About Garry Long

Garry Long has been working in the Australian pool industry since 1978. A qualified canvas goods maker with a passion for innovation, he was inspired by the technology behind the sails used in America's Cup racing sails, and adapted and applied it to the pool industry at ABGAL. In 1990 ABGAL were the first company in Australia to use a single ply robotic cutting system to fabricate vinyl products. In 1993 Garry developed a 3D measuring system for complex shaped inground pools, which continues to be used today. Garry was President of the Australian Canvas & Synthetic Products Association in 2007-2008, and is the Managing Director at ABGAL Liners & Covers.
Nov 25

My pool has black or grey staining on the interior surface, what is the cause?

There are three main causes of what appears to be staining or marks on a pool interior surface.

The first, and most common cause of staining or discolouration of a pool interior is algae. This will start in an area where water circulation is not good, like the deep end or comers of the pool.

Or, it could be caused by algae feeding off debris in an area from overhanging foliage or just a basic lack of enough chlorine to maintain the water balance.

By the addition of an algaecide or a super dose of chlorine, the algae will die and then it can be brushed off the pool surface and permanently removed. Some more stubborn types of algae like black spot, need to brushed before the addition of chemicals as their outer surface forms a protective barrier to chemicals.

By brushing and breaking the outer surface, it allows the chemicals to more easily kill the algae so it can be removed. Provided the correct chemical levels and good water circulation are maintained, it will be removed permanently.

The second type of staining is from metals in the pool water. These metals can be introduced by ionic sterilising systems or even from a water source (town water through an old copper pipe or bore water) that contains a higher than normal level of metals when filling or topping up the pool.

If increasing the acidity (lowering PH in the pool) removes the staining temporarily, then it indicates a problem with metals. If you re-adjust the PH and the stain re-appears, then this confirms it is caused by a high concentration of a metal in the pool water. Lowering the PH just puts the metal into solution, it doesn’t remove it from the water and that is why it will re-appear when the PH is balanced – it precipitates from solution and plates onto the pool interior surface.

To remove the metals, you need to dilute concentration by using a chelating agent or draining a substantial amount of the pool water and re-filling with fresh water (without metals).

The third, (and very rare cause of staining), can be microbial activity under the interior surface of the pool. If in this example the pool has a PVC liner, it is possible for ground water contamination under the liner to encourage microbial activity. These microbes feed off nutrients in the ground water (like seepage from a septic system or other grey water) and they secrete dyes that will stain the liner from the underneath and can flow through to the inside surface of the pool.

Once this dye staining has occurred, the stain can be lightened sometimes with the addition of high levels of chlorine introduced into the pool, but usually the staining is permanent and cannot be removed.

Nov 18

Correct chemical balance for a vinyl lined pool

Getting the water balance right in a vinyl lined pool is a little different to a pebble, tiled or other finished pool. Regardless of whether it is an above ground pool or an inground pool, the water in a vinyl finish pool all needs to be balanced and stabilised, and regularly checked for imbalances. The following levels ensure the best care for both your family and your pool, for a vinyl lined /Aqualux finished swimming pool. DO NOT use these levels on any other pool finish.

Recommended levels for a vinyl lined/Aqualux pool:

pH…………………….. 7.4 – 7.8

Total Alkalinity……  100 – 150ppm

Calcium Hardness..  200 – 300ppm

Free Chlorine……… 1 -3 ppm (not heated pool)

2 – 4 ppm (heated pool)

Stabiliser…………..  30 – 50 ppm

Saturation Index..  -0.1 to+0.4

Apr 22

Is there a special type of liner for an indoor pool?

 If you are renovating or installing a new PVC lined indoor pool, consider the type of PVC liner you are using.

Some people say all liners are the same, with the only difference being thickness, but that’s just not true. Most liners are made from a PVC film. This flexible, stretch fabric relies on the structure of the pool, and the weight of the water to maintain its shape. This works well in most situations, and with high quality options available, it’s an excellent surface finish for both above ground and inground swimming pools that are outdoor.

