It’s hard to believe, but trust us: Winter is Coming! Your iPhone Weather App currently shows Texas heat in the high 90’s with the heat index in the 100s. The air is humid, wind is little to none and we’re officially halfway through Summer. However, school is about to start which means a few more months of heat but that will soon give way to chilly weather, cloudy skies and changing seasons.
At Matt’s Water Pool Services, we believe it’s imperative that our clients understand the impact of Fall and Winter on their swimming pools. We often see a dichotomy of pool owners investing in our cleaning services during the Summer and then shutting down their service because of changing seasons.
In our eyes, this is a mistake (not just for business) but also for the health of their swimming pools. With each changing season, there are major differences to be aware of when maintaining your swimming pool. Neglecting a season or two for the sake of “saving money” is only going to lead to a higher cost of pool maintenance come Spring & Summer. Here’s why…
Differences in Water Behavior from Summer to Fall
Right now we’re all playing the same game: keep chlorine in the pool, backwash the filter, treat the pool with algaecides and enjoy your backyard while the heat is still here! It’s the good old days of Summer and everyone is outdoors and enjoying cookouts on weekends or sitting pool side for a Saturday morning breakfast. Let’s be honest – most people enjoy their pool the most during the Summer season and treating the water chemistry is pretty straight forward.
Fast forward a few months to Fall and what are the key differences that we see? Well, for starters, the onset of Fall means just that – falling leaves. Did you know that there are over 250+ species of trees that are native to Texas? Every backyard that we care for is sewn and laced with a variety of tree species – all of which behave differently.
Each type of tree drops a difference size of leave: some of which are easy to remove while others get into drains and filters. Other trees drop acorns, nuts, pine cones or other types of seeds. Left alone, seeds become debris with Organic minerals that can decompose inside of your swimming pool and stain your pool plaster.
Neglecting your swimming pool during Fall can lead to a whole host of issues, including but not limited to:
Filtration problems due to drain & skimmer blockages
Burned out motors & pump breakages – due to debris entering pumps
Stinky & malfunctioning heaters due to dust accumulation & nesting critters
Stains on pool plaster from presence of leaves and nuts
Corroded heat exchanges (in heater) & plaster etching due to cooler water temps and lack of Calcium in water (see LSI Index below)
Long story short, maintaining your swimming pool primarily means removing debris and balancing pool chemistry. It’s not always easy and yes, it’s a pain. Leaves do NOT fall all at once and often you’ll need to be in your backyard every weekend removing leaves from the pool, skimmer baskets, pump baskets and filter. It’s time consuming and if you have other things you’d like to be doing – that’s what we’re here for!
Understanding the LSI Index is Critical to Pool Health
Secondly, changing temperatures can lead to more aggressive water. Water requires a state of balance between the water and the pool surface (pool plaster or liner). If one of these two entities becomes unbalanced, both entities will transfer minerals on a molecular scale. Left alone long enough, you’ll start to notice some serious side effects including: Etching or Calcium Scale. The two problems are polar opposites of each other and both are based on the same principle – based on the LSI Index.
Water chemistry is easier to maintain during warmer months and that’s because the warm water temperatures can be a substitute for poor water chemistry. When water cools down, the cushion of warmer temps goes away and you begin to see what is truly wrong with your water chemistry.
In many cases, pool owners do not have enough Calcium (a mineral) in their pool water and left unchecked this can lead to heat exchanger corrosion and plaster etching. Ultimately, lacking in Calcium leads to water pulling minerals away from the pool plaster or heater at a molecular level to satisfy its craving for minerals – this becomes more exaggerated when water cools down.
There is a true science to understanding water at this level and there are actual measurements that we can perform to measure your pool chemistry. In all cases, we recommend that you consult with us or allow us to check your water chemistry before adding additional calcium to your pool. It’s always recommended to allow us to dosage the water for you to avoid overdosing your water with calcium.
What’s The Cost of Pool Service versus No Service
Long story short, it’s always nice to go from the hot days of Summer to the chilly months of Fall. It’s an enjoyable time frame that many of us Texans relish, but don’t get too comfy and neglect your swimming pool. This sounds a bit cliche but remember one important thing: next to your home, your swimming pool is the second most expensive asset that your own!
