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What is the fastest way to get my green, swampy pool water to clear?

The easiest way to get your pool clear is to shock the pool daily with double the normal dosage of chemicals used. The normal dose is one pound or one gallon of chemical per 10,000 gallons of pool water. Also, clean the filter anytime the pressure climbs above 20 psi.  See above instructions detailing how to clean your filter. The combination of shocking and cleaning the filter is the fastest way to get your pool swimable. Once you can see the bottom of the pool, lessen the shock treatments and start to balance your chemicals.

I keep hearing about salt systems or salt chlorination. What are they and why are they so easy to maintain?

A number of factors can lead to green water. The most common reasons are a lack of chlorine (or shocking) and a high metal content in your pool’s source water. A lack of chlorine, or shocking your pool, will initially make the water fuzzy and unclear and, eventually, green and swampy. Green water from lack of chlorine will most likely have a low-to-zero chlorine reading and look somewhat slimy. You may even see clumps of algae growing on the floor of your pool.  See the next question for instructions on how to fix this problem.

Another reason for a green tint in your swimming pool or spa is caused by a high metal content in the source water. You can usually tell between the two by the visual aspects. High metal green water usually has a chlorine reading from normal to high and is clear to the bottom, but it is tinted green comparable to someone pouring food dye in the water.  If you believe metals are the cause of your problem, we recommend adding one quart of metal remover per 10,000 gallons of pool water. You should start to see results within 12 hours. Most metal removers require you to clean your filter 24 – 48 hours after treatment. It is important to read the directions of any chemical you add to your pool before use. If you are still having problems, contact us.

How to Clean a Cartridge Filter

Turn off your pump. Drain the filter tank. Open the filter and remove the cartridges. Spray them off with the hose and reassemble.  Cartridge filters do not have a backwash feature and are the hardest to maintain clarity.

How to Clean a Sand Filter

Turn off your pump. Sand filters have a multi-port which is a large valve with 5 – 6 settings: “waste,” “filter,” “backwash,” “closed,” “recirculate” and rinse.” Move the multi-port handle to the “backwash” setting and turn on your pump, taking note of the color of water in the sight glass (small plastic or glass jar on the multi-port next to waste line). After approximately 2 – 5 seconds, you should start to see water traveling out of the “waste” hose. After 10 – 15 seconds, you should see cloudy, dirty water.  After 30 – 60 seconds, shut off your pump and move the multi-port handle to the “rinse” setting. Turn the pump on again. If your pool water is generally clean, the water in the sight glass should be clear. If it is green, the waste water will likely be as well. Rinse for 10 – 15 seconds. Next, turn off your pump and repeat the cycle between “backwash” and “rinse” 3 – 7 more times. When your sight glass stays clear on the “backwash” setting, you have gotten most of the used DE powder out of the filter. Turn off your pump, move the multi-port handle back to the “filter” setting and turn it on. Recharging is not necessary, but a sand filter should have the sand changed every 3 – 4 seasons.

How to Clean a DE Filter

Turn off your pump. If necessary, roll out any waste or backwash hose before cleaning your filter, and shut off any valves on your filter’s waste line as well. Most DE filters have a multi-port which is a large valve with 5 – 6 settings, labeled: “waste,” “filter,” “backwash,” “closed,” “re-Circulate” and “rinse. Move the multi-port handle to the “backwash” setting. Turn on your pump, taking note of the color of water in the sight glass (small plastic or glass jar on the multi-port next to waste line). After 2 – 5 seconds, you should start to see water traveling out of the “waste” hose. After 10 – 15 seconds, you should see cloudy, dirty water.  After approximately 30 – 60 seconds, shut off your pump and move the multi-port handle to “rinse.” Turn your pump on again. If your pool water is generally clean, the water in the sight glass should be clear. If it is green, the waste water will likely be as well. Rinse for 10 – 15 seconds. Next, turn off your pump and repeat the cycle between “backwash” and “rinse” 3 – 7 more times. When your sight glass stays clear on the “backwash” setting, you have gotten most of the used DE powder out of the filter. Turn off your pump, move the multi-port handle back to the “filter” setting and turn it on. Once this is complete, it is necessary to re-charge the filter with DE powder by adding it into your swimming pool’s skimmer, which is located next to the pool. Remove the basket and, for most filters, slowly add 3 – 5 standard coffee can-sized scoops. Note: Make sure your multi-port setting is back to the “filter” setting. Your filter pressure should be lower and the pool’s flow should be increased.

How will I know when my filter needs to be cleaned and how should I clean it?

The first sign that your filter is dirty is the pool starts to loose flow (water to and from the filter). The pool water may look milky or cloudy. Determine filter pressure by looking at the pressure gauge (located on the top of most filters).  Good pressure is generally between 8 – 12 psi. If it is higher than that, the filter may need cleaning. General pressure guidelines: 8 – 12 pis is good, 12 – 16 psi is getting dirty, higher than 20 psi indicates that a system likely needs to be cleaned.

In order to clean your filter, you’ll need to determine which kind you have.  There are three main types (if you have a different type, please call us): Diatomaceous Earth (DE), Sand or Cartridge.  Most filters have a sticker visible containing key information. Often, the type of filter, size and make are all listed. See below for examples of each.

 Pro

DE Filter with Multi Port Valve

sand

Sand Filter with Multi Port Valve

cart

Cartidge Filter

My pool’s water balance is perfect but the water is cloudy or milky. Why?

This is often caused by one of two things: a lack of filtering (or a dirty filter) or a lack of shocking or boosting the chlorine level.

First: Make certain it’s not your filter. Check to make sure your getting good filter pressure by looking at the pressure gauge (located on the top of most filters).  Good pressure is generally between 8 – 12 psi. If it’s higher than that, it could be the filter. A good rule of thumb: 8 – 12 psi is good, 12 – 16 psi is getting dirty, and anything past 20 psi means the system is dirty and likely needs to be cleaned. If you believe your filter is dirty, please move to the next question for instructions on cleaning. Another tip is to check how long your pool is scheduled to filter in a 24 hour period. Most filtration systems should run a minimum of 8 hours a day.  You will never have a pool and spa technician argue that your running your filtration too long; the longer it runs the cleaner it will be.

Second: Consider a chlorine post. Most pools that rely on stabilized chlorine fed from the chlorinator will still need a good dose of shock (un-stabilized chlorine such as liquid or powdered chlorine) every 7 – 10 days. If you are unsure how much to add, a good ratio is generally one pound of powder or one gallon of liquid chlorine per every 10,000 gallons of pool water.  If the water is especially cloudy, a double dose is recommended. If you are using a salt generation system, it likely has a button or location for boosting the chlorine output level. Be sure to only boost for 12 – 24 hours.

What are the normal chemical readings I should get when testing my pool?

Swimming Pools 

Chemical  Proper Range Notes
Ph Level 7.4 – 7.8 ppm low Ph can corrode pool equipment
Alkalinity Level 80-120 ppm stops ph bounce
Chlorine/Bromine Level 1-3 ppm ppm = Parts Per Million
Stabilizer Level   helps protect chlorine levels
Calcium Hardness Level   important for gunite pools
Salt Level (Salt Generator) 3100 ppm  
     

 

Spas & Hot Tubs 

Chemical  Proper Range  
Ph Level 7.4 – 7.8 ppm  
Alkalinity Level 80-120 ppm  
Chlorine/Bromine Level 3-5 ppm ppm = Parts Per Million
Stabilizer Level    
Calcium Hardness Level    
Salt Level (Salt Generator) 3100 ppm