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How should I winterize my pool using my automatic cover as a winter cover?

SPS does not recommend using an automatic cover as a winter cover. Even though some pool covers can support large amounts of weight, the heaviness of snow can cause permanent damage. The life of the cover fabric and the reliability of the system will also be diminished as will the cover’s manufacturers warranties.

If you must use the automatic cover as a winter cover, drain the pool below the returns. Leave the automatic cover open and winterize the pool, then refill water to 1 inch below the skimmer and close the cover.

What should I do if my auto cover won’t open/close?

If your automatic pool cover will not open or close, remove the water from the cover with a pump. If the cover still will not operate once the water is removed, contact SPS and we can help provide you with a solution.

How long should I hold the key to open the cover?

The key or switch should be held until just before the cover is completely open or closed (about 1” from either end), then stop and let the cover coast to a stop. Proceed to “jog” the cover to the open or closed position by making small adjustments in either direction.

How long should I circulate (run circulation pump) my pool?

The length of time one needs to run the circulation pump depends one a few different factors unique to every pool. Circulation time depends on how the circulation system was designed and what the pool’s re-circulation rate is. The following are good rules of thumb for conventional, single speed pool pumps:

  • Outdoor Pool – minimum 10-12 hours per day
  • Indoor Pool – minimum 8 hours per day

If you have a variable speed pump, it is typically best to circulate the pool 24 hours per day at the lowest speed that allows skimmers to work and also achieve proper turnover of the water.

How often should I change the sand in my filter?

Sand should be changed every 3-5 years depending on usage and the sanitizing system used in the pool. Over the course of its lifetime, the filter media wears down and loses its sharp edges becoming worn and rounded. This lets contaminants and other debris particles slip through the filter and into your pool. You will know it is time to change out your filter sand when it requires frequent backwashings or increased filter runs to clean your pool. If your skimmer’s suction is not as strong as before or debris is being pushed back into your pool, these may also be signs your filter needs changing.

How do I backwash my sand pool filter and how often should I do this?

Backwashing should only be done when the pressure gauge registers an 8-10 PSI increase. This occurs because contaminants in the sand filter start to clog the sand, diminishing the water flow. To begin the backwashing process, first turn the pump off. Push down and rotate the multiport valve coming off the filter to backwash and roll out the hose or open waste valve if needed. Turn the pump on and watch the discharge water from the pump – it will start clean then get dirty, then turn clear again (usually 3-5 minutes). Once the discharge water runs clear, turn the pump off. Turn the multiport valve to rinse and turn pump on for 30 seconds. Turn the pump off, turn multiport valve to filter and turn the pump on and bleed air out of top of filter if necessary.

What is the proper filter pressure?

Proper filter pressure is determined by cleaning the filter, and can be different on every pool. It is recommended to check the pressure gauge on the filter once a week to track any changes. If the pressure reading is too low, something may be blocking the water intake into the filter. If the pressure reading is too high, your filter may be dirty and require cleaning. If you are unsure about the pressure reading on your filter, contact SPS and we will help you thorough the process.

How do I clean a pump basket and what valves need to be turned off?

It is important to regularly clean your pool’s pump basket to avoid clogging and prolong the life of the seals in your pump. To clean the pump basket, turn the pump off and close valve directly in front of pump and valve directly after it. If your pool has a heater, turn it off as well. If the heater has been running, wait five to ten minutes for it to cool down before continuing the cleaning process. Second, remove the lid & pump basket. Thoroughly the basket using garden hose. It is sometimes easier to clean out the contents of the basket if they have dried out completely. Also take this time to check for wear and tear on your pump basket. If there are cracks or the basket seems brittle, you may need to replace it. Once the basket has been cleaned and inspected, re-install it. Finally, open all the valves and turn pump back on, as well as the heater if applicable. Make sure the pump pressure rises to normal operating pressure within 1 minute. If you experience any problems during the cleaning process, contact SPS and we can help you find a solution.

How often should I replace my pool cartridge filters?

Like many aspects of pool maintenance, the lifespan of a pool cartridge filter depends on a few variables unique to each pool setup. Pool size, environment and usage amount can cause the time between filter changes to vary but cartridge filters typically last between 3-5 years before needing to be replaced.

There are a few signs to look for that indicate it may be time to change your pool cartridge filter. High pressure in your filter (8 psi or higher) or reduced water flow may mean your filter has become too dirty or clogged and need replacing. Additionally, if the filter becomes damaged by tearing or collapse it will absolutely need to be replaced.

How often should I chemically clean my pool cartridge filters?

