Pool Know How

Pool Problems

  • Why is sand in my pool?

    If your filter fingers are broken or damaged, sand will flow into your pool. To check whether this is the case, remove the sand from your filter and replace the filter fingers.

  • Why is my sand filter not working effectively?

    It may be the case that sand has escaped from the filter, debris could be blocking the filter or the sand particles may be coated in calcium. Make sure that your filter is the right size for your pool and that the sand is changed every 2 years.

  • Why is my pump humming?

    When your pump’s motor cannot turn, this causes a humming sound. Your starting capacitor may have malfunctioned or your start switch. You could have a damaged pump seal which has permitted water into the motor, causing the bearings to fail. Finally, debris could be caught between the impeller and diffuser, causing the impeller to be jammed. Get in touch with us if you are unsure what to do next, and we will take it from there.

  • Why is my pool water not heating up with my solar panels?

    Ensure that you have enough panels depending on the size of your pool. The timer needs to be appropriately set, so that water runs through your panels during the day. Make sure the valve is not closed, which means water bypasses the solar panels. Finally, you could install a solar blanket to keep heat locked in.

  • Why is my pool water metal tinted (luminous green or dusty brown)?

    Your pool probably has a very low pH, which results in dissolved metals coming out of solution, so that they become visible in the water. This will require purchasing a metal remover to apply to your pool water, following which you should adjust your total alkalinity and pH. Finally, add a clarifier to your pool water to get it sparkly blue once more.

  • Why is my pool water level dropping?

    Either the water is evaporating or you have a leak. Search for any leaks and repair these. Get in touch with us if you have no luck and we will help find the answer for you.

  • Why is my pool green even after treatment?

    This issue is likely due to overstabilisation, or a chlorine lock, which results from overuse of stabilised chlorine products. Your stabiliser levels are out of balance and need to be tested. If the level is higher than 100 parts per million, you will need to drain 30% to 50% of your pool, which requires setting your pump to ‘waste’, following which it will require refilling. Make sure that your new stabiliser level is between 40 and 80 parts per million. You should also then test the pH of your pool and apply shock treatment. Alternatively, get in touch with your local Pool Xpert and we’ll talk you through what we can do to help.

  • Why is my pool cloudy?

    Your pool may have a high pH or total alkalinity level. There may also be an issue with circulation, dust build-up or higher than normal bather pollution due to increased usage. To correct for this problem, test your pH, total alkalinity and chlorine levels and adjust accordingly.

  • Why does water leak from the backwash pipe when the multiport valve is on 'filter'?

    It is likely that your backwash valve is under pressure from the pump. If a gasket in the valve is missing or out of place, water will leak. It is best to replace the multi-port gasket.

  • Why does my pool cleaner hose come out of the weir when I switch off the pool pump?

    This is as a result of pressure build-up from the filter and pump. To remedy this, install a non-return valve or flapper valve on the suction line.

  • Why does blonde or bleached hair turn green after using my pool?

    Your pool may contain high levels of copper in the water, as a result of excessive use of copper-based algaecides or a pH lower than 6.8. To remedy this, test the copper levels in your pool, correct any pH issues and, if necessary, add a metal remover.

  • Why do my pool surfaces feel slippery?

    This is likely a result of algae growth. See our recommendations for dealing with algae in your pool.

  • Why are there brown stains on the surfaces of my pool?

    If your pool water has altered from very low to high pH levels in a short space of time, this may result in dissolved metals coming out of solution and accumulating on your pool surfaces. This issue is also heightened by high calcium levels in your pool from the use of granular calcium-based chlorine products. You should purchase a metal remover to assist, although severe cases may require draining your pool and acid washing your walls. Alternatively, you could add hydrochloric acid until the metals redissolve. Your metal remover can then be added after either draining your pool or adding acid, following which you should raise the pH of your pool again.

  • What does it mean if I have green algae in my pool?

