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Miscellaneous Pool Problems

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Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
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How to solve some of the less common pool problems? Miscellaneous Pool Problems: that's where you might find information that has not been categorized more specifically. Some subjects just defy simple categories, so always look under related or overlapping topics. All of the archives pages have a list of related or overlapping topics, near the bottom of the page. You never know - you might actually learn something!  If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Waste Water Disposal?

I used to be able to discharge the backwash line to the street, but no longer.  Any suggestions?  Thank you.

Stan G., 2/18/2016Pool Drain Fountain

Pool water contains chemicals, which is why environmentalists don't want the water discharged, where it can flow in lines leading to water supplies. A Pool Waste Water Disposal Fountain allows you to create a fountain, using excess pool water or backwashes.  Simply attach the fountain to the filter outlet and you create a fountain, that allows the water to soak into the ground.  I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 2/18/2016
 

White Fly Problems?

I have white flys floating on the surface of my aboveground pool.  How can I get rid of them.  Thank you,

Diane, 5/4/2014

White Fly infestation seems to be a spreading problem in Florida and possibly other areas, as well.  I am not sure that you have the worse form.  So far as floating flys are concerned, I suggest adding a dose of a quat algaecide (dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride).  It will act as a wetting agent and make it difficult for the flies to remain on the surface.  Hopefully, they will sink and drown.  You can then vacuum up the remains.  If there are sticky deposits or films present, I suggest that you boost the chlorine to at least 10 PPM, do some scrubbing and add a dose of an enzyme treatment.  Keep adding the enzyme, as directed, until the problem with the deposits or films seems to have disappeared.  I hope that this regimen will help solve the problem.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 5/4/2014
 

Underwater Lighting?

My family recently purchased and moved into a house that has an existing pool. The pool does not have any type of underwater lighting. I have this thing in the back of my mind that water and electricity don't mix! Is there any risk to using the type of light that hangs over the side? Thanks for your information.

Joel, Diane and family, Wayne, NJ, 7/9/2013


You can't just use any type of light, as that could be dangerous. However, there are Underwater Lighting Systems that are
available that are approved for this application, by all of the appropriate consumer products testing groups. These products work on low voltage and must be plugged into a GFI protected electrical outlet. Ordinarily, I would need to know if the pool was above ground or inground - you didn't say - but there are products available for both types. Good luck with the house and the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/10/2013


Locating A Leak?

I went to open our 16'x24'x36" deep above ground pool. There is a large wet spot in the grass on one end of the pool. At the base of the pool wall at the ground, you can see water running out of the bottom of the wall. I have about 26" of water in the pool now. How do you locate where the hole or holes are if you do it yourself? Is there an easy inexpensive way? I am willing to get wet and try to patch the problem but I don't know how to locate the problem area. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Joe, 6/24/2012

There is a product called FIX A LEAK that can be added to the pool and will be carried, by the leaking water, to the site of
Fix A Leak for pools and spas. the leak. It can form a permanent repair on holes as large as 1/8" in diameter. There are, also, products to aid in leak detection. Basically, they are highly colored dense solutions. You shut off the pump and allow the water to become still. A small amount of product is dripped onto the surface, above the suspected source area of the leak. The color solution will sink and the currents will pull it towards the hole. You should be able to see a stream of color entering a point on the liner. That's where the leak should be! Use a vinyl repair kit and hopefully, you'll be back in the swim. The difference between these products is that FIX A LEAK can seal the leak, even if it not apparent where it is located. The dye solution cannot seal leaks. If none of these work, you might have to consider calling in a leak repair specialist. I hope that I have been of assistance. Good luck and enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/24/2012


Cracked Wall?

I have what started out as a hairline crack, in marcite, below the waterline. I used an epoxy based product to seal the crack and everything seemed OK. Now, it seems that the crack has widened very slightly. I am losing about 1/4" of water a day and, from what I have read, that is reasonably normal. Is there something that would be better to seal this crack. I'm afraid it could get bigger. Thanks for the help.

