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Tips to Get Your Pool Ready for Summer

It’s finally spring and time to pull back the cover on your pool. But don’t jump in just yet! Over the winter season, rain, snow and leaves have gotten into the pool and the water pH is probably not ready to welcome bodies just yet. While just getting the cover off may be a lot of work, there’s much more to do, but fear not. A Better Pool Service is here to help with these tips to get your pool ready.

First, the Pool Cover

Whether mesh or solid, a pool safety cover accomplishes the task of keeping leaves, runoff and other items out of your pool. It also keeps the area safe so that family pets, children and wild animals don’t fall into the pool and drown.

So it stands to reason that the pool cover needs to be cleaned, removed, set out to dry, and properly stored until it’s time to pull it out again. You’ll want to use a submersible pump or another kind of siphon to remove the collected rainwater and melted snow from the pool cover to keep it from falling into the pool. Once that’s done, grab a buddy and remove the cover from the pool. Don’t worry about some debris falling into the pool during the removal process, as you’ll be doing more cleaning in a bit.

An easy way to remove the pool cover is to for you and your buddy to fold it accordion-style from one end of the pool. Then take it to your driveway and unfold it, hose it down and then allow it to dry. Throw talcum powder on it (to keep mold and mildew away), and loosely roll the pool cover to store it. To make it easier to install the cover in the fall, fold it accordion-style again, placing talcum powder between the folds to stave off mildew.

If the water level is low, use a hose to fill it back up. The level should be near the middle of the skimmer or a little up the tile.

De-Winterizing the Pool

If you’re a new pool owner, chances are you won’t have to worry about this part until later in the fall, but getting your pool ready for winter typically means disconnecting your pool’s filter, pump, heater and other pool equipment. Now, you’ll want to reconnect all of this pool equipment and make sure it still is in working condition.

Remove winter plugs (they help keep lines from freezing) from the heater, pump, filter, booster, cleaner, skimmer, chlorinator, return lines and anything else that has a drain plug on it. Replace the regular drain plugs. Throw cracked and/or dry-rotted plugs away and keep all your winter plugs together in one big zip-seal baggie. Store near cover for later.

Turn on the equipment, including the pump and filtration system. If your filter has an air relief valve, open it to let air out of the system.

Spring Maintenance and Cleaning

Now is a good time to do a walk-through and inspect your pool and perform preventative maintenance. Look for any electrical hazards like exposed wires and broken connectors, and make sure there is proper grounding. Check for pressure leaks in pipes. Lubricate O-rings in your pump. Correct any issues immediately. Check around the pool for slip hazards and cosmetic issues, such as missing or broken tiles. Install pool handrails or other pool accessories.

Call the pool experts at A Better Pool Service for your annual maintenance!

Grab the brush and long pole and get to scrubbing the walls of the pool. Vacuum, skim and brush the pool, and scoop debris up from the pool floor. If your pool has a lot of debris or algae, bypass the filtration process and vacuum dirt and debris direction out of the backwash line. If your filter has a multiport valve, this is an easy step. If not, it might be harder to vacuum to waste. Cut the pipe from the pump and reconnect once you’ve finished brushing the pool thoroughly.

Water Chemistry

Once you’ve connected everything and allowed a few hours to elapse while the water gets circulated again, you’ll want to test the water’s pH, total alkalinity and chlorine levels. To do this,pool maintenance you’ll want to grab a few test kits from your local pool supply store. Buy more than one because it’s a good idea to test your pool’s water at least once a week during months of high use.

For pool water to be ideal, the levels for pH need to be between 7.4 and 7.6, total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm), and chlorine should be at a low 2 to 4 ppm.

Once you’ve tested your pool and recorded its levels, adjust the chemistry. Begin with total alkalinity. Adjusting total alkalinity first makes it easier to adjust pH and chlorine levels. If it’s too high, you’ll want to lower alkalinity with bisulfite or muriatic acid. Follow the directions on the product and add only as much as you need. Wait 6 hours before re-testing.

If total alkalinity is too low, simply add baking soda to the pool to raise it. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. For a pool, you’ll need more than the small container you’d find in your refrigerator. Buy a few big five-pound containers of the product, and only add a pound for every 10,000 gallons at a time. Wait at least 5 hours before testing again. Once total alkalinity is within range, your pH level should test in the normal range as well. If not, add muriatic acid in small amounts, testing between applications.

Lastly, you’ll want to shock your pool to free chlorine, eliminate bacteria and ward off algae blooms. Follow the directions on the shock product to make sure you don’t use too much. Wait a few hours and test your pool. If all your levels are within range, have a test swim! You’ve certainly earned it!

