: 80 120 ppm
How to increase total alkalinity:
- Use sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda to increase total alkalinity.
- Use up to 25 pounds of sodium bicarbonate per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
How to decrease total alkalinity:
- Use sodium bisulfate
- Use muriatic acid
When using dry acid to decrease total alkalinity, follow the numbers in this chart from our friends at Pinch-a-Penny:
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Why You Need To Shock Your Pool
Whether you’re a brand new pool owner or a veteran, you need to be familiar with the process of shocking your pool.
Certain living organisms can still survive in your pool with its normal chlorine amounts. Others can become completely immune to it.
There are basically three reasons to shock your pool:
- Heavy rain can dilute your pool, leaving you with very low chlorine levels
Tips For Adding Start
- Add Stain & Scale chemical first, especially for new plaster.
- Try PoolCalculator.com for amounts of start-up chemicals
- Add one chemical at a time, using a pool brush to distribute.
- Run filter pump while adding chemicals to circulate.
- Re-test the pool water after 8 hours of filter run time.
- Add chlorine shock when the sun is not directly overhead.
- Add algaecides last, after chlorine level drops below 3 ppm.
- See our Pool Start-Up Kits for all the chemicals needed.
Once the pool is opened, you will need to circulate, filter, clean and treat the pool water – every day. Consistent water balance, constant chlorine levels and effective filtering is important to prevent water problems.
And, as the water temperature and pool usage increases through the summer, you will need more hours of daily filtering, and more chlorine tablets to maintain sanitation and clarity.
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Fill Pool To Middle Of Waterline Tile And Do Final Debris Removal
Grab a garden hose and fill the pool until the water level reaches the midpoint of the waterline tile or middle of the skimmer weirs. Once youve got the water level where it needs to be, you can now clean leaves, twigs and debris from the pools bottom by using a wall and floor brush. This is also time to dust off your algae brush and pool vacuum. Also be sure to remove any debris from the leaf basket.
How Long After Shocking A Pool Before Is It Safe For Swimming
Generally, you should not swim in a pool for 8 hours following shock treatment. Be guided by your shock treatment of choice and follow the manufacturers instructions.
If you use a non-chlorinated treatment the time can be as little as 15 minutes, however, these types of treatments will not work against algae bloom.
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Addressing Alkalinity In Your Pool
Now it’s time to keep the water hardness in check, otherwise known as alkalinity. Think of pH as an air conditioner that cools your home and alkalinity is the thermostat that adjusts your temperature. The two are linked, meaning one changes with the other. Alkalinity is important since water that is too hard negatively affects your pool pump seals, o-rings, jet nozzles and immersed equipment.
Lastly, make sure you add some algaecide for good measure. Most people think algaecide is only for when you see algae. However, it should also be used as a preventative treatment. Use an algaecide before you have a need for it, and keep the nasties at bay.
When To Shock Your Pool
Most people only decide to shock their swimming pools when they see an overgrowth of algae or they start getting cloudy pool water, but by this time, cleaning your pool could take a lot more work.
So if you stay on top of this chore by shocking your pool once a week, you may be able to avoid an algae overgrowth.
This kind of contamination often requires way more scrubbing, vacuuming and sometimes even draining than you will ever want to do.
BUTin case you are like the rest of us and occasionally put things off, here are the times when you should shock your pool even if you dont feel like it:
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What Do I Need To Have To Treat Pool Water
At the very least, you should have the following chemicals on hand whenever were talking about treating pool water:
- Shock Chlorine Granules or pure liquid chlorine
- Chlorine tablets or Stabilized chlorine
- pH Regulators
- Cyanuric Acid
Other chemicals which are highly recommended
- Phosphate Removers
Now for the optional chemicals, with PERFECT chemical maintenance routine, you wont be needing them. But if you do use them, it will make your pool treatment routine much, much easier. I know its a Catch-22 but these optional chemicals do make pool chemical maintenance a breeze and in turn, gives you more savings when it comes to chemical expenses! Spending more to save more? Confusing right? But thats the way it works! Not only will you save more money on chemical expenses but youre going to save time as well, which is priceless!
What Is It About A Newly Filled Above Ground Pools
It is often not recommended that an above-ground pool be shocked after this initial fill because this can cause damage to the liner.
The best practice for owners of new above-ground pools will be to allow them to filter out during normal use, and then they should also follow up by adding chlorine tablets directly into the water at least once per week.
