Frequently Asked Questions
Perfect Pool Water answers some of the most popular questions asked by customers regarding swimming pool water hardness. Please click on the Question to reveal the answer.
Q. Why is my pool water “hard” and why does it get “harder”?
From the day your pool is first filled, it is above the standards for pool water chemistry in Calcium Hardness (200 to 400 parts per million, or ppm) and continues to increase as you remove water from the pool from getting out of the pool, splashing or evaporation. To replenish this lost water, new water is added and additional hard water is introduced; raising the concentration levels of this hard water (predominantly Calcium and Magnesium) and creating a higher level of these minerals. This level increases until you have such hard water that your chemicals can no longer do their job and you must use more and more to try and control your pool sanitation, scale builds on your interior finish and tile… even to the point of damaging your pool equipment!
Q. How is hard water typically addressed?
In the past, the water was dumped down the drain! If the average pool has 20,000 gallons of water and if only 1,000 pool owners (out of the tens of thousands in our area!) dump their water a year, that means 20,000,000 gallons of water is not only wasted, an additional 20,000,000 is needed to refill these pools! Using the very realistic recovery of water with our system (80%), that would mean an annual savings of 32,000,000 gallons of water a year!
Q. Are there chemicals that I could use to address this water hardness?
While there are products that will hold the hardness minerals in suspension, they will not lower the levels of hardness. This is a short term approach and a costly one as well, as you are not only paying for these chemicals, but also changing the chemistry of the water and requiring higher and higher sanitizer levels to maintain a clean, safe pool and only prolonging the inevitable. The only true way to bring your Calcium Hardness to ideal levels is to treat your water and bring those levels down to the acceptable range. This means lowering your Calcium Hardness closer to the 200 PPM range, which is the low end of the ideal range.
Q. I can’t see the hardness in my pool; how do you know it’s really there?
You may not be able to see it in the water (although we suggest turning your lights on one night and see if you see anything floating in the water!), but you can see and feel the effects in other areas. Maybe you have a raised spa wall with a spillway; do you see the ugly white residue on it? Perhaps you’ve noticed that the waterline tile doesn’t look quite so clean any longer. How does your hair feel when you get out of the pool… maybe like straw? Or do you feel like you have to run for the skin lotion after swimming because you feel dry and itchy? Hmmm, maybe you have noticed this without even realizing it!
Q. What other problems could occur with hard water?
Did you know that heat creates Calcium Carbonate? This is a very hard mineral deposit and it can, and does, affect your heater. Once this Calcium Carbonate builds up in the heat exchanger of your heater, the heater cannot effectively heat the water so it takes longer and consumes more gas than it should. Over time, the heat exchanger will fail and the heater becomes useless. New heaters are very expensive!
A Calcium buildup in your pool pump will eventually cause your pump to fail as well. Did you know that swimming pool pump manufacturers do not warranty pumps (or heaters, for that matter) that have failed due to hard water deposits? Pumps, while not to the extent of heaters, are also very expensive to replace.
How about that algae that you can’t seem to get rid of? For pool chemicals to work properly, they have to be able to assimilate into the water. If they cannot get through the hard water easily, they cannot attack the algae.
Does your plaster look like it has leprosy? That is scale or hard water build up, and it is not only unsightly, but also detrimental to the plaster itself. Once your Calcium Hardness levels get high enough, the calcium builds on itself and the blotchy “stains” appear. Some may even look like small stalagmites growing up and out of your pool floor and walls! This scale can also deposit itself in your pool plumbing lines and inside your filter.
Q. How long will it take you to make my water clean and soft?
Currently we are able to treat 40,000 gallons a day, to drinking water levels! Obviously the size of your pool is the deciding factor on how long it will take based on this level. However, most pools will take between 6 and 10 hours to complete.
Q. Is it safe to have this process done?
Absolutely! In fact, you could actually use the pool during the process if you just couldn’t stay out of it! There are no power cords or electricity in or near your pool, nor are they laying around for someone to trip on. An inch and a half hose with a stainless steel, noninvasive end is slipped roughly 18 inches below the water in the pool to draw the water back to the trailer for treatment and another inch and a half hose returns the clean (drinkable!) water back to your pool. That’s it! We are 100% self-contained and do not need to inconvenience you for electricity or extension cords or an outlet. All we need from you is a fresh water supply to replenish the small amount of water, approximately 15%, that is lost during the process.
Q. How is the process done?
The water in your pool contains more than just some Chlorine and a leaf or two! We mentioned Calcium and Magnesium earlier, but there is much more in your pool that we need to pull out to really make it clean! Algae, body oils, suntan lotion, salt, etc. are just a few and to get all of that out of the water we have to run your water through a complex series of pipes, tubes, vessels and chambers. We have to neutralize the chlorine, introduce an anti-scalant, run the water through a sand filter (or two!) and through an ultraviolet light to make sure it is as pure as it can be! We dare anything nasty to remain in that water as it goes back to your pool!
Q. What else can I expect after you are done?
You mean aside from the good feeling that you have just conserved a valuable and limited resource?! Well, in addition to the fact that your waterline tile will no longer get that nasty buildup on it, and that you will use a fraction of the chemicals you did before the process to maintain your pool, you will get the experience of swimming in a soft water pool. Chances are you have never experienced that before and will never want to experience anything less from now on! Congratulations; it looks like you did something good for the planet and got pampered as well… all at the same time!