Winter is Coming – How to Chemically Protect Your Pool

Winter is Coming – How to Chemically Protect Your Pool

Winter is Coming! No we don’t meant the Game of Thrones coming battles that looms on the horizon. Instead we mean that temperatures are going to drop and your pool chemistry is going to do some funky things. The hardest part about water chemistry is that it changes throughout the year! We are working with real elements that change composition and behavior due to outside factors, such as temperature. What this means for you is that you need to adjust your pool care treatment to adjust for colder temperatures.

If you’ve followed Matt’s Water Pool Service for some time, you’ve likely seen our article on the Langelier Saturation Index. In that article we speak about the critical topic of “water balance” and how varying factors can impact the chemical requirements of your swimming pool. For sake of time, we are going to build off of that conversation and assume you’ve read up on all that the Langelier Saturation Index has to offer.

But first a quick recap…

Based on our understanding of the LSI Index – water is known as “The Universal Solvent.” It will find a state of balance no matter what environment it is in. The troubling factor is that water interacts with its environment (a.k.a. your pool surface). It will take or deposit elements it needs in order to maintain it’s state of balance. What does this mean for your pool plaster and pool equipment? It means that you need to be conscious of water’s changing behavior from fluctuations in temperature.

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 booster 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.
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 booster 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.

Water Becomes Aggressive at Cold Temperatures

The LSI is impacted by several key factors: Temperature, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium & Total Dissolved Solids (TDS – or salt). All of these factors play a critical role in the LSI Index (a.k.a. your water balance). Luckily, all but one of these factors can easily be controlled by Chemical alterations, which you can purchase directly from Matt’s Water eShop! All of these factors can be altered – except for Temperature.

Temperature is an interesting element because it impacts your water and causes your water balance to require constant alternations. It’s the only factor that can’t be controlled by another element – meaning it’s the most powerful and one that you shouldn’t neglect.

According to the LSI Index, the colder the water – the more corrosive it becomes. Left unchecked water can become highly aggressive and begin to remove elements from your pool surface to maintain it’s state of balance. As you may already know, the only element present in pool plaster that water is able to remove is: Calcium. Calcium is a natural mineral present in nearly everything. It’s able to be dissolved by water and absorbed (hence removed) from a surface to satisfy corrosive water conditions.

This wretched interaction can continue to take place all winter long and wreak havoc on your pool plaster and pool equipment. It will continue until the LSI reaches a state of balance and your water is satisfied.

Often times it’s not until the Spring that home owners turn on their pool heater (while going for a swim) only to realize that their heater won’t fire. They also notice that their pool plaster is rougher. Ironically as temperatures begin to heat up, they notice “scale” beginning to form on their pool surface.

Rather than allow this to happen to our clients, we believe it’s time to provide some insight and education to prevent this natural disaster from occurring in your backyard!

One of our favorite parts of the job is working with home owners to provide insight into caring for their swimming pools – the right way! Here you can see Matt and Cathey discussing the chemistry of this swimming pool after some water testing.

Prevent Corrosive Water Conditions – Use The LSI Index!

The first step in treating your swimming pool and preparing for winter always involves testing your current water chemistry. Before any alterations can effectively be determined, we first have to have a starting point to gauge what changes need to be made to your water chemistry.

Luckily Matt’s Water Pool Services offers water testing for our clients and we can even provide you with a consultation in your backyard! There’s nothing better than evaluating your swimming pool in person and obtaining advice from professionals who care for swimming pools all year long!

Once we’ve obtained a water test for your swimming pool we can accurately gauge what changes need to be made to your water chemistry.

Because water temperature does not change over night, our changes throughout the Fall will be subtle and accurate. We take weekly steps to maintain our water balance throughout the constant rises and dips in temperature. This ensures that we don’t go too far to one side or another of the LSI Index and cause scaling or etching on your pool surface.

Left unchecked all winter – your swimming pool can turn into a chemistry nightmare. Trust the experts when we say – it’s easier and cheaper to keep your swimming pool well maintained. Don’t neglect your pool and try to save on cost by not treating it until the Spring. This can cost your more than you expect and take longer than you think to fix it.

What Chemical Changes Can We Make?

So what are they key chemicals that we use to balance our LSI and prevent natural disasters in our swimming pools?

Changes in PH – Control Small Fluctuations in LSI

Again, we always start with the LSI Index. If the changes that we need to make are minor and require little adjustment, a small rise in our pH can shield your water against a small drop in temperature. Of course you need to make sure you don’t surpass a healthy pH

Ideally you want your pH to be between 7.2 – 7.6

Changes in Alkalinity – Keep Your pH in Line

Additionally, if our pH shows too move much and doesn’t seem to maintain a consistent number from week to week – we then look at Alkalinity. Alkalinity acts as a buffer to protect our pH from constant fluctuations. Raising the Alkalinity can also act as a buffer against decreases in the LSI due to cooler water conditions.

Ideally you want your Alkalinity to be between 80 – 120 ppm

Changes in Calcium – Control Large Changes in LSI

Lastly, raising our Calcium content in our water can shield greatly against changes in water temperature. The ironic aspect of calcium alterations is that we are adding the mineral that water craves directly into our swimming pool. Because cooler temperatures suck calcium out of our plaster – we can attack the problem head on by adding calcium directly to our water!

What’s the flip side of calcium alternations? Once added to the water, calcium cannot be easily removed (aside from draining your swimming pool).

