With over 15 years of pool ownership and maintenance under my belt, along with 7 plus years of running a pool supply website, I thought it would be appropriate for me to share a bit of my experience with others that may be new to pool ownership and maintenance. In particular, my experience with pool chemicals.
First of all, I should tell you that I do not like to hire others to maintain my house, yard, and pool. For better or worse, I prefer to do it myself. So, with that said my initial approach to maintaining my pool was to take a water sample up to the local pool store and let them tell me what I need. I started with jugs of liquid chlorine as the primary chemical needed to keep the water nice and clear. Then after a few months, I was told that my pH and acidity needed to be adjusted. Now, I was purchasing chlorine, muriatic acid, and baking soda. The pool store experts did provide clear instructions about how to use these chemicals as well as warn me about the dangers of mixing them.
With several chemicals now being needed, I was having to store them at my residence. But where should I store them? At first, I put them in the garage. Probably not a great idea due to the fact that it is a closed area where fumes can build up. Then I left them in the backyard around the house. Again, not a great idea either. They would get too hot in the sun and after I got a family dog I did not want them out where the dog could get at them. Rather than me giving you a recommendation I think its best that you hear it from the experts. Below are two links on pool chemical safety from the CDC and the EPA.
- EPA alert - Safe Storage and Handling of Swimming Pool Chemicals
- CDC guidelines - Pool Chemical Safety: Storage
Once summer hits in a place like South Florida where it gets over 90 degrees with what feels like 100 percent humidity a new problem starts.....algae.
This is where things started to drive me crazy. Mind you, I was still taking my pool water sample in every 2 weeks so the experts can tell me what is needed to maintain my pool water. When I told them I had an algae problem, they recommended shock and algaecide. These were somewhat successful, except they seemed to be only temporary. It would keep coming back. Further, I discovered that algaecide use causes an impact on the chlorine level in the water. This resulted in having to put additional chlorine in the water every time I used an algaecide. It got to the point where my pool was constantly needing chemicals. Not just chlorine, but all kinds of chemicals to the extent of about $40-$50 worth of chemicals every week. I was at my tipping point, very frustrated.
As a pool supply business owner I reached out to my supply chain contacts in the industry to ask for some advice. I am not saying this is a solution for everyone, but it sure made pool water maintenance a breeze for my pool. First of all, I was told to use granular chlorine instead of liquid chlorine. They said the liquid chlorine was primarily salt water with bleach. Granular is stronger and is easier to store. So I was told to put in a single one pound bag of granular chloring in the shallow end of my pool. Next they said to add one cup of muriatic acid per week in the deep end of the pool. Lastly, to control/prevent algae I was told to use a phosphate remover. I would get high levels of phosphates in my pool because of the surrounding landscape plantlife that the wind would blow in to the pool. Phosphates act as algae food, so no phosphates mean no algae. Natural Chemistry makes a great product called Natural Chemistry PhosFree, which is enzyme based, non-toxic, and does not impact your chlorine levels. I add a capful into my skimmer once a week.
At this point, I seem to be able to look at my pool and tell if it needs something, it's kind of hard to explain. I do not take a water sample to the pool store anymore. I just do the following and my pool seems to be just fine:
- Add a 1 pound bag of chlorine to the shallow end of the pool once a week
- Add a cup of non-fuming muriatic acid to the deep end of the pool once a week
- Add 1/2 cup of phosphate remove to the skimmer once a week
Feel free to research online and use the information provided above as a hint from a fellow pool owner.
Enjoy Your Pool!