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How to Overcome Interference in Pool Water Tests

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How to Overcome Interference in Pool Water Tests

When chlorine and bromine are in excessive amounts in water, they lead to false pool water test results. In such cases, it is difficult for pool owners to identify the water’s pH and alkaline levels. Thus, drop tests, and color-matching test techniques are vulnerable to discrepancies.

How to Overcome Interference in Pool Water Tests

Test results are not only affected by excess levels of sanitizers. Other factors could also lead to inaccurate pool water test results. Nonetheless, the leading cause of incorrect test results is the presence of excessive sanitizing agents. So, let’s find out how to fix these types of inaccuracies.

Color matching 

When the sanitizing agents are more than ten or 15ppm, partial or full bleaching of DPD reagents may occur. As the pool owner, you might conclude that the pool lacks chlorine or bromine, which is not the case. The pool is, in fact, loaded with excessive sanitizing chemicals.

Therefore, if you are sure that chlorine and bromine exist in your pool, and there is no discoloration, dilute the sample and pour in the right concentration. For instance, if you have an affected sample of 10ml, lower it by 5ml, and add 5ml of pure water. Afterward, follow the test guidelines as indicated. Check the resulting color and match it with your chart to identify the pH levels. Every color in the chart is usually paired with a value. Once you determine your test value, multiply it by two to get the accurate reading.

Other interferences:

There are cases where traces of DPD are present in the test cell. This can interfere with the test results, thus ensure you cleanse test cells thoroughly before usage.

Drop test 

Fortunately, drop tests can identify samples with 20ppm of sanitizing agents. But if the sanitizer is more than 20ppm, bleaching occurs and could lead to false readings. Fixing the problem entails diluting the sample with pure pool water and adding an indicator until the example achieves a pink color. Afterward, you should add a titrant until a colorless color appears. Make sure to calculate the titrant drops and double the number to get accurate results.

Other interferences:

A non-chlorine oxidizer known as monopersulfate could interfere with the combined chlorine readings. The quick chemical reaction with DPD will indicate this discrepancy. Usually, it results in an unusually high reading. To solve this problem, use a deox reagent to erase any traces of monopersulfate and perform another test.

Total Alkalinity test (drop-test technique)      

When checking for the pool’s total alkalinity, ensure the pool water turns from green to red for correct results. You will know there is excessive sanitizer if the color of the water goes from blue to yellow. Suppose this is the case, get a new test sample, and add at least five drops of indicator to eradicate any excess halogen. You can then read the correct color and determine total alkalinity.

pH test 

Suppose the sanitizer levels are more than 15ppm; the organic color of the indicator could become affected. You will know this because the sample color will turn purple instead of yellow or red. Once you encounter this problem, pour out the pool water from the test cell, and cleanse it thoroughly. Afterward, get another test sample from the pool and use a dipper to put in one drop of thiosulfate. The chemical thiosulfate makes the pool sanitizing agents in the sample test neutral. Once the sample becomes neutralized, put in the indicator in the test. Then, read your color against the value in the test chart. Be cautious while adding thiosulfate; you will get a false high reading when you add more than a drop of this chemical.

Other interferences: 

Default or old indicators could lead to inaccurate test results. Therefore, upon purchase, ensure your indicator is far from its expiry date. But if you encounter this issue, use a fresh reagent as an alternative.

A chemical known as Poly(hexamethylene) biguanide leads to a peculiar reading when present in the sample. Even so, you don’t need to correct the test sample, the blue to yellow color change is correct. If the sample contains over 30ppm of cyanuric acid, the test results become inaccurate.

Copper/iron test

Copper tests give false readings when large concentrations of iron are in the test sample. Presuming that you encounter this type of problem, dilute the test sample and identify how much concentration of iron is in the sample. Or you can employ a digital reader to identify concentrations of copper and iron.

Calcium hardness test (drop test) 

Calcium hardness tests get affected by metal ions from pipes, water, and algaecides. Some of the most common metals are copper, iron, and manganese. You will identify the presence of these metals in the test sample when there is a purple or red color. If you wish to fix the problem, get a mew sample and put in 5 -6 drops of the titrant. Afterward, add the buffer and indicator and continue with regular pool water testing.

Ultimately, don’t get shocked by false readings. From this article, you can identify what problem your pool is facing as well as fix it.

Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine's own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine's home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you'd like to share with Pool Magazine? Email mpacker@poolmagazine.com your story idea.

Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Pool Metals and Metal Staining

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Pool Metals and Metal Staining

Metals are naturally existing elements found in every place; in water, soil and stones. Metals in soil and stones dissolve in acidic rainwater, which is then carried to surface water and groundwater. Through this, the dissolved metals find their way to pools and tubs when filled. Exposure of metals to water cause staining on pool surfaces and equipment. This article discusses the techniques to control the presence of pool metals. It also discusses the different kinds of metal staining and the relevant chemicals to eliminate and hinder stains.

Pool Metals and Metal Staining

Metals in pools and hot tub water

There are 91 existing metals, but only 6 are problematic to hot tubs and pools. The 6 metals include magnesium, copper, cobalt, iron, manganese and calcium. Here we will only discuss 4 that are cobalt, copper, magnesium and iron.

Fill water, inclusive of almost all municipal and well water supplies that fill hot tubs and pools, contains a few metals. It is advisable to test for metal concentration in source water before filling the hot tubs and pools.

Tests for iron and copper are easily accessible, though the majority only measures the free form of the dissolved metals. They also do not test the sequestered and complexed forms of dissolved metals. A two-phase metal test containing adequate reducing and releasing agents give better results on free, complexed and some oxidized metals.

Sources of metal contamination in the pool and hot tub water are plaster and pebble surfaces, water features, decking materials, metal equipment, galvanic corrosion, chemicals and runoff.

In addition, flagstone, marble and stone contain iron that leaches into the pool after every rainfall. Imbalanced water may cause the introduction of copper from heat exchangers found in gas-fired water heaters. Moreover, copper-based algaecides and mineral-based water treatment may be a source of pool metals. Plant fertilizers can also introduce metals when incorrectly applied or due to uncontrolled flooding. More sources of metal include irrigation methods with well water.

Preventing stains

Water Treatment

Avoid using untreated water with high metal concentration (higher than 1ppm) in hot tubs or pool. Treat the water when the metal concentration is higher than 0.2 ppm. Sediment filters (10 microns or less) eliminate the majority of the bigger oxidized particles. Use filters that have metal adsorbents to treat water, to minimize dissolved metals concentration.

Primary Sanitizers and Stabilizers

Maintain proper concentration of primary sanitizers and other similar stabilizers to prevent organic contaminants. These include; pathogens, non-hazardous bacteria and algae minimizing the need for a copper-based algaecide.

Bonding of Metals and Water

The majority of the pool and hot tub equipment are metal-made. For example, electrolytic halogen generators, the heating core of electric heat pump, gas-fired pool and hot tub heaters, ladders, light rings and handrails.

To enhance chemical and electrical safety, install a bonding system in the hot tub or pool. The bonding system involves joining the copper wire with all the metal elements and water combined. This minimizes electric potential difference. Lack of this system, enables dissolution of pool metals, causing staining that damages the equipment. This is the process known as galvanic corrosion and can heighten due to several factors such as salt water, stray direct current as well as its power supplies. Anodes (zinc metal) reduce the damage on the equipment but don’t deal with the cause of corrosion. Test the bonding system every year, or any other time there is corrosion.

Pool & Hot Tub pH

pH is the most vital yet most ignored factor in preventing metal release in water. Low pH water (below 7) is acidic and corrosive. Acidic water dissolves metals from the pool equipment.

Improper water chemistry harms pool surfaces and machinery. Always ensure to maintain an accurate pH, alkalinity (carbonate) and calcium (hardness). If inadequate, water draws carbonate and calcium from cementitious surfaces, discharging metals into the water.

Sequestering Agents

Sequestering agents join with the dissolved pool metals to reduce oxidation hence reduces staining. They chelate the metals, not eliminate them. They require a complex modern ultra filtration system to remove sequestered metal particles as the particles are too small for the pool filtration system. Add this agent on a regular basis, as a secondary disinfection and primary sanitizer systems keep on destroying them.

Ways to reduce metal concentration in hot tubs and pool water

  • Bind the metals using polymer and water-insoluble natural adsorbents
  • Filter the water through a reverse osmosis system
  • Remove and replace a part of the water with fresh metal-free water

Removing stains from the pool and hot tub surfaces

1. Metal stain removal from the surface

2. Chelation of the dissolved metals in the water with a sequestering agent

3. Elimination of the metals from the water.

To get rid of pool metals and metal stains, add oxalic acid, ascorbic acid and citric acid or a similar product into the pool water. An experienced pool service expert should only execute the use of Muriatic acid in the removal of metal stains as it can lead to permanent damage to the pool surface. Chelation of dissolved metals and minimizing concentrations of dissolved metal have been earlier tackled.

