Swimming Pool Myths Busted!

My inground pool is frustrating me and I don’t know where to turn.  Pool Envy provides pool service and repair in Green Bay, WI – Let’s explore the myths:

Myth 1: Sanitizer is bad for my inground pool

Many of us are not experts in inground pool chemistry, so naturally, we assume Google will make our pool clear, blue, and clean.  The problem is that a pool can be clean, clear, blue, look amazing, and be loaded with disease-causing micro-organisms.  Proper sanitizing should be the main priority. A pool without adequate sanitizer can turn green, grow algae, smell funny, and put people at risk for disease.

Pool Factoid:

Did you know children swallow four times the amount of water while swimming than adults do? Since many pools are outdoors they are exposed to the environment, dust, dander, pollen, birds, animal feces, and spores. Not to mention that humans no matter how clean we claim to be, still have bits and pieces of organic goodness on us, and guess where that ends up?

Myth 2: Salt Pools Fix Everything

Another misconception is that salt-water pools are Chlorine-free pools. Salt known by its chemical name is NaCl (Sodium + Chloride) and electricity takes that salt and turns it into Chlorine and Salt.  Your pool water feels smooth because it’s loaded with salt.  This same salt flavor though will corrode metal parts and electrical components around your pool. Residential salt generators are not strong enough to make up for huge pool parties.  They produce chlorine daily but it’s not massive.  Supplemental chlorine must be added, and shocking still must be done.  You must still test your pool water daily for safety.  The other part with salt pools is that they can harm fabric on auto covers.  Salt, when dry is rather sharp and running your new pool cover over it daily, can lead to abrasion.

Myth 3: Chlorine Tabs are all I need to maintain my pool

Will the white hockey puck that floats in my pool will save the day? To a point. Organic chlorine such as Tri-Chlor, or Di-Chlor is combined with Cyanuric Acid. CYA acts as a stabilizer so that chlorine lasts in the sunlight. (Think Chlorine Sunscreen.) Without CYA, UV light from the sun will break down non-stabilized chlorine in a few hours.  CYA can also build up in your pool making it almost impossible to correctly sanitize your pool.  Knowing how to test your pool is one of the best pieces of advice that we can give. Each time you add a tablet you are inducing more and more CYA.  It accumulates in your pool and the only way to quickly eliminate it is by draining a portion of your pool water and filling it up again.

Myth 4: pH Doesn’t Matter with in-ground pools

Strong enough for a man, but pH balanced for a pool. pH balance is important since it affects how other pool chemicals work.  A low pH can cause chlorine to react more aggressively. A low pH can destroy your pool plaster, liner, or gel coat off your fiberglass pool.  Low pH can destroy your pool heater.  pH stability is regulated by total alkalinity (TA) and these two things can’t be adjusted independently.  This is why you find using a pH-increasing agent increases your total alkalinity.

Myth 5: Pools are hard to take care of

A correctly balanced pool is rather easy to take care of. It will remain clear and the water won’t be cloudy. A correctly balanced pool is an investment in longevity since if you get the chemistry right, your pool and equipment will last longer. This is why every pool owner needs to have their own pool test kit with fresh reagents on hand at home.  A correctly balanced pool will not smell.  When you can smell a pool that is a sign that your sanitizer is combined with ammonia-like products such as urea and sweat. This is a good time to shock the pool.  A correctly balanced pool will preserve your investment.

Please check out the new client video introduction below and see how we can get started with your pool.

Myth 6: My Pool was inspected when it was built, it must be safe right?

The Pool Envy methodology involves looking at everything and because of safety, this is a requirement for all pools we service.  No surprises, we want to ensure pools have safe drain covers and GFCI receptacles.  A pool without a GFCI is an electrical shock waiting to happen.  GFCI means ground-fault-circuit-interrupter. When it senses the electricity going to a piece of pool equipment isn’t consistent, it will trip. Without GFCI, you could be shocked to death in the water.

Myth 7: Pipe size does not matter

Pool plumbing systems matter too.   Many years ago builders were not focused on water velocity, but as we have improved pool safety over the years, some pools may have plumbing that is too small to be safe.  Thankfully, it is very easy to change out the pipe on a swimming pool to larger sizes which improves energy efficiency and also safety.

Myth 8: Leak Detection is simple

Leak detection is a specialty within the pool service industry.  Pool Envy is one of the few pool companies doing leak detection on plumbing systems.  Pool plumbing is pressured and with equipment rated up to 50PSI, it can be very dangerous for DIY work.  The use of specialized equipment for finding leaks and the time necessary to find and narrow down to where a leak is located requires expertise.  We located and fix leaks only.  This means if a client hires us we will find the leak, fix the leak, and leave the pool in working condition.  We will not find a leak for someone to do a DIY repair.  Improper fixes are the leading cause of failures reoccurring.

Myth 9: Concrete Pools are strong

Concrete pools can be some of the strongest pools in existence if they are built correctly.  Rebar spacing and design should be done by a structural engineer.  Many pools we see today have reached premature failure due to cracking, improper concrete (not enough PSI strength), excess sand in the mix, and not enough cement.  Rebar must be embedded a minimum of 3″ and must NOT touch the ground otherwise it can wick moisture and cause rust and cracking.  Rebar must also wrap around the bond beam of a pool correctly and return back to the structure at correct intervals and distances.  There are many ANSI/ASME standards governing the quality of concrete pools.

Myth 10: Pool Plaster is a waterproofing layer

Pool plaster is cosmetic only.   A thick layer of pool plaster will NOT waterproof the vessel.  Cementitious waterproofing products should be used PRIOR to the application of plaster to ensure the pool will flood test successfully.  A correctly built concrete pool will hold water WITHOUT plaster for a period of time.  In fact, this is one way to test if your pool was built correctly.

Myth 11: Pool Smell is Chlorine

The often quintessential part of summer is that “pool smell” which many equate to Chlorine.  The smell is actually caused by a lack of sanitizer in your pool.  When Chlorine combines with organic compounds such as fecal material, urine, and sweat, it combines with chlorine to form Chloramine (Cl2) chemical formula.  These Chloramine products produce a distinct smell and they are bad for you to breathe.  Chloramine can cause eye irritation, and itchy skin, and aggravate asthma.  Breakpoint chlorination is also known as “shocking” to 10 times the amount of combined chlorine (this value needs to be measured with a test kit) will free up the Combined Chlorine and eliminate the issue.

Myth 12: A single speed pump is great

Pool Envy is a fan of Pentair products and this includes variable speed pool pumps.  Variable speed pumps can save you a ton of electricity costs compared with single-speed pumps.

Jason is a PHTA Certified Instructor, CPO®, CPI, CST, and CMS. Certified in Recreational Water Illness, and a Certified Pool Inspector.  Please don’t risk public safety attempting to YouTube your way into VGBA compliance. What you don’t know can probably hurt you or someone else.   Want to test your skills? Try our online quiz.