Air Lock Might Be Why Your Pool Pump's Not Priming
Air lock might be the reason your pool pump is struggling to prime at start up. Air lock happens when the pool plumbing or spa plumbing rises above the horizontal inlet of the pool pump.
There is almost always a three-way valve involved in air lock situations. Why the original plumber created the raised three-way valve to be plumbed so high is probably to be easily accessible. However, it does cause this problem, and it is the way it is. So, we deal with it.
When air lock happens the pump will struggle until it's replumbed the right way. Additionally, the higher the plumbing, the more the pump will struggle to prime. Experienced pool guys will tell you that when air lock is in action and the pump is struggling to prime, a visible and audible surging action occurs within the pump pot.
Usually, the pump will eventually prime but not before heat is generated on the pump and fittings. Over time the heat will create a vacuum leak or leaks on the threaded inlet and the pump will then have another obstacle to conquer.
Swimming pool's inlet plumbing should never rise above the level of the pump inlet height.
If you are experiencing a pool or spa pump that is struggling to prime at start up, contact a professional today. A good professional knows about pool and spa pumps and the reality of air lock and can get your pool back in working order as soon as possible. Image by Richard Elzey
Want to learn more about pool maintenance? Please check out these articles on our blog:
- Keeping Your Pool Clean: Adult Swim Diapers
- Does Chlorine Makes Your Eyes Sting?
- Dry Drowning How to Be Aware
- Backwash: It's a Good Thing
Adult swim diapers?! Yep! If you read last month's article about chlorine, you'll remember we talked about how chlorine actually reacts with urine and feces in the pool to produce irritants and this is one of the reasons why some people's eyes "sting" after swimming. The article also talks about how babies and toddlers should use swim diapers (changed frequently) to help avoid this problem. But what about the older sect of swimmers? Swimming and aquatic exercise among the elderly is quite popular. It's easy on the joints and keeps the body cool. However, it's no secret that as our bodies age, incontinence can be one of the burdens we bear. So, to keep the fear of incontinence altering your experience in the pool at bay, use adult swim diapers.
Swim diapers can be used on water adventurers of any age, from infants to adults. Although, incontinence is known to be common as we age, it can affect other ages as well.
Wearing a properly sized swim diaper will protect from leaks and will not let pool water soak in. Many of them are now washable and reusable and there's of course, disposable ones. Swim diapers are slim and fit tightly to be discreet underneath a bathing suit.
It is important to realize that just as a "regular diaper" on a baby swells up when wet from submersion/swimming, so does a "regular pad or diaper" of the adult variety. Regular pads or diapers become bloated with water and easily allow for waste to leak into the pool. It's important to make sure you have an actual swim diaper on. Instead of bloating up, swim diapers actually allow water to pass through so it doesn't soak up.
Don't let pesky adult incontinence keep you from enjoying all the health benefits from being in a swimming pool. Get proper protection and take to the pool like a fish to water.
- Getting Your Pool Spring and Summer Ready
- Backwash: It's a Good Thing
Chlorine Makes Your Eyes Sting?
Many swimmers have emerged from the pool, rubbing their eyes, and exclaiming that they burn, itch or feel irritated. The cause is often attributed to too much chlorine in the pool. However, this is an urban legend.
In actuality, irritation of the eyes after swimming in the pool is usually due to poor swimmer hygiene rather than high levels of chlorine. Many are surprised by this fact.
Why do We Add Chlorine to Pools Anyway?
Good pool chemistry keeps pools healthy for use by swimmers. Chlorine and pH is called "the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick" by The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The proper balance of chlorine and pH protects swimmers against bacteria that can cause conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal upset, swimmer's ear and irritated skin.
Want to hear another urban pool legend that may surprise you? It's the one that says peeing in the pool is okay because the chlorine will take care of it. MANY people pee in the pool. One out of every five adults even admits to it according to a survey by healthypools.org in 2009. What chlorine ACTUALLY does is REACT with urine as well as, feces, sweat, body oils, and make up to produce irritants. THIS is why many pools require a soapy shower before entering the pool.
So, what can you do to keep your eyes from burning?
1. Don't urinate in the pool. Take children for frequent bathroom breaks and have toddlers/babies use swim diapers that are also CHANGED frequently. Remember, a swim diaper is not designed to "soak up" urine and feces, but only to hold it until you can get them out of the pool for a change. If you leave that swim diaper on them too long, it will eventually leak back into the pool and the whole purpose of using a swim diaper will be defeated.
