Pinnacle Pools, Author at Pool Service, Repair, Renovation, Equipment | Pinnacle Pools, Inc.

How Rain Affects Your Pool Water

We tend to welcome the occasional rain shower, since it’s good for local crops and helps to prevent another dangerous drought. But rain is not so welcome in your pool. Although it seems like it would be harmless, rain water can actually mess up your pool chemistry and introduce some unsanitary elements. It’s a good idea to learn how rain will affect your pool, and what adjustments you should make to your pool maintenance schedule.

Does the amount of rain matter? Actually, no. Even a small rain shower can introduce algae and debris into your pool. Algae spores and debris are always present in the air anyway, but rain helps to deliver those unwanted particles straight into your pool. Once the algae is introduced, it can begin to reproduce quickly and create an unsightly mess before long. This is especially true during summer, when the warm weather encourages fast growth. Algae in your pool will also disrupt your chlorine levels, and of course that’s a whole other level of trouble!

How do you kill algae? A commercially available algicide will usually do the trick, but some pool owners are hesitant about using another chemical in their pool. So they attempt to use a lower level of it, thinking, “it’s just a few spores, so this will probably work”. The thing is, algae reproduces very quickly. So you need to be killing it faster than it grows, or else you’re fighting a losing battle. Make sure to follow the application directions precisely, to keep the algicide at a high enough concentration in the water.

What about the pool water chemistry? Debris that is deposited by rain can also trigger an imbalance in your water’s chemistry. Any time it rains – even a brief shower – test your water and adjust the chemicals accordingly. If you keep your pool at the optimal pH level in between rain showers, it can also help to prevent this problem.

Anything else? Secure all items around your pool, in the event winds are expected. This can prevent damage to your pool furniture and other items, and will prevent them from introducing further debris into the pool.

If you need help with any of these pool maintenance chores, give us a call. We can keep your pool clean and healthy for you, so that you won’t have to worry about random weather events disrupting your schedule.

 

 

Getting Rid of Black Algae – For Good

If you notice black spots beginning to crop up on your swimming pool surfaces – particularly in places that are difficult to reach, like corners and steps – black algae might be the culprit. This particularly aggressive algae is difficult to treat for two reasons:

  • It has deep roots that help it to firmly embed in surfaces
  • Its outer protective layer is difficult for pool chemicals to penetrate

Yuck! That doesn’t sound like good news. But don’t despair; we’re on your side, and we can show you how to get rid of black algae. More importantly, we can teach you how to keep it from coming back.

How to get rid of black algae. This job will require some vigorous scrubbing. Use a tough, sturdy nylon brush, and don’t be afraid to work up a sweat. You have to break past that protective layer, and remember that embedded roots may still be present even if the spots seem to disappear.

Your next step is to use a chlorine tablet to directly scrub at the spot. This can help to kill the roots so that the algae doesn’t come back. Make sure to wear gloves and a mask, to protect yourself.

Now, clean out your pool’s filter. Black algae is more likely to return when your pool water is in less than pristine condition.

Remove all pool toys and other objects, and clean them thoroughly with bleach and water. You want to kill any algae spores that they might be harboring, or else they will just reintroduce the algae to your pool. The same goes for your swimsuits; make sure to wash them regularly.

Consider shocking your pool. Shocking your pool can be a serious step, so we recommend that you contact us first. It might be necessary, especially if you have been battling a black algae problem repeatedly.

Preventing black algae. Like most things, prevention of black algae is preferable to the “cure” once the problem has occurred. You can prevent black algae from invading your pool by practicing a meticulous pool maintenance routine. This will involve regular pH and chemical tests, necessary adjustments to the pH and chemical levels, regular scrubbing and vacuuming, running the pump and cleaning the filter.

Yes, that sounds like a lot of work! But if you’d rather spend your time enjoying your pool, instead of scrubbing at algae stains, give us a call. We can take over the maintenance for you, so that you can relax and know your pool is in good hands.

 

 

5 Tools that Give Pool Professionals the Advantage Over DIY Pool Owners

No matter how much fun pools can be, they also require some work. Keeping your pool clean is a top priority, both for your own health and the life of the pool. This maintenance will cost you a bit of time, especially if you’re the “do-it-yourself” type.

Luckily the pros have developed some terrific tools that cut down on the number of hours required to clean a pool. If you’re interested in streamlining your routine, you might want to “level up” with one or more of these professional devices.

Return eyeballs. Your filters work best when the debris actually makes it to them. Return eyeballs are simple tools that circulate the water in your pool, in a circular pattern, so that more of the debris makes its way through the skimmers and into the filters.

Vac plates. Each skim basket is fitted with a matching vacuum plate to improve the amount of debris collected. It seems like a small and inconsequential part, but they cut down on the amount of work you need to do later.