Figuring out the difference between metal stains and those by organic contamination can be difficult. For evaluation, establish the origin of the stain, asses the water chemistry and test the stain with either citric acid or ascorbic acid.

Note: Some organic stains, similar to those brought about by iron bacteria, vanish after treatment with ascorbic acid but return with the introduction of chlorine residuals.

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Selling Automatic Pool Cleaners Online

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Selling Automatic Pool Cleaners Online

Amidst the pandemic this summer, Rene Huston, president of Patio Pleasures acknowledges an increase in their sales, of up to 10 pools in a day, if available. The unanticipated pandemic that led to the cancellation of travel plans had people invest that money for their backyard luxury. This is no wonder; there is an increase in the sales of automatic pool cleaners, especially high-quality robotic models. Clients also opt to invest cash they would have used elsewhere to enjoy the benefits of the long-term, cost-efficient APC’s.

Since their introduction in the 1950s, automatic pool cleaners have become part of pools in North America due to their personality and efficiency. They move around the pool on their own, cleaning the pools, hence minimizing the need for manual vacuuming and sweeping.

Jeannie Pearcy, owner of SwimFun Pool & Patio in Olathe, Kansas, United States, tells her clients a pool cleaner is similar to a Roomba for your pool.

Recently, online competition affected APC sales at brick and mortar vendors. Reacting to retailer’s complaints, APC producers began making ‘trade-only’ products. These products are only physically accessible through pool and spa shops. These products come with extra features like additional supplies longer warranties or refundable offers. Furthermore, you can access and depend on service from the vendor and manufacturer. Discussing with pool and spa vendors, there are varying opinions on the sell of automatic pool cleaners.

Store manager for Outback Pools & Spas in Wichita Falls, TX., Jimmy Cooper, appreciates manufacturers for looking out for their welfare too. Clients get to experience what a brick and mortar can do. Customers can purchase these pool products online though you can have horrible encounters with them. This gives the stores a chance to enlighten clients on what they can do.

Online vs Retail stores

It may seem like the ideal service to request for a robotic automatic pool cleaner from your home and have it brought within two days. However, their satisfaction can be short-lived either with the delivery of the wrong product or early failure of the product.

Most clients come to Huston’s store, complaining of an ineffective online product. They use this opportunity to explain the advantages if they had bought it from them. Such discussions and encounters build the confidence of customers in brick and mortar vendors.

Moreover, when online clients take their automatic pool cleaners to Cooper’s store for maintenance or service, he cannot do anything about it because the product is not from his store. He instead offers to sell them a similar product from his store. To ease their frustrations, he explains the benefits of buying from stores.

With this approach, Cooper believes he has changed the opinion of half of the online buyers to in store clients.

For years, Huston has avoided servicing online bought goods. However, now her opinion has begun to change. At times, it depends on how busy they are at a particular time though she’s still unsettled. She’s a bit receptive, taking into consideration the profits they could earn.

Maintenance Intervals

One of the significant selling points of an automatic pool cleaner is its ability to somehow get rid of the pool guy, as Cooper states.

Cooper calculates with his clients an hour service each week for a year in comparison to purchasing a cleaner. They realise a $1000 or $1500 cleaners operating two or three hours in a day for a year is cheaper than they thought.

The service crew is not always there, and the pool requires cleaning between their visits. Even with an automatic pool cleaner, manual work like scrubbing the pool walls requires the service crew. Depending on the water environment, manual vacuuming may also be necessary.

Selling Game Plan

Since APCs are more virtually intriguing compared to other pool equipment, retailers depend on popular displays in the store to start a discussion with a client.

After capturing the customer’s attention, Huston urges would-be buyers to go with a unit home and try it out. This program at Patio pleasures permits clients day access to the unit. When returned, they do a far check to ensure the unit is clean, the baskets and other pieces still in place.

The program, try before you buy, has also worked for Pearcy. Even if the Client does not purchase the unit, then, they include it in their purchase wish list and save up for it. Furthermore, SwimFun sells the season’s trial unit at a cheaper price with a limited warranty.

Cooper recognizes that persuading clients on the advantages of an automatic cleaner has become simpler. This is due to the increase of dependence and convenience of technology though some purchasers are still ignorant.

With a number of sales strategies in place, verbal means is the most powerful convincing method in the sell of automatic pool cleaners. This is the reason the product will remain a powerful sale in the retail sector.

Conclusion

Huston notes that pool owners are seeking ways to maintain their pools happy and healthy. Time is of the essence; get an automatic pool cleaner as it is the ideal choice for your pool.

