Over the years Ashley’s Pool Service has installed and serviced many pool vacuum types for customers. In a previous blog post we’ve outlined and detailed the different pool vacuums available and the benefits and pool environments in which each one excels at operating. These vacuums can range from cheap ($90) to expensive ($500+) vacuums and each one has it’s pros and cons.
One thing we’ve noticed is that just because a vacuum is more expensive doesn’t mean it will last longer or perform better. About 3 years ago Ashley’s Pool Service started recommending to customers the $90 XtremePowerUS Automatic Suction Vacuum. This product is recommended to customers that wanted a pool vacuum but didn’t have the budget to spend hundreds of dollars on the more popular name brand ones. In comparison, you could buy three of these vacuums over the cost of many other name brand vacuums. Since then, she’s installed this vacuum in 10+ pools for a wide variety of pool types and environments and has found that this vacuum, while being substantially cheaper than others, performs very well. Our recommendation is that only customers with in-ground concrete pool surfaces should use this vacuum. It may cause damage to vinyl pool liners.
I want to reiterate, that this is not the best vacuum on the market. There are many other vacuums that have better cleaning features, patterns, and are more stylish or quieter. But I’ve found that for the price this vacuum can be the perfect cleaning tool for pools that just need that little extra cleaning during the week.
Ashley recommends this vacuum for mostly any in-ground concrete pool. Many of her customers are quite surprised by the performance and reliability this cheaper alternative pool vacuum gives them, especially when considering the price. Below we outline the pros and cons we’ve noticed for the multiple years and 10+ vacuums we’ve installed of the XtremePower vacuum.
Cheap reasonable price so it can meet many budget ranges
One single moving part, which results in less internal mechanics to break
Comes with the required pool hoses to attach the vacuum to an existing skimmer or vacuum port
Works well to clean pollen or dirt from screened in pools
Works very well in environments that often give other vacuums a difficult time. Small leafy debris and acorns can cause robotic or diaphragm vacuums to become clogged or stuck. This vacuum has a larger opening without the delicate suction or moving parts of other cleaning vacuums.
The rear of the vacuum chamber can become clogged with decaying leaves. Clearing the leaves out is easy with something long and thin.
Pools with a vinyl liner may be prone to damage
Like many vacuums, the hole on the bottom is about an inch in diameter. So large debris may not be picked up.
Like many non-robotic vacuums the vacuum randomly ‘crawls’ along the surface in an undefined pattern.
If you’re interested, the vacuum can be purchased from online for around $90.
The good majority of all pools, in one way or another, use chlorine to prevent the buildup of algae and other contaminates. Chlorine can be added in the form of a liquid, dry powder, or tabs (salt – sodium chloride – is another method to generate this chemical using a salt system. That will be explained in a later post). A lot of people ask me when’s the best time to use each type, and well that’s largely dependent on the pool, environment conditions, other chemical levels, and personal preference. I find that in the hot summer months using all three forms provide the best results when I am only servicing the pool one time per week. The liquid chlorine gives the sudden boost to get the levels balanced, then the dry and tabs help provide the stabilizer and longer term chemicals to keep the levels from dropping before my next visit. For pools more susceptible to issues, I will generally leave a jug of liquid chlorine for my customers to add in the event of a hard rain or problem.
The best way to check the levels of your pool chlorine is by using a chlorine test. You can quickly do this at home by using the AquaCheck 7 Test Strips. I personally use these every day to check the chlorine levels of my customer’s pools because I believe they are accurate and user friendly. In addition, they show seven of the important chemical levels, including hardness, pH, and cyanuric acid, that impact pool cleanliness and health.
This post assumes familiarity with stabilizer (cyanuric acid). Refer to the post on stabilizer here for more information.
This form of chlorine is what most people are familiar with. It comes in those 2.5 gallon yellow or orange jugs and is very obviously a bleaching agent. These are normally ~12% chlorine by volume with the rest of the volume being water and are about at 13 on the PH scale (that’s the top of the chart). Continue reading →
Cyanuric acid, also known as pool stabilizer or conditioner, is my best friend in the hot Florida summer months. The level has to be monitored just as much as chlorine, and if left unchecked it can end up causing one of the worst problems a pool owner can face.
Cyanuric acid can be found in many chemicals added to a swimming pool. It’s most notably found in dry granular and concentrated pucks of chlorine. Though it can also be added by itself as raw cyanuric acid/stabilizer. By adding in dry chlorine or tabs you are usually adding stabilizer along with them. This is a very good thing in the majority of cases, unless it’s the only form of chlorine you are adding and your cyanuric acid level is high.
