Pool Info: Pool Janitor FAQ
Pool Janitor FAQ
My pool has a bathtub ring...
Floating oils, dirt & waste can combine to form a scum line around the pool; this is why tile, an easily cleanable surface, is placed at water level around the perimeter of the pool. There are many tile cleanser products available which are applied with a scrubbing pad or brush and a little elbow grease. Abrasive cleaners work well, but should be avoided in vinyl lined pools, or pools using products such as Baquacil. On vinyl pools use a vinyl cleaner such as Armor All Cleaner (not conditioner), and on Baquacil treated pools, use a cleanser made without chlorine.
Cleaning the scum inside of the skimmer frequently will help to keep the tile cleaner, as scum sticks itself to clean plastic. Using enzyme products can reduce or eliminate the amount of attention to the scum line as the work to "eat" scum producing substances.
The floor of my pool is covered in leaves...
Put on your back brace, heavy leaf removal can be hard work. At this stage, vacuuming through the skimmer or using automatic pool cleaners are very ineffective methods; both will clog up too quickly. The method of choice for the pool janitor is using a leaf rake attached to a telescopic pole. Slowly push the leaf rake along the floor, scooping up leaves into the bag. Work the pool in sections, trying not to create leaf-stirring currents. It takes practice and a strong back, but it can be very effective.
Another method is the use of a Leaf Bagger, a product by Jandy Industries. Attached to a telescopic pole and a garden hose, the Leaf Bagger uses venturi action to suck leaves up into a large attached bag as you roll the unit over the leaves. It's slow going, but you won't have to stop to empty the bag too often.
My pool always has !@#$%* floating on top...
Firstly, you want to check the influent valving before the pump. The pool janitor recommends that the skimmer pull in about 75% of the total flow into the pump. For example, if your pool has two influent valves, a main drain and a skimmer, close the main drain halfway while leaving the skimmer valve fully open. If your pool has an attached spa, crack the spa drain valve open slightly, or leave it closed altogether.
If you haven't purchased a leaf rake, or a "drag bag", as I sometimes call them, and are holding on to that flat "dip & flip" net that your builder gave you; you are creating your own hell. I strongly encourage the purchase of a nice leaf rake. There are also chemical products which are used to keep surface tension high, moving small debris to the sides of the pool. Another possible problem could be the condition of the weir in the skimmer; you know, that flapper gate thing. Make sure it is operating properly so that it creates a draw or "waterfall" into the skimmer basket. Also check that the water level is not so high that it is above the opening of the skimmer.
Lastly, you may need to trim some of those trees and bushes near the pool. My pool, for example, was specifically built with no vegetation anywhere within wind shot!
What about automatic cleaners?
Automatic cleaners are terrific time-savers, and they also help to distribute and circulate the water while (some of them) decreasing the work load required of the filter. There is a wide range of cleaners available, for all types of pools and budgets. Cleaners run from $99.99 to $2,999.99. The more expensive models will vacuum more debris, more efficiently and without compromising the filter system. Refer to the automatic swimming pool cleaner section for available cleaners from Poolcenter.com.
Do I need to brush my pool regularly?
Your pool brush attaches to the telescopic pole, and is most commonly used to brush algae off of the walls. To quote the Pool Janitor; "Plaster pools like to be brushed..." Brushing your pool will keep dirt from occupying the small pores and starting small organic farms. Steel bristled brushes, called algae brushes, are very effective on, you guessed it, algae. Do not use a steel brush on a vinyl lined pool.
Done regularly, brushing can also reduce the time spent vacuuming. Brush from the shallow end towards the deep end in overlapping strokes. Circle the pool towards the main drain, and much of the dirt will be swept up into the filter in this manner.
Unless you have an automatic cleaner, an in-floor cleaning system or an automatic cover, or sometimes even if you do...you'll need to manually vacuum the debris. And here's how...
Roll your vacuum hose straight along the length of the pool. Attach one of the cuffed ends onto your vacuum head which is attached to your telescopic pole. Extend the pole and place the head (with the hose attached) into the water so that it rests on the floor of the pool. Point the head across the pool so that it doesn't roll down the slope towards the deep end and prop the pole up against the pool's edge.
From the point where the hose surfaces, begin pushing the hose straight down into the water, hand over hand, until you reach the other end. This is filling the hose up with water so there is no air in it which may cause difficulties for the pump when you attach the hose to the skimmer. Another method of "priming the hose" is to hold the cuffed end firmly over a return fitting to force the air out of the end attached to the vacuum head.
Once the hose is primed, remove the skimmer lid and the basket and stick the hose end into the hole at the bottom of the skimmer. If it sucks it in tightly, great. If not, you may need a threaded hose adapter to achieve a tight fit. Now, the suction that was at the hole is now at the vacuum head. Do not lift the head out of the water with the hose attached, or you will fill the hose with air, losing prime, and possibly drawing air into the pump.
Roll the vacuum head on the floor, over the debris, and VOILA!, you're vacuuming. The suction will gradually decrease as the pump basket fills with vacuumed debris. When the pressure gauge drops and/or suction is sufficiently decreased, stop the pump and empty the basket. If pressure rises significantly, stop the pump and backwash the filter. Continue in this manner..... (continued........)