Swimming pools and spas are a great place to spend time with friends and family. They can add a lot of value to daily routine and are a place to unwind and relax. After a hard day at work when you are looking forward to getting home and spending time in your pool or spa the worst thing to find is a foul smelling and/or stained pool or spa. Or worse, the embarrassment of this happening at a pool party, when the guests are looking forward to using the pool or spa!
Although stains and foul smelling water can be easily avoided they do tend to come up once in a while. Bad water quality, improper or sporadic chemical maintenance of water, filter output and other factors can contribute to smells and stains caused by various microorganisms. Irregularities in chemical levels of the water or fallen food stuck in the filter can lead to organic growth which smells and can stain the surfaces.
To get a quick understanding on how to avoid the stains and smells in your pool or spa we have a quick guide that will make you aware of the basics of maintenance.
- A very simple and critical precautionary step that can be taken is using a pre-filter. Pre- filters are an inexpensive solution that can reduce the use of excessive chemical sanitizers after your pool or spa is filled by reducing the contaminants WHILE filling. Pre-filters are attached to the pool or spa water inlet or the garden hose and will help to avoid the smell.
- Step one is to have your water tested. Many local pool and spa supply stores will do this for free, but if a testing facility or services are not available or too expensive, home water testing kits are available and can be used. Water testing is a key aspect to defining the problem, and will assist you in determining the best course of action to solve it. Most problems related to foul smelling water or staining is due to water quality.
- Using the water test as a guide, a correct course of action can be determined. Include in your “calculations” the pool or spa’s usage and how long since last maintenance check and service. Depending on this information, your pool or spa may need additional chemicals for balancing or the filter cartridge may need to be cleaned or replaced.
- A great standard maintenance schedule is to clean your pool or spa filter cartridges every three months during high usage periods. This schedule can be extended a bit for periods where usage is reduced. Filter cartridges work best when dried thoroughly after cleaning, so having spares on hand is a good idea. This way, you can install a clean, fully dry filter cartridge immediately and eliminate downtime of your pool or spa, as well as having the filter cartridge perform at optimum capacity.
- Whether it is pre-filters, filter cartridges, or chemical solutions, make sure to schedule your replacements at regular intervals.
Know The Correct Chemicals for your Spa
Balanced spa water is achieved when the chemical readings of your water test are all within the proper ranges. Specifically, spa chemical ranges are pH at 7.4-7.6, Alkalinity at 80-120 ppm, and Calcium Hardness at 150-250 ppm. When all three are in these ranges, your water is considered ‘balanced’.
Spa Chemicals fall into roughly six categories.
1) Clarifiers: These keep the spa water clear and sparkling. Most clarifiers are polymers with the positive charge which attach themselves to negatively charged water particles stopping the formation of larger clumps of dirt.
2) Balancers: Balancers balance the pH levels (acidity/alkalinity) of the water, ie keep them in the recommended levels, pH at 7.4-7.6, Alkalinity at 80-120 ppm, and Calcium Hardness at 150-250 ppm.
3) Cleaners: They do what they say- they There are several different types of cleaners available, so take care that the correct one is being used, and NEVER use household cleaners for your spa!
4) Sanitizers: Arguably the most important chemical for the spa is the sanitizer. It is the most critical chemical and its levels must be consistently maintained. Without sanitizer, there can be rapid growth of bacteria, algae, bio-film and even pathogens. As stated earlier, these are the major causes of foul smells and stains on surfaces. The most common sanitizers used by spa owners are either bromide or chloride, available as tablets, granules or powders which can be used by pouring directly into the spa water or within the filtration system.
5) Shocks: Shocks are large doses (5-10 times the normal dosage) of chlorine, non-chlorine, or hydrogen peroxide that are used to stabilize the sanitizer level. The large dosage will break down stubborn micro contaminants and organic waste. Shocks are the best weapon against foul smells and stain causing growth! Chlorine or non-chlorine (MPS) spa shocks are quick dissolving and fast acting, and will kill anything that your daily sanitizer has missed. A shock is sure to be a failsafe against any foul smells and stains if the daily sanitizer levels are
6) Specialty: Additional chemicals; from shampoos to enzymes, essential oils to metal eliminators and algaecides are covered within this category. A wide range is available in the market and can tailor the spa experience for any need.
This is a basic run through of the steps that can be taken to avoid smells and/or stains in your pool or spa. Identify the solution that suits you best and enjoy fresh, clean water and a joyful time in your pool or spa.