Owning a swimming pool is something that many people dream of and oftentimes once they have one, they don’t want to maintain it. Unfortunately, a pool is a lot like a kid. If you don’t give it the proper amount of TLC, it can become unbalanced and unhealthy – costing you additional money down the road. We are advocates of year round service and have plenty of options to help you maintain your pools while easing the strain on your pocket book.
We provide both weekly and bi-weekly cleaning services. Depending on the types of trees, number of trees, amount of rainfall, water drainage and many other factors – we can recommend the best service to keep your pool healthy all Fall and Winter long!
How to Have a Faster Spring Startup and Longer Swim Season
Lastly, by allowing Matt’s Water Services treat and maintain your swimming pool all Fall and Winter long – you’ll be able to swim earlier and with less headache come Spring. Many home owners wait until mid-Spring to ask us to begin cleaning out their swimming pool, but fail to realize that the entire town around them is making the same request.
That being said, if we maintain your pool all Fall and Winter (either weekly or bi-weekly) we can keep your pool in swimmable condition – allowing you to enjoy your backyard with no waiting period! Choosing this option will ultimately save you the most money by avoiding costly repairs or chemical treatments. You’ll also have a beautiful backyard to enjoy all winter long. Having a stunning backyard and one that you can enjoy all year round is important to you, isn’t it?
At Matt’s Water, we are big believers in helping our customers save money by taking care of their swimming pools. It’s our foundation belief that many home owners do not understand the importance of Water Chemistry. Therefore, we want to take up the challenge and provide the training and information necessary to help you protect your investment. That being said, what’s the best way for you to save money and take care of your swimming pool?
If you guessed Chemistry, then you’re right! Proper Water balancing is the most essential ingredient to safe, affordable and happy pool ownership. It’s amazing that such a simple concept and often gets overlooked – especially during the Winter Time.
This time of year, as the summer season winds down and school vamps up, home owners look for ways to save money. Unfortunately, saving money by discontinuing pool service and neglecting your swimming pool is the surest way to pay more down the road. What do we mean? To truly understand, we need to take a quick synopsis of all the pieces of your pool that cost money.
The Crucial Pieces to Your Swimming Pool
One of the most expensive aspects to any swimming pool is your pool surface, also known as Pool Plaster. This material is the colorful and textured surface that covers the entire internal surface area of your swimming pool. Plaster is comprised of cement materials, aggregate (texture), colored particles and crystals.
Most importantly, your pool plaster is in constant contact with your water. Therefore, there is not any other aspect of your swimming pool that is more susceptible to chemical damage than your pool plaster. Unfortunately, the pool plaster is also the piece of your pool that you notice the most. If your pool plaster experiences the epidemic of Etching or Scaling (as we will cover below) this can become quite the eyesore. It can also be extremely costly to fix these issues; often involving a price tag that many home owners can’t afford.
Lastly, would you also believe us if we said that your pool water is more chemically aggressive in the Winter Time than than Summer Time? Let us find out why.
This image shows the damage that a Corrosive Water Environment can create. What you are seeing here is evidence of “Etching” on the pool plaster. This is due to pool water being deficient in vital minerals such as Calcium. It causes the water to literally draw Calcium right out of your pool wall. Needless to say, these scars would be wide spread and not very attractive to look at.
Water Requires a State of Balance
By the laws of nature, your Pool Water & Pool Plaster are in a constant state of balance. In essence, your pool plaster will naturally have it’s own properties such as PH, Calcium, Alkalinity and so on. Conversely, your pool water (out of the tap) will have it’s own independent readings as well. The trouble comes along when these two sets of digits don’t match up. What happens is a chemical tug of war, with water always being the winner:
Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances, which is why it is such a good solvent. And, water is called the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. This is important to every living thing on earth. It means that wherever water goes, either through the ground or through our bodies, it takes along valuable chemicals, minerals, and nutrients. – The USGS, Water Science School
Because water is the Universal Solvent, it has the capability to add or subtract chemicals, minerals and nutrients to satisfy it’s demand for balance. What does all of this complex information mean for your pool plaster?
Simply put, not satisfying the chemical requirements of water means it will extract or deposit excess minerals as needed. Water is essential to all life on earth, but it can also become very aggressive is not balanced properly.