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Refilling A Pool With Fresh Water
You have choices – fill from the hose, fill from a truck or fill from a nearby fire hydrant. Most people opt for the garden hose pool filling method, often using two hoses where possible.
If your water is from a well, or if your source water contains silty dirt, minerals and metals, or high levels of chloramines or phosphates, you can filter the water as you fill the pool. Pleatco’s pool fill pre-filter handles up to 40,000 gallons, and removes impurities and stain causing particles.
Can I Swim In A Newly Filled Pool Without Shocking
While many pools are mandated by law to have a certain amount of chlorine in the water at all times, the chlorine dioxide level must be monitored and balanced out before allowing people to swim in it.
High chlorine levels can burn swimmers eyes or even cause other health issues if they spend too much time in the pool while its not balanced correctly. If you still plan on swimming in your freshly filled pool without shock, look for signs that the chlorine is high enough before diving right in.
These signs include cloudy or milky-looking water, strong chemical odor, stinging eyes, burns when applying suntan lotion, etc. If any of these signs are present, shock the pool immediately.
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What Else Should I Know Before Shock My Pool
When shocking your pool, its important to always check with the manufacturer of your pool shock product for specific instructions.
Additionally, you should never mix chlorine with other chemicals without checking the compatibility carefully.
If you do, the chemical reaction will likely cause a release of harmful gases like chlorine gas, bromine gas, and others. Because of this, it is always recommended to wear protective gloves when shocking your pool which helps protect both your skin and lungs from any accidental contact with dangerous chemicals.
Lastly, you should always have a working safety test kit on hand so that you can easily monitor the pH and free available chlorine levels to ensure they do not fluctuate too much during use.
Chemicals Youll Need To Start Up Your Swimming Pool
Starting a pool up, either for the first time or for the season, is a big task. Between the cleaning and chemicals for a pool start-up, it is hard work for any pool owner.
Pools are seasonal in most areas of the world. Weather and climate sadly necessitate most being closed for certain periods of the year. This is bound to make start up difficult.
If you consider how much work goes into weekly pool maintenance and maintaining your pools chemical balance, it isnt surprising that a dormant pool requires quite a bit of work to be safe for use again.
Using the right chemicals when staring a pool up will get your water off to the right start. The rest of the season can go well, with only need maintenance work needed to keep your water in good health. However, if you get things wrong the entire start-up could drag out as you attempt to fix your pools water.
What chemicals you need for a pool start up is actually going to vary on a few things, like what water youre filling your pool with. However, testing your water should give you all the information to get things done right.
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Other Things To Keep In Mind When Cleaning A Salt Water Pool
Every 3 months, make sure you open and inspect your salt water cell. Youll want to check for scale build up, as well as deposits.
If its clear of any debris, you can reinstall it, but if there are deposits, you can use a high-pressure hose to flush them off. Now, if doing this doesnt get rid of the deposits, you can use a mild acid wash.
Another thing to do is to winterize your pool and equipment. If you have a removable unit, this is a simple step. Otherwise, refer again to your owners manual for instructions on how to winterize your salt chlorinator.
First To Adjust: Ph Levels
pH affects all of the chemicals in the pool so its best to control your pH levels and set them to their perfect levels before adjusting anything else. pH consists of many things like the acidity of your pool and alkalinity levels. Too acidic and it will eat away at your pools surfaces, too basic and it will cause staining and calcium deposits. The pH levels will also affect the effectivity of your chlorine so keeping it in check will ensure that your chlorine will do its job in sanitising the pool.
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Add The Shock To The Pool
Following the manufacturers instructions, measure the correct shock treatment dose. You will need to know the volume of pool water as well as your water testing results above to administer the correct dose. Many treatments will require you to mix up the treatment with water in a bucket first.
Treatment is usually added at dusk to ensure it can work without being used up by the suns UV rays.
Some pool owners have accidently added too much shock, dont worry too much if you do though. We have a detailed article on this here:
Balance Pool Water With A Pool Chemical Levels Chart
Balancing your pool is easy when you know all the right steps. If you followed along with this post, then you should now have a perfectly balanced pool.
But if youre more of a visual learner, or just want some reference material then youre in luck.
Fill out the quick form below to download a free Pool Chemical Levels Chart to use for adjusting chemical levels. With all the information you need on one page, youll save a bunch of time and balance your pool twice as fast.
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