Ideally you want your Calcium to range between 200-400 ppm (but this number must be determined by the LSI)

So What’s The Solution?

With so much variation in the behavior of water from temperature changes, what is the lasting solution to protect your pool surface and equipment? The short answer – there is no easy answer. Each swimming pool is a different eco-system with varying degrees of minerals, metals, phosphates, calcium and TDS. These differing minerals and fluctuations temperatures require our teams to test each and every swimming pool that we interact with.

The solution, therefore, is that we recommend professional care for your swimming pool! Many clients balk at this topic, but we ask the franc question:

If your swimming pool is the most expensive aspect of your home – why would neglect it and allow the pool surface to be ruined from lack of professional maintenance?

The truth of the matter is – many home owners don’t want to care for their swimming pools. They believe that water chemistry is confusing and difficult. Ironically, your swimming pool is a costly investment and resurfacing your swimming pool can easily cost your around $10K.

With such a high price tag, doesn’t it make more sense to have your pool regularly maintained by a professional service company than risking a ruined surface? We certainly think so and are here to help any client that calls on us for assistance!

Leaves In Your Pool? Protect Your Plumbing & Filtration Lines!

Leaves In Your Pool? Protect Your Plumbing & Filtration Lines!

We all love the transition from Summer into Fall! We’ve all suffered through the triple digit days, lack of rain and constant humidity. It seems like a dream to imagine cooler temperatures and days when we can keep our doors and windows open. Soon we will begin to see those riveting colors of Fall that are soon followed by falling leaves and chillier temperatures.

Although season changes bring a lot to look forward to, it’s not enough to just sit outdoors and enjoy the falling leaves. If you own a home with an outdoor living space, there is plenty of maintenance chores to take care of! Cleaning out gutters, raking and mowing the lawn, freeze protecting your hose bibs and keeping your pool clean – it seems there is plenty of outdoor maintenance required to keep things running smoothly through Fall.

In terms of pool ownership, what does this mean for your swimming pool and can this potentially cost you added maintenance and repair cost? The short answer is – yes, leaves are bad for your swimming pool and they most definitely can elevate your maintenance cost! So what are the cost associated with falling leaves and how can you save yourself the trouble of equipment repair or cleaning of your filtration lines? 

Clogged Lines – Leads to Burned Out Pumps and Broken Filters

Simply put, falling leaves can lead to a host of issues with your swimming pool, including: clogged drains, filtration lines and pumps. Just a handful of leaves in your filtration lines can restrict the flow of your water and reduce the efficiency of your pool equipment. To add a complicating factor to the issue of falling leaves, it’s important to remember that your leaves do not fall at one time. No sir, they take their time! This requires diligence and perseverance to keep allocating time towards keeping your swimming pool clean.

Should too much time pass and enough leaves lodge into your main drain or skimmers, it’s feasible for your pluming lines to become partially or completely clogged. If left un-managed, a complete blockage is near impossible to clear without the assistance of a pool professional. Should your pool equipment turn on during a partial or complete blockage, your pump motor will work doubly hard to turn over your water. This undue stress increases energy costs and could lead to broken or damaged pool equipment.

The truth of the matter is, leaves are sneaky critters to maintain. They often fall all at once or over long periods of time. Swimming pools are havens for fallen leaves and many of our clients don’t have the time in their schedules necessary to keep their pools clear of leaf debris. Because of the risk to your pool equipment and filtration lines, we highly suggest contracting Matt’s Water Pool Services to keep your pools clean of leaves and other fallen debris!

Let Matt’s Water Keep Your Pool Clean!

If thinking of cleaning your pool this Fall is causing your palms to sweat, don’t worry any further! Matt’s Water Pool Services provides superior cleaning services for our clients all year long! Whether it’s chemical maintenance, green to clean services or leaf removal – we do it all! What does that mean for you? Easy pool care with less time outdoors and more time enjoying fun activities with your family!

We all work hard during the week. From long hours at the office, commutes to work, school pickups and drop offs – we’ve all got a lot on our plates. Sometimes it’s hard enough planning our evening activities while cooking and preparing for the next day of work. With so much on your to-do list, don’t add keeping your pool cleaning to it.

Matt’s Water Pool Services is here to help ease the burden of swimming pool ownership. We do this for a living, which means that we can clean your pool while you’re at work. That means your time off work is spent with your loved ones, doing what you love! Sit down and enjoy that favorite TV show or spend time cooking out with your family during the weekend. Let us work hard to keep your swimming pool clean so that you can enjoy the beauty of your pool – without the stress of worrying about potential filtration problems or damaged equipment.

Remove Those Leaves – Prevent The Growth of Algae

Keeping your swimming pool clear of leaf debris also helps in your fight to prevent algae growth. Leaf debris is organic matter – produced by nature. Once introduced to your swimming pool, leaves begin to decompose and release oils and minerals into your swimming pool water.

If not well managed, leaves can introduce a large amount of phosphates into your water. For chemistry nerds, phosphates are algae food. The greater the amount of phosphates the greater the potential for algae spores and subsequent algae formation.

Lastly, removing debris improves the flow of water throughout your filtration lines. It’s essential to optimize the flow of water through your filter. This allows the pool equipment to remove debris and bacteria – leading to cleaner and clearer water. Keeping your pool water moving throughout the Fall and Winter moves is critical to keeping your water clear, safe and healthy!