2. Shower with soap before swimming.
- Getting Your Pool Spring and Summer Ready
- Dry Drowning - How to Be Aware
- Back Wash - It's a Good Thing
2014 Popular In Ground Pool Options
The three most popular options for pools over the last year seem to be salt water chlorinators, underwater pool lights and security covers. Let's take a look and the pros and cons of each of these options.
Salt Water Chlorinators
THE PROS: Salt water chlorinators provide superb water quality without odor and irritation that usually goes along with traditional chlorine pools. Many people are surprised to learn that a salt water pool is actually a chlorine pool. The salt is converted into chlorine and when it does this, it eliminates the gross odors and eye irritation that typically accompany chlorine.
Another great factor about salt water chlorinators is that they're very low maintenance. All you have to do to maintain chlorine levels is add four to eight bags of granular salt directly to the pool each season. Salt costs about $12 a bag and can be purchased many places. However, you should still monitor water chemistry weekly.
THE CONS: The upfront cost of a salt water chlorinator is usually around $2,000. The salt will typically cost between $50 to $100 each season. Also, every six years or so, you will have to replace the salt cell at a cost of almost $1000. Compared to a typical chlorine system, the overall costs are about the same, it's just the initial cost that is higher.
THE PROS: Once you've seen a pool lit up at night you can see why it's almost a need more than a want. Also, when comparing the cost to other accessories that make your pool gorgeous, lighting gives you the most bang for your buck. The life of the bulb is extremely long and it's easy to replace when you need to.
THE CONS: Lights usually cost around $800.
THE PROS: Security Covers are primarily for protecting children and pets but also keep debris out of the pool and require no maintenance during the winter while the pool is shut down for the season. They are strong and secure and worry free.
THE CONS: They cost almost $3000. For THIS reason, some opt for the cheaper tarp cover which is only around a couple hundred dollars. However, this is not recommended as they are not as strong, and therefore do not protect children and pets as well. Furthermore, they almost always fall into the pool at least once per winter.
There you have it. The three most popular in ground pool options. To learn more about pools and maintaining them see:
- Getting Your Pool Spring and Summer Ready
- Dry Drowning: How to be Aware
- Back Wash it's a Good Thing
Prepping Your Pool For Summer
Following are some great tips for getting your pool party prepped for summer. My Ever Clear Pool can take care of all of it for you, if you'd like to keep your poolside life care free.
1) Remove the Pool Cover. Remove any debris and leaves from the cover and drain any water that may be sitting on top. Whatever you do, do not feed the water back into the pool as this can cause more work to restore balance to your pool water.
2) Fill the Pool. Bring the water level up to the middle of the skimmer opening.
3) Physical Cleaning. Using the leaf net, remove leaves, sticks and debris from the pool. Check that your filtration system is working and vacuum the pool.
4) Test the Water. Take a sample of your water to a professional for a complete analysis. The water should be taken 18" down and away from the returns. Do not use just any container but use a clean plastic water sample bottle available at your dealer.
5) Test Reagents. My Ever Clear Pool is more than happy to do all your testing for you, but should you wish to do it yourself, make sure that your test reagents are new to get an accurate reading from your home test kit.
6) Balance Your Water. If your home test kit is sophisticated enough to test for alkalinity, stabilizer and hardness, as well as pH and Chlorine, great! Otherwise, take a water sample to the pros and adjust your pool water chemically as follows:
a) Adjust Alkaliinity to 80-125 ppm for plaster pools or to 125-150 ppm for vinyl pools. Total Alkalinity should be adjusted before adjusting the pH.
b) For chemical efficiency and swimming enjoyment adjust the pH to between 7.2 and 7.6.
c) Test stabilizer level by measuring the amount of pool water stabilizer or cyanuric acid, making sure the pool has at least 30 ppm. This prevents loss of chlorine from the sun's ultra violet rays.
d) Calcium hardness should be between 150-280 ppm. It is now recommended to add a sequestrian agent before shocking the pool. This will keep any dissolved metals that have made their way into the pool water during the winter from discoloring or staining the pool.
e) It is necessary to do a shock treatment to oxidize water soluble organic matter that the filter cannot remove. You can do this by super-chlorination and this should be done once a week during pool season.
f) The weather is often unpredictable at the beginning of spring which can lead to algae. The addition of a poly algaecide safeguards against this.
g) Adjust your chlorine level to 1.5-3.0 ppm and maintain a regular chlorine addition of 60 gms per 50,000 liters or 2 oz per 10,000 gallons.
h) Your brominator should be adjusted to a bromine level of 3.0-5.0 ppm.
