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Problem-Solving Information, in a question and
Algae Growing On And Under Ladder?
I have 24 ft above ground pool with plastic steps that
connect to our deck. My issue is how do you keep your
pool clean? If you keep disconnecting the steps
from the deck to vacuum then the holes and screws become
unusable throughout the season. What can I do to
keep algae from building under the steps and on them?
Deborah P., 3/21/2018
The root cause of the problem is poor circulation,
caused by the presence of the ladder. The simplest and,
perhaps, only way to reduce the problem is to provide
better circulation. Poor circulation creates conditions,
favoring algae growth, because it forms a
dead zone. Directing more water towards the most
effected areas can help with the problem. The
Pool Circulator is an
easy and dramatically effective way to boost
circulation. It is a replacement return-jet fitting,
that creates a spiraling return flow, which reaches all
areas of the pool. It is on sale now and comes with a
FREE Economizer fitting, that provides even better
control over flow and direction. I hope that the
information provided was helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/21/2018
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., 2/8/2017
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 dry-well might solve the problem, but first
check what your local codes require. I hope that this information is
Sincerely. Alan Schuster,
White Fly Problems?
I have white flies floating on the
surface of my aboveground pool. How can I get rid
of them. Thank you,
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,
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
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.
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 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
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
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/1/2014
► Pool Keeps
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
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
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,
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
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.
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 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
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.
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
I'm looking for a pool cover to cover
a swim-spa, 8 ft x 24 ft long, to keep out leaves. Can you
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/3/2011
I believe a toy got sucked into my
skimmer, after I failed to replace the basket. Any
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/14/2005
► Vacuuming A
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
Belinda T, 3/3/2016
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/30/2016
► Major Pool
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
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?
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
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
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
Pool Circulators." They are inexpensive, easy to install and will
dramatically boost circulation. Enjoy the season.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/30/2009
► Call For
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
It would presumptive of me to further the notion that there
is something wrong with the layout. In a typical rectangular
pool, you 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 returns 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
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
Pool 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
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
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
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/20/2006
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
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!
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/14/2010
Alan, I heard of a pool sock to
minimize dog hair from getting to the filter. Any idea what
this is or any suggestions?
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
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/19/2004
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
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
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
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.
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
Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 3/28/2005
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.
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
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?
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
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
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
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?
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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