Example: Winter Conditions
If you allow your swimming pool to be vulnerable to Winter Conditions (such as colder water temperature) this will negatively affect your LSI reading. In essence, your water will become Mineral Deficient and extract valuable calcium from your pool plaster – causing Etching. This is very bad and can cost thousands to replace.
Here you can glimpse the power of the Orenda Technology App. This amazing software allows us to measure the LSI index for your pool water. As you can see from the image, by boosting the pH & Calcium of the pool water, we are able to restore the balance to this swimming pool. It’s simple in theory and highly effective at saving you money.
What Is The Langelier Saturation Index (LSI)?
This is a lot of complex information and how on earth are we able to measure these types of changes? Luckily, at Matt’s Water, we’ve been in this industry for quite some time. We also have the tools at our disposal to check your pool water for proper water chemistry & balancing.
Going back to the concept of the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) as mentioned above, let’s take a deeper look. The LSI Index is a calculation for the Mineral Saturation of water. In essence, it determines the amount of Minerals your water can hold before they Fall Out of Suspension. It’s important to note, when we say Minerals, what we really mean is Calcium – one of the most natural minerals available to our backyards.
Understanding the LSI Calculation
In essence, the LSI is a calculation used to determine the Corrosive or Scale Forming properties of our pool water. By using the formula (listed below), we can calculate this scale from -.3 (Corrosive) up to +.3 (Scale Forming). If our value falls anywhere between these two numbers, our water is determined to be in balance. Balanced water ensures that our water is properly satisfied and non-aggressive. This keeps your pool plaster safe from the corrosive or scale forming properties of water. In essence, keeping your water satisfied will save you money.
If you’ve taken a moment to watch both videos, then you now have some greater insight into why understanding your pool chemistry is so important! In essence, the LSI is a great tool that we can use to determine the happiness of your pool water. If your pool water is out of balance, we can use this tool to help us correct it based on dosage levels. It’s important that we apply the correct chemical dosage based on the volume of your swimming pool (no more and no less).
Lastly, some key takeaways from our lessons on the LSI Index include:
Etching of your pool plaster is permanent!
Cold water lowers your LSI score, leading to more Corrosive conditions (info below)
Taking the time necessary to understand the LSI can save you thousands in pool repair & maintenance
Your pool plaster is the most susceptible aspect of your pool to pool chemical conditions
Your Water is More Dangerous During Cold Months
If you’ve downloaded the Orenda App and played around a bit, then you’ve surely noticed the Temperature metric. It’s crucially important that we understand how Temperature impacts the balance of our water chemistry. The LSI is comprised of 6 key metrics:
Of these 6 metrics, the one that has the highest (and most sneaky impact) is Temperature. Because our pools are subjected to external environments, the temperature of our pool water fluctuates with the changes in season. As outside ambient temperature decreases, so does your pool water. A pool that was balanced during the summertime can easily become Corrosive (with potential for Etching) as the water temperature drops down.
This is a scary reality and one of the most important reasons to keep Matt’s Water on your monthly home budget. Although paying for a monthly pool service during the winter time sounds counter intuitive, we guarantee you, it could be the best decision all winter.
As the LSI indicates, pool water becomes more corrosive during the winter time. Etching is a serious condition and is irreversible. Not only does it leave ugly hash marks all over your pool plaster, but it also damages your pool equipment and renders it inoperable. A home owner that neglects their swimming pool all winter long has the potential for thousands in repairs the next Spring.
Hire Matt’s Water & Keep Your Pool Surface Safe
At Matt’s Water, we don’t want our customers to endure the headache and stress of costly pool repairs. Instead, we want you to open up your swimming pool for summer and jump right in for fun. By taking some simple and intuitive steps this Winter time, you can ensure your pool is swim ready for Summer 2019.
Lastly, this effort will keep your pool plaster safe during the time of the year that we are using our pools the least. If you’d like for us to provide some assistance, that’s great! We understand that life is busy and you have a lot going on. That’s why we offer the best & highest quality Pool Service in the greater East Texas & Corsicana region. Our team is ready to visit your pool and provide you with an in depth analysis of your pool water and will keep it safe all winter long! Give us a call today!
