Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wideman Pools, LLC
2567 Hwy 67
Festus, MO  63028

Image result for filling a pool with freshwater

What to look for in filling A Pool with Fresh Water

As another spring creeps up from the South, many pools across the nation will be adding water — filling or topping off. And whether a new pool is receiving its entire complement, or just a top-off to bring a winterized pool up to active service level, understanding source water is important.

For with a spring fill, the hidden ingredients in source water become part of a pool's chemistry just the same as if they'd been measured out and added from a big white bucket. Knowing what's going into the pool along with the water — and how to keep it from making trouble all summer — is a matter of sound, fundamental pool care.
Waterborne Suspects
Unless a pool is receiving pure H2O from a large distilling plant, there will be quite a few passengers riding along with it. The most troubling of these are minerals, nutrients, metals and perhaps bacteria. Each has an effect on pool chemistry and health.

Hard water: The somewhat misleading descriptor "hard" means that water has a high mineral content. The minerals that most concern the pool professional are calcium and magnesium. Concentrations of either one of these change the feel of pool water on the skin, and can precipitate out in the pool, clogging filters and causing cloudy water and poor circulation. Often they will show up on surfaces in a thin white layer well designed to make such surfaces look old and unattractive. If adhered to a piece of the pool equipment such as a heater element — the likeliest place to find it — calcium scale can interfere with its function.

Calcium drops out of solution onto heaters because, contrary to the general guidelines of the natural world, the warmer the water (and the water around the heater is very warm), the less soluble calcium is. Calcium is unusual that way — a freak, if you will. Most materials on earth dissolve more easily as water temperature goes up, but it takes all kinds.

Soft water: Soft, being the opposite of hard, indicates water that is low in minerals such as calcium and magnesium. All things seeking balance in the world, water bereft of calcium goes looking for it in the plaster, degrading its appearance in the process.

Naturally soft water comes from rain, rivers, lakes and snowmelt, and tends to have a low pH. Such acidic water is hungry for metal parts in the plumbing, which it eats and eventually leaves corroded and useless.

Artificially softened water has been put through a process familiar to many households, where calcium and magnesium ions are replaced by sodium ions in a large, in-line tank. The difference between natural and artificial soft water is that the latter has a neutral or alkaline pH and therefore does not tend to corrode surfaces. It also has a higher TDS level.

Nutrient-rich water: Organic compounds such as phosphates and nitrates can be present in source water from lakes and rivers, and these carbon-hydrogen chains are like hot dogs and hamburgers to the tiny creatures known as algae.

In the presence of sunlight, lolling in warm water, all types of algae will eat organic matter and reproduce rapidly, if they can find a place in the pool not well-sanitized. Whether black, green or mustard-colored, a large colony of reproducing algae is a huge turnoff for bathers.

Another more recent and growing problem caused by phosphates is their effect on salt chlorine generators. High levels of phosphates in the water have been found to coat the metal plates in such systems, preventing them from producing enough chlorine to sanitize the pool.

This situation, the combination of low chlorine levels with a veritable smorgasbord of phosphates, is an algae population explosion waiting to happen.

Metal-rich water: The metals most often cited for trouble in the pool are copper, iron and manganese, and all of these can be present in any water source, municipal or private. Like calcium and magnesium, these metals can suddenly fall out of a clear water solution, turning the water green or brown, or depositing stains on the pool shell.

Iron bacteria in source water: Although not detectable with consumer pool-testing products, iron bacteria can be present in water and cause a pool-sized headache. These tiny organisms combine dissolved iron or manganese with oxygen and use it to form brownish deposits. In the process, the bacteria produce a brown slime that builds up on pool or plumbing surfaces.

These are some of the most important water types and waterborne pool invaders. And while each pool's source water must be investigated individually, some generalizations can be made.
Look To The Source
In order to determine what's in a customer's water, journey back up the water main to find its history and origins. Different regions, different seasons, and of course, different delivery mechanisms influence its biological and chemical makeup.

Geography comes into play when determining whether water is likely too hard or soft. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 89 percent of U.S. residential homes have water that is to some degree mineral-heavy or "hard" — some only slightly hard, and others like liquid, running rock.

Although broad generalizations are difficult, and exceptions are common, the American Southwest is distinguished by particularly hard water. Places such as Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona and southern California see some of the country's hardest waters, with some measured mineral concentrations greater than 1,000 mg/L.

Moderately hard waters are likely to be found in the rivers of the Great Lakes states and the Pacific Northwest, while softer water is likely to be found in parts of New England.

