When we think of an inviting, sparkling pool, images of the pool equipment never come to mind even though the pool equipment is vital to the good health of any pool.
The pool’s filter, for example, removes dirt, algae and other particulate matter from the water to keep the water looking crystal clear. All that debris does not just disappear. The filter needs to be dismantled and cleaned twice per year. If all that gunk is left in the filter, the flow rate drops, algae can continue to breed in the filter and the pool’s sanitizer gets used up which ends up costing you more money in pool chemicals.
The pool heater is often neglected after installation until a repair is needed. Doing an annual maintenance (as recommended by the heater manufacturer) can extend the life of your heater and keep it running reliably and efficient.
With an annual heater maintenance, the unit is opened, connections cleaned and tightened up, burner trays are pulled and cleaned, internal flow switches are inspected, gas pressure is tested, and an overall test of the unit is performed.
When heaters go neglected, rodents can move in, build nests, and chew on those tasty low voltage wires that connect to those expensive circuit boards requiring a costly repair.
Let’s not forget those little spiders. Spiders often make their way into the burner trays and form webs in the gas nozzle orifices which impede gas flow to the pilot ignitor. When this happens, gas can puddle in the bottom of the heater, when the accumulated gas comes in contact with the ignitor, a loud mini explosion can occur which can cause a flame roll out which can melt the fusible link, which is a safety component.
A heater maintenance is always a good investment to keep the unit running efficient and extend the life of the product.
4) False Expectations of Salt Water Chlorination
Salt water chlorine generators are very popular today. Many pool owners may have an unrealistic expectation as to what the product actually does. The product converts salt into chlorine through an electrolysis process and in most cases can produce up to one pound of chlorine (1 gallon) per day, that’s a 24 hour day. So if you run your system 24 hours a day, you can produce that much chlorine. Most pool owners run their systems around 6 hours per day, so the chlorine generator in this case can only produce ¼ gallon of chlorine per day. Now if the pool gets a lot of usage, that may not be enough and the pool may need to be supplemented with liquid chlorine.
There is also a misconception that a chlorine generator maintains a pool by itself. Not true. The pH level, calcium hardness, phosphates, total dissolved solids, and stabilizer levels are critical the good operation. Maintaining these levels is crucial to reliable operation. (SALT WATER CHLORINE GENERATOR)
3) Improper Water Level
Pools evaporate water and that water needs to be replenished. If a pool has a leak, water loss is more severe and will need to be refilled more often. The proper water level is in the middle of the pool skimmer, typically also at the middle of the 6” waterline tile. When at the correct water level, the pool’s skimmer actually skims debris off of the surface and into a pump basket as well as supplying proper water flow and supply to the pump.
If the water level is not maintained, the skimmer can draw air instead of water which makes its way to the pump and can cause the pump to run dry. When a pump runs dry, it runs hot and can melt the plastic fittings, housing, shaft seal, and pump basket resulting in low water flow and costly repairs.
Some skimmers are equipped with a float valve diverter assembly which allows the skimmer to pull from the main drain to allow water to flow to the pump in the event that the water level is low. These systems are not always reliable.
2) Inadequate Pump/Filter Run Times
Running a pool pump can use up a lot of energy and can be costly. A pump and filter need to run long enough to get on full turn per day. That means that if you have a 20,000 gallon pool, the pump should pump that much each day. In most applications that means the pump needs to run 4 to 6 hours each day. If the pool pump is old and inefficient, this can result in high electricity costs. (VARIABLE SPEED PUMPS)
Some homeowners run their pump less hours in order to save electricity. While that does save electricity, the pool does not get the adequate circulation and filtration that it needs. When a filter does not get adequate circulation, the water can become turbid, algae can form and the pool may require more chemicals to stay safe for swimming.
1) Using Chlorine tabs in skimmers
Chlorine comes in many forms. One form is 3” chlorine tablets. These “tabs” are highly concentrated with chlorine and are very acidic. Some homeowners put tabs in skimmers to let the chlorine dissolve into the pool system. I will say that is an effective way to chlorinate a pool but also risky.
When the pump shuts off, that tablet continues to dissolve its highly acidic contents into the skimmer box which will erode the grout and cause the skimmer to leak. Then when the pool system turns back on each day, the acidic solution runs through the pump, filter and pool heater causing more erosion resulting in the equipment leaks and failures. In fact the tables can strip through the copper heat exchanger in the pool heater which is extremely costly to repair or replace.