Swimming pools are an investment: an investment in your home, your home life, and your time spent with family. So why not offer your swimming pool the best there is to offer? Boron, an element found on the periodic table, is the basis for borates, as it can be found throughout the wild. Borates act as a buffering agent in the water, which is why it is ideal for swimming pools. Borates interact with the PH, or acidity, of your water, and help keep it under control. All of the chemicals inside of a pool are key for a healthy swimming pool, and they must be kept in balance to ensure each chemical is pulling its own weight. So why do we use borates? Because it allows us to better ensure the success of your pool’s water health. And this is why you should use it too. With just a little bit of work up front, borates ensure the longevity of your pool’s water health as well as the water’s health.
The features and benefits of using borates:
Borates help stabilize PH.
When your pool has high PH, or your water is more basic than neutral, several problems arise. The first issue is that high PH does not allow your chlorine to work properly or effectively.
When your chlorine stops acting as a sanitizer, this can cause algae growth. This is because it is no longer killing the organisms in your water and therefore allows for algae to flourish.
Secondly, this can cause your water to to become cloudy and milky. Again, without proper sanitization, your water has no defense against microorganisms.
High PH also affects us humans as well. Whenever we jump into a pool with high PH, we can experience some or all of the following: burning eyes and noses, as well as dry and itchy scalps and skin. None of this is pleasant to experience and is definitely not inviting for your next pool party.
Borates can help control algae growth.
Borates are not an algaecide, meaning they do not kill algae. But, they are an algaestat, meaning they can be used to help prevent the growth of algae.
When your PH is under control, and in acceptable ranges, meaning your water is neutral, it allows the chlorine to go to work hunting down and killing the microorganisms and algae. It allows the chlorine to do its jobs and act as a sanitizer.
Borates save you money on chemicals.
Keeping your PH in check, as previously mentioned, allows your chlorine to go out and act like the sanitizer we all know it can be. This means that less is more when it comes to your sanitizer.
By keeping your PH in check, your chlorine does not have to work so hard fighting the PH to get to the algae and other microorganisms. Which means you can actually use less chlorine, have the same level of cleanliness as before, and save money on your chemicals.
When your PH becomes too high, even as much as 7.8-8.0 as opposed to 7.4-7.6, your chlorine can lose its effectiveness by up to 80%.
Borates save you money of equipment and repairs.
High PH leads to calcium scaling. Calcium scaling is the buildup of calcium deposits. This is not only unsightly, but also bad for your equipment and plaster as it can cause deterioration and degradation, costing you potentially thousands of dollars to replace equipment and re-plaster your pool.
One of the biggest pieces of equipment that gets hit with calcium scaling is the salt cell. This expensive piece of equipment can get calcium scaling caked on it, costing you hundreds of dollars potentially in repairs.
Borates make your water clear and sparkling.
Borates in the water not only help with your chemicals, but also help with the overall experience of the water in regards to your experience.
When all of your chemicals are in balance, your swimming pool water is like a dream. Borates help with that. By keeping your PH in check, chlorine is allowed to work hard and not become so wrapped up in the PH. This allows your pool so stay crystal clear for so much longer.
Borates also softens hard water, making your experience much more pleasurable.
Why borates help you love your pool:
Borates are our newest addition to our line of services here at Matt’s Water Pool Services. This chemical is helping us achieve our goal of “Teaching You How To Love Your Pool”, and we are proud of what it can do for you. Borates are amazing for both new and old plaster, as well as vinyl liner pools, can save you money over time, and will help you and us maintain peak service and quality pool water health year round. Please feel free to reach out to us via our website, phone, or come visit us at our retail store in downtown Corsicana. We would love to help you with your pool and would love for your to join us on our adventure as we further explore better ways to provide you with quality service.
Despite what your experiences with your own pool may be, owning a swimming pool is about one specific purpose: enjoying your swimming pool and outdoor living space! Many non-pool owners may look at pool ownership as a tedious task or one that they feel is too complicated to take on. Other current pool owners look at their “soon to be swamp” and regret the purchase of their swimming pool. Others may feel stressed by the complicated pool chemistry and unsure of what to do next.
Let’s take a moment to peal back some of those misconceptions and summarize pool ownership and what it means for you and your family:
Owning a pool allows you to move your family time beyond the four walls of your home
It allows you to expand the functionality of your backyard and create an outdoor living space
Pools are exceptional recreational spaces that boost your daily physical activity
Last, but not least, they increase the resale value of your home and provide exceptional ROI (return on investment)
Pool Chemistry is comprised of 5 key elements: PH, Alkalinity, Chlorine, Calcium Hardness & Cyanuric Acid. The most common way to test for these chemical levels requires a Taylor or Lamotte test kit similar to the one shown above. This particular unit utilizes “Drop Testing.” This is one of the simplest method to test your pool chemistry – and we can show you how it’s done!
