Service and Repairs Archives - 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.

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.

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.

 

What to Do About Cloudy Swimming Pool Water

You walk out to your backyard, looking forward to a swim. Or maybe you’re setting up for a party, and you have friends coming over later. And then you see it… Cloudy swimming pool water. Yikes! What caused this, and how can you remedy it?

First, you will need to identify the source of the problem. Cloudy swimming pool water can be caused by…

  • Improperly balanced chemicals – too much or too little chlorine, the water’s pH is “off”, or the calcium level is too high (hard water)
  • Poor filtration – your filter isn’t running long enough, or the filter is dirty.
  • Environmental factors and/or debris – run-off water has contributed phosphates, nitrates, or other chemicals into the pool. Or, debris such as leaves, dirt, bird droppings, dust, pollen, and insects have built up in the water (and within the filter).

Determine which of these problems is the culprit, causing your cloudy swimming pool water, by checking the filter and testing the water’s chemical and pH levels. Once you’ve identified the problem(s), you simply need to take one or more of the following steps (you might have multiple problems going on):

Clean the pool’s filtration system, check to be sure you’re using the right pump size for your pool, and set the system to filter about 8-10 hours per day. That’s typical for home use, although heavily used pools might need additional filtration time.

Balance your pool’s pH. Ideally, your pool water should test at a pH of 7.4 to 7.6, although slight variations at times are no big deal. Once the pH drops below 7.0, the water is too acidic and you need to increase the pH. If the pH has become too alkaline (higher than 7.6 or so), you need to lower it to the appropriate range.

Balance the pool’s chlorine level. Test the water’s chlorine levels, and take the appropriate steps to raise or lower chlorine levels. Often, an incorrect pH level will cause the free chlorine level to decrease, and form chloramine instead. This turns the water cloudy, and now the chlorine is ineffective at killing bacteria and algae. 

If debris is the problem, removing it is the obvious solution. Vacuum the pool, clean your filters, and scrub surfaces to remove algae. If algae was the culprit, you might also need to shock your pool to kill it.

These are just general guidelines on dealing with cloudy swimming pool water. For a professional diagnosis of your exact problem, along with specific advice geared toward your exact situation, give us a call. We can test your pool water, diagnose the source of the cloudiness, and give you a precise recommendation to fix any issues that are causing the trouble.

5 Essential Pool Tasks to Perform Before Summer

As we all get ready for summer, you will be using your pool more frequently. And of course, that might mean more frequent cleanings. If you will be performing these tasks yourself, here are five absolute essentials that you must complete on a regular basis, to keep your pool healthy, clean, and attractive.

Basic cleaning. Clean out the filtration system baskets, and remove any plugs you might have installed during times you weren’t using the pool. Continue to scoop leaves and other debris daily, and vacuum the bottom of the pool as needed. Backwash the sand filter, if you have one.

Top it off. Any time your water level falls below normal, top it off.

Test your water’s pH level. Do-it-yourself test strips will indicate the pH level of the water, so that you can adjust it accordingly. Remember that balancing pH is an ongoing task. You will need to test regularly, especially after you’ve added water to the pool or it has rained. Use sodium bicarbonate to increase pH, and muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to decrease it.

Check other chemicals. Calcium levels are important, too, because softer water will absorb calcium from its environment. That means taking it from the grout in the tiles, damaging your pool. This process even affects vinyl.

Chlorine should remain between 1 ppm and 3ppm. Cyanuric acid tablets inhibit the sun’s ability to burn off chlorine, essentially acting as a “sunscreen” for your pool. But don’t use these if your pool has metal filter system or heater. You will need to attach a plastic chlorinator to your filter system in that case.

Ideally, you will test chemical levels daily.

Don’t use the pool if the water isn’t clear, and you can’t see the bottom. This indicates that your cleaning or maintenance procedures aren’t doing the job, and you need professional help in order to get your pool safe and clean.

And remember: Don’t ever drain all of the water from your pool, unless doing so is absolutely necessary to perform work. Most people don’t know this, but the weight of the water keeps the pool in the ground. If you have a high water table in your yard, draining the pool completely could lead to the entire thing lifting out of the ground, requiring replacement!

You can certainly complete all of these tasks yourself, but many pool owners find that maintaining a pool is a cumbersome task. For about 25 dollars a week, you can contract a pool maintenance professional to take care of your pool – giving you more time to relax and enjoy it. Contact us for more details on pool maintenance, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.