Category Archives: Pool Maintenance

How to Pressure Test a Swimming Pool

When the plumbing system of a swimming pool is leaking one of the first diagnostic tests that a professional will perform is a pressure test. During this process the plumbing lines of the pool are isolated and independently tested to determine their ability to hold pressure without leaking. Vancouver swimming pool plumbing pressure testing is only as accurate as the person performing the testing.

A Vancouver swimming pool will run between 5 and 30 PSI of pressure on average. Ideally the plumbing lines will be tested at a level above the maximum operating pressures to ensure that there are no leaks in the system. The concern with this is that pressure testing any system over a few PSI can be dangerous so many testers prefer to test at lower pressures such as 5, 10 or 20 PSI. In theory a plumbing leak will be apparent under all pressurized situations but this is not always the case with elusive leaking problems. It is recommended to test at a higher pressure that the normal operating values of the plumbing system.

The potential for danger exists with pressure testing so it should only be attempted by professionals or competent individuals using proper equipment and safety techniques. In theory the process of isolating each plumbing line is easy. Open one end of the pipe in the mechanical / pump room and plug the end in the pool. You then induce either water or air that is regulated with a valve and an known accurate pressure gauge.

In practice the process of pressure testing a pool is much more complicated. Basic swimming pool systems can involve as little as two or three pipes however more robust pools can have thirty, forty or fifty individual pipes that require testing. In addition to being able to identify where each pipe goes, which can be a difficult task in some situations, most pools have pipes that are very difficult to isolate and test.

Some pipes do not connect from the pump room to the pool making it very difficult to access both ends of the pipe which is required in order to perform any accurate pressure testing. A prime example of this is the main drain at the bottom of the pool. Some pools can not be emptied so a diver can be required in order to inspect and plug the main drain for testing. Water features, hot tubs, return jets and stairs will sometimes have pipes which are difficult to pressure test further complicating the process.

A well versed Vancouver pool service will use a combination of plumbing system knowledge, testing and process of elimination to identify the pool leak. More often than not the leak can be identified by examining closely the characteristics of the leak itself. The more invasive pressure testing process is used to prove what is speculated by examining the leak characteristics. The better that you understand your pool plumbing system the more readily you will be able to find and repair the leak - with or without a pressure test.

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If you're looking for a Vancouver pool tester, then give us a call today at (604) 589-4281 or complete our request estimate form.

Salt Water Pools – Chlorine Generator

It's a complex decision when you're trying to figure out which Vancouver swimming pool is going to be the best for you and your family. There are a lot of questions in everyone's mind about chlorinated pools vs. salt water pools or perhaps even a chlorine free pool. Well let's nip that thought in the bud from the start. A chlorine free pool is called a creek.

The salt water swimming pools that you read about and consider for your own use are not chlorine free. The salt water pool simply goes about things in a whole new way. They use a chlorine generator to get the germ free status that they have. Chlorine generators have been around for ages, but as the means to make chlorine and the methods used to do so got a lot better, the chlorine generators got to be more popular because they actually worked.

So why would you want a salt water pool?

The body is naturally saline. That's a given of course. When you go swimming in a very mild saline solution, much like using saline in the eyes, it is actually easier on the body. Usually when people emerge from a pool that is heavily chlorinated, they will have the halo in their vision, the skin feels more dry, and it tends to hold that residue that tells you you're taking a bleach bath. For some reason, when you swim in a salt water pool, even though it does have a chlorine generator, you're going to get out of the swimming pool feeling better, without that extra coating of residue on your body. You will actually be feeling far more refreshed than you might if you had taken a swim in the other variety. Your skin will be less dry and you're going to feel a big difference.

Ocean water has about 35 thousand parts of salt per million parts of water. People taste salt when it gets a bit more high density than what is in their bodies, but chlorine generators these days, with advances in the technology can take as little as about 2500 parts per million to generate chlorine, not the 35 thousand that the ocean has. The best ratio is going to be below 3000 parts per million. Some chlorine generators can require as much as 6000 PPM in the pool water. Those you should probably steer clear of. Swimming in brine isn't necessarily going to be more refreshing.

Chlorine generators make chlorine for your Vancouver salt water pool so that you don't have to go and get it. While the salt water's great feeling on your skin is one big advantage, so is not having to play around with chemicals on a regular basis. Your chlorine generator makes the chlorine for you, and prevents algae or other bacteria from growing in the pool water.

The chlorine generator has a cell which is made of of metals. Keeping that cell completely free of mineral deposits is the only real maintenance you need to do, so that it will keep on making the chlorine for your pool. That beats having to add chlorine on a regular basis and play with the chemicals, as well as find some place to safely store them.

