Tuesday, April 22, 2008

 

Phosphate Treatment for Pools

If your pool has an ongoing problem with algae, your pool technician should be able to test your pool water for the level of phosphates in the water in order to determine the need for a phosphate elimination treatment.

What are phosphates? Phosphates are compounds of the nonmetallic element phosphorous and are an essential nutrient for plant growth. According to the lake and pond industry, nitrates, phosphates and carbon are primary foods for algae growth.

What is a phosphate treatment? A Phosphate treatment is the removal of phosphate nutrients in the pool that algae likes to feed on. The common compound in most phosphate treatments is lanthanum, which is a rare earth compound. This lanthanum reacts with the phosphates in the pool water and precipitates them from solution. It is able to drastically reduce the phosphates in the water.

How do phosphates get in my pool? Phosphates enter your pool through a variety of different ways. Mainly through vegetation, but also through rain or water run-off, tree bark, and other organic compounds.

What levels are too high for phosphates? Anything above 5,000 ppb (parts per billion) would be considered excessive and may need draining and refilling of pool water. Anywhere from 1,000 ppb to 5,000 ppb will need treatment.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

 

Painted Pool Plaster

We do not recommend painting pool plaster for the following reasons:

1. The pool paint after some time starts chipping off the plaster and will not only cloud up the pool water, but will clog up pool equipment - pumps and filters.

2. Due to the amount of paint debris, the filter will need to be cleaned more regularly (every month or every other month as opposed to twice a year).

3. Some paint creates a slippery surface which can be dangerous for a pool bottom.

Many people paint their pool as a quick solution to older plaster. The problem with this is that painting will need to be redone every year or so to maintain. This creates not only huge maintenance expenses, but is also a waste of water since the pool needs to be drained every time.

The correct solution to the problem is a complete replaster of the pool. This is when the current plaster on the pool is chipped out down to the gunite and new plaster is put in. The life of plaster is generally around 10 years versus paint, which is around 1 year.

How does a pool re-plaster compare to painting my pool?

Durability/Wear: Poor. Most paints require annual repainting. Chemicals and water conditions adversely affect longevity.
Ease in Cleaning: Poor unless the paint is very new.
Aesthetics: Good when new, deteriorates to poor as paint/coating ages.
Non-slip Surface: Poor unless non-slip granules are added to the paint
Overall Advantages: Quick inexpensive method of improving pool's appearance. Painting should be limited to pools that have limited options i.e. metal, fiberglass or concrete. Some newer coatings are environmentally friendly and more resistant to pool chemicals. Overall Disadvantages: Swimming pools commonly need painting every year. High maintenance cost over the life of the pool.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

 

What To Know About Plaster / How to Prevent Staining

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PLASTER:

Plaster has a porous surface, which makes it susceptible to staining, bacteria growth and breakdown by the chemicals you add. Because plaster constantly reacts to water and chemicals, plaster pools "use" more chemicals to maintain a balanced water chemistry. You can expect a new plaster surface to give you 7 to 10 years of good service with proper care.

Plaster has shading variations, known as mottling, and distinct from surface stains and deposits, mottling may appear as grayish hued areas. Rarely do I see a plaster job that is white like milk. They're usually white like clouds. Being a natural product, mottling is inherent in any plaster job and should not be considered a defect. There has been much research on the subject in recent years, however no consensus has been reached on the causes and cure of mottling.



PLASTER STAINING AND HOW TO AVOID:

Want to increase the life of your plaster? Barring problems in the mixing, application and curing processes, the pool owner, or service company controls its condition and life span. Keeping your water chemistry in balance and most importantly, preventing corrosive water environments of low pH and low alkalinity will reduce wear and tear.

1. Most stains are caused by heavy metal minerals coming out of solution and depositing themselves on the nearest structure they find. They may also remain suspended in water, providing dramatic new color schemes. Below is a list of common metals found in pools, where they came from, and their identifying colors

COLOR OF STAINS AND WHAT COULD BE CAUSING THEM:

White, Crystals or Precipitate - Metal: Calcium - Source: Plaster, Grout Mortar

Red, Blue, Gray or Black - Metal: Cobalt - Source: Fiberglass Shells

Blue, Green and Blue-Green - Metal: Copper - Source: Copper Algaecidies, Ionizers, Corrossion of copper and brass pipes, fittings and heaters.

Dark Red, Brown, Black, Grey or Green - Metal: Iron - Source: Well water, corrossion of iron pipe and fittings

Pink, Red or Black - Metal: Manganese - Source: Well Water

2. If any of the above causes apply to you, your pool should be using a sequestering agent which aids your water balance in preventing the metal from dropping out of solution and staining underwater surfaces. Most stains left by precipitated metals can be removed by one form or another.