Stain Master. Don’t want to spend all day scrubbing at a small, specific stain on your pool? A stain master siphons muriatic acid and places it directly on the stain for faster removal.

Pumice stone. Yes, those same little rough stones that you use to remove callouses from your feet, can also be utilized to remove calcium deposits, black algae, and certain other stains from your pool.

Pool vacuums. If you really want to save time, a pool vacuum is often the answer. Yes, a good (and maintained) filtration system does a lot of work for you, but it’s not perfect. For that extra debris, especially at the bottom of the pool where it might not get circulated effectively, you need a pool vacuum. It will drastically cut down the amount of work you need to do, if you were to manually remove debris.

Are the pool maintenance chores getting you down? Give us a call, and we can make recommendations for tools that will streamline your cleaning routine. And if you really want to be done with the chore for good, we can maintain your pool for you, so that your only “chore” is to relax and enjoy it.

 

 

3 Summer Pool Facts That Might Surprise You

In our line of work, we sometimes receive calls from pool owners who are surprised about some aspect of pool maintenance. In fact, they often think something is wrong with their pool at first! Occasionally that might be the case, but usually we find that the new owners just didn’t know exactly what to expect.

If you’ve recently purchased a house with a pool, there are a couple things to keep in mind.  One of the most noticeable issues is evaporation!

Your pool will lose a lot of water. No, it probably isn’t leaking, although we can certainly check on that for you. Many new pool owners are shocked at how often they need to add water to their pools, due to evaporation and splashing. Typically you will need to add two to four inches of water each week, although this can vary a bit based upon weather and usage. Evaporation alone will steal 25,000 to 50,000 gallons of water annually! In Southern California our dry weather will keep us on the upper end of that range. Other issues that contribute to water loss are heating the pool, strong wind, and excessive filter backwashing.

If you find yourself needing to add significant water to your pool frequently during the summer months, don’t worry, it is normal.  However, if you have any concerns or just want to make sure there isn’t a problem, let us know and we’d be happy to check it.

You need to monitor and adjust the pH frequently. Swimming pools are definitely not a “set it and forget it” thing, particularly with regard to the water chemistry. For example, if you have a saltwater pool you will find that the the pH rises frequently. You might go through about a gallon of muriatic acid per week, in order to keep the pH at about 7.2. This can feel excessive and cause you to question whether something is wrong, but it is actually quite normal.

You may need longer filtration periods if your pool is used heavily. If your pool gets heavy useage during the summer months because of your kids, their friends, and perhaps even your pets, you might find that your fiter pump needs to be on more than usual. There could be some “trial and error” involved in order to figure out the best time frame for your pool but just know that you may need to step up the cleaning during the summer.

If you’re worried that something is “off” about your pool, definitely give us a call so that we can check it out for you. And if these maintenance steps become a lot of work, let us handle it while you focus on enjoying your backyard oasis.

What You Need to Know About Salt Chlorination

In the past, owning a swimming pool meant that you would be handling, storing, and using chlorination chemicals. These days, we’re all more concerned about our chemical exposure, and the industry has responded with new alternatives. Salt chlorination is one of those options, but many people are unfamiliar with how it works. Here’s what you need to know.

First of all, many people assume that using a “salt chlorinated” pool means that the water is salty, like ocean water. Actually, a drop of this pool water contains less salt than a human tear. Just for a little perspective, let’s compare the salt content of a few different types of water:

  • Ocean water contains 35,000 PPM of salt
  • A human tear contains 9,000 PPM of salt
  • A salt chlorinated pool contains 2,500 t0 3,500 PPM of salt

So no, a salt chlorinated pool isn’t exactly “salty”. So, how does it work? Essentially, the system converts dissolved salt into the correct amount of chlorine to keep your pool clean, by pumping the salt through an electrolytic cell. So technically, you’re still using chlorine; you just don’t have to buy, use, and store the chlorine itself. Your equipment does the work for you. And yes, salt chlorinated pools stay just as clean as traditionally chlorinated pools.

Aside from reducing your chemical exposure, from storing and using chlorine, there are other reasons to switch to a salt chlorinated pool. You might wish to save a bit of money, avoid the smell of chlorine, and reduce the eye and skin irritation that many experience from swimming in traditionally chlorinated water. The water feels soft and silky, too, and the system is quite easy to use.

A salt chlorinated pool still requires maintenance, of course. You will still need to check your pool’s pH level and chlorine levels on a regular basis, and make adjustments as necessary. You might need to adjust your salt chlorination system when you notice cloudy water, it has rained recently, or your pool has been used heavily. But of course, performing this task will be a bit simpler now that you don’t have to worry about adding chlorine itself. Simply adjust the settings on your pool, and inspect and clean your salt cell regularly.

If you have any other questions about salt chlorination, please give us a call. We can show you the benefits of switching to a new system, and help you learn how to maintain your pool to protect your equipment.

