Question: Should I take care of my pool myself?

In order to properly maintain your pool to ensure a clean and healthy swimming environment, you’ll have to adhere to a strict weekly maintenance schedule. It will include the balancing of all the pools chemical levels (chlorine, alkalinity, free chlorine, PH and TDS), brushing all your pools walls and steps, vacuuming your pool, emptying canisters to remove debris and more!  If you’re a homeowner that really LIKES to maintain everything around the house then this may be the way to go. If so, consider our Pool Orientation and Training Service. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about maintaining your pool step-by-step. However, if you’re doing it in hopes of saving a few bucks on pool service then it may not be the most economical way to go.

Keep in mind that our certified pool and spa professionals are trained to notice subtle changes in your pools performance. If they sense an issue they can immediately address it BEFORE it becomes a major problem. This kind of expertise is not something the common pool owner has but it will save you a lot of money and worries in the long run.

Wouldn’t you rather be spending time enjoying your pool rather than worrying about it? Eliminate the headache of pool maintenance and have the certified professionals at Guardian Pool Care maintain your pool for you.

Question: Does a pool really need to be serviced every week?

YES, weekly service is mandatory. It doesn’t take long for your pool to become unbalanced and problematic. Consistent maintenance is the only way to keep it sparkling clean and ready for use.

Question: What are the key things I need to do to take care of my pool?

1. Monitoring
The importance of monitoring and maintaining the chemical balance is critical! Pool owners may forget to check the pool water as often as they need to or think it is okay to do it less frequently.  This often means that restoring the chemical balance of the pool requires a big adjustment. Make sure you are monitoring the chemistry of your pool water at least once a week in the off-season and twice a week or more when temperatures are hot and usage is high.

2. Chemistry
Failing to maintain the proper chemical balance or to take action to correct any imbalance can quickly lead to problems.  Pool chemicals work together so it is important to understand their interactive effects.  For instance, if the pH of the water gets too high, it impacts the effectiveness of the chlorine.

3. Keep things clean
The skimmer basket, pump basket, inline traps and even the filter need to be cleaned / replaced as needed to keep water circulating and the pump and other equipment operating properly. It is also critical that the tile walls are cleaned often enough to inhibit the growth of algae.

4.  Adding chemicals when they are needed
Adding chemicals when needed is a must!

5. Keeping up with minor repairs
Pool owners who disregard small repairs are running the risk that those small problems will become big, expensive problems or safety hazards.

6. Circulation
Many pool owners don’t run their pool pump long enough to ensure the water is circulating and the water flow is adequate to maintain the chemical balance and inhibit the growth of algae.  The ideal is that all the water in the pool is circulated or “turned over” once every 24 hours, especially in the hot summer months.

7. Monitor water levels
In order for the skimmers and pump to operate optimally, the water level in the pool must be monitored and maintained.  If the water level in the pool gets too low, these pieces of equipment cannot operate efficiently which often results in excessive and unnecessary wear and tear.  Many pools have auto fillers that do the job for you.  If not, ask us about installing one for you.

8. Minimize the amount of debris that goes in your pool
While landscaping helps create an inviting setting for your pool area, plant debris adds to algae growth.  Keep your trees and shrubs around the pool trimmed and neat.

Question: Is it really necessary for my pool pump to run every day?

Yes. The purpose of your pool pump is to circulate your water and prevent it from sitting stagnant.  Your pump should turn the water in your pool over at least once per day.

Question: Why should I hire a pool service company?

The answer is simple, less work and peace of mind.  A pool is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so why stress over it? Leave the work to us! It’s also never a bad idea to have a professional watching over your pool system to ensure everything is maintained and operating correctly.

Sooner or later most homeowners run into trouble and they end up calling a pool service company anyway. Unfortunately, the problem has become severe enough that it often takes a moderate amount of attention to remedy. Unexpected costs like this could be avoided by having a professional pool service company maintain your pool.

Question: What should I consider when hiring a pool service company?

The things you should consider are:

  • Is the pool company properly licensed and insured?
  • Are they certified pool and spa operators (CPO) through the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)?
  • Do they have 5+ years of experience in the pool service industry?
  • Do they have a high level of customer service and proof of their customer’s satisfaction?
  • Are they accredited with the Better Business Bureau?

We all know the old adage “you get what you pay for” or in other words, “cheaper isn’t always better”.  Consider the value the company offers – what do they do for the price they charge.  An inexperienced company or technician can end up costing you dearly.