Carl R., San Diego, CA, 3/31/2014

Torque-Lock Concrete Crack Repair System.
It is hard to tell if you are losing water, at this time. If the crack widens, a leak will likely result. If the crack is widening, it is
probably an indication that the area is still under stress, due to settling, erosion, or shifting. As you have discovered repair compounds may solve the problem, but if there is ongoing stress you may need more repair efforts, in the future. As you have discovered repair compounds may solve the problem, but if there is ongoing stress you may need more repair efforts, in the future.   Torque-Lock Concrete Repair Staples will hold the opposite sides together, with 5,000 pounds of torque. Fill the void with epoxy and you have a rock-solid repair. I hope that this information proves helpful. Good luck with the repair.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/1/2014


Pool Keeps Refilling?

We have an inground pool that came with the house we bought last April. It now has tears in both corners of the deep end along with a very large on the side. We drained it down to the beginning of the deep end only to have it back up over the light the next day. Repeated the process again and it has refilled itself again, over the light and past the second step. We can not figure out why this is happening. Any suggestions? Thank you,

Tim P., 1/30/2010


Most likely your pool is equipped with an auto-filler. It is adding water, as the level drops below a present point: probably the lower 1/3 of the skimmer intake level. Such devices are used to protect the pump, from running dry, especially when people are away on vacation. There has to be a valve or means to shut it off. Look in the skimmers for a float switch or near the filter/pump for a valve. I hope that this helps to clear up the mystery.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/30/2010


Chemical Storage Safety?

I had a fire at my house last June due to pool chemicals. The fire department said having the chemicals sitting close together was the cause. I had pH+, pH-, Chlorine and Shock. The labels on these products don't say anything about not being able to store them together. Can you send my any information? Thank you.

Rebecca C., 1/10/2010


It took more than simply storing chemicals near one another, to cause the fire. Think of pool stores with shelves full of
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools. different products! Chlorine is the chemical most likely to cause a fire, especially if the container is not tightly sealed, is exposed to other chemical vapors or contamination, is subjected to wet or damp storage conditions or has been contaminated while product was removed. More information on chemical safety is available on this website. Always store chemicals in a dry location, away from heat and children, close all containers tightly, clean up all spills, never mix chemicals together, never reuse containers and avoid cross contamination. Always read the labels for proper storage and use. There are ways to reduce chemical usage: salt chlorine generators, ozonators, Ultraviolet Sterilizers, Solar-Powered Dual-Ion Mineralizers and ionizers are alternative pool water sanitizers. I hope that everything works out for you and that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/10/2010


Landscaping And Privacy?

We are planting trees by our swimming pool so we can have privacy from our neighbors in the back of us (they are all walk-outs and our always looking down on us). We are considering planting 2 crimson maples on either side of the back fence (about 10 ' away from the swimming pool), as well as 3 ivory silk lilacs between the to crimson maples along to back fence (about 3' - 4' away from the swimming pool). Can you please let us know if this is a good idea, and if  you can suggest other trees that will grow really high. Please keep in mind my husband will not plant anything like cedar hedges. If you can please e-mail me ASAP because this will all happen in the next couple of days. Thank-you!

Sabrina Q., 5/19/2009


I am not at all familiar with the shrubbery that you are referring to. I suggest that you discuss the requirements with an
Remote-Controlled Pool Surface Skimmer experienced landscaper. What I can do is point out some things that you want to avoid. Avoid trees and shrubs that drop prodigious amounts of leaves, as it will only make it difficult to keep the pool clean. Avoid plantings things like, live oak, black olive and anything else that has leaves that can cause staining. Avoid using shallow rooted plants that can cause problems with the underground pipes, patio and decking.  Every area has its best choices and I am just not able to help in the decision making. To deal with leaves, from all sources, in a fun way, that the kids will love, you could go with a Remote-Controlled Pool Surface Skimmer.  It will remove all the floating debris, throughout much of the day, and help improve the pool water circulation, as well.  Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/19/2009


Replacing The Coping?

I have a pool that came with the house. So far as I know the builder is not in business any more. The coping looks like it was a prefabricated aluminum material. I would like to replace this with something more attractive and durable. Would a stone coping be suitable or does it have to be something like what is on the pool. Thanks.

Jeff, M., 4/12/2010


You should be able to use a stone coping, with the right installation technique.  I suggest that you have a contractor come in and take a look at what needs to be done. Then review your options and budget.  Try and plan ahead -- don't wait for the season to start. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/13/2010

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Covering Up?