 

 

 

 

4 Common Mistakes Pool Owners Make

Swimming pool maintenance comes with a bit of a learning curve. It might seem straightforward, but there are mistakes that are easy to make when you don’t know better. The thing is, pools really need that steady, day-to-day, consistent type of work. If you do that, while paying attention to the details, you will probably be quite happy with your pool.

On the other hand, there are a few blunders that are common. Some of these actions seem fairly harmless on the surface, but there are very important (and potentially expensive) reasons why you shouldn’t do these things.

Making assumptions about pool chemicals. Your pool water looks clear, so it’s fine, right? Actually, making that assumption could cause you to miss something important, and long-term chemical mistakes are probably the top factor behind premature equipment failure. Test your pool water on schedule, even if it looks just fine, and take the time to learn the art of pool chemistry.

Draining your pool. It might seem like a simple thing; you’ll just drain the pool, perform a repair, and then fill it back up. But before draining a pool, there are many factors to consider. Fiberglass pools, for example, can be damaged if you drain them. In-ground concrete pools can actually rise up out of the ground, because the water was serving to weigh them down. Even weather can play a part in whether it’s safe to drain the pool at any given moment. Just don’t attempt this without professional consultation. Trust us; it’s not worth it.

Painting your pool. Painting the pool is a dubious undertaking already, and pool professionals are already divided on the issue. The main reason you shouldn’t attempt it: The paint will need considerable time to dry, and this means draining your pool and leaving it empty for days. You would risking everything from a bad paint job to structural failure of the pool itself.

Installing new equipment. It seems tempting to install new pool equipment yourself, to save a few bucks. But you’re not only risking your pool and its equipment. You could actually be risking your life, because pool equipment involves water, electricity, chemicals, pressurized systems, and so on. It’s not hard to see how something could go very, very wrong!

Pools are expensive investments, so don’t take any risks! If you need help with pool maintenance tasks, please give us a call. We will give you an honest, professional opinion of your pool’s health, and make recommendations for repairs and upgrades that can be performed safely.

8 Summer Safety Tips for Parents

The school year is finished, and your kids are looking forward to a summer of fun. But because disrupted schedules and adventurous spirits can also make our lives a bit more chaotic, accidents are more common during these months. These tips can help to keep your child safe this summer, especially with regard to outdoor activities and pool safety.

Keep your car doors locked. Each summer, dozens of kids across the country die in hot cars. Since cars can seem like tempting hiding spots during outdoor games of hide n seek, keep the doors locked.

Reapply sunscreen regularly. Sunscreen does wear off after a hour or two, especially when swimming. And since swimming exposes more skin to the sun (particularly areas of the body not accustomed to exposure), you should be extra vigilant about sunscreen when your kids are using the pool.

Remember to hydrate. Even as your kids splash and play in the pool, they can become dehydrated if they aren’t actually drinking water. Learn the signs of heat exposure and heat stroke, and head indoors if your child begins to look or feel ill.

Remind kids of pool safety rules. Post a list of pool rules, and enforce strict consequences for failure to follow them.

Don’t let kids swim unattended. Even adults are safer swimming with a buddy, but kids definitely shouldn’t be left unattended around swimming pools. This is true even for the strongest swimmers; set a rule that an adult must be present at all times.

Keep the gate locked. Your pool should be enclosed by a fence, and the gate should remain locked at all times. Choose a lock that is difficult for young children to figure out, and install it high on the gate.

Put away all pool toys after swimming. A toy floating in the pool is just too tempting for young ones, who might lean toward the pool to grab it. In fact, pool toys are frequently the culprit behind pool accidents.

Consider a pool alarm. This alarm notifies you immediately when the surface of the water is disrupted, saving you crucial moments if a child does fall into the pool.

For more information on devices that can safeguard your kids (or neighborhood children) around your pool, give us a call. We can review pool safety with you, and help you evaluate your options.

 

 

 

9 Tips to Keep Your Pool Clean This Summer

Many of us use our pools daily at this time of year, which means maintenance becomes a more pressing concern. As you continue to enjoy your backyard oasis this summer, follow these pool maintenance tips to keep it clean.