The amount you need to chemically clean your pool cartridge filter depends on its wear, usage, and environment. Typically, hwoever, only one chemical cleaning is needed per pool season. Chemical cleaning is the most effective when the filter is soaked in the cleaning agent and allowed to dry before being used (this is when it is helpful to have a second set of filters and rotate them). SPS can clean your filter for you if you do not want to do it yourself.

How often should I hose off my pool cartridge filters?

While chemically cleaning a cartridge filter should be done annually, hosing off a filter should be part of a regular pool maintenance routine. You should hose off your pool’s cartridge filter when the pressure on the filter rises between 8-10 PSI above the clean pressure. To ensure longer cartridge life, do not use a pressure washer on cartridges and use a regular garden hose instead.

How often should I add Stain and Scale to my pool?

Staining and scaling caused by calcium build-up is both unattractive and hard to clean. In order to keep your pool looking its best, we recommend adding it once per month unless advised otherwise. This will prevent deposits from building up as water evaporates as well as prevent any staining that might occur during your pool’s lifetime.

When can I use my pool after I add chemicals?

After shocking with chlorine, you should wait overnight or until chlorine levels have dropped below 5 ppm. Shocking a pool is important because it will help eliminate contaminants bacteria that lower pH solutions cannot treat. With other, lower pH products you should wait 15-30 minutes or per product label instructions. Reminder: the pool should not be covered until chlorine level reaches 5 ppm or below.

How and when do I add chemicals to my pool?

Before adding chemicals to your pool, purchase a home test kit to help you determine whether or not you need to do so in the first place. You can also follow the general maintenance instructions for your pool or base your decision on the results of in-store water test. You can also contact SPS and we can help you determine whether or not you need to add chemicals to your pool. Most chemicals are added directly to the water and it is important to brush or agitate the un-dissolved product in the pool until all the added chemicals are dissolved in the water.

What should I do if my pool liner is floating?

DO NOT drain any water from the pool. Call us immediately and we will help you restore your pool liner to its original condition and form!

Pool liners can begin to float if water seeps behind the liner due to shifting foundation, heavy rain or other acts of nature. Often the cause of floating liners has nothing to do with faulty installation and can be easily remedied by a professional. The most important thing to remember is not to panic and to seek professional help to make sure your liner is restored safely and correctly.

What can cause wrinkles in my liner?

A variety of factors can cause your pool liner to develop wrinkles. High temperatures can cause the vinyl to expand and develop wrinkles. Ground water can also seep in under the liner. This can eventually lead to liner floating which needs to be treated professionally.

Low pH can also cause wrinkles to form in your pool liner. If liquid chlorine is added and not properly mixed or if your pool’s chlorine levels are over 100 ppm for an extended period of time your liner may also start to wrinkle. Wrinkling can be treated by professionals. If your pool liner has concerning wrinkles, contact SPS to discuss solutions.

Can an automatic cleaner run with the automatic or solar cover on the pool?

Yes. All types of automatic pool cleaners can run with a cover on, although the cover may affect the performance of some cleaners.

How often does my automatic pool cleaner have to run?

Automatic cleaners should be used once a week or as needed to remove dirt. This will help clean up debris in the pool that was not removed by the pool filter.

In-floor cleaning systems should be run anytime the pool is circulating to gain maximum sanitizer and energy savings (at least 5 hours per day).

When should the cover be off my pool?

Your pool cover should be removed whenever you are oxidizing so that chemicals can gas off the surface of your pool without damaging the cover. Keep the cover off for 8 hours to ensure the chemicals have finished their gas off process.

If you are not cleaning your pool with chemical and it is not in use it is recommended to keep the cover on your pool to protect it from debris. If you are using a solar cover this will also help trap heat in your pool.

How do I deal with a fecal/animal incident in my pool?

There are two different responses to dealing with fecal matter in your pool depending on whether the material is a solid mass or liquid. Both responses involve shocking the pool with respect to the waste. If the material is formed, add chlorine to the pool to achieve 2ppm free chlorine level for 25-30 minutes. If the waste is liquid, raise the free chlorine level to 20 ppm for 12.5-13 hours. After either duration shocking be sure to clean and backwash the filter.

What is the greasy/oil residue floating in my skimmer?

The greasy or oily residue, sometimes called “pool goo,” can be caused by chemical binders from chemicals and also from suntan lotion and body oils from bathers. Enzyme products such as Natural Chemistry or Scum Balls will help cut down on the amount of residue in your pool. Another useful product is Off the Wall pool cleaner, which can also be used to address scaling and staining.

My stainless steel railings are stained, what can I use to remove said stains?