I'm looking for a pool cover to cover a swim-spa, 8 ft x 24 ft long, to keep out leaves. Can you help?
Cover-Pools pool safety covers.
Barry W., 5/3/2011

 
There are lots of choices. You can purchase a lightweight laminated pool cover and cut it to size. You could have a cover
made to order. You could use a safety cover that will keep the dirt and the kids or dogs out of the pool. There are automatic pool covers, as well. It boils down to a matter of budget and needs. I suggest that you pay a local pool professional a visit, in order to help your decision making process. Good luck and I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/3/2011


Blocked Line?

I believe a toy got sucked into my skimmer, after I failed to replace the basket. Any suggestions.

Keith N., Hauppauge, NY 7/14/2005

You should remove the line from where it attaches to the pump or multiport valve. Use a shop vacuum to blow the line clear out and back into the pool. There is a simple way to avoid toys and objects from getting sucked into the skimmer or locking the weir in place. Skimmer guards are easy to install and solve the problem. I hope the information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/14/2005


Vacuuming A Small Pool?

I have only of those inexpensive pools with a liner suspended from a pole. The vacuum I use is just about useless. It works with a garden hose and only seems to move the dirt around. It will catch a leaf, but not the small stuff. Is there an easy, inexpensive solution? Thank you.

Belinda T, 3/3/2008
Hand-held, battery-powered spa vacuum.

The best vacuums are either have self contained filters or use the pool's filter. In your case, you have neither. That garden hose vacuum uses water flow to suck in debris, but it is not effective and could be a waste of water.  The are hand-held vacuums that are battery-powered, hoseless and fully portable. It is reasonably and affordably priced and is perfect for all types of small pools, kiddie pools and even spas. It will make for a much cleaner pool. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/30/2004


Major Pool Leak?

We have an inground pool with a liner. I'm not sure how old the liner is. The pool was there when we purchased the house 6 yrs ago. The pool did not start leaking until after we started to bring it up this year.  The first time I noticed a leak, the water level had gone down about 6-8 inches over 1-2 days.  The water level is now well below both skimmers, the ladder and the pool "jets?". It is now just at the bottom of the light the ring. The leak seems to have slowed from a fast leak to a slow leak at this point. The leak seamed to slow down after the water level got on the bottom part of the light ring. Our plan is to just let it drain until it stops leaking so that we can determine the leak site, but our pool is 10 ft at the deep end; this could take quite some time. The shallow end of the pool only has about an inch of water left in it and is below the 3rd step. Is there anything else we can do to determine where the leak may be coming from. In case you need to know, the pool has a DE filter and all of the ports are turned to the off position. Help! At this rate it will be next summer before we determine the area leaking. Hopefully, I have supplied the info you need. Thanks.
 
Tammy S., 4/6/2008


If the leak were in an obvious place like the main drain, it would still have quite a bit of water depth and would likely continue to leak rapidly. Most likely the leak is not at the bottom, based on your information. You are correct that the leak will slow, as the water level comes close. Short of calling in a leak specialist, there are some things that you could try. There are leak detecting dyes that could be used to help locate the leak. This a major leak and could be due to a cracked pipe or loose connection. Hopefully, you are getting close to the level of the leak. If you can't locate the leak, you should consider calling in a leak detection professional. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/6/2008


Water Inflow?

We recently moved into a house with an inground pool that is a real mess. The previous owners have not used the pool in years, therefore the pool needs a lot of work.  I am not sure whether the pool is a concrete pool, a gunite pool, or a vinyl lined pool. The pool was constructed in 1988, yet there is an old liner in the pool that needs replacing. The main problem encountered is that when we pumped the pool out, using a pump, the bottom of the deep end of the pool refilled with water. Is this normal, and what should I do? Since I am not in a predicament to hire a professional right now, I appreciate any suggestions? Thanks.

William D., 4/20/2007


My guess is that the pool is gunite and not simply a vinyl liner pool. If there is a vinyl liner, it may have been placed over the gunite shell. If it were a typical vinyl pool, the liner probably would have floated up, as it is likely that the pool is in the water table. The inflow could be the result of a hydro-static pressure relief valve, that is used to prevent gunite pools from popping out of the ground in high water table situations. You should have a company come in and inspect the pool and make a proper determination of the problem. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/20/2007


Return Flow Direction?

Hi, The water that returns to the pool comes out of the returns, but how should the returns be adjusted to obtain the best circulation? Thank you for any reply.