3. Metallic salts cause scale. These salts are primarily forms of calcium and magnesium which can deposit on your plaster, pipes and equipment. They may arise from the use of calcium based sanitizers or the fill water may have high calcium hardness levels.

4. Keep your calcium hardness levels between 200-400 ppm. A level that is above this may find it easy to precipitate out of solution. This is known as a scaling condition. Conversely, water with low levels of hardness will produce an aggressive condition. In aggressive conditions (soft water), the water will take the calcium it wants directly out of your plaster, resulting in plaster breakdown and bond failure.

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Spa Draining

Periodic complete draining of spa water is the most important component of proper spa water maintenance. High bather loads and the hot water conditions cannot be handled over long periods of time without draining the spa. The following is a dumping formula that is a good guideline to go by.

First, divide your total spa gallons by 3. Divide this result by your Bather Load, which is the average number of bathers per day. The final result is the estimated number of days between water changes recommended for a properly maintained spa or hot tub.
Example,

Residential:

600 gallon spa / (Divided By) 3
___________________ = 100 Days

2 People per day bather load


Once you have determined how often your spa needs to be drained you may perform the draining on your own, or you can have LA Pool Guys perform this service for you at an additional cost. If you choose to drain your spa on your own you can purchase a sump pump at a local hardware store to speed up the draining process.

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Pool Service Preventative Maintenance

To our valued customer:

We are providing this list of service and preventive maintenance for our clients who currently have pool service intervals of once a week or less. If your pool is receiving professional attention once a week or less there are many responsibilities that may be necessary in order to maintain your pool/spa/fountain’s proper working order. Please note: We strongly recommend that all commercial properties choose a service plan that includes at least two visits per week.

Items that need attention if service intervals are once a week or less:

Add water as necessary - Depending on heater temperature, outside temperature, and bather load/usage the water level may drop significantly. Water level must be kept at least half way up the tile or skimmer at all times and should be filled up as necessary. You may contact us regarding installation of automatic fill lines so that manually filling is not necessary.

Test chemical balance adjust if necessary & Empty pump and skimmer baskets: Adding chemicals once a week during the swimming season or emptying the skimmer and pump baskets during periods of “foul weather” may simply not be frequent enough. You may contact us if you would like to have a chlorinator installed on your system so that adding chemicals manually is not required.

Brush walls and floor: Unless a pool is equipped with an automatic cleaning system brushing and vacuuming once a week may not be frequent enough to maintain the condition of the water and plaster. For residential properties, you may contact us if you would like information on automatic cleaning systems.

Remove pool/spa cover if covered prior to service day. Exception: We will remove cover if agreed upon in original contract. This applies to toys as well.


Notify LA Pool Guys immediately of any problems that may be noticed

Things to know:

1. Turning off the filter system or reducing the hours of filtration will allow your system to be very highly prone to algae growth and cloudy water. Keep in mind that the system will only filter the water and distribute the chemicals during the hours that the system is turned on. We recommend at least 8 hours of filtration time per day.

2. Allowing animals to swim in the water will affect the chemical levels that have been adjusted by LA Pool Guys. Animal hair can also clog the pump and filter system.

3. If applicable, do not allow your gardener to use a blower in the pool/spa/fountain area. Organic material, fertilizers, plant food, etc. will cause “chlorine lock up” and result in algae growth that can damage your pool and create the necessity to drain and replace the water.

4. Do not use household cleaners on your water system. Not all chemicals are formulated to be compatible with chlorine and other disinfecting chemicals

5. LA Pool Guys do not adjust heater temperatures unless requested by owner or management since heater temperature is a personal preference and adjustment may affect your utility bill, therefore, we may not discover a heater problem before you do. Please call immediately if you are experiencing heating problems.


Contact us immediately if you notice anything wrong with your system. Never assume that we know about a problem that exists on your system, accordingly, call us the moment that you notice any problems. Thank you for choosing LA Pool Guys. As always, we are continually striving to be your #1 pool service company!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

 

LA Pool Guys Updates and Information

Welcome to the News Section of LA Pool Guys. Check back often for new posts. We are constantly striving to be the number one pool service company in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area.

On this site in the near future, you will be able to find information regarding pool service, energy efficiency of pool equipment, repair information, commercial property information, Health Department regulations, and much more!

Thank you for your interest in LA Pool Guys - Please Bookmark this page and check in often!

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