What’s its role:
Cyanuric acid performs one crucial role: It helps stabilize and protect the existing free chlorine in the pool water from being burned up naturally by the sun’s intense ultraviolet rays. Continue reading →
I’ve been asked before, how much water is too much or too little? An easy answer is always keep your water level at least one inch above the skimmer. If water drops below the skimmer your pump will be pulling in air. This will lower the life of your pool pump’s motor, and those aren’t cheap to replace. Many people ask me to lower their water for them because they think it’s too high. If the water level is one inch above the skimmer, and does not overflow out of the pool or cover the skimmer opening then your water level is fine. Keeping the water too high on the skimmer opening can lower the flow rate of water into the skimmer, which can cause debris to pass by the skimmer opening. Some people like it higher and some lower. Just remember it’s important to keep the skimmer in mind!
Want to learn how to take water out of your pool? Contact Us, I’d love to show you how.
When talking about a D.E. filter, there are a couple of terms you should be familiar with First, D.E. stands for Diatomaceous Earth. This is actually a white powder with the consistency of flour. Attached to your filter is valve with a lever. This is used to change where we want the flow of water to go. When backwashing, I use this lever and point it from filter to backwash. What this does is “backwashes” or dumps all of the D.E. powder out of your system. The D.E. powder has been working hard, collecting dirt and particles. When we remove the water and D.E. powder mixture, it might be gray to black depending on how much dirt the filter has collected. The process for this takes a few minutes. When done, I take fresh powder and add it back into the filter.
Some times the filter can get backed up and clog. About once every year we need to breakdown the entire filter system. To begin I must release and pressure, and remove the band for around the middle of the filter. Inside the filter is a element which can be compared to a cartridge filter, this holds the D.E. powder. This element needs to be physically removed and cleaned thoroughly. When the element is replaced and the filter put back together, we can add fresh D.E. powder to the filter.
Both kinds of cleaning should only be done if you are comfortable with the system. Many things must be done in order, and properly, or the system may break in several places or cause harmful damage to the person. We do both these methods for D.E. filters. If you think your D.E. filter needs to be broken down contact us, we would love to help!
Communication of something small can be a big help
I have a personal belief that phone calls from a pool customer can be a great thing, it especially helps when we perform your pool service. Timely communication between the pool owner and the service technician about problems ensures the problem is understood and can be treated quickly. Remember that this is your pool and becoming more familiar and knowledgeable is something I’d love to help you with. If you think that something is wrong with your pool, always communicate it to me no matter how little you might think it is. Being there for a short period once a week may not be enough to notice some problems. When you swim do your eyes burn? Is there a funny smell in your pool? Do you see something I don’t?
Many people don’t report these things for many reasons. By reaching out for knowledge you can learn if the problem is normal, can be fixed, or even alert me to an issue that I can fix before it becomes a problem. Many people are busy, but Email is a great way to reach me on your own time. Email me your questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or if it’s an emergency call me as soon as possible. My job is to make sure you are swimming safely and happily, lets work together to make sure this always happens. Small problems can easily turn into large problems, and the smaller the problem generally the easier and cheaper it is to remedy.
Did you know the quality of your pool systems circulation is critical to the cleanliness of your pool? Here’s some things you can do yourself to keep your pool looking blue. The circulation system cycles your pool water through the filtration system, thus cleaning any contaminates in the water. Circulating the pool water also serves to “stir” of the chemicals present in the pool to make use of their full potential. Here’s some tips for maintaining good pool circulation:
Keeping your pool circulation system on for at a minimum of 8 hours a day is best for keeping your pool crystal clear and blue. If you don’t already have an automatic timer to start and stop your circulation system, we will be happy to install one for you.
Keep your skimmer basket clean by checking it daily and scooping out any built up debris.
Keep your pool jets pointing a consistent direction so they create a circular flow of water around the pool.
Even though a pool service will (read: should) clean out debris from your pool, sometimes things like leaves and dirt can pile up in between weekly visits. The debris in your pool do a few harmful things to your pool like:
Interrupt circulation flow
Introduce contaminants to the water
Create clogs in the circulation system
The following tips can help keep the pool clear of debris:
If you notice that the pool is pretty heavy on floating debris, such as leaves after a storm, and it will be a few days before the next service visit, using your pool net to scoop out even a few handfuls of leaves will be beneficial to the health of your pool.
If wind is consistently your enemy by blowing dirt, pollen, and other small contaminates into your pool, consider buying a automatic pool vacuum. While pool services will vacuum out your pool when it needs it, there’s 6 other days of the week that your pool has debris sitting in it. We will be happy to recommend a specific vacuum to meet your needs, the best place to buy it, and even install it for you when we come out for our weekly service.