Before attempting to clean the railings or ladders in your pool, first remove them if possible. Once the railing or ladder is removed from the pool, allow it to dry completely and then apply any stainless steal cleaning product to it. We recommend Brasso, Flitz or Bar Keeper’s Friend, but any household stainless steel cleaner will work. For added protection, add some car wax to the surface. Allow the wax to dry, then buff the residual wax. This will extend the amount of time needed between cleanings. Once the ladder or railing is clean, reattach it for use.

What is included with my new pool (plan zero) open/closing?

Everything except cleaning, filter cleaning, and draining the pool is included with the new pool (plan zero) opening or closing.

How often should I bring in a water sample?

Testing the water in your pool is an easy and essential part of pool ownership. Regularly testing your pool’s water allows you to obtain accurate readings of your water’s chemistry and help you determine how much chemical to add to your pool. We recommend sampling your pool a minimum of once every two weeks, although more frequent testings will ensure your pool is healthy all year.

When taking a water sample, draw water from about 12-18 inches below the surface. Make sure your pool system has been circulating for at least an hour. Additionally, if it has rained, wait one day with the water circulating before taking a reading to ensure accuracy. Water tests should be completed before adding any chemicals. If you have recently added chemicals to your pool, wait 24 hours before taking a reading.

When should I open/close my pool?

We recommend opening early and closing late to make opening clean up easy. Opening in mid to late April can help prevent algae and pollen build up in non-circulating water. Closing early to mid-October also helps prevent any late-season build-up in your pool caused by standing water. While these time frames are typically the best, each year can be a little different depending on how long the winter or summer seasons last.

What is the highest temperature my pool can be set at?

A vinyl pool should not exceed 88 degrees Fahrenheit or the liner can start to expand. All other types of pools can run as warm as you’d like, although the cost to treat the water and evaporation increases as the temperature goes up. Please consult your physician before operating any pool over 104 degrees.

How do I identify if I have a leak?

An uncovered pool can lose up to ½” of water per day if weather conditions are conducive to evaporating water. Covering the pool should greatly reduce or eliminate evaporation, depending on how well the cover seals. If you are losing more than ½” per day, you probably have a leak and we can begin to try finding where it is.

You must first determine if the pool is losing water due to evaporation and how much. You can perform a bucket test to account for evaporation. Set a plastic bucket next to the pool or on the pool stairs and fill it with pool water (bucket should be close to full). Mark the water level in the bucket and in the pool and check it after 24 hours. The water loss should be similar in both the bucket and the pool, as long as the conditions (wind & sunlight) are similar in both “vessels”. If the pool loses a lot more water than the bucket, then the pool is leaking.

Now we start the process of determining where the pool is losing water. Mark the water level with a piece of tape and measure the loss after 12 hours with the pump off, and after 12 hours with the pump on. Compare the loss with the pump running versus it being off. This will help determine if the leak is in the pool itself or the support plumbing. Need help finding your leak or determining that you have one? Give us a call and we’ll help you through the process.

Where should the pool water level be during normal operation?

The water level in your pool should be at least 2/3 up the skimmer opening on pool side.

How often should I have to fill my pool?

This will vary depending upon several factors including: weather, if the pool is covered or not, bather load, and if it is heated or not.

With pools that are covered, a good rule of thumb is that they should not have to be refilled more often than once every 2 weeks.

How and when do I add chemicals to my spa?

Chemicals are added per home test kit, general maintenance instructions, or based on results of in-store water test. Most chemicals are added directly to the water and it is important to run jets or clean cycle to agitate undissolved product.

How often should I replace my spa cartridge filters?

It depends on wear and usage, but it is a great idea to have a second set of filters. The average life of a well-maintained cartridge is 3-5 years.

How often should I clean my spa cartridge filters?

The filter should be rinsed off every 6-8 weeks. All spa filters should be chemically cleaned at least every 4 months. Cleaning is most effective when the filter is soaked in the cleaning agent and allowed to dry before being used (this is when a second set of filters is helpful). We can clean your filters for you if you do not want to do it yourself.

When should the cover be off my spa?

The cover should be removed whenever chlorine or shock is added so that contaminants can gas off. Keep the cover off for at least 10 minutes, longer if the water isn’t clear.

What is the highest temperature my spa can be set at?

104 degrees F

Where should the spa water level be during normal operation?

At least covering all of the jets except the above the water neck jets.

How often should I have to top off the water in my spa?

This will vary depending upon several factors including: weather, if spa is covered or not, bather load, and how hot it is. Spas that have a conventional cover should not need to have water added more than once a month.

How often should I change the water in my spa?

This will vary with use. We can help you determine how frequently by testing your water in the store. When you do change the water, the filter cartridge should be chemically cleaned and you should clean the interior of the spa.