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Ask an Expert Q & A


I’d like to drain my pool and start fresh, do you recommend this?
Only in the dead of summer when there is no threat of hydrostatic water pressure in the ground. This is typically not the best option. Plaster problems can occur, not to mention the possibility of your pool lifting out of the ground.


My pump is making a loud noise, what should I do?
Call a professional and schedule an appointment. Loud noises are usually an indication of bearings failing in a motor or possibly an obstruction at the impeller.


I’m thinking about adding a salt system, do I need to wait until I remodel the pool?
No, in most cases, a salt system can be retrofitted to any pool with the exception of very old pools which were built with copper plumbing.


My pool seems to be losing water, what do I do?
The first step is to verify if your pool has a leak with a simple bucket test. This is performed by using a bucket that you know holds water. Fill it up ¾ of the way full, and put a few heavy stones in the bucket. Set it on the top step of your pool. Mark the water level inside the bucket with a permanent marker, as well as outside of the bucket to note the level of the pool water. Run your system normally for one day. Make sure that no water is added or the pool is not used. The following day, take note of the water levels and compare. If the water loss outside the bucket is greater than the loss inside the bucket, you have a leak. Call a professional.


How long should my pool equipment run?
The million dollar question! There are so many variables to consider regarding this topic. Such as, do I have a solar system? Is it the town plunge? Are there many trees surrounding the pool? This is where the pool industry & the electric company butt heads. The electric company asks us to limit energy consumption during peak hours, between noon & 6pm. This is an immediate problem if you have a pool solar heating system. We don’t get a whole lot of sun before noon or after 6pm. This time is also typically when people are enjoying their pool. The last thing you want is a heavy bather load, and no circulation. This is a recipe for an ugly pool. To answer this question, 6-8 hours is ideal for filtration during the summer, and a minimum of 4 hours during the winter. Every pool should have an onsite analysis.


What does TDS stand for?
Each time you add something to the pool (chlorine, salt, metal removers, etc.), those particulates eventually dissolved into suspension into the water. This is what we refer to as Total Dissolved Solids. Once the TDS count is 3000ppm or greater, your pool water has become “tired”, it is time to drain a portion of the pool and add fresh water.


Why does my pool have a strong chlorine smell?
This is typically an indication of a high combined chlorine level. There are two types of chlorine tests that we perform. One is the combined chlorine, and the other is the free available chlorine. The free available chlorine is the count we are most interested in. It keeps your pool nice & sanitary. When you have a high combined chlorine count, this is when it is necessary to perform a shock treatment. Shock treatment frees up the chlorine.


Can algae really do damage to my pool?
Absolutely. The most resilient and stubborn algae is ‘black algae’. This particular type can actually root into the plaster and cause significant damage requiring you to replaster the pool.


My well water is clean, why does my pool look bad?
Depending on your area, well water usually contains minerals & metals that react with oxidizers such as chlorine. The Sonoma Valley varies with slight iron content, and traces of silica & manganese, etc. causing some pools to have an emerald green hue. It is perfectly safe to swim, but contrary to popular belief, high metal content (specifically copper) is actually the culprit of causing hair to turn green. Not chlorine.


Can my salt water pool be chemical free?
No. You have a chlorine pool. Salt is sodium chloride. The salt water system splits the salt into its two separate components, sodium and chloride. Chloride being the 100% free available chlorine, the good chlorine. So when you have a salt system, what you actually have is a mini-chlorine production plant in your backyard.


How often should I drain my hot tub?
This is subject to the bather load in the hot tub. Typically, once every 4 months regardless of use it should be drained, filled with fresh water and rebalanced.

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