Maintaining Proper Chemical Levels
Pool ownership provides exceptional value to you and your family. Oftentimes, however, it feels like quite the opposite to many frustrated pool owners; and this detracts from the “fun” of pool ownership. Believe it or not, many of the problems and frustrations that pool owners experience could be solved by one key word: Chemistry.
Pool Chemistry is quite frankly the most important part of your swimming pool! It is the key ingredient that allows your water and equipment to thrive or die. It can harbor dangerous bacteria or provide crystal clear water for hours of outdoor enjoyment. Does maintaining proper chemistry levels require and little bit of work and elbow grease? Yes, but we’ve got the tools, information and products to help you get the job done!
This may also, be a great time to point out that we offer a full range of swimming pool chemicals, parts, equipment and accessories at our retail store located in Corsicana, TX. You can feel free to stop by during business hours or visit our Online E-Commerce Storefront!
Diagnosing Problems Before They Grow
As you may be able to tell, the key to eliminating chemical issues in your swimming pool is simple: prevent or catch them before they ever get started! This is an important time to realize that Matt’s Water is a resource for you as a pool owner! We are not a huge service company that gouges our customers on prices. Instead, we’ve have built our business model upon treating our customers fairly and focusing on high quality customer service.
Each of our team members spends time in the field continuous educating, learning, studying, applying and treating swimming pools. Our goal is simple: to become the very best Swimming Pool Service company in Corsicana TX and all surrounding areas!
What Exactly Do We Test For?
It’s always easier for us to treat a chemical problem when you realize early on that there is an issue. Our diagnosing procedures are pretty standard. We are going to follow this list of actions to diagnose and treat your chemical issue:
We use these test results to determine what the specific chemical levels are for following criteria:
PH – the balance of the water between Acidic & Base
Alkalinity – “The PH Buffer” that absorbs the changes of the water without impacting the PH
Chlorine – the level of sanitizer in the water that keeps the swimmer safe
Calcium Hardness – water seeks “balance” and requires calcium to keep it from scaling or etching the surface of your pool plaster. Swimmers often refer to this as “hard or soft” water.
Cyanuric Acid – the stabilizer of the water. This reading gives us an idea of how quickly or slowly your pool loses Chlorine levels due to the impact of UV rays on your water.
Real Life Example: High Cyanuric Acid & Metals
All of our conversation would be pretty mute if we didn’t give you a real life example of what exactly can go wrong with improper pool chemistry. In this example, our customer reached to alert us of an issue, but unfortunately it was too late for much to be done.
In the example below, our customer experienced the Fall Out of both Cyanuric Acid & Metals. All of our pool chemicals require “balance” in order for them to stay in a state of suspension. Simply put, our water must remain balanced for the chemicals to remain invisible and blended together. When metals and other water content levels become too high – they become to “heavy” for the water and collect on the walls and surface.
Unfortunately, for our customer, this issue was caught too late and some serious damage is done to both the pool plaster (surface underwater) and pool deck. That being said, the key to pool chemistry is maintaining proper levels and contacting a professional (i.e. Matt’s Water) when you detect an issue.
This image shows the effects of too high of Cyanuric Acid & Metal levels. Metals exist in most water environments, however, they are supposed to stay in a state of “suspension.” When these levels become too high, water “falls out of suspension” and particles begin to form and collect along the walls and floor of your pool. Surprisingly enough, these chemical levels combined together created a purple hue that stained both the plaster and deck – this will require some repairs.
Matt’s Water: Service You Can Trust
We appreciate you taking the time to read our extensive article. If you’d like some more information about how to maintain proper chemistry levels, give us a call! Our goal is always to provide the very best in customer service to each and every customer. We pride ourselves on educating all of our customers to become their own pool experts!
If any of this is beyond your scope of expertise and you’d like to sign up for our professional weekly service, that’s great! We’d love to care for your swimming pool and keep it in top notch shape for your summer enjoyment! Give us a call and we’ll provide you the very best in swimming pool service!