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End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

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End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

The end of every pool season is a vital opportunity to finalize the summer’s last good swims and ensure that the following season is better. Accurate pool winterizing techniques rely on geographical location. However, closing products safeguard pools from the off-season impacts and eases the opening period. This saves on time and cash. Worry less with the products offered below that safeguard your pool during the winter season.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Ramuc Pool Paint

Ramuc’s Clean & Prep solution is ideal for cleaning pool surfaces before closure. This helps to guarantee clean pool walls and set for the opening during spring. It eliminates debris, oil and other pollutants that form on the pool surface during the season. This product is effective in cleaning, removing grease stains and dissolving mineral deposits. It works on concrete, painted surfaces, fiberglass, gunite and bare plaster. It is a volatile organic compound with no smell nor fume and is biodegradable.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Automatic Pool Covers

Automatic Pool Covers offers the ultimate APC 365. This is a high-quality automatic safety cover system unique for vinyl-lined pools. The system uses a coping and housing structure that permits an automatic cover joined to the pool. It’s designed for easy installation with a 48-by-48-inch enclosed coping and wall cap corner to guarantee a 100% correct fit. APC 365 System utilizes a slide-on polybox shelter to saves on installation time and maintains the housing’s lid with the flush deck.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

McEwen Industries

McEwen Super Solid is the toughest and puncture-repellant hard cover material, the company affirms. This strong fabric is lighter in weight compared to a traditional solid cover. This makes its installation and removal simpler as well as saves on time. It is accessible in a variety of colors.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Natural Chemistry

Natural Chemistry’s Hassle Free Kit consists of 2 items that set pools up for easy openings. Pool Magic, together with Phosfree, contains natural enzymes to disintegrate remaining nonliving waste from the pool season. This is to minimize off-season scum lines. The modern upgraded kit box consists of Metal Free compounds to avoid metal staining and scales throughout winter, without including harmful phosphates.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

ProTeam

ProTeam Winter combination offers an easy, single-step product to aid shield pool surfaces from staining and scaling over the winter. This revolutionary formula consists of ProTeam Sub-Zero Crystals that offer extra safety against popular pool winterizing challenges. Further, it offers added pool water softeners to help with easier pool openings. It can also treat up to 15,000 gallons with one application.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Aladdin

Accessible in 5 varying designs, this SkimSaver Lid’L Seal will fit most common broad and regular openings inground and aboveground skimmers. The product permits drainage of the skimmer, not the pool, preventing corrosion of the metallic pool walls throughout the year. Additionally, recessive lid helps to it getting removed by shifting ice. This leads to expensive freeze destruction to your skimmer.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Anchor Industries

The Anchor’s Defender mesh and Standard mesh covers have webbing that’s sewn on every cover base. This feature offers support strength and a flat, smooth surface to avoid debris build up during winter. Mesh pool covers are self-draining. They drain water from the cover throughout winter. The Defender Mesh pool cover minimizes the loss of chemicals from pool water. Furthermore, it prevents entry of debris into the water and shields children or animals from falling in.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Merlin Industries

Pool owners can get the best blend of tear strength, sunlight shade, and abrasion resistance thanks to Merlin’s standard mesh, Dura-Mesh II. Moreover, it offer a unique patented SmartMesh pool safety cover. This is the only fabric to give 100% sunlight shade and give 40-micron debris filtration.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

LOOP-LOC

Deck-Loc, a LOOP-LOC product, is a no-drill support system for composite decks. As the company states, owners can install pool covers on composite decks without boring any hole. It offers protection by turning the locks until they clinch beneath the deck boards. Using Deck-Loc renders the pool undamaged. Its material, 316 marine-grade stainless steel, is resistant to corrosion.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

SimPoolTec

Pool experts are aware that when pool winterizing, draining less water from the pool will minimize damage to the liners, winter covers and fiberglass pools. Skimmer Plugs offer all these advantages with a fast, dependable and cost-efficient technique of pool winterizing above and inground skimmers. Furthermore, it forms a watertight seal when dipped into the skimmer’s current faceplate. This ensures there is no wastage of water, tools and time. They are accessible to fit every skimmer with sales materials and displays helping you sell more plugs.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Jack’s Magic Products

Jack’s Magic Super Pacs are a dry, unrefined multi-enzyme that prevents the accumulation of oils, grease, suntan lotions and other organic pollutants that cause scum lines in pools and spas. They work very well in high chlorine amounts, up to 50ppm. The phosphate-free product enhances filter efficiency, minimizes the use of chemicals and aids to prevent dull, unclear water. An ounce of the products treats 20,000 gallons of pool water in fourteen days. For application, place the water-soluble pouch in the skimmer basket.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

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