Free Water In Store Water Testing and Advice

Keeping on top of your water chemistry in your swimming pool or spa is easy at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek.

We provide free computerised water testing analysis for all our customers.

With our sound knowledge, we are able to ensure that your swimming pool or spa is safe and healthy for you and your family to enjoy.

To test your pool or spa water we use the latest computerised water testing equipment.  The Palintest Pooltest 25 which we use, is widely recognised as being the best pool photometer available on the market.

We provide unbiased advice on the analysis of your water and make the necessary recommendation for any corrective action that may be required.

Enquire about Water Testing

If you need information or assistance with water testing, our team can help.

Give us a call now on: (08) 9310 7774

Alternatively, fill out the enquiry form and one of our staff will be in touch.

Benefits of Regularly Testing your Pool or Spa Water

Testing your pool water and ensuring it is safe to swim is a vital part of managing you pool or spa.  It is important to monitor the pH and chlorine levels regularly, not only to ensure the water is safe but to also to keep the water aesthetically looking good. If you leave your pool water untreated it could cause bacteria, viruses, algae and other issues to develop in the water.  An unbalance pool or spa will also become cloudy and can effect the skin and eyes of swimmers.

Using the right chemicals in your pool or spa is essential, as it will give you longevity of the swimming season and also, for the health of the users.  Too much chlorine can cause health problems for swimmers, but on the other hand too little chlorine can cause the breakout of algae which can and will make the water go green.  Incorrect water balance can also cause damage to your pool or spa’s surface, as well as shorten the lifespan of your equipment.

Key Tips to Ensure Your Pool Sparkles All Year Around

Pool maintenance varies through out the seasons.  But for all pool owners, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your pool is in tip top condition all year around.

By following a regular maintenance program, either by doing it yourself or by getting one of Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek’s Pool Service Technicians, you will save both time and money, so that you and your family can enjoy your pool.

With many pool owners now extending their swimming seasons due to the availability of pool covers, solar heating, gas heating and heat pumps.  It is very important to ensure the water balance in our pools is right at all times.

Here are some great tips to ensure your pool is in tip top condition 12 months of the year.

Summer
  • Operate the filtration system eight hours a day
  • Regularly check sanitiser levels, ideally on a daily basis
  • Check the pH every two days
  • Check the Total Alkalinity (TA) weekly
  • Check and clean the skimmer basket and hair and lint pot basket weekly
  • Have your pool water checked at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek every two weeks
  • Thoroughly backwash your sand or remove and clean the cartridge from your cartridge filter, depending on pool use
  • Maintain the water level at least half way up to the skimmer box opening
  • Clean the pool and vacuum the walls and floor of the pool regularly
  • Ensure your filtration system is on when bathers are swimming in the pool
Autumn
  • Operate the filtration system six hours a day. In salt water pools you may need to reduce the chlorine output as the days get cooler
  • Clean your pool more regularly to remove autumnal leaves and other debris
  • Use your pool cover more often to prevent leaves and debris causing damage to your skimmer
  • Have your pool water checked at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek every two week or every four weeks (this depends on the usage of the pool during this time)
  • ‘Winterise’ your pool using a winter treatment
  • Empty the skimmer basket when full
  • Check/Empty Pump Basket when required
  • Occasionally check the water level is half way up the skimmer box opening
  • Thoroughly backwash your sand filter and clean the cartridge from your cartridge filter once a month (more regularly if for some reason your pool goes green)
  • Check if salt water chlorinator cell needs cleaning (if you don’t have a self cleaning system) – this is generally done once a month
Winter
  • Operate the filtration system four hours a day
  • Cover the pool completely
  • Check the chlorine and pH levels every two weeks
  • Have your pool water checked at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek every four weeks
  • Empty the skimmer basket when full
  • Check/Empty Pump Basket when required
  • Occasionally check the water level is half way up the skimmer box opening
  • Occasionally check the pressure gauge on the filter is not indicating ‘backwash’
  • Check if your salt water chlorinator cell needs cleaning (if you don’t have a self cleaning system) – this is generally done once a month
  • Turn the pool lights on for at least 30 minutes a week to prevent build-up of moisture within the light and wiring (this will give you a longer lifespan on your pool light/s)
Spring
  • Operate the filtration system for six hours a day
  • Thoroughly clean the pool and vacuum the walls and floor
  • Check the pump is working properly and organise a full pool equipment service by one of Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek’s Pool Service Technicians
  • Check or replace fittings and check for leaks
  • Check the chlorine and pH levels every two weeks
  • Have your pool water checked at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek every two or four weeks (this will depend on the usage of the pool during this time)
  • Empty the skimmer basket when full
  • Empty/Check Pump Basket when required
  • Check if your salt water chlorinator cell needs cleaning (if you don’t have a self cleaning system) – this is generally done once a month
  • Occasionally check the water level is half way up the skimmer box opening
  • Occasionally check the pressure gauge on the filter is not indicating ‘backwash’
  • Turn the pool lights on for at least 30 minutes a week to prevent build-up of moisture within the light and wiring (this will give your longer lifespan on your pool light/s

Importance of Water Balance

Un-treated or an unbalanced water in your pool can be a health risk.