    It is likely that your pool has the incorrect pH and chlorine levels. Brush the algae from the surfaces of your pool. Test your pH level and correct this as your kit instructs. Be sure to backwash and rinse your filter, following which you should shock chlorinate your pool. For severe infestations, an algaecide may be required.

  • What does it mean if I have black algae in my pool?

    Your pool likely suffers from problematic filtration, as black algae usually grows in spots where circulation is poor. There may also be an issue with the chemicals and pH of your pool. To correct the problem, you will need to give your pool a little extra attention. Brush the surfaces thoroughly and test the pH of your pool, correcting this as instructed by your kit. You may also need to use an algaecide. To ensure that it does not return, maintain your pump, filter sand and pool circulation.

How To

  • How do I check for suction leaks?

    Suction leaks can cause a whole host of problems, such as a pool cleaner which doesn’t work even after backwashing, the persistent growth of black algae, or bubbles streaming out of your aimflow. If you are experiencing any of these issues, check for suction leaks. Have a look at your multiport valve o-ring and pipe joints, your pump lid o-ring, your pool cleaner hoses and your underground piping. Finding leaks is usually the biggest part of the job and once you have located your leak, it can simply be sealed tightly to ensure that air bubbles no longer disrupt functionality.

  • How do I change my filter sand?

    Make sure that you purchase enough sand for your filter, depending on whether it requires 2 or 3 bags. Turn the pump off when replacing the sand and open your filter, removing all the sand carefully ㅡ you could use a plastic cup to do so. Try to avoid damaging any underdrain fingers during the process. Add the fresh sand to your filter until it is ¾ full. Backwash and rinse for 2 to 3 minutes, to remove any residual dust. Finally, set your multiport valve to ‘filter’ and start your pump again as usual.

  • How do I backwash my pool?

    The first step when backwashing your pool is to turn off your pool pump and cleaner and empty your weir basket. Move the handle on the multiport valve of your filter to the ‘backwash’ position. Switch the pump on and let the water run until it is completely clear in the sight glass. This will usually take approximately 2 minutes. Turn the pump off and move the multiport valve handle to the ‘rinse’ position. Switch the pump back on again and let it rinse for 30 seconds. Turn the pump off again and move the handle to the ‘filter’ position to continue cleaning your pool as usual. This procedure should be implemented at least twice a month.

Pool Pumps

  • How does a variable speed pool pump work?

    A variable speed pool pump is one which runs at different speeds, which results in different performance, depending on the speed setting. This is useful, as it will help save electricity.

  • Are all variable speed pool pumps alike?

    The concept of different speed options is often the same, but be cautious regarding those pool pumps which market themselves as variable speed, but only allow for three different speeds, as these are not true variable speed pool pumps.

Pool Heating

  • Why is my heat pump tripping?

    Get in touch with us and we will solve your problem with no hassle. It might be that your circuit-breaker, cable supply or voltage is incorrect and we will help solve this for you.

  • Why is my heat pump not switching on?

    Check the power supply and that the unit is switched on. Make sure the temperature outside is above 5 degrees. Have a look at your water flow rate and also check that the difference between the desired temperature and current water temperature is not too great.

  • What size heat pump do I need for my pool?

    When it comes to pools, there is much variety, in terms of size, position, altitude, solar coverings and water features. Get in touch with us and we can help you figure out your unique heating needs and determine the exact size of the heat pump you require.

  • What should I do if I still can't work my heat pump after reading the manual?

    Get in touch with us and we will send a professional to help solve your issue, so that you are able to enjoy your warm water without any of the stress.

  • What does COP mean?

    COP is short for ‘coefficient of performance’ and is a measure of the energy efficiency of your heat pump. If the COP of your heat pump is in the region of 5, your pump is performing well in terms of being energy efficient.

  • Should my pool be covered or sheltered when I am heating it?

    No, your pool does not have to be covered or sheltered, but it will mean that you use slightly more power to heat the water up. For this reason, an insulating cover is recommended when heating your pool.