- Backwash. It's a Good Thing
- Storms and Your Swimming Pool
Getting Your Pool Spring and Summer Ready
Winter's done. Hibernation is over. This means for your pool too. It's time to bring your splash zone out of slumber and into the marvelous light of the sun!
There's more to opening your pool for the season than filling it up and jumping in. Opening your pool correctly is extremely important for the pool as well as the swimmers. Check out these eight steps to opening your pool for the swimming season.
1) Don't empty your pool. First of all, don't empty your pool even if you live in a cold climate unless you absolutely have to for structural work that needs to be done on it for example. Why? Because draining the pool can bring bit problems such as an empty pool in a high water table can lift it right out of the ground without the weight of the water to hold it down. If this happens, you could be looking at a total pool replacement.
2) Spring clean your pool. Perform a "chemical open" by putting the filtration system together, cleaning out all the baskets and removing any plugs that you put in the pool when it was closed for the winter. While working on this, leave the cover on the pool.
3) Top it off. Top off the water level if it's fallen over the winter. Also, be sure to clean the filter before you turn it on. You can clean a cartridge filter by removing the cartridge and washing it with a hose. If you have a sand filter, set the filter to backwash which will clean the sand and then turn it back to the normal setting.
4) Get a pro to test the water. It's a good idea to have the water professionally tested. They'll do a complete test including mineral content, total alkalinity and the pH and the chlorine levels. They will tell you what needs to be adjusted and by how much.
5) Balance your chemicals. Bring pH levels to between 7.2 and 7.4. Bring total alkalinity between 80 to 120. Bring calcium hardness to between 150ppm to 250 ppm (parts per million). Lastly, bring chlorine between 1ppm to 3ppm.
It's really not a bad idea to get a professional to take care of all of this for you as well.
6) Let the water clear up. Don't take the plunge into your pool just yet. The filter needs to be cleaned every day until the water is clear. This could take about a week. You may need to add more chlorine. Don't remove the cover or take a swim until you can see the pool floor.
7) Finishing up. Finish up the summer time prep steps by vacuuming all the leaves and debris from the bottom once you remove the cover.
8) Maintain. From here on out, keep the filter clean, test the water levels every day and vacuum once a week.
-Dry Drowning: How to be Aware
Green or Blue? It's Up To You!
It's true that proper pool chemistry does affect the color of your pool water, but did you know that the color of your pool finish has the biggest impact of the color your pool water appears to be?
Most people think that first step to determining what color water you want to have in your pool would be to choose a pool finish, but those people would be wrong. It's actually the complete opposite! One should always choose the color that they want their pool water BEFORE deciding on a pool finish. Other things a pool owner should think about are how much sunlight the pool will get, the shape of the pool and landscaping features. All these things will have an impact on the color your water will appear. Pool water is either green or blue and the pool finish will be the biggest factor in which color it is.
Most people prefer their pool water to be blue and truly, it is the most popular swimming pool finish color. We used to often see white pool plaster as a pool finish and it was great at providing a bright canvas for the color spectrum to reflect blue light. Today, if you prefer a blue tint to your pool water you'll want to check out: white, black, blue, and grey pool finishes. These days , tinted pool plasters, aggregates and glass beads are the premier choice for pool finishes and one of these four colors as the base will give your water a blue hue.
Some pool owners are surprised when their pool is green. They worry and think something isn't "right". However, this can be completely normal. Their pool finish may be made of fine pebbles and natural aggregates which would create this effect. If white finish creates a blue hued water, then natural tones, will create a green hue. If you PREFER your pool water to be green, you'll want pool finishes that are green, brown, or tan.
Remember, if your pool finish creates a green hue for your water, you can't go by the color of the water to determine if your pool is dirty. You'll have to a check on your pool water chemistry two to three times a week. Do NOT over use chemicals because then you'll start to harm your pool's finish.
Whether you want traditional clear blue water or a green hue that leaves you feeling tropical, it's up to you and your pool finish to decide.
- Backwash: It's a Good Thing
-Dry Drowning: How to Be Aware
Bloom. Awe. What a wonderful word that brings to mind spring time flowers and blossoms with sweet fragrances and vivid colors. Yes, bloom can be a fantastic word. However, what if a "bloom" could also attack your swimming pool?! Eeek! That is exactly what an algae bloom can do in the matter of one night! There are several types of algae that can live in your pool and most of them can be pretty easily eliminated with proper pool chemistry. The exception might be black algae, however, which is the hardest to get rid of in your pool. With pool season just around the corner for your seasonal pool peeps or for those of you who are year round fishies, here are some steps to help you fight and eliminate black algae.
What is black algae anyway?
