Your Questions Answered
Pool Maintenance Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long should I run my pumps?
A: The amount of time required to run your system depends on the time of year and the conditions around your pool area. In the spring and summer months as the weather turns warmer and swimming increases, the demand for chemicals and filtration increases. It is recommended that the entire volume of water be filtered through twice a day. This can typically be achieved in a 8-10 hour run time per day. In the Fall and Winter the weather turns cooler and the demand for chemicals and filtration decreases. It is recommended that the entire volume of water be filtered through once per day. This can typically be achieved in a 4-6 hour run time per day. Consider the following when determining the amount of time to run your filter: If your pool is on a heavily wooded lot, you will want to extend the run times during the Fall and Spring. If you heat the pool in the Winter your demand for both chemicals and filtration does not decrease and you will want to continue to use the guidelines for Spring and Summer operation.
Q: What is normal pressure for my filter?
A: Every pool system has different pressure restrictions depending upon the type of equipment and features that were built with your pool. New pool owners will be given the normal pressure for their system with their start up instructions. If you are not the original owner or cannot remember the normal pressure of your system it is recommended that you backwash or clean the filter to establish a normal clean filter pressure.
Q: How often should I backwash my filter?
A: The filter should be backwashed every 4 to 6 weeks or when the pressure increases 8 to 10 lbs. over normal clean filter pressure. The filter should also be completely disassembled, inspected and cleaned every six months to ensure proper filtration.
Q: How do I backwash my filter?
A: Backwashing Procedures:
- With filter pump off, set the backwash valve or MPV (Multi-Port Valve) handle to the “BACKWASH” position.
- Open release valve.
CAUTION: Be sure that all provisions for wastewater disposal meet local, state or national codes. One hundred gallons (100gals.) or more of pool water will be discharged during filter backwashing. Do no discharge water where it will cause flooding or damage.
CAUTION: Maintain your pressure gauge in good working order. The pressure gauge is the primary indicator of how the filter is operating.
- Stand clear of the filter, start the pump to circulate the water backwards through the filter to the waste line.
- When a steady stream of water is expelled through the air release valve, close the valve.
- Run the pump until the backwash discharge water is clear (repeat steps 1 thru 5 if required).
- Switch the filter pump off.
- Set the backwash valve or MPV to filter position.
- Prepare recommended amount of DE as listed on the filter tank.
- Start the filter System.
- With the pump running and the pool skimmer valve open, slowly pour the DE directly into the pool’s skimmer basket. The slurry will be drawn into the filter.
Q: What should I do when the temperature is below freezing?
A: When the outdoor air temperature reaches 32 degrees or lower, costly freeze damage can occur. These steps should be followed to help prevent any damage to your pool and/or equipment:
- Run filtration pump and all auxiliary pumps continuously (pool cleaner pump does not need to run). If functioning properly, your freeze guard should run the pump automatically until temperatures rise above freezing. Note: Direct sunlight on your freeze guard may “trick” it into functioning as if the temperature is above freezing thereby turning off your pump. If this happens, reactivate the pump manually and remove the timer trippers or switch the computer controller to “service” and turn the pumps on. The pumps WILL NOT turn off automatically in service mode.
- Break up ice on the pool and spa surfaces to keep the skimmers and skimmer doors free from ice. Carefully remove skimmer doors if it is not possible to keep them free of ice. Use caution to avoid damaging the skimmers.
- Maintain proper pool water level at all times (at the middle of the tile line). If the water level drops too low, the pump will draw in air through the skimmers which increases the risk of equipment freeze damage.
- NEVER backwash during extremely cold conditions. Filter pressure gauges can freeze, resulting in inaccurate readings.
- DO NOT use heater during extreme cold unless it has been constantly running prior to the drop in temperature.
- Adjust pool and spa jets upwards to reduce surface freezing
Q: What should I do if there is a power outage in freezing weather?
- Turn off circuit breakers to all pool equipment.
- Open the filter air bleed valve. If it is frozen, pour warm water over it to dislodge the ice.
- Drain the pumps by removing all drain plugs from the bottom of the pump. Place the plugs in the pump basket and loosely replace the lid.
- Remove the winterizing plugs and/or open drain valves on the heater and place them in the pump basket.
- Remove drain plug for the filter.
- Remove the chlorinator tubing and lid.
- To prevent ice from forming in skimmers, place a one liter plastic bottle half filled with anti-freeze in each skimmer. This will help take up any freeze expansion in the skimmers.
- Open all valves or adjust 3-way valves to the middle positions to allow water to flow back into the pool through all pipes.
- Any pipes that cannot be drained should be protected with electrical heat strips available at local hardware stores.
- Cover electronic ignition heaters with a blanket for insulation.
UNCOVER HEATER PRIOR TO USE.
Q: My pool is losing water! What should I do?
A: You can expect some water loss due to evaporation and splash out during swimming. The evaporation rate varies by season, area in which you live and amount of time you run your water features. You will experience greater loss of water through evaporation, the greater the difference between warm air temperatures and cooler water temperatures. If suspect you are losing an above average amount of water in your pool, check all plumbing and equipment for leaks, inspect backwash line for water bypassing valve and inspect interior of pool for cracks. Please contact our service department to schedule a service call for visual leaks at equipment or contact the structural warranty department for non-visual leaks to discuss possible scenarios.
Q: How important is water chemistry for my pool?
A: Believe it or not, water chemistry is the most important part of any pool’s maintenance routine. Pool water that is not balanced correctly will not only damage the pool equipment but will also ruin the interior finish of the pool. Here are some helpful tips to maintaining proper water chemistry:
- Test water chemistry at least once a week
- Always follow manufacturer’s directions for use of chemicals.
- Never mix chemicals.
Recommended Water Chemistry Parameters
- Free available chlorine (FAC)
- 1 to 3 parts per million (ppm)
- Combined chlorine
- 0 ppm
- Total available chlorine (TAC)
- Equal to free (represents 0 ppm combined)
- 7.4 to 7.6 (7.2 to 7.4 colored plaster)
- 80 to 120 ppm (80-100) colored
- Calcium hardness
- 200 to 400 ppm (175-250 colored plasters)
- 0 ppm
- Cyanuric acid (stabilizer)
- Below 80 ppm
- Total dissolved solids (TDS)
- Below 1200 ppm