Question: What should I consider when hiring a pool service company?

The things you should consider are:

  • Is the pool company properly licensed and insured?
  • Are they certified pool and spa operators (CPO) through the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)?
  • Do they have 5+ years of experience in the pool service industry?
  • Do they have a high level of customer service and proof of their customer’s satisfaction?
  • Are they accredited with the Better Business Bureau?

We all know the old adage “you get what you pay for” or in other words, “cheaper isn’t always better”.  Consider the value the company offers – what do they do for the price they charge.  An inexperienced company or technician can end up costing you dearly.

Question: What is the ideal range for pool chemicals?

Water chemistry can vary slightly from pool to pool but here is a general ideal range:

  • Free Available Chlorine:  1-3ppm
  • Combined Available Chlorine: 0ppm
  • Total Available Chlorine:  1-3ppm
  • pH:  7.2-7.8
  • Total Alkalinity:  80-140ppm
  • Calcium Hardness:  200-600ppm

Question: How often should my pool water chemistry be tested?

Residential pools should be tested and adjusted NO LESS than once a week (the more often, the better). The sanitizer in a swimming pool makes it safe for swimmers, the pH and other chemical balances keep the pool system in good shape.

Question: My pool is cloudy, how do I fix it?

Pool water clarity is dependent on two things: the effectiveness of the filter and the chemical balance in the pool. The pool’s filter provides 85% of the water clarity and the chemicals used to treat a pool add the other 15%. Chemicals or filters alone cannot keep a pool clear. If the filter media is old it may need replacing. If the pool ‘balance’ is wrong it needs to be corrected. The problem usually associated with a cloudy pool is the filter media. A Diotenacaus Earth (D. E.) filter may need a manual cleaning, a sand filter may need backwashing or replacement of the sand, a cartridge filter usually always requires replacement of the cartridges. If the pool water chemistry is okay, it’s time to perform maintenance on the filter.

Question: What does “Shocking” a pool do?

Shocking or super chlorinating a pool means that an incredibly large amount of chlorine is added in a small amount of time, ideally raising the chlorine level above 10ppm. This essentially “shocks” your water and kills most harmful pathogens. It is necessary to shock a pool in many situations, the most common being when the pool has severe algae problems.

Question: Why do I get algae?

Algae is a plant that grows in water. It is quite common for pool owners to deal with algae from time to time.  Algae can occur for many reasons, some of which are low chlorine levels and plant debris.  Several types of algae are chlorine resistant (“black algae), so despite having perfect pool chemistry you could end up with some form of algae.  Avoiding high phosphate levels is also important.

Question: What is the white build up on my tile?

This build up is calcium resulting from Arizona’s notoriously hard water. It is not preventable and cannot be removed sufficiently by a simple weekly brushing. A process called bead blasting is used to shoot small glass beads at the build up and chip it away. There are chemicals that can be used to help slow the rate of accumulation, so if this is a recurring issue with your pool, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your options!

Question: Why isn’t my pool cleaner working?

A pool cleaner may not work right because there is a problem in the system such as, no suction, valves not set right, impeller clogged or improper flow but these reasons aren’t typical.

Most of the time you simply have a bunch of leaves or a rock lodged in the cleaner that’s preventing it from moving.  The first thing you should do is shut off the equipment, remove your cleaner from the pool, check the bottom for obstructions and remove it. With the obstruction removed, submerse the cleaner into your pool, turn on your pump then check your cleaner again.  Most likely it will be working. If not, it may be a problem mentioned above or it may need new parts. If you can’t figure it out, just call us and we will get things running right for you.

Question: Why is the pressure gauge on the filter high?

There are several reasons a filter gauge pressure can be excessive. The filter needs backwashing or cleaning (cartridge), the return line valves (the pipes that direct water back to the pool) are shut or partially closed or the filter needs to have new media installed – D. E. manual breakdown, new filter sand, or a new cartridge element.

Question: Why is the pressure gauge on the filter low?

A low pressure on the filter gauge usually indicates that water is not being allowed to get to the pool pump.  The usual causes are that the skimmer baskets and the pump strainer basket are clogged with debris, there could be a leak at the suction side of the pump, the pool water level is too low and the skimmer is sucking air, the skimmer weir (the little door in the mount of the skimmer) is stuck in the up position and must be freed, or the pump lid o-ring is missing or seated incorrectly (may just need lubrication).

Question: When should I backwash my filter?