Water Treatment

  • Will the salt from my salt water chlorinator destroy the metal material in my pool?

    The majority of metal corrosion in a pool is due to an incorrect water balance, rather than the use of salt. Stainless steel is fairly well suited to withstand salt. 316 steel is not damaged by salt, while 304 steel, which was historically used in pools, does corrode over time. On the other hand, galvanised steel suffers greatly when exposed to salt. Should corrosion appear within one year, this is due to a water balance issue, rather than the presence of salt alone.

  • Where must I add salt to my pool?

    Put salt straight into your pool, rather than into your weir. Simply place the entire bag in your pool and once the salt is dissolved, the bag will float to the surface of the water.

  • When must I add salt to my pool?

    The warning light on your salt water chlorinator will indicate that salinity is too low and requires the addition of salt. However, it is a good idea to add salt every 2 to 3 months, especially during rainy seasons. While salt chlorinators differ, salt levels should remain between 3000 and 7000 parts per million.

  • What should the chemistry values of my water be to maintain balance?

    Chlorine: 1 to 3 parts per million
    pH: between 7.2 and 7.6
    Total Alkalinity: 80 to 150 parts per million
    Stabiliser: 40 to 80 parts per million

  • What should I do if scale is forming on the equipment and sides of my pool?

    Either the pH level is incorrect and the water is hard or the total base level is too high. Alter your pH to between 7.2 and 7.6 or reduce the hardness level to between 200 and 400ppm.

  • What should I do if my pool water smells strongly of chlorine?

    Your pool water lacks free chlorine and requires super chlorination or shock chlorination.

  • What should I do if my water is irritating swimmers' eyes or skin?

    Either the pH level is incorrect or there are chloramines in your pool water. Alter your pH to between 7.2 and 7.6 and shock chlorinate if the problem persists.

  • What should I do if my pool water is green and, when I test, there is no chlorine in the water?

    The level of chlorine in your pool is too low and it requires super chlorination or shock chlorination.

  • What should I do if my pool water is blue, but when I test, there is no chlorine in the water?

    The pH is either too high, or there is an excessive amount of stabiliser in your pool. Make sure your pH is between 7.2 and 7.4 and check the level of stabiliser. Ensure that your electrodes are also clean.

  • What salt must I use in my salt water chlorinator?

    Coarse food grade salt is generally used for swimming pools, which can be purchased in 25kg bags. It is not recommended that you use iodised salt, as this could result in staining.

  • What is shock chlorinator?

    This is achieved when a chlorine level of 8 to 10 parts per million is achieved and maintained for 3 days. The filter should be operated for 3 days too.

  • What does popularity inversion mean for my salt water chlorinator?

    This is often described as a process of self-cleaning, when in actuality it is a low maintenance system whereby cell electrodes regularly change the direction of the current, usually every 5 hours. This allows for the layers of scale deposited on the electrode plates to be removed and so maintain the cell. In the case of very hard water, some chlorinators are able to clean the electrodes more frequently by shortening the polarity inversion time, such as every 2.5 hours. However, a shortened polarity time can cause more wear and tear of the electrodes and so pool professionals generally handle this aspect of salt water chlorinators themselves. If you need advice on polarity inversion for your salt water chlorinator, Get in touch with us and we’ll set you on the right track.

  • Can I just leave my pool alone if I have a salt water chlorinator?

    No. When using a salt water chlorinator, your pool is chlorinated automatically. The salt, as a result of electrolysis, is altered into sodium hypochlorite, which is a strong disinfectant. However, your pool certainly still needs to be maintained and kept balanced.

Pool Cleaners

  • Why will my pool cleaner not lie flat against the surface of the pool?

    The hose connecting to your cleaner can have buoyancy, which may cause it to lift at the front. A hose weight will assist with this, forcing the pool cleaner to attach correctly to the surface. Your hose weight may need to be adjusted. If the problem remains, check that the float of your pool cleaner has not filled or the weight fallen out.