The color of algae in your pool indicates a lot about its strength. Green algae is pretty common and easy to eliminate. Black algae, on the other hand, is extremely aggressive. Black algae appears as small spots and spores on the surfaces of the pool. Simple shocking or adding of algaecide to your pool will not do the trick. The roots of the black algae bloom tend to live and anchor in the cracks of the pool plaster and finish. It's for this reason that this bloom is so hard to get rid of.
How to fight back:
You will need to attack it head on and to do so, you'll need:
With the gloves on, rub the black algae spot with the chlorine tab to attack its head. If the algae is at the bottom of the pool, try using a clip with the tab attached to a pole. Next, brush all walls and surfaces with the brush. When you do this, you'll notice a dirty looking "cloud" rising up. Turn off all pool pumps and filter for at least one full day. Add the recommended amount of algaecide to the deep end of your pool. The water chemistry of your pool will be extremely unbalanced. Bring the pH and pool chemistry back to proper levels and remember not to swim in your pool for A WEEK while fighting this dreadful algae.
Prevent the return of this bloomin' plague:
To prevent black algae from ever plaguing you in the first place, maintain proper pool chemistry. Also, maintain adequate pool filtration and circulation. If you still have issues with black algae or pool maintenance in general, contact a professional.
How to Keep Your Pool From Freezing
For those of us who live in warmer climates such as Arizona, swimming pools freezing over is not something that even crosses our mind. So, in the rare case that this should happen, we're completely un prepared to deal with it. However, wisdom tells us anything can happen so it's a good idea to have a little knowledge to help us in any happenstance.
To prevent your pool from freezing and therefore, prevent damage, the first thing you can do is change your timer to circulate your pool around the clock. Keep in mind that even if day time temps are above freezing, the ground and water is still cold and therefore your pool can still freeze.
Next, run your solar heater around the clock also and put your manual solar cover on. If you have a gas heater, it's a good idea to run it too. You don't have to run it constantly, just enough to keep the water warm.
If your pump is exposed to the elements (sun and wind) you may want to cover it in a heavy blanket and be sure to secure said blanket.
If you already have ice formations on the tile or pool surface, carefully break and remove them. Also clear the skimmers of ice. Skimmer door may be removed or weighed down to improve flow if needed.
Also, make sure as always, to maintain water level. Should the skimmers draw air, it'll increase the risk of freeze damage to the equipment.
Lastly, turn directional returns towards the surface of the water to case surface movement and reduce the formation of ice.
Those are the basics to winterizing your pool and keeping it from freezing and becoming damaged in the event of an extreme Arizona winter.
Like this post? You may also like:
MAINTAINING YOUR LAKE HAVASU CITY BACKYARD POOL
DRY DROWNING - HOW TO BE AWARE
STORMS AND YOUR SWIMMING POOL
WHEN TO CLEAN YOUR POOL - HOW DO I KNOW?
Many people have not heard of and are surprised to hear of DRY DROWNING. Dry drowning is when a person's lungs become unable to extract oxygen from the air due to taking in water into their lungs at an earlier time. Dry drowning can occur due to other reasons also but this article will focus on that due to exposure to water when swimming. Children have been known to die due to dry drowning up to 24 hours after receiving water into their system. Symptoms of dry or what some may call "delayed" drowning are fatigue, lethargy, coughing, paleness, pain in the chest and trouble breathing.
If you see these symptoms occur in a child or individual shortly after they have played or swam in water, you must keep a close eye on them. Dry drowning can occur between one to 24 hours after being in water. A person can even appear to be drowning while swimming, be pulled to safety and "seem to be okay" and then dry drown later.
Risk factors for dry drowning include individuals who are not strong swimmers or rarely exposed to water, or people with underlying lung problems such as asthma. To prevent incidents while in the water, never leave these types of individuals unsupervised.
If a child who's been swimming continues to cough or complain of pain in their chest LONG after being exposed to the water, take them to the hospital where they can be treated. Remember, many of us swallow a little water while swimming, cough and then recover and are okay. It's when the coughing PERSISTS for a time, that an individual may be in danger. A hospital or emergency room will be able to treat a dry drowning victim by supplying oxygen to the lungs and getting the breathing process restarted.
Other related posts:
BACKWASH! IT'S A GOOD THING!STORMS AND YOUR SWIMMING POOL
HOW DO I KEEP ME AND MY FAMILY SAFE AROUND SWIMMING POOLS?
Don Reinhard has been a Havasu City resident for several years and loves the sun and warmth of this area. He has brought both of these together being in the pool industry. Call him today for quotes on pool and spa maintenance and service.