Your Swimming Pool Is Not a Big Blue Toilet No one likes to mention it, but so many people do it. It’s the ‘ick’ factor that everyone who swims in a pool faces – people who pee in the pool. One of the biggest unwritten commandments of the summer: Thou Shalt Not Pee in the Pool – is very often ignored by people who believe it doesn’t make a difference. Admit it — you’ve done it too, haven’t you? As many as a fifth of all American swimmers have admitted to using the pool as a bathroom, and competitive swimmers also have admitted to doing it all the time. There is a misconception that there’s no harm in urinating in the pool because of the chemicals already in the pool for cleaning it, and many people are unaware of the diseases that can be found in a contaminated pool. There is already loads of “icky” stuff in most pools – insects and plant material, dead skin cells, sweat and fecal coliform bacteria (from kids wearing diapers in the pool). The American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science & Technology, recently published a new study that looked at the chemistry of what happens when urine meets chlorine, and the findings would make you think twice about using the pool as a potty. The chlorine that is used to clean and sanitize your swimming pool is very good at killing dangerous bacteria like E. coli, but it can form harmful irritants when combined with uric acid. Uric acid, a chemical in both urine and sweat, reacts with chlorine in the swimming pool to create chemical byproducts such as trichloramine and cyanogen chloride, which are potentially dangerous compounds. The amount of sweat generated by vigorous swimming is negligible but, on an average, each person that urinates in the pool leaves about 30 to 80 milliliters of urine in the pool. When there are a lot of people doing this, it becomes a big concern because these harmful compounds form quickly and deplete the chlorine in the pool, allowing the compounds to be present in the pool for longer than normal and potentially to cause more harm. According to The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, in 2013 there were more than 8.5 million private pools in the U.S., and another 309,000 commercial ones. That’s a lot of opportunity for mishap. Of course, one could argue that the other disinfection by-products in pool water are equally worrisome, since some are known mutagens (i.e., they cause mutations), which could lead to cancer. The same could be said about the drinking water in many areas. The important thing to remember is that the pool was made for swimming and having fun. Don’t pee in it, and don’t drink the water. Those warning signs advising that you shouldn’t pee in the pool are not a joke – you should take them seriously. The next time you’re in a crowded pool, if the water makes your skin itchy or irritates your eyes. . . it might be because your fellow swimmers chose to ignore the warnings. Oh, you may also want to avoid the kiddie pool.
In the broadest sense of the term algae, algae are plants ranging in size from microscopic cells to giant kelp found in the sea. Like most plants, algae thrive on carbon dioxide, sunlight and nutrients. Swimming pools typically encounter three groups of algae: Black, Blue-Green/ Green and Mustard Algae.
Swimming pools are like children: don’t watch them, and they will soon get into trouble. Your pool is no different. The best cure for algae is to prevent its growth. This is done by maintaining a good chlorine reading, proper pH, and brushing the pool frequently. There are generally some algaecides such as All Clear, Concentrated Algaecide 60 that can be used prophylactically. Be aware of low costing algaecides since they can often cause more harm than good, especially the ones that foam.
If you do get algae in your swimming pool, always start by adjusting the pH, make sure your chlorine level is higher than normal, and brush. In the event the algae do not respond to the higher levels of chlorine then add algaecide. For green algae you have two choices: All Clear, Concentrated Algaecide 60 and All Clear, Green Algaecide, (Copper Based). For yellow or mustard algae All Clear, Mustard Knockout. While copper based algaecide is very effective against green algae, be careful not to introduce large amounts of chlorine into the pool rapidly, such as shocking the pool. Copper can easily precipitate out of the water and cause staining of the pool surface. As the algae are killed, the copper will slowly diminish by absorbing the algae, and when the filter is cleaned it will be backwashed.
Black Algae, the pesky one. Black algae have a protective gel like coating its surface, which prevents most chemicals entering the algae cell and disrupting its growth. Pools that have a hard surface such as concrete or Gunite can benefit from the use of an Algae brush to help break the gel, allowing the chemicals to penetrate the algae cell. Rubbing a pool tablet on the surface of the black algae spots is sometimes effective. On large areas of concrete or Gunite pools, Algae Kill can be used. This is a slow dissolving product that kills black algae when sitting on the surface. Caution – this method should not be used on other surfaces, as bleaching of the liner can occur. Never use an algae brush on fiberglass or vinyl pools.
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Here’s a tip to help reduce this loss and 50% of normal water evaporation:
Once a month add Ecosavr™ to your pool, Ecosavr™ is a liquid that creates a thin film on the surface of the pool acting like a solar blanket for your pool. It’s a liquid, add one packet to your pool once a month, there is no cover to roll up, store or roll out. The Pool is always ready to swim.
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Swimming Pool Safety should be number one on every pool owners list. Many Injuries occur yearly and require trips to the emergency room to deal with them. Most of the reported injuries involve children and teenagers. While there are many aspects to swimming pool safety, here are a few specifics regarding swimming pool chemicals. A good portion of these injuries are preventable by using a few good guidelines.
Read and Follow the directions on product labels.
Wear appropriate safety equipment such as goggles and gloves, Secure pool chemicals, preferably in a locked area.
Do not allow young children to handle or be around when handling chemicals.
Never mix different pool chemicals with each other. Especially never mix chlorine with acid and never mix different types of chlorine.
Pre-dissolve pool chemicals only when directed by the label.
When adding chemicals through the skimmer, add them slowly and wait at least a half hour between different types of chemicals.
Remember, Chlorine and Bromine do not kill germs instantly. Keep sick children out of the pool and keep the germs out of the pool by maintaining a sufficient amount of chlorine or bromine.
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Did you know you can use Diatomaceous Earth as an insecticide? Apply a light powder in areas where insect’s crawl, once an insect comes in contact with the powder it will kill them. It is also safe around people.
Diatomaceous Earth is used in swimming pools as a aid for filtering. It is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. Diatomaceous Earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including toothpaste.
Jandy Never Lube valves are used on many swimming pool installations. Their smooth turning action and slick design make them a favorite amongst pool builders. The Jandy Never Lube valve has been in the industry for over 20 Years. It is made of durable plastic that is chemical and weather resistant.
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In the coming days, we will begin to post articles and information regarding swimming pool products, chemistry, maintenance and repairs, Come back often and leave your comments