Balanced water means that chemical demands have been met.  If the chemical levels are too low the water will aggressively seek the products is needs by attacking the pool surface and equipment.  This may lead to sever corrosion problems.  However, if the chemicals levels are too high this may lead to the formation of scale on the pool surface and equipment.

At Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek we test for the following levels in your pool or spa water:

  • Free and Total Chlorine
  • pH
  • Total Alkalinity
  • Calcium Hardness
  • Stabiliser
  • Salt
  • Total Dissolved Solids
  • Phosphate Levels (if you have an issue with a green pool)

If the above levels in your pool and spa water are not right, it can cause expensive damage to the pool or spa surface and it may also inhibit the sanitising process.  In particular the pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels.

Here is a brief explanation of what each of the above do in your pool water chemistry.

Total and Free Chlorine

Total and Free Chlorine is the measurement of the chlorine which is active in the pool (free chlorine) and the non active chlorine, you can usually smell an odour of chlorine when the non active chlorine level is high.  The common term for the non active chlorine is “Chloramines”.  If the chloramines, are too high they can effect the workings of the free chlorine in your pool.  The most effective way to elevate the chloramines in your water is to oxidise/super chlorinate the pool water, by shocking the pool with chlorine.

Free Chlorine’s job is to kill all bacteria in you pool or spa water.  The primary source of bacteria is the swimmers and bathers themselves, also top up water and debris, such as leaves, grass, dust etc.  Animals can contribute significantly to bacteria levels.  A large dog can contaminate up to twenty times the volume of water that a humans can.  If you do not keep your chlorine level within the recommended parameters the growth of bacteria can cause infections in ears, nose and throat and possibly other more dangerous diseases like Meningitis.

By regularly testing the water and adding the required amount of chlorine to the pool a residual level of 1.0 to 2.0 parts per million in winter and 3.0 – 4.0 parts per million in summer is easily maintained.

There are various types of chlorine available.  The come in different forms, granular, liquid or tablet, and can also be “stabilised” or “unstabilised”.

Chlorine can also be generated by a salt water chlorinator. Each of these forms has its own features and benefits.

Here at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek we will advise you on what form of chlorine is best for your swimming pool or spa.  This will be depending on the condition of your pool or spa water at the time of testing.

Please note – A heated pool will require more chlorine that a non heated pool.  This is because the chlorine will be used up at a much higher rate in warmer water.

pH

pH is a measure of how acidic of alkaline the water is.  The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral.  For comfortable bathing in pool or spas we like to keep the pH at 7.5.

Australian Standard AS3633 defines the operating range as 7.0 to 7.8 and recommended range of 7.2 to 7.6

Values below 7.2, is acidic and values higher that 7.5 is alkaline.

Topping up your pool, heavy rain, heavy bather loads and chemical additions can all change the pH level of your pool water.  Incorrect pH levels can have the following effects:

  • Cause swimmer discomfort (itchy skin, red eyes etc)
  • Interfere with the action of your sanitiser (ie chlorine)
The Effect of pH on Chlorine

Effective sanitisation relies on the pH values.  This means that your sanitiser (chlorine) and pH levels should be check and adjusted most often.  Regardless of the chlorine type or the chlorination process used, any pH drift above the recommended range will inhibit the sanitising effect of your chlorine.

Total Alkalinity (TA)

Total Alkalinity is a measure of the bi-carbonates, carbonates and hydroxides in your water

The Australian Standards AS3633 recommends a range of 60 to 200 parts per million. However, we will advise you of the recommended level for your pool (depending on the surface type).  Low TA will lead to erosion of the surface of concrete and painted pools.  It will also cause pH levels to be very unstable with small addition of chemicals resulting in major shifts in pH.   This is sometimes know as “pH Bounce”.  TA can be changed in the following ways:

  • Adding Total Alkalinity Increaser (commonly known as buffer or bi-carbonate) – this will raise your total alkalinity
  • Adding acid to your pool to lower pH – will also lower total alkalinity if it is not diluted first in a bucket of water
  • Topping-up your pool will change the total alkalinity – depending on the TA of the top-up water
The Connection Between pH and Total Alkalinity

It can been seen that acids lower pH and total alkalinity.  There is an interconnection between these two components and because of this they need to be adjusted together.

