Answer: You have probably heard not to let your pool level go low or you can burn out your pool pump. Actually it is the motor that is of most concern and it has to run completely dry to cause real damage. It is important that you always keep a sufficient water level entering the skimmer to avoid damage. Usually about 2 inches or more should enter the skimmer. If for one reason or another this is not possible, most pools have a skimmer valve that can be closed and operating the pool off of the Main Drain is a good temporary option until you can add the necessary water. We advocate the installation of an Autofill. This is a devise that when installed properly will monitor your water level at all times and with the exception of rare but occasional failure, will ensure a proper water level 365 days a year. Contact your swimming pool professional for more information on this subject.
Answer: It is always safe to shut off the power supply to the pool pump if something doesn’t sound right. It is not likely there will be further damage if it is left on but nonetheless it can’t hurt to shut it down until it can be properly diagnosed. We suggest shutting the breaker off in the panel by your pool equipment. You may shut all of them down if you are not sure which ones are which. Some older homes may only have a breaker inside the home. In most cases when a pool motor is making excessive noise it is the bearing going bad. Sometimes they will run for months with a noisy bearing and sometimes they begin to scream and cease up in a matter of hours. Most residential pool pumps use smaller motors such as 1-3 horsepower; we do not suggest having the bearings replaced at the motor shop. This often turns out to be an expense on top of replacing the motor a short time down the road often for other reasons.
Answer: In the South West Florida area, we suggest you run your pool pump a standard 8 hours per day, 7 days a week. This can usually be backed down to 5-6 hours in the cooler season so long as you don’t have a problem pool and are not heating the pool. Heating the pool may require 12 hours or more per day. Some pools do require extended run times due to their environment such as a larger pools, pools with equipment problems, old pools in need of updated equipment, extensive use etc. Just the same, some easy-going pools can run less and get along just fine. We advise our customers based on our knowledge of their pool’s personality.
Answer: First, if you do not have a pool service, you must arrange for someone to look after the pool while you are gone. You will want to be sure that your pool heater is turned off and for added piece of mind you may want to shut the breaker to the pool heater off. Many homeowners wish to shut the water supply to the house off as well. This is okay but we suggest it is always a good idea to have a hose and an Autofill for the pool that is supplied independently of your water main for maintenance use. Most pool companies will turn your water main on and off as needed in order to maintain the pool.
Answer: It is best to change your filter element (cartridge) each year. There are occasions where a filter element may look to be in fine condition; however, it still may not be doing its job or may be operating less efficiently than it should be. When the filter element failure becomes obvious, it will either allow dirt to pass through it, will restrict water flow or in some cases both. This can happen in as little as a couple of days if there is a problem in the pool or the pool water. Keep in mind that over cleaning your filter can shorten the life of the element as well.
Answer: With regard to in-ground swimming pools, stains, discolorations, and variations are often unavoidable as part of the aging process of your pool. The pool surface is a mixture of natural materials. There are combinations of issues that can occur in your pool causing change in the material. In most cases stains and discolorations can be treated to improve or remove them but often the only resolution is to apply a new pool surface. Treatments can include various stain products to help prevent and remove or even draining and acid washing the pool. Your pool professional should be able to offer much more information on this subject.
Answer: The traditional school of thought with regard to eyes burning was that it was the chlorine in the water. While an out of range chlorine level may cause discomfort, we believe that the pH of the water has far more to do with burning eyes than chlorine. When the pH of the water is significantly different from the pH of our bodies it can cause discomfort to the eyes. New pool surfaces often carry a very high pH and are more likely to have this trouble. Let you pool professional know if this is a problem you are having so they can take measures to help prevent this.
Answer: Algae is the number one aggravation and challenge when it comes to maintaining a swimming pool in the tropics, particularly South West Florida. Most algae seen in this area is referred to as mustard algae and is most effectively treated, first and for most with good old "elbow grease”, chlorine and proper chemical balance. Algae blooms can happen no matter how well your pool is cared for. It is much less likely to happen if the pool is properly cared for but nonetheless, is unavoidable at times. If you have a pool professional, you will want to report this to them sooner rather than later as once it takes off it can grow fast! Some pools have a much higher tendency to get alga. Some of the factors can be age, condition of the surface, vegetation around the pool, quality and function of the pool equipment, and much more. We are not a big supporter of using algaecides and pre-package algae solutions. While some of these products work as an aid, nothing works like chlorine, elbow grease, proper chemical balance, and cleaning it out of the filter and pool in the process.
Answer: This usual means a valve is out of place. If you have an automated control system for your pool/spa combo than it is likely one of your automatic valves has an actuator that has either gone bad or is out of adjustment. If you are not comfortable with the function of your valves, we suggest calling your pool professional when this happens.
Answer: This usually means that you have a bad check valve. In this case, pool water runs from the pool and into the spa which causes the spa to spill over into the pool. Since most spas are higher than the pool, there must be a check valve plumbed in at the pool equipment that prevents the water from backing up into the pool due to gravity when the system is off. When a check valve fails, it allows the spa water to enter the pool by means of gravity whenever the pump is off. It is somewhat of an illusion but if you look closely, most of the time, you will notice that the spa water is actually level with your pool water. This is usually easily resolved.
Answer: Most swimming pools develop a few leaks over the course of their life. If your pool is losing more than 1/4” per 24 hours than we suggest you call your pool professional and arrange to have the pool leak checked. The cost of fixing a leak is usually far less than the cost of wasted water and chemicals. Checking for and repairing most leaks is not terribly expensive. In some cases more serious leaks are found such as a broken pipe under the pool or deck or often beneath the skimmer and can be much more costly to repair than superficial leaks. Most leaks are found in the pool skimmer, light, returns and main drain. Just knowing that does not mean locating a leak (s) will be easy, as finding leaks usually requires either luck, lots of time or experience. Your pool professional can help.
Answer: If your pool pump won’t shut off you can always go to the breaker by the pool equipment or worst case in the main panel in the house to shut it down. There are a few issues that may be the cause. The first thing to check is your pool timer. You will want to make sure the clock is working properly. If you have an automated control system the cause is very likely programming related or a failing relay. In many cases, the pool has a four function; spa side air button installed on the system and most of the time the switch is in an overriding position. Your pool professional can help you with this.