Particularly now, in the springtime, heavy rains and snowmelt can reduce hardness in a pool, as both these sources are low in minerals. For those living near industrialized areas, these same spring rains are likely to be acidic, and this can wreak havoc on the water balance of pools. A higher buffer of total alkalinity (TA) is necessary to keep pH in a proper range due to that influx of low-pH water. (Pool professionals addressing the question should also be aware of the contribution that a high level of cyanuric acid has upon the total alkalinity reading. See the sidebar on calculating TA.) 

Irrespective of physical location or season, individual municipalities may have an effect on source water, especially through the use of orthophosphate. Orthophosphate is a commonly used corrosion inhibitor that coats pipes and prevents lead from leaching into drinking water from aging water mains. Some of the cities that use orthophosphate include Washington D.C., New York City, Denver, and Detroit, among many others.

Where orthophosphate is used, high amounts of phosphate will be present in the fill water, providing a bounty for hungry algae to feed upon. A good dose of phosphate remover should be added to the water in this case; typical chemical formulations used in the pool industry for phosphate removal are lanthanum carbonate and lanthanum chloride.
Cheap Insurance
A few precautionary measures taken during a pool fill should provide insurance against the sort of pool problems discussed above.

First, know your source. Find out whether it has a history of producing problems. You can contact your local municipality to get information on water treatment systems. In addition, there are numerous resources online. One example is the USGS Web site, which provides well-organized information on water quality for individual cities and states.

Primarily, however, careful attention and experience in a particular area should inform a pool care professional's assessment of local water. What has been seen in the past? Of course, the best places to seek this kind of information are seasoned pool care pros with years of experience with a particular water source. 

Second, tie up what metals may be in the water with a metal sequestering agent. This provides insurance against any staining or metal precipitate problems that may be triggered either by the source water or by the addition of chemicals, which alter the pool's chemical balance in their own right and can cause staining. In plain language, do not dump in a large amount of chlorine before metals have been sequestered, as this is one of the most common causes of early-pool-season staining.

Third, use chlorine-free shock to break down excess organics and disassociate metal bound to bacteria so that it can be sequestered.

Fourth, make sure you balance the water immediately. Balanced water ensures greater protection against damage to equipment or surfaces, and the sooner this is done the better. In addition, sanitizers work better at killing bacteria when water is properly balanced.

Fifth, use a clarifier and give the pool a good filtering; make sure to start with a clean, properly functioning filter. After filling and shocking there will most likely be lots of small-diameter waste material in the water. This needs to be filtered out and removed quickly to clear the water and enable the sanitizer to function properly.

Finally, begin normal sanitizing process. Having followed a few easy guidelines to ensure a good, clear start to the pool season, a summer of manageable pool water is likely to follow.

[Information for this article was supplied by Terry Arko, technical products specialist, SeaKlear, Bothell, Wash.]
Calculating TA (with CYA)
When testing uncovers a cyanuric acid (CYA) level over 50 ppm, pool professionals should calculate a third of that reading and subtract it from the total alkalinity (TA) reading.
·       Example: TA = 90 ppm, CYA = 60 ppm
·       Divide the CYA reading by 3 to get 20 ppm.
·       Subtract 20 ppm from 90 ppm = 70 ppm.
Even in very hard water, 70 ppm is too low. It is important for pool professionals to be aware of and adjust for this, as when alkalinity is too low, corrosive damage to the equipment can occur.
The Wideman Pool Team

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Wideman Pools
2565 Hwy 67 So.
Festus, MO  63028

Easy Pool Side Appetizers!

 Image result for motorola cheese sticks and vegetables

Mozzarella Skewers are a favorite Spring and Summer appetizer. This is a great idea for any extra garden veggies this year...add a skewer and some cheese for an instant party hit.