The only real hitch is that you must still keep a proper PH balance, even in your salt water pool. As long as you do so however, your chlorine generator will do the rest of the job for you. The salt water will help you to feel better and more refreshed after your swim.

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If you're looking for a Vancouver pool and spa repair service, then give us a call today at (604) 589-4281 or complete our request estimate form.

Swimming Pool Cleaning and Pool Filters

Swimming pools must be kept clean and hygienic by using a pool vacuum which has the capacity to clean large tiled areas. They should be covered while they are not being used. With a pool cover in use extra dirt and leaves don't fall in, and the pool stays cleaner for longer.

The next requirement is that swimming pools need to have proper circulation and filtration system in place to replace the stale water with fresh water. The pool pump helps in the circulation of the water.

Swimming pool vacuums are also needed to clean out dirt that enters the pool. These are available in manual and automatic models. Manual vacuums are much cheaper than automatic ones.

Your pool vacuum should be used to clean the bottom and sides of the pool. Some pool cleaners do an excellent job in general in cleaning your pool, however many of these devices will not pick up fine dust or sand that sinks to the bottom. However, a pool vacuum has to be used no matter what the location may be.

The pool filter pump (or more than one for large pools) will need to be serviced regularly.

Here is a tip for you. A pool suction hose can be turned into a backwash hose by using a hose clamp. A pool vacuum system consists of a number of parts that fit together to make the system fully functional. The vacuum head is that part of the pool vacuum system that is similar to a vacuum cleaner.

Some pool packages come complete with a maintenance kit that includes a pool vacuum, others do not. If you are buying you will need to carefully establish exactly what is included in the price, before you pay out your money.

As we have said already, filters can't remove silt from the bottom. However, once the swimmers move the water they raise the silt, and it can then be be filtered out and the problem will slowly get better.

Good quality filters will have a pressure gauge to tell you when they've absorbed too much particulate. For instance, the new Hayward 4800 DE filter, has a system that is affected when the pressure rises to 10 PSI more than the pressure when the filter powder was changed. When that happens the water flow is being unduly restricted and it's time to change your powder again.

When pool filling, add a water purifying chemical to the water to get rid of the remaining cloudiness in the pool. Follow the manufacturers recommendations.

Chlorine kills any bacteria that may be in your pool water and that is why it is so important. Shock your pool once a week in the summer. Chlorine is typically prepared in liquid, powder or tablet form (though some professionals use gaseous chlorine), and it can be added to the water anywhere in the cycle. Pool experts generally recommend adding it just after the filtering process, using a chemical feeder.


If you're looking for a Vancouver pool and spa repair service, then give us a call today at (604) 589-4281 or complete our request estimate form.

Clean Your Swimming Pool Before a Big Party

A party would not be complete without a dip in a refreshing, clean pool. Before hosting your next big pool party, it is important to ensure your pool is clean and safe for your guests. Crystal clean water will make your guests feel comfortable about jumping in and having a great time.

Automatic pool cleaners are perfect for maintaining a healthy, clean pool without a bunch of fuss. The automatic cleaners can efficiently and thoroughly clean the bottom of the pool where debris and algae tend to gather. An average cleaning time is around two to four hours. Some designs can clean the walls of the pool which are prone to algae build up as well.

Robotic pool cleaners are great for those who just want to push a button and go. Some of the systems are programmable, meaning a user can program a specific cleaning time without turning on the machine. The machines work just like the automatic systems and can save a pool owner a lot of time and energy. For those who want a little more control, remote controls are available that will allow a user to control the direction of the unit.

The cleaners generally have a filtering system within the unit along with a bag to catch the debris sucked off the pool floor. A self contained filtering system will save your pool's filter from doing any extra work and potentially damaging the system. These systems save money on pool cleaning bills and can be done as often as necessary. Simply put the automatic pool cleaner in the pool and let it do its job. Some systems can be built in and easily turned on with a remote. A clean pool is always a huge hit at any party.


If you're looking for a Vancouver pool and spa repair service, then give us a call today at (604) 589-4281 or complete our request estimate form.

Swimming Pool Opening Details

How to Open or Start a Swimming Pool in the Spring

Starting or opening up a swimming pool is pretty simple. But it does require a bit of work and a couple of extra hands. Honestly, it's best to start a week or two before you want to open it for not only best results, but also to take some of the "last minute" stress away.

No matter whether you have an above ground pool or an inground pool, the basic work is the same or similar. Follow these simple steps with details & tips:

Remove all the leaves, dirt & debris from the winter cover before removing it. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people let all of the winter mess just go right into the pool! Talk about extra work. I've seen really clean "winterized" water become black with the "tea" & debris from the winter cover. Spend a couple of half-hours scooping the excess & accumulated leaves from the top of the cover. Remember, it's not just last fall's leaves; it's the spring pollen, tree "helicopters" & pine needles too.