The industry standard for backwashing is when the filter gauge shows a pressure that is five to ten pounds higher than a ‘clean’ pressure.  All filters work by forcing water through a porous media which traps the larger particles from the water.  When the filter media is clean, the water passes easily through and the gauge pressure is lower.  As debris is caught in the media it is harder to push the water through the filter which makes the gauge pressure higher.  When enough debris is in the filter to clog it up by five to ten pounds, it’s time to backwash (or clean a cartridge filter).  Call us and we will be glad to schedule a visit to insure your equipment is optimal.

Question: How often should my D. E. filter be manually cleaned?

While periodic backwashing takes care of most of the debris inside a D. E. filter, only ‘breaking down’ the filter and manually cleaning it will get rid of all the debris.  Filter manufacturers recommend that a filter be manually cleaned at least twice a year (spring and fall are best).  In Arizona, dust storms may create a need to clean the filter more frequently.  To prevent damage the filter should be cleaned by a professional, however, anyone who is mechanically handy can take on the task of opening the filter, cleaning the grids, inspecting the grid assembly, and reassembling the filter.  Call us to schedule an appointment to have your filter elements cleaned or with questions you may have if you decide to clean them yourself.

Question: How often should I change the water in my pool?

Constant evaporation leaves minerals behind in your pool.  As the minerals build up so does the level of dissolved solids and water hardness.  When this happens, it becomes difficult to maintain a proper balance of chemicals and it’s harder to prevent stains.  Luckily, this only needs to be done about once every three to five years. If you feel it’s time for your pool to be drained and refilled with fresh water and proper start up chemicals Guardian Pool Care can help.

Question: Is a salt chlorinated system better than a hand chlorinated system?

Salt chlorinators do have many advantages over hand chlorinated system.  The salt chlorinator sanitizes pool water by converting the salt in the water to a chlorine gas, sanitizing your water and then changing back to salt.  Adding fresh water to the pool does cause the salt levels to drop therefore salt pools do require salt to be added, usually two to three times per year.

Also, the salt in the water works as a natural water softener, creating a much more comfortable environment to swim in comparison to the harshness of a hand-chlorinated pool.

Safety is also a factor. When it comes to pools, the most important thing is that your family is kept safe from bacteria and algae.  Chlorine does not have a long life and therefore even if you test the water for chlorine prior to swimming and find the level is correct, after an hour or so that chlorine could have completely dissipated, leaving the water open for dangerous bacteria.  Because a salt chlorinator will continue to sanitize your pool while the pool is in use, the chlorine in the water is constantly being replaced with “new chlorine”, keeping the water sanitized at all times and keeping your family safe.

Salt cells do require manual periodic cleaning and maintenance.  Also your swimming pool’s pH will tend to run very high and require constant monitoring.

Question: How often does the salt cell in my salt chlorinator need to be cleaned?

It depends on the type of system you have but typically every two to three weeks is required, primarily, when you see white build up on the plates in the generation unit. If you use Guardian Pool Care’s weekly pool service we’ll clean them as often as needed.

Question: Why is my pool equipment leaking?

As pool equipment ages it develops stress fractures in the plastic and the metal because of the pressures involved and the equipment vibration.  Almost any pool equipment leak involves the replacement of worn or defective parts.  Some equipment leaks are very minor but all leaks should be repaired as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage.  We recommend that you note the location of the leak, the model name of the device that is leaking, and call us with this information for service.

Question: Why is water constantly running out my backwash line?

The backwash valve is under pressure from the pump, and so if a failure occurs in the backwash valve, water will tend to ‘squirt out’. The two main reasons for this problem are that the valve gaskets have unseated or are missing, or the gaskets and o-rings need lubrication. If your backwash line is leaking, call us to schedule an appointment for repair. A leaky backwash line can cause a great deal of water loss which can become rather expensive if not repaired timely.

Question: Why does my circulation system lose prime when it’s turned off?

There is a leak somewhere in the above ground plumbing. An intact circulation system is like putting a straw into a glass of water. Place a finger over the end of the straw and then pull the straw out of the glass. Note that the water stays in the straw. If there is a hole in the straw or if your finger isn’t sealing the straw well, the ‘water column’ will drip or fall out of the straw. The system of pipes and equipment associated with the pool or spa is like a big straw. If there is a leak somewhere in the circulation system, the entire system will slowly (or quickly, depending on the size of the ‘hole’) leak down to the water level of the pool. Once the piping system is empty it takes a lot of time to purge the air from the system and pick up a prime on the pump again. Leaks can stem from loose gaskets or o-rings, leaky valve stems, a leaking pump seal, a broken pipe, poorly sealed threaded fittings etc. . The loss of prime should be fixed in order to prevent damage to the pump (pumps are not meant to run dry for any period of time).

