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!

Jack’s Magic – Stain Identification Program

Jack’s Magic – Stain Identification Program

Jack’s Magic – Stain Identification Program

Many home owners are unsure of what to do when they notice stains in their swimming pool. Often these ugly marks result in frustration and bitterness towards the swimming pool that you once loved and enjoyed. You may try to remove these stains yourself, but it is highly recommended to reach out to a pool professional before you let too much time pass. Often these situations only worsen if left untreated for too long.

Matt’s Water is highly trained in Stain Identification Technology and we can treat any stain you come across. By contacting Matt’s Water we can quickly diagnose the cause of your stain & begin a treatment plan immediately.

What Causes Staining In Your Pool?

There are very many causes of stains in your swimming pool. Each cause has a root issue that almost always revolves around the chemistry of your swimming pool. We refer to the chemistry of your swimming pool as the Water Balance.

To understand this concept, we need to break your water balance into it’s individual components. Below is a list of each aspect of your water balance along with the recommended levels:

  • Free Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm
  • Total Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm
  • pH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400 ppm
  • Total Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid: 0 – 30 ppm
  • Copper: 0 ppm
  • Iron: 0 ppm

Maintaining these chemistry levels is often a challenge for most home owners. It seems easier to understand how your cable bill is calculated than understanding how to keep your water chemistry in balance. Oftentimes because these chemical levels seem daunting, most home owners default to the age old method of taking care of their swimming pools. Looking for clear water, shocking & adding chlorine tablets is general practice for most home owners.

Many Factors Affect Our Pool Chemistry

Unfortunately, this is often not enough maintain to keep your water chemistry properly balanced. Similar to the engine in your vehicle, your pool chemistry needs to be checked regularly (we recommend weekly checks). We emphasize regular testing because your pool water is impacted by many internal and external factors:

  • Body sweat
  • Sun screen & tanning oils
  • Grass, leaves & other vegetation
  • Rain
  • Evaporation
  • Much more…

It’s important to realize that your swimming pool is an open air ecosystem that absorbs many elements & constantly seeks balance. Water by nature requires balance to be satisfied. When our pool water is allowed to spend ample time out of balance it will naturally draw elements from your pool plaster or pull molecules from “out of suspension.” This is not good!

Believe it or not, molecules such as metals are often unseen (or invisible) because your water is balanced and satisfied. However, if too many of a particular product exist in your swimming pool this causes that molecule to become too heavy and “fall out of suspension.” The same can be said for other elements of your swimming pool. Let’s continue diving in and learning more!

How to Identify Stains In Your Pool

Keeping all of this detailed information in mind, how do we recognize when staining is occurring in our swimming pool? Also, if we begin to notice stains, how do we treat them and remove them from our swimming pool?

Well, first thing is first. Since we have already identified that stains are primarily the result of chemical issues from unbalanced water, then we must treat our stains with chemicals to remove them. That being said, we utilize a very unique and handy produced – the Jack’s Magic: The Stain ID Kit.

This kit includes 4 topical tests that we apply individually to each stain. Within 30 seconds, one of these four tests will cause a chemical reaction or “erasing” of the stain. This indicates what compounds are impacting your pool plaster and helps us identify our treatment method.

Developing a Jack’s Magic Treatment Plan

Trust us, stains happen. They happen even to the best swimming pool owners at one time or another. Often they arise without notice and it’s not until they reach a size of 6″ or larger that we often notice them. By that point the damage is already done and it’s time to seek professional treatment to eradicate them.

Upon noticing a stain, we urge you not to panic. Instead contact Matt’s Water so we can identify the type of stain that is occurring and begin an immediate treatment to mitigate the damage.

The Jack’s Magic Treatment Plan is simple but must be followed correctly for the highest level of stain removal. The treatment plan follows this plan but you can find the complete treatment plan by clicking this link:

  1. Identify – what is the cause of the stains? (use the Stain ID Kit)
  2. Remove – after locating the cause of the stain apply a Jack’s Magic treatment product for proper stain removal
  3. Prevent – once your stain is properly treated, we can set your up with a “preventive plan” to keep the culprit minerals out of your water

So What Was The Result of Our Tests?

You may have noticed the images of the Stain Tests throughout this article. By reviewing our first set of images from start to finish, we are following a process of elimination. We also are sure to test multiple stain locations around the swimming pool. This helps to isolate each stain to receive the best test results.

As you can see, we use the following test (4 topical treatments) on different points throughout the swimming pool:

The objective of using different tests is to see which ones consistently and effective remove our “test stains” from this swimming pool. As you can see from our set of images, it appears that Test #1 & #4 were the most effective at stain removal.

At first glance, we assume this is related to by Iron & Scale (exists in both sets of tests). In order to treat this type of staining, we will combine both Jack’s Magic Copper & Scale Stuff as well as their Magic Stain Solution.

If you have any questions about which treatment method your swimming pool might use, just give us a call. We will come out and test your water and help you identify the appropriate treatment option for your swimming pool!

Matt’s Water Brings The Best Treatment Tools

There is a whole lot more that we can cover about Pool Stains & Treatment Options. In fact, this is a very involved subject that requires years of industry knowledge to truly grasp. However, for our purposes, we hope to just highlight the causes of stains (often chemistry issues) & identify a solution (stain identification & targeted treatment).

Matt’s Water has the equipment, team and expertise available to help you treat any pool stain that you are encountering. We also have the capability to service any other aspect of your swimming pool. In fact, we have a fully functional Service Plan, a Brick & Mortal Retail Store or Online E-Commerce store. We provide you with all sorts of options to get the products and services you need to service and maintain your swimming pool.

We service Corsicana, TX as well as all surrounding areas. We invite you to give us a call for a free estimate of our services or visit our store or Online Shop for more information over products and services!

Maintaining Proper Chemistry for Summer 2018

Maintaining Proper Chemistry for Summer 2018

Maintaining Proper Pool Chemistry

It’s All About Enjoying The Pool

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!

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 are existing 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.

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!