However, under certain environmental conditions (likely to be found in an indoor pool) the fabric of a standard PVC liner can sometimes start to ‘absorb’ water.

PH, total chlorine levels, ventilation and bathing load are all thought to be contributing factors. If the liner fabric begins to absorb water, it eventually expands the PVC, which then causes wrinkles to form in the pool. The wrinkles usually start on the floor of the pool, but can be all over the whole liner. If you look closely at a section of affected PVC, you can see the surface is weakened, and prone to forming tiny cracks that can develop into larger tears.

If this happens, there is no reversing of the process, and the life span of the liner is greatly reduced.

While many indoor pools are surfaced with standard PVC liners without any problems, there is always a risk of it occurring in the right (or wrong) conditions, and it is best to avoid the risk completely in indoor pools, by using a reinforced liner.

AquaForce is a specialist reinforced PVC fabric which is suitable for use in indoor pools. AquaForce features an internal reinforcing layer that keeps the fabric stable in indoor pools, and virtually eliminates the risk of wrinkling.

With a three layer design, AquaForce has a PVC base ply, a layer of reinforced polyester mesh, then topped with another ply of PVC. All three layers are homogeneously bonded together during the manufacturing process to be permanently fused. The mesh reinforcing layer stabilises the fabric and stops it from shrinking or expanding. 

Traditional PVC liners can be delivered to site fully welded in one piece, but AquaForce reinforced PVC liners are always fabricated on site, as they do not stretch or form to the pool shape.

The rolls of the AquaForce fabric are laid in the pool and overlapped to form seams that are welded on site. Edges are then sealed, to stop water absorption through the fabric itself. AquaForce liners can be fitted to any pool shape, as the liner is cut and shaped in the pool on site, allowing it to be fitted over steps and benches and down into deep ends of all style of pools.

 So if you are looking to install a PVC liner in an indoor pool, we recommend the use of a reinforced PVC such as AquaForce, to reduce the risk of wrinkling. AquaForce is also recommended for use on Commercial PoolsIndoor commercial pool, bunbury WA AquaForce liner.

Nov 28

Why is my new pool liner slippery?

This question has come up a couple of times in the last week, so I thought it was worth another mention. It can affect both inground pool vinyl membranes, and above ground pool liners.

Both are made of a PVC, which contain additives to make the material more flexible, to assist with with the rolling and processing during manufacture. These additives (known as ‘lubricants’) will sometimes sit on the surface, and make the pool liner feel rather slippery. While most people who are coming from a rough surface such as pebble are simply delighted with the texture, those who are replacing an existing liner will often feel that the new liner is too slippery. The slippery feeling is generally accentuated with replacement liners, as older liners often have small amounts of calcium build up on the surface, giving a slightly rougher texture.

The good news is that the slipperiness is only temporary, and the extra lubricants will ‘wash off’ the surface of the liner within 6-12 weeks, leaving you with the feeling of more grip underfoot.

If your pool liner is not a new installation, the most common cause of slipperiness is algae. Algae is incredibly slippery, and it is not always visible to the eye – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you cant feel it!

So if its not a brand new pool, check your chemical balance. Chances are, it’s a little out of whack, and you have some algae. For the correct chemical balance for a vinyl pool interior, please refer to our Care & Maintenance document for vinyl pools  and print a copy for your records.

So if you find your liner to be more slippery than expected, check the chemical balance of the pool and ensure this is correct. If it is not due to the chemical balance, but your liner is brand new, then you will find after a few months the liner will have more grip under foot.

Oct 17

Why did my solar pool cover turn my pool green?

Generally, if your pool turns green, it is because of algae. While algae is pretty much always present to some extent, it can become resistant to normal levels of chlorine, and if the conditions are right, it can take over, in a very short period of time.

Algae loves

1. Low chlorine levels;

2. Phosphates; and

3. Warm water.

If you already have low chlorine and phosphates present in your pool, then adding a solar pool cover (which warms the water) will most certainly help existing algae to thrive.