Question: Why is my pool motor noisy?

There are several reasons a pump can be noisy and each poses a different repair aspect. When air is introduced into a pump it is called cavitation.  Sometimes air is introduced because of a poor hydraulic design in the plumbing.  Most of the time, air is introduced due to a leak in the pipes that lead into the suction side of the pump.  All pumps have two ‘ball bearing’ assemblies, one at the front of the motor and one at the back.  The most common sequence to bearing failure is a leaking seal which allows water to enter the motor through the front bearing.  Bearing failures usually start as a ‘whine’ and quickly develop into a loud grinding noise, or an all out ‘screaming’ sound. Pool motor repair or replacement is fairly technical.  If you’re unable to diagnose or remedy your noise problem just call Guardian Pool Care we will diagnose the reason for your noisy system in no time.

Question: Why does my pool pump hum but won’t start?

There are several reasons a pump won’t start:

  • The starting capacitor has failed.
  • The start switch has failed or is fouled.
  • A damaged pump seal has allowed water into the motor which has caused the bearings to fail.
  • The stator or armature windings have burnt out
  • The pump impeller is bound and can’t spin.
  • Please note that electrical repairs can be hazardous or fatal if done improperly. Always refer electrical repairs to a professional.

Question: Why doesn’t my pool have enough suction?

Here are some of the most common causes of weak suction:

  • Your pool cleaner may be clogged with a rock, dirt or leaves.
  • The lid o ring may be leaking OR it may be missing.
  • The pump suction side and plumbing could have a suction leak.
  • The pumps impeller may be obstructed or it may have a bad weir ring or diffuser.
  • Your cleaner hoses might be cracked and sucking in air.
  • The motor bearings may be going bad causing drag on the motor.
  • There may be a high side restriction.
  • If the problem is in the high side, the pressure gauge will read above normal.
  • Another indication of blockage on the high side would be a stuck pop-up gear set assembly causing the gauge pressure to read high in-floor system.
  • You may have an obstructed filter or faulty backwash valve preventing water from going through.
  • The return lines might be accidentally closed off.

Question: My pool light doesn’t work, why not?

There are several possible reasons the pool or spa light doesn’t work:

  • The bulb is burnt out and the bulb and lens gasket should be replaced.
  • The ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protecting the light circuit has tripped and needs to be reset.
  • The light is activated with a timer or a photocell that has failed.
  • The light circuit at the breaker panel has tripped and needs to be reset.

Please note that electrical repairs can be hazardous or fatal if done improperly – always refer electrical repairs to a professional. Please contact us to schedule an appointment for repair on all pool lighting.

Question: Why isn’t my heater coming on?

All pool heaters have a series of safety switches inside that monitor if it’s okay for the heater to turn on.  There is a pressure switch that senses if there is water coursing through the heater (heater MUST only engage if there is water flowing through the system).  There are switches that sense if the heater is ‘too hot’ that will keep a heater from turning on.  Sometimes the thermostat needs to be adjusted ‘higher’ to create a ‘demand for heat’.  A dirty filter can prevent adequate water pressure from reaching the heater which will keep the heater from firing. The heater’s gas valve may be in the ‘off’ position.

Please note that we provide instruction on lighting ‘standing pilot’ heaters in the event the pilot light has blown out in the heater.  There are quite a few reasons that a heater may not fire, and if the problem involves mechanical repairs, we recommend that the unit be serviced by one of our trained service technicians.

Question: What are the most common pool safety tips I should be aware of?

Pool safety is crucial. Here are a few guidelines to help prevent any unfortunate injuries in or around your pool:

  • Whether your child knows how to swim or not, never leave them unattended while swimming.
  • Insure your pool is surrounded by a fence with vertical bars no more than 4 inches apart with self-locking, self-closing gates.
  • Water in your pool or spa lighting is dangerous hazards…call a professional immediately.
  • Learn CPR and insist that anyone who watches your child knows CPR as well.
  • Make sure you always have life saving equipment like poles or flotation devices by your pool at all times.
  • Make sure all pool equipment is properly bonded and that insulators are properly installed in timer boxes – electricity and water do not make good companions.