Water Testing Basics

You don’t have to be a chemist to keep your pool sparkling clean.

Following are some guidelines for using test strips to obtain accurate water analysis results.

Follow the directions that came with the kit. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, there have been many cases where a user inadvertently used the directions that came with another manufacturer’s strips or used directions from an older kit. Most inaccurate test results occur when individuals do not follow directions¾or follow the wrong directions! Test strips are continually improving and becoming more accurate, and you should never assume that the directions on one container are going to apply to another container’s strips. In addition, not all manufacturers’ test strips are the same, so it is essential to read and follow the directions on each container.
Store test strips in a low humidity environment at room temperature. Test strips will be most effective over a long period of time if they are stored properly. Suitable storage will give you confidence in your results until the product has reached the date of expiration.
Keep the cap on tight between uses. Doing this will prevent moisture from entering the bottle of unused strips. It is important that moisture not be introduced to the test strips until you use them in your pool or spa.
Keep wet fingers out of the bottle. The test strips won’t know the difference between the water on your fingers and the pool or spa water! So, make sure that the only water your test strips are reacting with is the pool or spa water you intend to measure.
Do not use expired test strips. Most containers of test strips will display an expiration date somewhere on the container. Always be aware of this date when using or purchasing test strips. Regardless of how the container has been stored or handled, test strips have a definite shelf life and should not be used after the product has expired. Using test strips after this date will likely lead to inaccurate results. Therefore, replace any bottles that have expired.
Test strips are among the easiest and fastest methods for testing water. By following the above guidelines, you can also ensure that test strips provide an accurate method for measuring the properties of pool or spa water, leading to a clean and healthy pool or spa.

How to vacuum a swimming pool on waste?

There comes a time when a pool owner needs to vacuum a pool that has large amounts of debris such as heavy algae or leaves (Usually this is the case when you first open the pool). If the homeowner vacuums like normal, they have a good chance of contaminating their filter, plugging up the circulation lines, or just clouding up their pool.
What is the solution? Those that have filters with the 6 way Multi-port valve can vacuum their pool on Waste. This position by-passes the filter and sends all the unwanted debris through the waste line. This eliminates clogging up the filter or clouding up their pool. Note: this procedure drains the pool so you may have to stop in the middle of this procedure to refill the pool.

Steps to Vacuuming on Waste:

1. Connect the vacuum head to the T-pole and then connect the swivel end of the vacuum hose (if equipped) to the vacuum head. Fully extend the T-pole and lower the vacuum head to the bottom of the deep end of the pool. Use care not to disturb any debris on the pool floor.

2. Connect the skim vac to the other end of the hose and place over a return fitting to purge the air from the vac hose. At this time the vac head and all of the vac hose is in the pool.

3. Keeping the the skim vac close to the surface of the of the water, make you way to the skimmer being sure not to let air into the vac hose. Place skim vac into skimmer through the top or the throat of the skimmer on-top of the skimmer basket.

4. Go to the Pool Pump area and turn the pool pump off. Change the filter valve to the “WASTE” position and turn the pump back on. You are now taking water out of the pool.
Make sure the Skim-Vac did not come loose over the skimmer basket and is securely sealed over the basket.

5. Slowly close the valves for the remaining skimmers if you have more than one skimmer. Leave the valve to the skimmer that the vacuum hose is connected to fully open.
Slowly close the Main Drain valve about half way. This will be the optimal setting for vacuuming.

6. Begin slowly vacuuming like normal in the shallow end being careful not to stir up the debris.

7. As debris is collected in the skimmer basket under the Skim-Vac, and in the pump basket, the level of suction will decrease. Vacuum performance will also decrease. You may need to stop vacuuming and turn off the pool pump, clean the skimmer basket AND the pump basket, then resume vacuuming. Note: at this time you may need to refill the pool. Repeat as needed.