Gary, 4/30/2009

The Circulator for all types of pools.
In most cases the returns are usually set to direct the water straight ahead, so as to create a good surface flow towards the
skimmers. This helps remove floating surface debris. This is how you should start. However, depending upon the pool shape or lack of a main drain, it is sometimes necessary to redirect some flow towards areas that need better circulation. Want better circulation? Install "The Circulators." They are inexpensive, easy to install and will dramatically boost circulation. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/30/2009


Call For Help?

Alan. Please help me ! I recently took over a facility that has two pools. Both pools are problems but the larger one is a disaster. I have two questions:

1. The larger pool is shaped like the top of a grand piano. The bottom is shaped like a pond. There are no stairs or even square edges. The previous owner has spent a fortune on mason work to stop leaking but to no avail. I don't want to throw away money every year. FYI....The bottom is also scratchy on the feet and we spend a few thousand dollars every year to acid wash and paint the pool. It has leaked for 15 years. Is a pool liner my best option ? If not what are my other options?
2. The same pool has a heating system that does not work. I must have heat by the end of June. What are my options and what is my best option? Remember the pool is quite large so the correct heater is very important.
Please help me. Regards.

R. B., 3/18/2010
Fix A Leal Seals pool and spa leaks

You probably can have a liner made for the pool. A local dealer should be able to assess the possibilities. While it is possible
that the pool is leaking through the walls, it is also possible that the leak is in the plumbing or fittings. There is a product called FIX A LEAK that can seal leaks as large as 1/8 inch. It is worth looking into. The important thing is to determine where is leak is located. Inside or outside of the pool walls! If your efforts fail, you might to have consider calling in a leak detection specialist.  So far as your heater is concerned, it may be serviceable. You need to call in a heater repair service. Heaters can be matched to the size of the pool. Good luck. It sounds like you'll need it.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/18/2010


Installing An Above-Ground Main Drain?

The person who installed our above ground 24' pool talked us into a main drain. However, he messed around so long in getting our pool up that the weather became cold. Thus, he didn't want to finish the main drain until the spring when we reopened the pool. He is no longer available to finish this! My husband would like to have instructions on finishing this job himself. Apparently, the installer did everything but actually make the hole in the bottom of the pool and install the "Frisbee-looking" piece. Can you help, please?

N.N., 4/28/2010

The Circulator boosts pool circulaion.
The delicate part of the installation is the cutting of the opening in the bottom. Make it too big and you could ruin the liner. I
suggest that you contact, a local installer that is experienced, in such installations. If you find someone to finish the job, make sure that you get proper instructions on how the pool should be winterized. If you live in the "frost belt," the drain and pipes must be protected against freezing. Improving the water circulation across the pool floor is important in maintaining pool water quality and avoiding algae problems.  In my opinion, I would not suggest the addition of a main drain, in an above pool, located in the frost-belt.  Too many opportunities for unwanted problems.  You can get dramatically better circulation, by adding a Circulator to each return.  It forms a spiraling return flow and takes reaches the pool floor.  Better circulation can help with many routine problems.  Good luck and enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/29/2010


Calculating The Pool Volume?

I have been searching the web for a formula to calculate the volume of my pool, but I can't locate the information. Please help.

Roma W., Amhersturg, Ontario, Canada, 8/31/2009


Close, but no prize. The information is on the website, but not on that page. If you visited the Pool Problems Page, you would have seen Calculating Pool Volume listed as a subject. This is what you're looking for. Glad you found the right website for pool and spa information.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/31/2009


Pool Layout?

Hello Alan, I just had a pool installed and would like to know just where the skimmers and return's should be in relation to each other. My pool is a 19X35 sort of "B" shaped vinyl. What the contractor did was install the skimmers (2) on the straight side and placed the returns about a foot away from them with directional nozzles is this proper or should the returns be opposite the skimmers? Also, at 17500 gallons what size should the pump be? I have looked on line and cannot find any site that will show a skimmer and return layout. Thanks for any info. you can provide.