Remove all winter & ice expansion plugs (Gizzmos). You can't start the pump & filter system if water isn't flowing from pool to filter & back! Be sure to replace the respective directional returns (eyeballs), suction grates (usually used on lower suction fittings), Circulator fittings, etc. If you are using standard, stationary eyeballs, remember to point the flow of water DOWN toward the bottom of the pool to optimize the circulation. For even better circulation, consider replacing standard directional returns with "the Circulator".

Bring the Water Level up to normal operating level. If the water on top of the cover is relatively clean & algae free, use that water to fill the pool. It's free! It may be a little dirty, but that's okay, it will be treated with the rest of the pool. At this time it's a really good idea to add either an algaecide to the water or a natural pool enzyme to start cleaning up the water and prepping it for the initial shock. If you are adding fresh tap water to top the pool off, add a good metal and mineral stain & scale control product to prevent sudden metal stains, especially iron or copper, when the pool is first shocked.

Carefully remove the winter cover. Clean it up, fold it up & store it away. When cleaning, use a good cleaner that is specifically made for cover material. A good chemical cleaning of the winter cover will lengthen the life of the cover by removing the dirt & soil from the fabric (you wouldn't put dirty clothes away in the closet for the next season would you?)

Hook up the filter system. Properly attach the correct hoses or pipes to the proper valves or fittings on the pump and filter. Even I've made this mistake: the right hose goes on the wrong filter fitting & 2 weeks later, the pool is still not clear! Here's the easiest way to remember: basket to basket (skimmer basket to pump basket) and hole to hole (exit - "to pool" - hole on filter valve or tank body to return opening on pool wall). Be sure to properly lubricate all multiport or shut-off valve "O" rings with a good silicone lubricant. Not only will you give the gasket added life, you'll help it seal more easily too. Don't over-tighten clamps on above ground hoses; over-tightening will often "crimp" the hose allowing air leaks. REMEMBER: replace ALL of the drain plugs to the pump, filter tank & heater (if equipped).

When starting the pump for the first time, be sure to "prime" the pump with water. Don't start it dry, not only can harm be done to the pump, extra stress & strain is placed on the entire system. If your pump is below the water level, as on most above ground pools, priming probably isn't necessary because the water is naturally "falling down" to the pump (gravity feed). If the pump & filter system is more than 3 ft above the water level, priming is an absolute must. Keep in mind that the system could take several minutes to "catch" and start.

SPECIAL NOTE: it is VERY normal for LOTS of bubbles to come out of the return fittings when first starting. Even for up to 24 - 36 hours, some bubbles will remain in the plumbing system while it returns to normal operation.

SPECIAL TIP: to make the filter start easier, open the "air bleeder" valve on the top of the filter tank when the filter starts. You will hear a big "whoosh" of air as it is pushed out of the filter. When water gushes out, replace or close that valve. If your filter does not have a manual air bleeder, temporarily remove the pressure gauge for the same results.

Clean & vacuum the pool of all dirt & debris. Get all of the excess stuff out of the pool before adding shock & start up algaecide, especially if the water is relatively clear & clean. The less stuff in the water, the more effective your initial shocking will be.

Clean the liner or tile line with a good quality pool surface cleaner like Off the Wall Surface Cleaner. DO NOT use household cleaners as they can affect the pH and add phosphates to the water which will contribute to algae growth later on. This is where most of the winter's scum has left its mark. Clean it off now while it is still "soft" & easy to remove rather than when it bakes in the sun is more difficult to clean. Prevent this scum line (biofilm) from reforming with regular cleaning or by using AquaFinesse Pool Pucks.

Add your initial doses of shock & algaecide. Now you can add the chemicals! When starting, don't skimp. Do a good "heavy" shocking and proper dosing of algaecide at opening. In the long & short run, you're going to save a lot more money by doing this the right way. Follow the doses below.

Allow the opening or start up chemicals to circulate for 24 - 36 hours before doing any testing or water balancing. Why wait? 2 reasons:

1. Additions of Shock & algaecide will change the water chemistry and water balance. That little bit of time will allow the levels to settle back down for a more accurate reading.

2. The chemicals already in the pool water may be settled toward the bottom. This is especially true of cyanuric acid typically known as pool conditioner or stabilizer. If the water is not allowed to circulate & stir up what's on the bottom, you will end up adding stabilizer that, more than likely, doesn't need any additions. This is a great way to save money. By the way, NEVER add conditioner or stabilizer unless the pool water needs it and only if the test shows a level of 20 ppm or less. Stabilizer or cyanuric acid levels should be no higher than 60 ppm. Higher levels are simply wasteful and provide nothing for the water balance.

