Tricks Your Pool Plays on You

Happy Halloween! While most of us have already closed our pool, we all know what a treat it is to have a pool. It brings tons of fun, lots of relaxation, and ample relief during the long, hot days of summer. Still, our pool does tend to trick us from time to time as well. We think we know what is going on with our pool, and then BAM. Out of the blue, we encounter an issue that makes no sense. Here we explain some of those tricks.

Where Did My Chlorine Go?

One day chlorine is added to your pool, and the next day it is gone. Where did it go? There are a few explanations that can account for the missing chlorine. One thing that can be happening is that you are getting a false reading on your test kit. When your chlorine level is extremely high, it can show as having no chlorine at all. In this case, you would need to dilute your pool water sample to get an accurate reading. It could also be that there is an excessively high demand in your pool for chlorine, although it appears clear and clean. This means that oxidation levels have increased to a point where chlorine is being consumed faster than it can be put into the water by either shocking or regular application. The cause of this could be due to some contamination from bacteria, low pH, or low cyanuric acid levels. It could also be there is an issue with your chlorinator or salt generation system. It may not be turned up high enough to maintain a chlorine level or there is a problem with the unit which could include split clogged tubing or stuck check valve on the chlorinator or a worn-out salt cell on the generator.

Where Did My Water Go?

Water is disappearing from your pool which means you must have a leak. Wrong. Not all water loss can be chalked up to a leak. The most obvious answer if you have just had high pool usage or a party is bather splash out and water displacement. Try filling up a glass of water and then put your fist in it and see what happens. Your fist displaces the water in the glass letting it spill out. The same thing happens when bathers use your pool. Additionally, bathers splash water out of the pool and take water out of the pool on them when they exit the pool. Another way the pool loses water is through evaporation. The average pool water evaporation rate is about a quarter of an inch of water per day or more than two inches in a week. Depending on weather conditions and how much sunlight your pool gets, this rate can increase. Also, be aware that fluctuating temperatures can also lead to evaporation. Day time temperatures are higher and the pool may also be heated during this time when in use. As night falls, air temperature decreases. The greater temperature differential between the air and water leads to greater evaporation.

If you want to test out whether it is a leak or evaporation, try the bucket test. This should be performed on a day when there are no environmental factors (i.e., rain, high winds) and no bather use. Fill a bucket near the top with pool water and place it on the first step of the pool. Mark the water level on the bucket with tape and the water level along the tile line of the pool with tape. The longer you can leave the bucket in that place undisturbed from swimmers and weather, the more accurate picture we can get. Check the water levels often and log times and results. Be aware, when the system is running, pressure side leaks tend to lose more water.

Where Did My Clean Pool Go?

Yesterday, your pool was clean and clear and today it is full of algae. Unfortunately, algae blooms can happen at any time. The dreaded yellow algae bloom tends to happen in late July, early August here in the Northeast. The best way to avoid potential blooms is to make sure that chlorine levels are being maintained, eliminate dead spots in the pool, and brush so the algae has nothing to cling onto and grow. This year, we saw that yellow algae bloom earlier starting in May.

Treat Me Well

Ultimately, the best way to prevent the pool from tricking you is to treat it well. That is why in between your normally scheduled service visits, you should at a minimum test your water. You can always give us a call with your readings and we can let you know if any immediate attention is needed.

*This information is obtained from the Certified Pool and Spa Operator Handbook. This information may not be applicable to your pool based on your pool type and location. One should reference all applicable regulations and standards for your facility.

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