Russell, 11/21/2011


It would presumptive of me to further the notion that there is something wrong with the layout. In a typical rectangular pool, y
ou would expect the skimmers and returns to be opposite one another, on the short ends. However, this is not a typical pool. If you were to place the reThe Circulator improves pool water circulation.turns on the side opposite the skimmers, you would create a dead zone at each of the curved ends. Sending the water towards the curved ends will help sweep the water towards the middle and the skimmers. I am not a pool builder, but I believe that the placement was well thought out. Pump size is determined by pool size, filter type and pipe size. Bigger is not necessarily better. I would think that a 1-1/2 HP pump would serve nicely. To be certain bring in the specific details to a local pool professional. Being considered about the water flow and circulation, you might give thought to a robotic pool cleaner. It will cover the entire bottom and bring the additional benefits of a built-in micro-filter and improved water circulation. Adding The Circulator, to each return fitting, will dramatically boost circulation by creating a spiraling return flow. It can reduce the length of the filter cycle. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the pool!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/22/2011


Less Than Ideal Skimmer Placement?

I have purchased and begun the installation of an above ground pool. The size is 12 x 24 x 52". Here is my question. After deciding where to put the pool in our back yard, I have run into a problem. The deck addition we would like to build won't allow us to place the skimmer in the location the instructions call for. Imagine an oval with the flat side facing you. The left bottom quadrant has the deck wrapping around from the center of the end radius to the start of the right radius. The electrical would be supplied via conduit under this deck, leaving the most convenient locations on either end of the deck. Will this work well? Hope to hear from you soon as I have already started installation.

Tony, 5/3/2004

Remote-Controlled pool surface skimmer.
Ideally, you want the skimmer and returns opposite each other, 24' apart. If that can't be done, separate them as much as
possible. To improve the water circulation, you could angle the return, so as to help avoid a dead zone. Adding a robotic pool cleaner will not only save work and keep the pool clean, it will improve the circulation and help avoid dead spots. Areas of poor water circulation will be the first to develop algae problems, if favorable growth conditions are present.  Adding a Floating Pool Skimmer, which attaches to any suction line, can skim the debris, before it settles to the pool floor.  Another option is The Circulator.  It boosts circulation, by as much as 150% and is easily installed, in each return jet location. Enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/3/2004


Frogs?

PLEASE HELP! We have an inground pool that is about 400 ft. from a pond. We pulled out over 60 frogs yesterday morning and another 45 today. We've had only a few here and there since the pool opened in Aug. Someone suggested Moth balls along the perimeter where we have an open slat fence. We have done that this evening but in the event it doesn't work I'm looking for some suggestions. We are located in northern FL and the daily temp is still in the 80's with the pool temp averaging between 70 and 75 degrees. I hope you have an easy and quick solution as I am already anxious about how many will be in the pool tomorrow. Thank you for your time.

AnnMarie C., Florida, 10/20/2006


I know that there is information on this subject, present on the website. but was for a spa and not a pool. However, the
intent is the same. The use of mothballs around the perimeter is worth trying, so long as there are no children or pets to get involved with the product. I have been recommending this for years and it was mentioned in a trade magazine article about this website. Put it in the landscaping beds and elsewhere that is out of reach. If the frogs are like the ones in South Florida, you do not want them around pets, as they can be covered with a poisonous mucous. If you add an escape ramp, that will give the frogs and pets a way out of the pool.  Save The Frogs!  Please let me know how it turns out and good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/20/2006


Quacking Problems?

I am having problems with ducks swimming in my inground pool. They are only in the water when people are not close by. The problem is all the waste left behind. Does anyone know of a reasonable solution? Thank you.

Pat C., 3/29/2008

There are actually companies that specialize in such problems with pigeons, ducks and other birds. Before you resort to that, try placing a life-like owl or large bird of prey around the pool. Even better is a floating alligator head. Because birds see it moving on the currents, it comes across as being alive. Move it from place to place and see what happens. Good luck. If it works, please let me know.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/31/2008


Party Bubbles?

I was wondering if you could tell me if it is safe to put a small amount of non-toxic bubble bath in a pool. I want to do it for a party I am having, but it's in a friends pool, so I need to make sure it won't hurt the filter or anything. Also how long will it take for the bubbles to dissipate? Thank you so much for your help!

Rebecca in Florida, 4/18/2005


DO NOT DO IT!  This will be tantamount to self-inflicted vandalism. The chemicals in typical bubble bath products are incompatible with the most common swimming pool algaecides. Find another way to liven up the party. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/18/2005


Draining An Above Ground Pool?