  1. Check the pool chemistry. Once or twice per week, check to be sure your water’s pH stays between 7.2 and 7.8. Keeping it on the lower end of that spectrum will mean you need less chlorine.
  2. Maintain the water level. If water is too low, your pump will run dry and potentially burn up. If it’s too high, the skimmer door won’t work properly.
  3. Clean the skimmer basket. Clean it weekly, and you’ll see less debris in your pool.
  4. Clean the lint pot. About every other week, turn off the pump and release the pressure on the system. Then clean out the lint pot as needed.
  5. Clean pool filters. These should be checked and cleaned every few months, so perform this step at least once this summer. Soak dirty filters in muriatic acid or a solution of trisodium phosphate, then rinse clean.
  6. Check your chlorinator. Make sure chlorine tablets are loaded properly and nothing is clogged.
  7. Check your Ozonator. If you use an Ozonator, look to be sure the light is on. As long as it’s working properly, your Ozonator can reduce the amount of chlorine your pool needs.
  8. Maintain your chlorine generator. If you have one, a chlorine generator produces chlorine so that you never need to buy, store, or handle it. But you will need to clean the generator cell and maintain your pool’s pH even more closely.
  9. Observe your pool and water for clarity, debris, odor, and damage to the pool itself. If you see (or smell) anything that concerns you, make the necessary adjustments or call a professional for assistance.

And remember, if you aren’t so keen on performing all of these steps on a regular basis, the simplest solution is to hire someone to do it for you! Give us a call, and we’ll help you enjoy a carefree summer, without all the hassle of pool maintenance.

 

Should You Allow Your Dog to Swim in the Pool?

Your swimming pool is a source of entertainment and fun for the whole family… and you definitely consider your dog to be family! But should you allow Fido to hop on into the family swimming pool? Ultimately, that’s up to you, but we’ll break down some of the potential risk factors so that you can make an informed decision.

How could your dog affect your pool? First, let’s discuss the effects of allowing your dog to swim in the pool. Yes, the presence of pets can definitely add more dirt, fur, and (sorry to disillusion you) fecal matter to your pool water. And of course, anything in the pool water also ends up in the pool filter. You might find that your filter needs to be cleaned more often when Ralph is a frequent participant in your pool parties.

Dirtier water might also translate into increased need for chemicals to keep that water clean and balanced. And for those of you with above-ground pools, sharp nails can damage pool liners.

How could your pool affect your dog? Since swimming is a low-impact exercise, it could be a great way to help your pet maintain their weight and keep their joints healthy. This is, of course, assuming that they enjoy swimming. You never want to stress a pet by forcing him or her to swim, if they’re fearful of the water.

As with people, some dogs might experience dry skin or irritated eyes due to chemicals in the water. These reactions can be highly individual, so just watch for them if you decide to allow your dog in the pool. Another risk is ear infections due to trapped moisture within the ears. Watch for excessive scratching at the ears, and other signs of discomfort, after swim sessions.

Finally, in some dogs the pool chemicals can cause gastrointestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhea. Or, if your pool water is not balanced correctly, viruses and bacteria can propagate and cause a health risk (as in humans).

How your dog’s swimming could affect you… There is a third factor to evaluate here. Yes, dogs can carry diseases that are transmittable to humans, and yes, these could theoretically be transmitted through shared water. Assuming your pool chemicals are correctly balanced, viruses and bacteria should be killed quickly when entering the water. So if you do decide to share your pool with your pet, just remember to properly maintain your pool water to prevent infections from spreading.

The final verdict is up to you. Many dog owners enjoy swimming with their pets, with neither dog, nor human, nor the pool suffering any ill effects. But the situation does require a bit of extra care and vigilance, with regard to both pet and pool care. So if you decide to invite Fluffy to join you, just keep the above facts in mind.

How to Get in Touch with a Busy Pool Service

You might assume that arranging for a pool service would be as easy as picking up the phone and having a five-minute conversation. In reality, we hear that many potential customers have called one service after another, left messages, and experienced difficulty getting their services scheduled. What’s the deal?

Well, a few different factors are at play here. In the spring and summer, pool services do become exceptionally busy. And since it’s a physical, on-location job, this is probably the reason your calls go straight to voice mail. We might be right in the middle of a consultation with customers (and you will receive the same level of courtesy when we’re working with you).

Another reason for the delay might be the type of work needed, versus the type of work a particular pool professional performs. Keep in mind that swimming pools are expensive, fairly specialized home features, and different pool professionals perform different types of services. It’s a bit like a sports car in that respect; every mechanic out there cannot service every expensive, foreign sports car. If the pool professional can’t perform the service you request in your message, he or she might simply forget to call you back (due to being so busy). It’s nothing personal.

Having said that, we understand that making call after call, and leaving message after message, can be quite frustrating. We endeavor to return calls in a timely manner, but you can help us out by structuring your messages this way:

  • Give your name, location, and phone number
  • State the type of pool you have (or are looking to install)
  • Briefly describe the services you need, and the timeline you have in mind
  • Repeat your name and phone number

Keep in mind that during the busy season, we will probably prioritize urgent messages, and projects with close deadlines (“next week” as opposed to “sometime this fall”). We will make every effort to get back to you in a timely manner, but sometimes we simply aren’t able to call back when the described need is not on our menu of services.

Give us a call if you have questions about swimming pool maintenance or repairs, or if you need to install new equipment. Thanks for following our blog, and we hope to hear from you soon.