How To Pick a Pool Filter

Behind every picture-perfect gleaming clear swimming pool is a pool filter. Pool filters are so vital that using the wrong one is just as bad as not using one in the first place. This guide covers the types of swimming pool filters, how to determine flow rate and pool capacity, and what to look for in order find the filter that’s right for your pool.

Three Kinds of Swimming Pool Filters

The basic types of filters include sand filters, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters. All three of these filters work well when set up and preserved correctly. The main differences between them depends on the efficiency of the filter as time passes. Upfront costs and the total price of upkeep is another factor to consider.

Sand Pool Filters

Sand pool filters are the most commonly produced and used filter type. Sand swimming pool filters function just as well as cartridge and DE filters for the majority of purposes, yet on a microscopic level, sand filters do not operate as efficiently as the other types.

Sand pool filters work by pumping dirty swimming pool water over the upper layer of sand inside of the filter. As filthy pool water permeates through the bed of sand, layers of pool-grade # 20 silica sand work to filter out pool pollutants. To clean the filter, pool owners have to backwash the system by reverse-circulating the pool water into the filter to purge it out.

Cartridge Pool Filters

Cartridge pool filters are much more effective than sand swimming pool filters in a lot of ways. These filters function by filtering filthy pool water through a round fabric-like cartridge.

These pool filters are much more reliable considering that they are easier to maintain over the long run. Essentially, all you’d have to do is remove the cartridge from the filter housing and also spray it down with water. On the other hand, washing these filters is much faster than clearing out a sand filter which must be backwashed on a routine basis.

Confused yet? Let us help you select the right filter for your pool!

Diatomaceous Earth Filters

DE swimming pool filters are the most expensive as well as most highly advanced of all filter types. The reason for this expense is that DE filters can sort pollutants as small as 1 to 3 microns in size. DE filters include grids which make use of diatomaceous earth powder, which looks like pale, ultra-fine sand. DE powder, however, is a much much better purification medium compared to silica sand due to the fact that the products are incredibly different on a microscopic level. Most DE filter owners wash the filters by hand a few times a year because DE filters are a lot more fragile compared to sand filters and can tear if they are not gently cleaned on a consistent basis. Most DE filter owners typically vow by them since no other filter keeps the swimming pool cleaner.

Do Some Math

Pool maintenance and repair professionals highly encourage swimming pool owners to pick a slightly oversized swimming pool filter. A swimming pool filter that is too small may trigger damages to the pool’s pump because the pressure inside can stress the pump’s electric motor. The key to choosing a large swimming pool filter is to match the swimming pool’s dimension to the filter’s flow rate.

Calculating Swimming Pool Capacitypool filter

Swimming pool capacity is the amount of water a swimming pool holds in gallons. For a rectangular swimming pool, calculate the capacity in gallons by multiplying the width by the length by the average depth by 7.5. For a circular swimming pool, square the diameter and multiply that by the average depth and then by 5.9. The capacity of an oval swimming pool can be found by multiplying the full length of the pool by the width by the average depth and afterwards by 6.7. Since round and oval swimming pools are often above ground, their average depth is computed at 4 feet instead of 5 feet. Those with oddly formed pools need to call their swimming pool builder or swimming pool professional.

Determining Flow Rate

Next, compute the flow rate needed in a filter in order to totally filter the swimming pool in an set amount of time (described as the “turn over”). For example, if a 20,000-gallon swimming pool has to be completely filtered every eight hours, the filter’s circulation rate has to filter at least 2,500 gallons per hour, which is 41.6 gallons per minute (gpm). Due to the fact that different filters have various circulation rates based on the filter location and the filter maker’s mentioned filter rate, the difficulty arises.

The manufacturer’s filter rate (not to be confused with your preferred circulation rate) is the filter’s circulation rate for each square foot of area. Multiply the 2 numbers (provided by the vendor) to find the filter’s circulation rate and choose if it filters quickly enough your pool. For example, a filter with an area of 5 square feet and a filter rate of 10 gallons per minute will achieve a circulation rate of 50 gpm, which is certainly fast enough of a filtration process for the pool in the aforementioned example. Choosing a filter that has the fastest rate of circulation is a good idea, since the flow rate will steadily fall over time as the filter is used, and a bigger filter easily accomplishes a faster flow rate.

Getting the Correct Pool Filter

When the right flow rate has been determined and you’ve decided on the type of filter you want, the last step is to compare various brand names and models of filters. Swimming pool filters of all kinds can be located at brick-and-mortar pool supply establishments and also online. When there is no method to review the seller’s online history, filters are often less expensive online but it could be tough to find a respectable vendor. Online retailers like eBay and Amazon offer product reviews and low prices that we’ve all come to expect when shopping online.