So while a solar cover won’t actually ‘turn your pool green’, it will warm your water by up to 8 degrees, so if the other conditions are right, adding a solar cover can easily accelerate algae growth, very rapidly.

You need to get the water balance in your pool right before putting the cover back on. Take a water sample down to your pool shop, explain what is happening and they will work out what you need, based on your pool water condition, and set you on the right path. If you wish to do it yourself, (and it is only just starting to turn green), the first step is an algae starver. This will remove the phosphate build up, (the algae food), and thus, the algae starves. Filter your pool for 12-24 hours, to remove all the algae spores from the water.

Its also a good idea to backwash or clean the filter afterwards, to ensure there are no algae spores trapped inside the filter. If there is algae spores left in the filter, you have a greater chance of the problem recurring.

If the algae is really severe (ie you can see it on the pool walls and floor), you really wont be able to avoid a trip to the pool shop. Superchlorination is required, and you will need professional advice with regard to quantities and concentrations of chemicals. Ensure your pool cover is completely removed when you superchlorinate, and do not put it back on the pool until chemical levels return to within the Australian Standard.

 

 

Sep 03

What made my pool turn green?

Unless you’re talking about being environmentally friendly, its never a good thing to have a ‘green’ pool.

We’ve had a beautiful few sunny days here in Queensland – many of us were peeling back the pool covers over the weekend, ready to take the plunge. Unfortunately for some though, the last couple of months of neglect meant that they uncovered pools which were less than in tip top shape.

If you have  a solar pool blanket and rolled it off over the weekend to reveal less than crystal clear swimming conditions, don’t panic – if its only just happened, it shouldnt take too much to get it back under control. The instance we had on the weekend was due to the automatic chlorinator giving up the ghost at some point during the week.

Super chlorination is the quick fix, so if you’ve got company coming over this weekend, it is your best bet. (Remember though, if you superchlorinate, take your pool cover off first, and leave it off until the water balance is returned to normal).

If the pool is allowed to stay green for long, correcting it will become a really big (and expensive) job, so is  is a good idea to test your water regularly, and continually make the minor adjustments needed to keep your chemical balance  right for swimming. There are several contributing factors towards a green pool, but the main culprits include inadequate filtration, unbalanced water, warm temperatures, increased sunlight and a presence of phosphates, nitrates and carbon dioxide.

Once it has turned green, there are several steps you need to take to get it back to its best. Your pool shop will be able to give you detailed advice to suit your pool, based on your test results, so take a sample of your pool  water and head to your pool shop.

Our advice? Don’t ‘set and forget’. Pick up a packet of test strips, and roll back a corner of your pool cover every week or so during off season and keep an eye on your water balance. Two minutes a week can save you a major headache down the track!

 

 

 

Aug 27

What are the pink marks on my liner?

It does not happen very often, but sometimes a pool liner will display some pink coloured marks. These are usually on the floor of the pool and will look “cloudy” rather than have defined lines or shapes. The pink colour is more commonly seen on a liner that has a white base and it is what we call “microbial staining”.

It seems to affect about 1 in every 500 pools, so while it is uncommon, it does happen. What causes it? Following heavy rain, pools in an area with a high water table can get water pass behind the liner. If this water contains certain microbes, and these microbes feast on the nutrients in the water, they will excrete small deposits. Those ‘deposits’ are acually a dye, and these dyes can move through the PVC and create cloudy stains on the inside of the pool liner.

This problem is purely site related and has no relationship to the batch of pool liner fabric or the colour of the liner or the person who installed it in the pool. It just happens when the ground water brings with it these nasty microbes, who in turn discolour the liner.

The good news is the liner is not affected in performance or longevity. The dye has just changed the colour a little and the pool will remain fully functional and easy to maintain as always. The microbial staining can disappear after short while if the ground water drains away from behind the liner and the stain will slowly fade.

