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.

If you find your pool water is too warm, you may consider a non heating pool cover like KoolCover – it will insulate the water and stop evaporation, but being opaque, it doesn’t heat the water like a traditional solar blanket.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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.

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.  🙂

 

 

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.

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.

The Nylex formulation will not be lost!

One of Australia’s most iconic brand names, Nylex, has recently gone into receivership and parts of the business have been sold off or liquidated.

The “Films & Fabrics” division which manufactured Pool Liner material and many industrial and domestic fabrics was liquidated, and has now stopped manufacturing.

One of the saddest aspects of this is that PVC (vinyl) film will no longer be manufactured in Australia, as Nylex were the last (Australian) volume manufacturer of this product. Nylex had so much experience in all their years of manufacturing PVC film, that I believe their knowledge and formulation of PVC for the harsh Australian climate made their product the best performer by far.

What does this mean to the Pool, Tank and Geomembrane industry going forward? Well, there was a chance that these tried and tested material formulations (or recipes if you like) would be lost forever, but thanks to the efforts of a few local companies, some of these proven products will continue to be available.

The Aqualux and Aquaforce pool liner products have now been taken over by a company called Swimlinings P/L, and will continue to be produced exactly as per the Nylex formulation. So even though the Nylex brand is no longer involved, the actual product that we know and trust will continue to be available, and will remain true to its original ‘recipe’.

Is your pool ready to swim?

Spring is here and, as the warmer weather coaxes us into the outdoors more, it’s time to get your pool ready to swim.

Is your pool too cold? Green and neglected? Full of leaves and debris? Or, all of the above? The solution is easy…

A cold pool is easily transformed into an oasis with a solar pool blanket. They raise your pool water temperature by up to 8 degrees C and can extend your swimming season by up to 3 months a year, so you can start swimming sooner.

A green pool usually means algae has started to grow in the water, due to lack of maintenance. Super chlorination is the quick fix, backed up with regular testing and adjusting to get the chemical balance just right for swimming again. Remember to remove your pool cover when super chlorinating!

If a pool full of leaves is getting you down, simply cover up with a fitted pool cover. There are many different styles available for both inground and above ground pools, salt water and chlorinated, specifically for keeping your pool leaf-free. They are cost effective and can pay for themselves in the first year, due to how much money you’ll save on chemicals and water. Plus, you’ll have more free time to swim in your crystal clear pool.

 

How long should a pool liner last?

Have you noticed in recent years the trend here in Australia and New Zealand toward an increased life span of (locally made) inground and above ground pool liners?

Does it make you also wonder, “How long should they last”?

In the past few years, large numbers of medium and large sized above ground liners have been imported from China and sold into our local market. And, it shouldn’t be too long now till we see how well they really perform in our harsh climate! As an educated guess, it’s likely they won’t last anywhere near as long as the Australian made liners.

I’m sure consumers are happy with many, many years of use from a locally made liner, but does this limit the opportunity for pool owners to update their pool look because the liner lasts so long? If my car exterior and interior looked as good after 10 years as it did the day I purchased it, I would be less likely to update it every 4 years. But as I drive it each day, the carpet looks a bit worn and the door trims have those scuff marks from the bottom of my shoes. You get the little dents and scratches on the doors from parking at the shopping centre and so you decide its time to upgrade.

This poses the question, “Would a pool owner be happier with a “new look” to their pool more often”?

Would they like to update the look of their pool to match current trends, as often as they change their furniture or paint their house? Or are pool owners deterred from updating their pool because there is plenty of life left in their pool liner and so they opt out because the current one is still doing the job?

My view is that you should expect a pool liner to last around 8-10 years for an Above Ground pool and 12-15 years for an Inground Pool Liner – but I know from experience that many last much longer. What do you think? How long should an Above Ground Liner last? How long should an Inground Pool Liner last?

Message me your thoughts…

True or False? Uncovering the myths about pool covers…

1. “You don’t need a pool cover with a heated pool.”
A. False. Yes, you do. More than one third of the heat you put into your pool can be wasted if you don’t cover it up. We as a society can’t afford to waste that much energy these days, particularly if your pool is heated using fossil fuels like electricity or gas.

2. “Pool covers don’t work that well anyway” 
A. False. Yes, they do. It is a scientific fact that a waterproof cover stops evaporation and reduces chemical usage.

3. Just use “floating rings” or this “new miracle chemical” that you cannot see, but somehow magically eliminates evaporation from your pool.
A. False, false, false. The simple fact is, if the cover is fully waterproof, it will stop nearly 100% of water evaporating out of your pool. Floating rings and invisible chemicals just don’t do the same job. Don’t be fooled by bogus claims. If it seems too good to be true, it very often is.

4. Do I really need a pool cover in the winter time?
A. True if you want to save water and pool chemicals. With a cover you can reduce the pool filter running cycle to save electricity too. Otherwise you will still spend the same on electricity running the filter and cleaning time keeping leaves and debris out of the pool.

5. Pool covers look ugly, don’t they?
A. False. Not at all, a properly fitting and maintained pool cover will complement any pool surround.

6. Pool Covers really save a lot of chemicals?
A. True. By keeping the Sun off the pool water and reducing the light entering the pool or sealing the top of the pool, they substantially reduce the chemicals needed. A pool covered with a floating cover will use around 2/3 less chlorine.

7. I have read that some Pool Covers save over 99% evaporation?
A. True. A Pool Cover made from a fully waterproof fabric (like a floating bubble cover) will stop almost 100% of vapour transferring through the fabric.