Get Your Pool Ready for Summer

As the season transitions from winter to spring again, now is the perfect time to empty your swimming pool, do maintenance on it and upgrade it for the coming summer months. Because the North Texas area has had such a mild winter, you can already predict that summer will be even hotter than last year. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to upgrade your pool. Get started now to avoid high costs and be able to get the best use out of your pool during what’s sure to be a hot summer.

Peel Back the Pool Cover

After a long winter, remove the pool cover and turn back on your pool’s motors. You can now now perform some basic tests on the water to check the chemicals and make sure the pH level is balanced. It’s best to test your pool weekly and compare the results to keep the water completely balanced.

Gather a water sample from below 18 inches in your pool, or about a full arm’s length.pool maintenance

Buy a quality test kit that includes tests and reading for pH, total alkalinity and total chlorine, and follow its directions precisely. Total alkalinity is a pH buffer, so keeping total alkalinity in check will help stabilize the pH level in your pool and keep it from fluctuating. You’re looking for pH levels to be between 7.2 and 7.6; total alkalinity should be in the 80 to 120 range; and total or combined chlorine should be between 2.0 and 3.0.

If your pH level is too high, lower it by very carefully add muriatic acid to the pool away from other chemicals. If your pH level is too low, add soda ash. Muriatic acid can also be used to lower total alkalinity. To raise this figure, add sodium bicarbonate to the pool to strengthen the pH buffer. Testing your pool weekly will help keep it balanced and help you maintain a clean pool all year round.

For best results, call A Better Pool Service at (214) 347-8016, and schedule weekly service. We’ll keep your pool properly maintained week to week.

Security Updates for Your Swimming Pool

This period of transition between the seasons is a good time to check all kinds of safety equipment throughout your home, including fire extinguishers and CO2 and smoke detectors. While readying your pool for the summer, you should perform security updates around the backyard and pool areas.

Check the fencing around your pool to make sure there aren’t any gaps that small animals can crawl under. Check your pool’s anti-entrapment devices to keep hair and body parts from being pulled toward the pool drain. Install a safety ladder near the deep end of the pool, and make sure the safety rails near the swimming pool’s main steps are secure and in
good condition.

You can even upgrade the entire system to be able to manage it remotely. With this upgrade, you can turn on or off your pool’s heater, lights, and pumps and monitor and manage chemical levels from anywhere with just your cell phone.

Now is the Best Time to Do Some Pool Upgrades

Local Pool ServicesWhat better time to upgrade your swimming pool than a full season before summer! Itching for a whole new look for your backyard? Resurface the pool area with new pool tile, add a small cabana area, or integrate a new water feature like a fountain. Have your Jacuzzi jets repaired or some new ones installed. Attach accessories like a water slide for the kids to enjoy the pool some. You might even get a kick out of it yourself!

If you want more drastic changes done, you could definitely do a complete overhaul on the pool area. Drain the pool and pick new tile or plaster for the pool floor. Pay attention to the design elements around you to make your pool remodel project look distinctive while belonging with the general decor of your home. By remodeling the pool area, you’re sure to be able work highly sought-after features like luxurious and romantic waterfalls and rock formations into your design and create an oasis you won’t want to leave all summer.

Energy Efficient Swimming Pool Upgrades

Making sure all your equipment is energy-efficient is one of the best ways to save big on your monthly energy bills. Extend that efficiency to your swimming pool by upgrading your regular pool pump to a variable speed one. A variable speed water pump is nearly three times more efficient and operates on less than half the electricity a standard water pump uses. You could also upgrade your pool cover to a solar one in order to save money heating your pool. While not necessary for much of the summer, if you tend to swim in the cooler months, a solar pool cover helps drive down your heating costs while keeping your pool warm throughout the year.

Top of the Line Pool Service in Dallas

If you’ve got a pool that needs to be brought back to life before the heat of summer hits us, give A Better Pool Service a call. Restoring a pool to its former glistening glory can be a delicate process of balancing pH levels, chlorine and alkalinity. With A Better Pool Service, you don’t have to worry about all of that. You can just dive into a perfectly clean pool with our weekly cleaning services.

If you’re like some of our customers and prefer to test and clean your pool by yourself, we offer our Chemicals-Only service. We will bring the tests and chemicals with us so you don’t have to worry about storing chemicals at your home. Starting at only $70 per month, our Chemicals-Only service offers you substantial savings as well. Read more about it here, and give us a call to schedule a cleaning today.