  • Why is my pool cleaner only running on the wall?

    The suction of your pool cleaner is too high. Reduce the setting and this should rectify the problem. Your pool cleaner is equipped with a flow control valve which is affixed to your weir. In order to change the suction settings of your pool cleaner, adjust this valve and you can increase or decrease the suction of your cleaner.

  • Why is my pool cleaner only running on the floor?

    The suction of your pool cleaner is too low. Increase the setting and this should rectify the problem. If the problem persists, check that your filtration system is in good order and that there are no leaks. If you see bubbles coming out of your aimflow, or if the water level drops in your weir when you plug in your pool cleaner, you have a leak. Get in touch with us and we can help fix your leak in no time.

  • Why is my pool cleaner moving backwards?

    Suction pool cleaners move backwards by design, as they follow the hoses. It is important to remember the direction which your pool cleaner moves when you purchase spare parts.

  • Why are bubbles coming out of my aimflow?

    If there is a stream of bubbles coming out of your aimflow, this is problematic and may indicate a suction leak in your filtration system. Get in touch with us and we can help fix your problem right away.

  • What must I do if my pool cleaner stops and starts?

    Make sure that debris is not stuck in the diaphragm, hose or weir basket. Position your hand over the last hose outlet and test for the strong pull of a suction. Lastly, check hoses for leaks or tears.

  • What is a diaphragm?

    A diaphragm is essentially the engine of your disc based pool cleaner. It is important that this is not stretched or torn, as this will prevent your pool cleaner from working.

  • How long will my pool cleaner last?

    A pool cleaner does not have a definitive life span, but when well cared for, it can last for up to 5 years. Be sure to purchase a good quality product and keep your water chemistry in a healthy condition, to ensure that your pool cleaner has a long life.

  • How long must I run my filtration system for every day?

    It is advisable to run your filtration system for 12 hours a day during summer and 8 hours a day during winter. For optimal results from your pool cleaner, it is best to run 2 or 3 different cycles per day.

  • How do I stop my pool cleaner from covering the same pattern?

    Switch the order of the hose lengths and ensure that the correct number of hoses are in use. If required, add extra length. Position aimflows so that they point downwards towards the pool floor. If the problem persists, add approximately 1.2 metres of hose to warm water for several minutes, which should ease the memory of the hose.

  • How do I maintain my pool cleaner?

    Getting your pool chemistry right is key to ensuring the lifespan of your pool cleaner. When cleaning or backwashing your pool filter, it is a good idea to disconnect the cleaner from the weir. It is also advisable to remove the cleaner from the pool when performing chemical or shock treatments. Wait at least 4 hours after super chlorination before reconnecting your pool cleaner. Finally, keep your weir basket clear of debris for best performance.

Pool Basics and Terminology

  • What is Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)?

    Total dissolved solids is the amount of soluble material which has dissolved in the water of your pool. If this figure is too high, implying a total dissolved solids level above 1500 parts per million, it disrupts the chemical action in your pool.

  • What is total alkalinity (ta)?

    Total alkalinity is a measure of the alkaline substances in the water of your pool. Total alkalinity is important, as it determines how resistant your pool is to large changes in pH, known as pH bounce. Alkaline substances act as buffers against such pH changes, which will disrupt your pool. For a stable pool, the ideal range of total alkalinity is 80 to 150 parts per million (ppm).

  • What is stabiliser and why does it matter?

    Pool stabiliser attaches to chlorine and protects it from the sun, as the ultraviolet rays destroy chlorine over time. Excessive use of stabiliser, however, may lead to a chemical imbalance and poor sanitation in your pool. The ideal range of pool stabiliser is 40 to 80 parts per million (ppm).

  • What is oxidation and why does it matter ?

    When it comes to your pool, oxidation is an important chemical process which takes place when you add chlorine to the water. The chemistry involves removing electrons from contaminants, such as sunscreen or oils, so that your pool is sanitised and safe for swimming.