Hello!  I would like to know if it is safe to drain an above ground pool by poking small holes in an already damaged liner, so the water slowly seeps out into the ground underneath the pool?  My husband has done this a few days ago and I just want to make sure the ground does not become wet enough to cause a sinkhole. We live in Florida. Thank you!

Florida, 2/18/2010


You've asked a question that I cannot possibly answer. Sink holes are a problem in Florida and from what I have read in the newspapers, they can appear almost anywhere. The best option would have been to drain the water away from the pool and towards a street, dry well or rainfall drainage area. Can you end up with a problem? Probably not, but who can say for sure. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/18/2010


Cutting Down On Evaporation?

We have just installed walk in step in our above ground pool and has a sand bag to keep it on the bottom and is screwed to the deck. My problem is our solar blanket. The steps can not be removed because of the weight and the solar blanket only comes up to the ladder. I have a round pool. My question is. Can I cut the solar blanket so it can fit around the hand rails? Or is it just best to fold the solar blanket back? This will lead to a lot of evaporation at night being exposed that much cause the handrails are screwed in place and can't be removed. Thanking you in advance for you help.

Maggie V., 5/19/2005


A solar blanket works by reducing evaporation, which is the major loss of heat. Do whatever is best to reduce the
evaporation, which sounds like you will have to cut some of the blanket to better accommodate the steps. Have you ever considered solar heat? With a blanket it is even better. The Sunheater line includes products that are affordable, can be easily installed by the pool owner and can be sized for any type of pool. I hope that this information helps warm things up.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/29/2005


Evaporation Loss?

How much water might a pool lose due to evaporation? Can you tell if it is due to a evaporation or a leak? Thank you.

Jim N., Bloomfield Hills, MI, 6/28/2008


Put a piece of tape or mark, at the water line, to use as the starting point. Measure the water loss, daily. How much water a pool will lose, due to evaporation, will depend upon several factors: water temperature, air temperature, wind speed over the
Fix A Leak leak sealer for pools and spas. water surface, relative humidity, agitation, splash out, backwashing of the filter, exposure to the Sun, duration of sunlight, etc. These variables will cause changes in the evaporation losses to vary throughout the season, even at the same location. The use of a pool safety cover or solar blanket will reduce evaporation and water loss. So how much is reasonable? A loss of 1/4" per day, more or less, depending upon the actual or seasonal conditions is a reasonable starting point. Less in Bangor, Maine and more in Tucson, Arizona! It is not unexpected to have to add a couple of inches of water per week, in the absence of rainfall. A couple of inches per day is another matter. A loss of inches per day could involve a leak. Fix A Leak has been successfully used to seal many small pool leaks, up to 1/8" in diameter, and might be a sensible first step. There are products available that can help detect and locate leaks, with the use of a dye solution. In addition, there are leak detection specialists. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/28/2008


How Long Can A Pool Last?

I have a vinyl liner, inground pool and the walls are made of a polymer plastic. A friend of mine insists that such pools only last about 10 years. I can't believe that is correct. Settle the argument!

Dean T., College Station, TX, 6/4/2011


Your friend is probably wrong! How long a vinyl inground pool will last can depend on the materials of construction, method of construction and the location of the pool. Ten years would be unacceptably short. Try doubling that and more. Even the liner, depending upon the gauge and the pool usage, should last for more than ten years. I hope that I've resolved the differences.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/4/2011


How Big A Pump?

My inground pool has a 3/4 HP pump. We are not the original owners, so I don't know anything about the choice of the pump. The pool is maintained by a service company. They say that the pump is too small for my pool and insist it is the reason I have had a few cases of mustard algae. Are they just trying to sell me a bigger pump? Please help, if you can.

W. M., N. Palm Beach, FL, 8/1/2006

The Circulator boosts pool circulaion.
Without knowing how big your pool is, I can't really answer the question. Good circulation is important, in order to maintain
proper sanitation and without good circulation the possibility of problems, such as mustard algae, increases. If your pump is moving enough water to turn the pool over in about 4 hours, it would seem to be big enough. If your pump is taking too long to turn the water over, it could be considered to be too small. You want a strong return flow. Is it? Refer to the archives, on mustard algae, for additional information.  The Circulator is an easy, effective way to dramatically improve circulation, by creating a spiral return flow. I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/1/2006


Bugged Out?

