To ensure that you get the maximum enjoyment from your liner, we’d like to share with you some tips on the care and maintenance of your pool, that we have gathered throughout more than 50 years in this industry.
We’re confident that if you follow these tips, you’ll save yourself a great deal of money both by maximizing the life of your liner and by reducing your expenses for pool chemicals.
Water samples should always be taken at least one foot below the water line and away from return outlets to ensure that the samples are representative of the main water body.
Before checking these samples, make sure that all the analytical testing equipment is clean and functional and that chemical testing reagents are fresh. Results obtained from defective equipment and reagents can themselves be defective, leading to the addition of wrong chemical dosages and inadvertent damage to the liner.
When your water is properly balanced, and a sanitizing agent such as chlorine is added to control bacteria and other contaminants, the result is ideal swimming pool water. Your local pool professional, working from his own considerable knowledge of pool chemistry and backed by the instructions of the various chemical manufacturers, is a valuable resource in attaining this goal. Water balance is a very complex subject. Total alkalinity and calcium hardness, for instance, will vary from area to area depending on the local water supply. Therefore, you should check with your local pool professional to see what value is best for your area. Around the country we have found the following water balance data to work well:
|Parameter||Recommended Range||Test Frequency|
|pH||7.2 to 7.6||Daily|
|Total Alkalinity||80 to 120 ppm||Weekly|
|Calcium Hardness||150 to 250 ppm||Monthly|
|Free Chlorine||1.0 to 1.5 ppm||Daily|
|ppm = parts per million|
The most important factor in the control of water chemistry is pH. The pH is the measure of the acidity and alkalinity of the water, with 7.0 being neutral. Never allow the pH to fall below 7.0 into the acid range. Below 7.0 complex interactions occur which are very harmful to the liner. In this range, the liner actually “grows” and develops unsightly wrinkles that cannot be removed, and the liner ages prematurely.
Chlorine abuse is a major cause of liner degradation. A high concentration of chlorine will attack the liner, bleach it, cause it to “alligator”, and make the vinyl deteriorate rapidly. Therefore, you must never allow chlorine to come into contact with the liner before it has been fully dissolved and thoroughly dispersed in the water.
If you use granular chlorine, dissolve it in a bucket of water, pour the liquid around the pool perimeter, and thoroughly agitate the water to ensure that the chlorine is thoroughly dispersed. Never just throw the granules into the pool, as they can collect on the bottom and attack the vinyl.
If you use tableted chlorine, you should either dissolve it in a bucket of water as for granular, or add it to a properly functioning feeder. Never add them directly to the pool, because they will certainly attack the vinyl. If you use calcium hypochlorite tablets, you should not add them to the skimmer, as the chlorine can migrate back into the pool when the filter is turned off and attack the liner wall in the area of the skimmer.
If you use liquid chlorine, pour it around the pool perimeter and agitate the water to thoroughly disperse it.
To make sure the chlorine is thoroughly dispersed, it’s a good idea in all cases to have the circulating pump running for a minimum of four hours after addition of chemicals.
Keep your filtration system in good working order so it can remove impurities and help in the dispersal of pool chemicals.
When adding chemicals to your pool water, remember that “more” is not “better.” Too much may actually be harmful to your liner, and is certainly a waste of money.
For the sake of safety, never mix chemicals together. Add them one at a time. And always add chemicals to water – never the other way around.
Never drain the pool to the point where you have less than about one foot of water in the shallow end. If the water pressure is removed from the liner, even for a short time, the liner may shrink. In addition to being unsightly, this can cause the liner to tear in the corners or around fittings or steps.
Most liners will eventually get a “bathtub ring” at the waterline from the accumulation of body oils, suntan lotions, etc. These can usually be removed by specially formulated cleaners that your pool dealer has available. But be sure that they are the kind meant for vinyl liners. Avoid the use of abrasive cleaning agents like steel wool, sharp bristled brushes, scouring pads, etc., as these can damage your liner. Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other petroleum based products, as these can cause your liner to deteriorate rapidly.
If you should ever develop a leak in your liner, special patching glues are available from your pool dealer that allow you to repair the liner underwater, without having to drain the water.