If you pH is OK but the Total Alkalinity is low. To raise the level you will need to add total alkalinity increaser at the required rate.  However, as the total alkalinity raiser is an alkali it will also raise the pH.

This is when you will need to add Acid to the pool (diluted in a bucket of water).  The common Acid to use is Hydrochloric Acid or Sodium Bisulphate.

It is recommended that Hydrochloric Acid is always diluted bucket of water (one part acid to ten parts water).  Always add acid to water, never water to acid.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium Hardness is an important part of your pool water chemistry.  If you have low levels of calcium hardness in your pool water it will mean that your water is corrosive to the pool surface/and or pool equipment.  High levels of calcium hardness will lead to scale formation on the pool surface and equipment.  Calcium hardness test cannot usually be done on your home standard 2-1 or 4-1 test kits.

We at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek test for Calcium Hardness on every water test we conduct.

Stabiliser

Stabilser is a chemical which is also know as “Cyanuric Acid”.  It is used to reduce the rate at which free available chlorine is lost to the sun’s ultraviolet rays (in swimming pools only).  You do not use Stabiliser in spas.

Stabiliser comes in granular form, which is the most common.  It is also available in a liquid form.  However, this is relatively new to our market.

Some granular chlorines and chlorine tables contain Stabiliser as well.  These Chlorines are known as “Trichlor” chlorines and some chlorine shocks have Stabiliser in them know as “Dichlor” chlorines.

Phosphates

Phosphates are constantly entering into your swimming pool water.  They are found in lawn and garden fertilisers, decaying debris in the pool, our scheme water and cosmetic items on bathers.  For example phosphates will enter the pool by the following means:

  • Wind blowing dirt into the pool
  • Sprinkler run off from your lawn or landscaping enters your pool
  • Topping up the level of your pool water from our scheme water (tap/hose)
  • Leaves, twigs, bark, lawn clippings or any other plant matter from your garden

Generally if your pool goes green due to lack of maintenance or chemicals, algae will form in your pool.  Phosphates are a source of nourishment for the algae.  Therefore, it is important to have your phosphate levels tested periodically even if your pool is clear, as the phosphates can still be present in a crystal clear pool.  It is recommended to try and keep your phosphate levels to a “near zero” level.

If your phosphate levels are too high they can cause your swimming pool water to go green without any warning.  A sure sign of this is when your pool suddenly goes a bright lime green in colour. If this happens to you it can be treated by adding a phosphate removing chemical to the pool.  If caught early it may only take on or two treatments.

If you haven’t had your phosphate levels checked before and your pool does go suddenly green, it may take several treatments of a phosphate remover, as well as, an algaecide and chlorine shocks to bring you pool back into shape.

Adding Chemicals

As a general rule you are better to add chemicals in small doses whilst running your filtration system and whilst there are no bathers in the pool.  It is recommended that you wait at least one hour before any bather swims in the pool after any chemical addition.

When you get your water tested at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek you will get a computised print out of what is required and instructions on how to add it to your pool.

Safety Notes

Never mix chemicals.  Even different types of chlorines, as it may cause a fire or an explosion.

Always store your chemicals in a well ventilate, dry area and away from any fertilisers or other chemicals, solvent etc (in the garden shed).  As if these chemicals leak and become contaminated with each other, this too can cause a fire or an explosion.

When storing all types of chlorines and liquid acid, it is advisable to keep these products at least 3 meters apart and stored in a open tub or container. Just in case either of these products leak.  Again like other chemicals, if these two mix it will cause an explosion.

When you purchase your pool or spa chemicals it is strongly advisable that your take them straight home.  Do not leave them in your car for a long period of time.  If the temperature in your car increases to a level where it can cause any on the chemicals to swell or expand, this too can cause a chemical accident to happen.

If you find that some of your chemicals have been contaminated, in your shed or any other storage spot in your home.  Please do not try and remove/dispose of the chemicals yourself, especially if you can see the products fuming, giving off heat or producing a gas.  Clear the area of any family members and pets and please contact your local Fire Department immediately for their assistance.

Disposal of Old Pool and Spa Chemicals

Do not dispose of any old swimming pool or spa chemicals with your normal household rubbish.  You can call you local council for advice on this.

Here at Pool and Spa Mart Bull Creek we can advise you where south of the river you can dispose of your old chemicals.

Enquire about Water Testing

If you need information or assistance with water testing, our team can help.

Give us a call now on: (08) 9310 7774

Alternatively, fill out the enquiry form and one of our staff will be in touch.