Our above ground pool has become infested with insects swimming on the surface, this summer. We have had the problem before, but not to this extent - until about a month ago. Is there something we can do to kill them off? Going buggy. Please get back to us. Thank you.

Brenda R., Altoona, PA, 8/3/2004


What you are describing is probably the larval state of some insect. It will likely mature and fly off. We hope? Adding an insecticide, to the pool water, is NOT something to consider! I suggest that you try the following: add an initial dose of a "Quat" Algaecide (usually dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride). This will not kill the larvae, but it will make it difficult for insects to remain on the surface and, hopefully, they will drown. This has worked in the past. In addition, you might call the entomology department at a local college, perhaps they can offer some more definitive suggestions. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/4/2004


Paint Poured Into A Pool?

Someone poured gray latex paint into a plastered swimming pool. Water is gray cloudy. Other than draining any other choices of action to clear it? Thanks.

Skip D., A Pool Company, 1/8/2008


There might be hope, if the water was a water based latex. Keep the filter running and try adding a clarifier. The clarifier might help coagulate the very fine pigments. Keep an eye on the pressure and backwash or clean, as needed. Vacuum the pool to waste. You may be doing this without seeing the bottom, but give it a try. Add another dose of clarifier, the following day. If there is progress, continue. If not, I suggest using a flock treatment and vacuuming to waste. If this fails, you might have to drain and clean the pool. Let me know how this turns out! If the pool was an oil based latex, you will probably have to drain and clean. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/8/2008


Green Headed Monsters?

We are being attacked by green horse flies. They are not in the water, but go after swimmers' wet bodies. They bite! Is there something that you can suggest? Looking forward to some relief. Thanks.

Leslie E., Bellport, NY, 7/14/2010


I know just what you're talking about. I never had the problem in my pool, but the boat was another story. It was docked in E. Patchogue, NY and, at certain times of the year, we would get swarmed, as we took the boat out. And they would draw blood! The only good thing was that they were slow moving and could be swatted. Obviously, you can try some insect repellent on the swimmers. Don't overdo or you might end up with residues in the pool. A bug zapper might help. About 15 years ago, there was an article published in Newsday (Long Island, NY newspaper) about the "green headed" monster." It discussed controlling them with traps that were cubes (1-2 foot on each side) and were open at one end. I only remember the article because of the boating experience. Placed open end down on a stand, they somehow acted as a trap. I suggest that you contact the entomology department at SUNY Farmingdale or Newsday. Perhaps, someone there can recall the article or offer some suggestions. Good luck and keep swatting. I hope the advice helps.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/14/2010


Pool Skimmer Sock?

Alan, I heard of a pool sock to minimize dog hair from getting to the filter.  Any idea what this is or any suggestions?

Everett, 4/19/2005


There are "socks" that are used in the skimmer baskets. They act as a pre-filter and can help remove dog hair. People hair too! It can save on filter cleaning and backwashing. Local pool dealers should carry this type of item. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/19/2004


Extending The Season?

Hi- we are contemplating a move to a house without a pool. We live in So Cal and would like to put in a pool that will have a longer season of use. We have had pools with exposed aggregate and typical gunite. Are black bottom pools really warmer than traditional blue ones? Also, we are on well water and are concerned about deposits/spots on the black plaster.

Lori D., Reche Canyon, CA, 3/30/2010


In theory, a black bottom can help keep the water warmer. On the practical side, it may be difficult to quantify the
METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese. difference, given all the variables, such as Sun exposure, air temperature, wind speed and direction, shading and humidity and evaporation rates. Buy it because you like it and not because it may save money. It may make a slight difference, but it won't extend the season. To do that you need a heater and or a solar cover. Solar heating requires no fuel and is affordable. Well water can cause staining. Make sure that you have the source water tested for metals before you start filling. If you use a METALTRAP Filter, attached to the garden hose, you can keep the metals out of the pool and that is the best solution. If present, you should add a dose of a Liquid METALTRAP for each 1.0 PPM of metals, per 10,000 gallons of water. Add more monthly and whenever new water is added or use the METALTRAP Filter. Most metals cause dark stains and might show up less on a black bottom. However, the best course of action is treatment and prevention. Good luck with your decision.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/30/2010


Clogged Line?