Be careful if your pool chemical supplier advises you to “double the dose” of chlorine as you can damage the pattern or colour of your pool liner. (While this technique has been known to reduce the stains, it is most certainly not recommended).

A product called “Copperas Iron Sulphate” has been suggested as a remedy for this problem and is a much better option to try.

Apply the Iron Sulphate by using around 5Kg’s for an average 9mx4m pool. It is applied by sprinkling it around the pool surround (on all sides) and then watering it well into the ground with a sprinkler. Allow it to soak in and get down to the ground water around the pool over the next few days. This process is designed to change the ground PH to a level that will kill off the microbes and stop the dis-coloration of the pool liner. Be careful not to get the Iron Sulphate on paving areas as it can stain concrete and other paving products.

Aug 27

Solar Pool Cover: Water inside the bubbles

Have you ever noticed a small amount of water inside the bubbles of your solar pool cover? No, it does not mean your cover has holes in it – the water is not seeping inside. It’s actually just condensation, (like you get on the outside of a cold drink). It means that the air inside the bubble is a different temperature to the air outside of the bubbles. It is not a fault with the cover, and does not mean the cover is damaged. It is perfectly normal, the water droplets will disappear as soon as the temperatures inside the bubble and outside equalize again.

This condensation will not affect the performance of the pool cover in any way.  🙂

 

 

Aug 21

Where can I buy a cheap shade sail?

A lot of hardware stores and even $2 shops now are selling ready made shade sails. However – don’t be tempted – the saying “you only get what you pay for” certainly applies when it comes to shade sails!

The smaller sails around the 3sqm are fine but the larger ones must be designed to work correctly and must be made to exact measurements. Don’t expect a cheap sail to last any length of time.

Cheap sails are made genuinely with cheaper materials. A good sail normally has stainless cables round the edges where as cheaper imported ones have only have webbing. The thread or stitching that holds the fabric at the ends is one of the smallest and yet most important components. If the stitching fails, the entire sail is in danger of ripping. We strongly recommend that you don’t compromise this when you purchase a sail. Get the best to start with as it is all time and money having to remove and replace the sails plus the cost of the repair or re stitching.

Always check the sail material and its UV rating. A good sail will last you at least 10 years where a cheap ready-made sail will only last a fraction of this time.

There are many variables associated with sail design and it is important that the attachment points are suitable for the possible loading created by the elements.

Aug 01

How to stop heat loss from my pool

The biggest cause of heat loss from a swimming pool is evaporation. A number of factors contribute to evaporation in your pool – air temperature compared to the water temperature, humidity level and the amount of wind blowing across the surface of the pool. The bigger the difference between the air temperature and the water temperature in a pool, the greater the evaporation and therefore the greater the heat loss. The same for low humidity environments, the potential for evaporation is increased when the humidity is low. When the wind is blowing across the surface of the pool, you increase the amount of evaporation and therefore heat loss.

If you are spending money to heat your pool, the last thing you want to do is throw that money down the drain…  So invest in a good quality pool cover, and you’ll see the difference straight away! The pool cover will create a barrier between the wind and the water surface, and can also stop up to 99% of evaporation! A cover with good thermal properties will also stop heat loss through the fabric.

There are some different types of covers ranging from chemicals that coat the water surface, to floating rings to proper fabric covers. The chemicals and rings are not as effective as good quality fabric cover that is fully waterproof and covers the whole surface of the pool in one piece.  The chemical style evaporates away by itself and needs to be continually added to be of any benefit. Rings – while they look cute, and (individually) stop evaporation, they are really not a practical solution as they leave lots of gaps which allow leaves and debris to fall through to the pool water. These eventually sink to the floor of the pool and need to be cleaned up by a pool vacuum or automatic pool cleaner. If you use a one piece fabric cover, it will help keep the leaves out of the pool as well as stop heat loss. Most fabric covers can be used in conjunction with a pool reel system to make covering and uncovering easier.

So if your main goal is to stop your pool from losing heat overnight, the best thing you can do is invest in a good quality, thermal pool cover.