Expert Advice for Backyard Pool Owners
Are you a backyard pool owner? Do you sometimes wish you could have free expert advice on pool maintenance? Your wish just came true: check out the Water Quality & Health Council’s popular online “Ask a Pool Operator” feature.
The “Ask a Pool Operator” web page includes an extensive archive of questions and answers organized by category, including Chlorine, Cloudy-murky Water, Dealing with Animals in the Pool, Green Water and Algae, Inflatable Pools, pH , Salt Pools and more. Explore the site to learn from the already posted “Q’s and A’s,” and feel free to submit a new question.
Here is a sampling of questions submitted so far by pool owners and answered by an expert.
what is the right clorine level of a swiiming pool? if the test shows 9 should i close the pool ?
The ideal level of free chlorine in the swimming pool is 2 to 4 ppm. 1 to 5 ppm is acceptable and 9 ppm is on the high side. 9 ppm would likely be safe to swim, but could be more of an irritant. Ideally, the level would be alllowed to come down to 5 ppm before swimmers are allowed to swim.
Topic: Cloudy-murky Water
the pool is murky…looks like a pond…when i scoop out leaves the water that drains out from the net is clean. not grean or anything. i’m about to give up and drain the whole thing and start over..but I hate to do it its my last resort
Once the large debris is gone, top up the water and get it balanced and start adding algaecide if any green color to the water and chlorine (be carefull to follow instructions carefully for algaecide as it may go in particular order with your chlorine). The water balance and filtering should clear it up, but it is not a particularly quick process. It may take a few days to clear up from this point. If it is not improving daily, you should check the filter. It may need to be cleaned or not getting enough pressure, etc. Proper filtration along with the chemical treatments is the key to your recovery.
Topic: Green Water and Algae
ok i need help. I just bought a house with a inground 25k gal. pool. I dont know anything about the keep up on one. It has not been used for 2 years and is very green. I need help. Where do I even start?
The best thing that you can do is to learn about your swimming pool. There are many online resources and many local swimming pool retailers offer free or low cost “pool school” to help teach you about pool maintenance. First, a very green pool means algae. You will have to treat this, typically with chlorine and perhaps algaecide. I would suggest taking a water sample to a local retailer who will test the water for you and help you make a plan for opening your pool.
Topic: Inflatable Pools
We have a 900 gal. inflatable pool and frequently use shock, chlorine, clarifier, and anti-fungal conditioner. We find the water stays cloudy even after treating with clarifier every couple of days. We gauge the water treatment using the litmus tests every couple of days, and adjust the chemicals accordingly.
How often should we be treating the water, and how often should we drain and re-fill the pool? Thanks
You should be treating your water as often as the test says that it is out of balance. It is recommended to test 2 to 3 times per week. Just remember you will spend a lot less money making small adjustments than if you lwt it go for a while and have a problem that requires large dosages of treatment chemicals. Also, how often the pool is drained and refilled depends on several factors – bather load, amount of chemicals added, length of season, etc. Typically a partial drain and refill is all that is necessary to “refresh” the water (i.e. drain the water half way down and fill it back up). If you filled it when you started the season with fresh water, you should not need to drain and refill during the season.
how can i measure the ph level of my pool on a daily basis
There are several ways to be able to measure pH in your swimming pool on a daily basis. There are liquid kits, tablet kits, electronic meters and test strips. I would recommend the strips as they are easy to use and low cost if measuring that frequently. Also, you should only need to test the pool daily if it is getting used heavily or the conditions are extreme – heat, rain, dust, fertilizer overspray, etc. Testing 3 times a week should be sufficient under normal conditions (unless you are a public facility and more regular testing is required by regulation).
Topic: Salt Pools
I’ve heard about salt chlorination. Is it better than chlorine?
It is actually the same as chlorine, it is just introducing the chlorine in a different way. In a salt generator system, salt is added to the pool water and a cell installed that can convert this salt into free chlorine. It can be a very effective system and can cut down on maintenance due to the fact that it is constantly producing chlorine. However, it should be treated the same as any other chlorine system with regular testing and adjustment of balancing chemicals like pH and total alkalinity as well as the occasional shock treatment. One word of caution about these systems – the cell used to convert salt to chlorine will need to be replaced every 3 – 5 years and can be very costly. Before you purchase a salt system check to see what the replacement cell will cost you and factor that into your decision.
Topic: Dealing with Animals in the Pool
I have an above ground pool with a deck around it and we just opened the pool up.we are having a problem with the frogs hanging around on the side of the pool.how can i get them away from my pool (without harming my pool).
There are frog repelents available that would work to keep frogs away. There may be precautions necessary for use around the swimming pool. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Another trusted method is to spray a solution of vinegar onto the surface where you keep getting frogs. Frogs do not like the burning sensation this causes. However, the odor can obviously be mildly irritating. Last, make sure you do not leave lights on around or in the pool as this will attract insects which will also attract the frogs.