I have a small problem that I can't seem to fix. I believe I have a clogged line in my pool system. I was vacuuming through the skimmer and I had the bottom drain turned off. I had one of the skimmers blocked off so I should have more sucking power to vacuum. Now my pump will not draw water into my basket to filter, if I have water coming solely through the skimmer. It will however draw water through the drain in the bottom of the pool. I believe the blockage is somewhere after the two skimmer pipes connect into one, because neither one will draw water. How do I clear this blockage? Thanks.
 
Scott, 3/27/2005


Your assessment seems right on the mark. Most likely a twig got stuck and then leaves and debris piled up. I think that you need to disconnect the skimmer lines from the pump. Close off the valve for the main drain. Use a shop vacuum and blow out the lines. This is something normally done for winterizing in the frost belt. This should blow out the blockage. Just don't use a powerful air compressor, as you might damage the pipes. Good luck and I hope the suggestion works.

Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 3/28/2005


White Stuff?

Recently, I took a water sample to my pool dealer and it tested fine. I ask them what the white powder forming on the deck when water splashed and on the solar cover could be. They did not know. I have an above ground 15X30 pool with a solar panel and solar cover. This is the second year for our pool and this is the second year with this problem. Thanks for your help.

Bashful, 6/3/2006


When water evaporates, it leaves behind and dissolved salts. That is what you're seeing. A bit of everything, that was ever added to the pool, along with any natural salts present in the water. This is normal. How much of a deposit you see, depends on the concentrations in your particular pool. I hope that this will solve the mystery.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2006


A Tree Near A Pool?

We are going to put in an inground vinyl lined pool and where we have it located is about 9' from a balled Cyprus tree that is about 12' - 13' tall. Will this be a problem in the future with roots?

Jane, 9/2/2007


I am not sure about this particular type of tree. In general, trees near pool are potential problems, especially if they are shallow rooted. There is a real risk of a problem, down the road.  In addition to the roots, the debris has to be considered. I would remove the tree, before it becomes a problem. I hope this information proves useful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/3/2007


Pool Base?

I have received a "splasher" model pool as a gift. The instructions on preparing the ground are less detailed than I would like. I understand getting the ground level but, how deep should the bed of sand be under the pool? I would like to build an enclosure of timber or brick 4-6 inches tall on the ground and fill with sand for a base. Would that be OK? What other options are there? This will be a "permanent' set up. Any info will be appreciated.

Jim R., 4/24/2013


The purpose of the providing a suitable base is to allow for adequate drainage and to prevent objects, in the ground, from poking through the bottom. What you are doing sounds quite professional and should work out very well. Have fun!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/24/2013


Proper Pool Base?

We just bought a 24' above ground pool. What type of sand do you suggest we use as a base? Some people say mason sand. Also do you recommend purchasing one of those pool base pads or pool liner carpets? I have been looking at some different pads, just not sure if it is worth spending the money on that or not.

Erica W., 5/21/2007


You need to use a fine grade of sand that is free of objects that can damage the liner. You can buy pool base or vermiculite, if unsure. A pool pad will help to further protect the liner and is less apt to slow footprints on the pool floor. Good luck and enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/21/2007


Bathing Suit Care?

Your site is very comprehensive, yet I did not see any information regarding chlorine and bating suits. What is the best way to rinse bathing suits after using a pool or spa? Is cold water enough, or should you also use some type of detergent? My husband and I debate this issue. Thanks for your help.

Tamara W., 3/17/2006


Water cannot hurt the bathing suit and will help remove traces of chlorine. So far as detergents are concerned, they can be used to remove body oils and other residues, in accordance with fabric care label. We don't want the bathing suit becoming invisible. Just kidding! If there is no fabric care label, an occasional washing with a mild detergent is probably OK. I hope the advice helps.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/17/2006


Hydrotherapy Jets?

We have an inground pool with steps. On the sides of the steps, are two jets: one on each side.. These jets make bubbles into the water on the steps. There's a PVC tube above the water from the top of the jet. The bubbles come from the opening of the jet, underwater. These jets screw into the regular size return opening. Do you know of anything about this feature?

Ty, 8/31/2007


They are hydrotherapy jets, designed to create an aerated return flow. They are meant to be used while seated. Try it - you might like it!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/31/2007

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