The Wideman Pool Team

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Wideman Pools, LLC
2567 Hwy 67
Festus, MO  63028
 Image result for stains in pools

How to Remove Stains from Your Pool
Copper Stains (Blue Green)
Copper stains are probably some of the most common stains we see in our pools. The introduction of copper to the pool water can come from algaecides, heat exchangers, older copper plumbing, etc. The good news is that we can prevent most cases of blue/green staining by following dosing charts on algaecides and maintaining proper pH levels in our pools, but we all know that doesn't always happen.
There are liquids and dry granular stain treatments that work well on removing these types of stains on all types of pool surfaces. The most commonly used granular removers include citric acid and ascorbic acid. The granules do a good job of lifting the satin, but require the addition of a sequestering agent to help the filtration system trap the removed metals from the pool water. Be aware that the liquid stain removers also contain phosphoric and/or phosphonic acid, which adds phosphates to your pool water that will need to be removed at a later time. There are phosphate-free liquid sequesterants, but they are used to help remove metals that are already in the water. The non-phosphate sequesterants will only be effective on fresh stains that have not yet set into the surface.
Purple Haze
Copper cyanurate staining is caused when you have a cyanuric acid level over 100 ppm that combines with copper in the pool water to form a purple precipitant on the surface of the pool, tile line, skimmers and pool cleaner. The problem will continue to persist until you reduce the cyanuric acid level down to about 50 ppm. Once you lower the CYA, the staining usually goes away as well, but you may need to brush the affected areas to help some stubborn spots. When you drain water to lower the CYA, it addresses the copper in the water as well, but you should test the water for any remaining copper residual.
Iron Stains
Iron stains are going to appear brownish in color; if you have dissolved iron in the pool, it can cause a brownish tint to the water. Iron can make its way into your pool in a number of different ways. Some pool heater headers are made of iron, and over time the protective coating gets worn down inside, exposing the iron base metal to the pool's chemistry. An erosion tablet feeder plumbed in without the proper check valve in place will erode the header as well. Lawn care professionals can also introduce iron to your pool through fertilizers, but the most common means of introducing iron to the pool is through well water. In many areas of the country, people draw their pool water from wells that contain metals.
The procedure for removal of iron stains is the same as above for copper. Be sure to balance the water and figure out the source of the iron in order to minimize the chances of further stains. If the iron is from well water, it's best to get on a maintenance program of adding a sequestering agent on a weekly basis.
Organic Stains
As leaves and other organic materials make their way into the pools and settle to the bottom, the tannins in the leaves can leach out into the water and leave stains where the leaves rested. This is pretty common when leaves sit on winter covers or at the bottom of the pool in the off-season. Sometimes these stains will go away as we balance and shock the pool to get the chlorine levels up. If the stains are still lingering after the water is balanced, the stains can usually be lifted rather easily with citric or ascorbic acid.
Galvanic Corrosion
Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical process in which one metal corrodes preferentially to another when both metals are in electrical contact in the presence of an electrolyte. (In other words, the less noble metal undergoes corrosive attack.)
This happens in our pools with salt generators every minute the cell is making chlorine. Through galvanic corrosion, the corroded metals dissolve and can reach a saturation point in the water and begin to stain the surface of your pool. It doesn't corrode the salt cell because it is made of a more noble metal than your pool ladders, light rings, etc. You can help slow down galvanic corrosion by adding a sacrificial anode made of zinc. Zinc is a less noble metal than other metals associated with your pool, so the galvanic corrosion attacks it first, and thus the zinc sacrifices itself in order to save the other metals from degradation. It's a good idea to use a non-phosphate sequesterant as a maintenance tool in salt pools for this reason.
Preventing The Stains
When staining appears in a pool, it's important to first test the pool water and be sure that the water chemistry is balanced. If there are metals in the water, add a sequestering agent to help keep them from precipitating out of the water and creating more staining as you correct the water chemistry. A lot of staining in pools is caused by the pH dropping down and aggressively dissolving the metals into solution. Once the water balanced, then the real stain battle begins.
There will be occasions when you have tried every trick in the book to help remove the stain from the pool, but it just will not lift off the surface. In these cases it may be that the pool needs to be drained and acid washed to remove the staining. This is generally going to happen on plaster pools. Vinyl and fiberglass pools usually respond pretty well to the treatments since they aren't as porous as plaster pools, so the stains lift off easier.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in the case of stain prevention. Pool professionals and their customers generally neglect brushing the pool walls and they also tend to avoid the steps needed to prevent staining. The simple addition of a sequestering agent added as a maintenance measure on a weekly/biweekly/monthly basis, whichever fits your needs, goes a long way to keeping our pool surfaces looking newer longer.