Install ladders & deck equipment. Be sure to secure tighten anchor bolts, diving board & slide anchors (if equipped). Check to make sure bolts or hardware are in good condition. Replace worn or corroded nuts & bolts for your safety.

Filter 24 hours before bringing in Opening water sample for Testing & Analysis. Adjust pH, Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness as needed.

Chemically clean the filter with Kleen It or Strip Kwik Filter Cleaner after 2 weeks to remove the filtered winter stuff. Chemically cleaning the filter about every 8 weeks lengthens the life of the filter media and promotes longer filter runs.

NEVER DRAIN your pool. The liner will shrink, voiding the warranty and could cause damage to your pool. In gunite, plaster, or even fiberglass pools removal of the water from the pool could result in the pool structure "floating" and causing serious damage to the structure. Always check with local builder for specific instructions.

Start up chemical doses in chlorine, bromine, ionizer, salt-chlorine pools. Shocking must be thorough in order to break up residual chloramines (combined chlorines) from winterizing. If chloramines are not dealt with now, a lingering chlorine demand (an inability to maintain a solid chlorine or bromine level) problem will develop.

Chlorine shock: un-stabilized Cal-Hypo is the preferred product to use on an initial spring shock. It gets in, oxidizes, then gets out (gasses off). Use at a rate of 3 to 5 lbs per 5,000 gallons for best results. Do NOT use a non-chlorine shock with the initial start up. Liquid chlorine bleach is OK, but is very weak (about 11%) when compared to Cal-Hypo (about 60%).

Initial Algaecide: don't skimp with the algaecide! Always use an algaecide that has at least 30% active ingredients. Be careful using algaecides with copper as an active ingredient; improper use may lead to staining of pool surfaces. Gallon jugs of algaecide typically contain less than 10% active ingredients and are a virtual waste of money. Follow the label directions for an INITIAL dose, typically 1 - 2 quarts per 10,000 gallon.

After adding the initial shock and algaecide, be sure to run the filter for 48 to 72 hours continually. DO NOT backwash the filter during this time. Let the filter and the chemicals do the work.

Final & continuing steps: balance the water (pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness). Using additives such as borates and natural enzyme products will enhance any pool chemical care system you use. Be sure to shock the pool and add algaecide every 2 weeks to rid the pool of swimmer waste cannot be filtered out and to keep algae in check.


If you're looking for a Vancouver pool and spa repair service, then give us a call today at (604) 589-4281 or complete our request estimate form.

Tips to Add Safe Chemicals to a Pool Properly

If you have a pool in your Vancouver home, it is important for you to chemically treat your pool on a regular basis. You need to add chemicals to your pool properly and make sure that the distribution of the chemicals is proper as well. When the chemicals are properly introduced to the water, you will find that they will be more effective and last longer. At this time, this article is going to give you some essential tips to add safe chemicals to a pool properly. So, just take a look at the following tips.

Since it is very important to maintain your Vancouver pool, you should know the right technique for adding chemicals to their pool. In order to make preparation for the routine pool chemical maintenance, it is required for you to have on hand an old bucket that never be used for other purposes, pool test strips, an old measuring cup, and also certain kind of chemicals that you determine on using.

Before you are going to add the chemicals to your pool, it is better for you to change your colorful or good clothing. It is good for you to wear your old white t-shirt because most of pool chemicals are able to stain your clothing by bleaching it. Besides, you also need to make a test on the pool water by using pool test strips in order to know which chemicals you are going to add to your pool.

Moreover, in the process of adding chemicals to a pool, you are required to use bags of powdered shock. If you want to add chlorinate shock treatments properly to your pool, you need make a mix of the powdered shock with a bit of water that is still existed in the old bucket. The mix can reduce the amount of shock which can be blown away by the wind if it is merely poured directly to the pool. You need to open the bags of shock carefully and then you have to empty them deep into the bucket. In order to make an oatmeal consistency mix, you need to add enough pool water.

Furthermore, when you find that your Vancouver swimming pool is dusk and when the sun is not shinning, the best thing that you can do is to add the shock treatment. It is because when the sun is shinning, it would break down the chemicals in the shock so that it will become a less effective sanitizer for the pool. Just stand outside of your pool and then add the chemicals by walking around in the perimeter of your pool in a way to consistently distribute the shock.

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If you're looking for a Vancouver pool and spa repair service, then give us a call today at (604) 589-4281 or complete our request estimate form.