  • What is free chlorine and why is it important?

    Free chlorine is the chlorine level that you test for in your pool and is ‘free’ to do its job and sanitise the water in your pool. It is essential to know how much free chlorine is in your pool, when compared to combined chlorine, which has already been used up in the sanitising process, although it is still present in the water. Free chlorine is what is needed to protect your pool. A pH imbalance, suspended dirt or extreme stabiliser levels can reduce the accessibility of free chlorine. The right level of free chlorine in a swimming pool is between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm).

  • What is a filtration?

    This is the process which removes dirt, organic matter such as leaves, and other undesirable material from your pool water.

  • What is algae and why is this relevant to my pool?

    Algae are a group of aquatic organisms that thrive best under alkaline conditions. If the pH of your pool gets too high, you may well see algae starting to grow. This is not dangerous, but looks unattractive and is easily remedied by maintaining the right pH of between 7.2 and 7.6 and controlling the sanitiser level in your pool.

  • What is aimflow?

    This is the jet where water is pumped back into the pool from the filter.

  • What is a weir?

    A weir is the suction point where water is removed from the pool, as it enters the filter system. This is the position where the pool cleaner hose is plugged in.

  • What is a suction leak?

    A suction leak is a spot where air is mistakenly sucked into the filter system, due to a leak. Suction leaks are problematic, as they diminish filtration and circulation efficiency.

  • What is a shock treatment?

    Shock treatment is the process of adding a large quantity of sanitiser to your pool. This is necessary when your pool needs a little extra attention, due to extreme weather conditions, a buildup of contaminants and chlorine molecules or large number of swimmers enjoying the water. To keep your pool in the best possible condition, a shock treatment once a week is recommended.

  • What is a sanitiser?

    A sanitiser is a chemical essential for killing germs within your pool. This is often chlorine, but there are other sanitisers available for ensuring your sanitiser levels maintain a healthy, happy pool environment, such as hydrogen peroxide and ozone.

  • What does a multiport valve?

    The multiport valve is the handle on a sand or diatomaceous earth (DE) filter which channels the flow of water through the circulation system. The position of the handle allows for a variety of functions, depending on the direction of the water, such as filtering and backwashing. These functions will be labelled, allowing you to choose the action necessary for your pool.

  • What does PH mean?

    The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a water-based solution is. Lower pH values indicate that a solution is acidic and higher pH values mean that a solution is basic. This is important for your pool, in ensuring the balance between acidity and alkalinity. If your pH is less than 6, this implies your pool is too acidic, while a pH of more than 8 means your pool is very alkaline. The perfect balance for a pool is a pH between 7.2 and 7.6.

  • Should we take extra precautions against coronavirus?

    We recommend maintaining adequate personal hygiene and social distancing when in the swimming pool. Bathers should shower before and after swimming in the pool as well as washing bathing suits and towels to eliminate all bacteria and viruses. In addition to the pool water, the pool surround must be disinfected, such as ladders, by using products specially recommended for doing so.

  • Is my swimming pool safe from the coronavirus variants ?

    The main change in the past year regarding the Coronavirus and its behaviour, has been the appearance of new variants such as the well-known South African, British and Brazilian ones. The mutations in the virus have affected the envelope-embedded proteins, known as spikes. These mutations can increase the virus’s infection capability, but this does not mean they are more resistant to disinfectants. With this in mind, we can confidently state that properly treated swimming pools remain a safe place even with the new variants of the virus.

  • Is chlorine in my swimming pool enough to inactivate coronavirus?

    Yes, for a conventional swimming pool with good hydraulics and filtration, operating within its designated bathing load, adequate water quality is achieved maintaining a free chlorine level of > 0.5-1 mg/I throughout the pool. In other words, with a free chlorine level of >0.5-1 mg/I the water is not only disinfected, it also has disinfection potential to eliminate any virus or germ that could enter the water.