The Wideman Pool Team

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Wideman Pools, LLC

2567 Hwy 67
Festus, MO  63028

Image result for stains in pools

How to Get Rid of Stains in Salt Generator Pools

Salt chlorine pools have become quite popular for their convenience. There are no hazardous chemicals on site, water is sanitized and oxidized automatically. There are little to no chloramines. Many users of salt generators claim softer feeling water with less chemical odor and no dry or irritated skin.
Along with the report of these benefits, some have also reported some strange phenomena as well. These include things like discolored water, strange stains throughout the pool that are hard to remove and prevent. Stains appearing in salt pools include:
• Black flecks on pool bottom
• Black staining on ladders and light rings
• Reoccurring stains and discoloration on light rings around steps or rails and discolored water. 
• Purple haze and debris in pool water 
These stains seem to be a mystery, however in salt pools with high TDS they are due to a simple chemical reaction known as Galvanic Corrosion. To understand this electro chemical reaction a simple understanding of the technology of chlorine generators is first needed. 
Chlorine generators work using a process known as electrolysis. In nature chlorine is found primarily in the chloride ion, which is a component of salt found in the earth or the oceans. Electrolysis is the means of generating chemical products from their native state. A salt generator works by passing electricity through a solution of sodium chloride to produce chlorine as a disinfectant or sanitizer. 
The most popularly used chlorine generators are the in-line type. In these systems salt water is circulated over electrochemical cells. The cells convert the sodium chloride to free available chlorine. The cells used in these systems are typically made of titanium. Though it may seem new the technology of splitting molecules via electrolysis goes back all the way to the 1700s.
History of electrolysis
• 1789 - First use of electricity to separate compounds- electrolysis
• 1800 - First device to generate chlorine using electricity developed by Cruickshank
• 1830 - Faraday used brine (salt water) to produce chlorine gas (this occurs at the anode positive electrode cell) hydrogen gas and sodium hydroxide were also produced (at the cathode negative electrode cell)
How galvanic corrosion occurs in swimming pools:
Galvanic corrosion occurs when dissimilar metals exist in a high TDS solution such as a salt generator pool. Some metals are nobler and more cathodic meaning positive currents flow from these and they tend to steal electrons from the less noble anodic or negative metals. 
A Galvanic Corrosion Chart is used in industries that work with fluids and metals such as cooling towers. The Galvanic Corrosion Chart shows that the "anodic" or "less noble" metals at the negative end of the series such as magnesium, zinc and aluminium - are more likely to corrode than those at the "cathodic" or "noble" end which include gold and graphite. 

There are three things needed in order for galvanic corrosion to occur:
1. Electrochemically dissimilar metals must be present 
2. These metals must be in electrical contact, and 
3. The metals must be exposed to an electrolyte (salt in solution)

In a swimming pool all three of these exist due to the high TDS from the salt content of the water. The electrochemical cells in most chlorine generators are made of titanium which is listed on the Galvanic Corrosion Chart as a nobler metal. Most pools contain some copper in the system as well in the heat exchanger or in any brass fittings or pipe that may be in the system. Copper is a less noble metal than titanium and thus it corrodes as a result of the electrolysis in the high salt solution. This leaves black stains and debris in the pool. Copper is also rendered insoluble in the water. Copper in the water will appear as a green translucent color.
The simple solution to solve this problem is to find another less noble metal to use as a sacrificial anode that corrodes but doesn’t cause staining. When differing metals are added to salt water one metal acts as a cathode this is the nobler of the two. Titanium would be one example of a more cathodic or noble metal. The other metal may be more anodic or less noble. An example of this would be copper. 
Galvanic corrosion occurs because when these two metals are in salt water with an electrical current the weaker less noble metal (copper) will corrode faster than normal. Also the stronger more noble metal (titanium) will corrode much slower than normal. It has been found in various marine industries that the addition of zinc in these types of systems prevents the corrosion of copper and stops the staining. 
Zinc is very low on the galvanic chart and is one of the most anodic metals found. In salt chlorine pools zinc can be added as a solid weight into the skimmer or attached in the circulation system. This slows or stops the corrosion of copper. If the water is discolored from copper it is advised to use a metal removal product along with the zinc to remove the current discoloration and prevent reoccurrence. Most metal products on the market tend to be phosphate based and this too can cause problems in a salt chlorine generator. When selecting a metal product use a phosphate free product. 
What about purple haze?
Another mystery in both salt generator and regular pools is the occurrence of a strange purple coloring and debris. This is due to high levels of cyanuric acid and insoluble copper in the water. If pH and alkalinity go low than copper cyanurate is formed leaving a purple residue along the water line and around lights and steps. The solution here is to lower cyanuric acid down to 35ppm to 50ppm and adjust up the alkalinity and pH. Also, the addition of zinc will help keep copper from corroding into the water.
These simple methods should help clear the mystery and remove the stains.

The Wideman Pool Team

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