8. When you are finished vacuuming, turn the pool pump off and disconnect the Skim-Vac. Clean the skimmer basket and the pump basket. Refill pool to the middle of the skimmer opening. With the pool pump off, turn the filter valve back to the “FILTER” position. You did it. You’re back now to filtering the pool as normal. This is a perfect time to get out your test kit and check your readings for chlorine and pH. Better yet, take a water sample to your local pool professional and ask them, “Is my pool water safe for swimmers?”

Flolight: Use the water pressure of your pool to generate power to light up your pool.

No wiring or batteries needed!
Simply replace your standard 1 1/2 inch threaded eyeball
Can be installed in seconds.


How do I backwash my Hayward Sand filter?

When the filter pressure rise 8-10 PSI over the clean starting pressure it is time to backwash. Turn the pump off and rotate the multiport valve to backwash. Turn on the pump and the dirty water will flow out the waste line. Once the water runs clear in the valve’s sight glass, turn off the pump. Rotate the valve to rinse. Turn on the pump for 20-30 seconds. This will clean out the plumbing lines and reset the sand bed. Turn off the pump, rotate the valve to filter position and begin to filter. Take a reading of this new clean starting pressure, so you have a reference point for the next backwash cycle. Water may need to be added to the pool to replace the backwashed water.

How long does an In-ground Vinyl Liner last?


A lot of factors are in play when we talk about the longevity of In-ground Vinyl Liners. That being said, most people change liners every 8 to 12 years. Have we seen liners last longer? Yes we have. We’ve seen liners last as long as 20 years.

To get your liner to last longer keep your pool water balanced. The best way to do this is take a water sample to the professional pool store to evaluate you readings. This is a free service that if you follow their directions, will help with your pool equipment, liner longevity, and potential clarity problems that could pop up.

Is there a good robotic cleaner for an In-ground Pool that vacuums the floor, walls, and tile line?


It’s the Dolphin Supreme M4

Cleans pool floor, cove, walls and waterline
Recommended for in-ground residential pools up to 50 ft. in length

The Dolphin Supreme M4 raises the bar for robotic pool cleaners, representing the latest generation of dolphin technology.

Dolphin Exclusive Features:
Weekly timer — preset cleaning cycles throughout the week!
Full filter indicator lets you know it’s time to clean the cartridge
Additional 3rd underside scrubbing brush powers away dirt and debris!
Quick-n-easy top access filter cartridge
Remote Ready for guided navigation
Patented swivel cable helps prevent tangling
Incredibly efficient – costs less than 15 cents to clean the pool.
In-store repairable right at your local Dolphin retailer!

Scrubs, vacuums and filters all pool surfaces in just 2.5 hours.
Includes caddy for portability and storage
Large inner filter cartridge, collects dirt, debris and even dust particles.
Plug-n-play! No pre-installation needed, no connections to pool system.
Self-programmed for optimal pool scanning.
36 month warranty – spare parts and labor.

M4 Specifications:
Cycle time: 2.5 hours
Cable length: 60 ft.
Filter: Fine porosity
Suction rate: 4,233 gal (USA) per hour
Unit weight: 22 lbs.

What’s the first step I should take before I begin digging my pool?

When considering what you’ll need to make your project a success, don’t forget the most important first step for any outdoor home improvement project: calling 811 before you dig.
As any professional will tell you, smart digging always means calling 811 before every job.
Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call – even “small” projects like planting trees and shrubs.
When you call before you dig, you’ll prevent unintended consequences such as injury to you or your family, damage to your property, utility service outages to the entire neighborhood and potential fines and repair costs.
After all, do you really want to be the person who knocks out the neighborhood’s cable service during the big game?

The underground utilities in my yard were marked with different color flags. What does these colored flags represent?

Each color indicates a universal color to what is buried below ground.
Red – Electric
Orange – Communications, Telephone/CATV
Blue – Potable Water
Green – Sewer/Drainage
Yellow – Gas/Petroleum Pipe Line
Purple – Reclaimed Water
White – Premark site of intended excavation

Why should I dial 811 before I begin digging my pool?

Don’t gamble with your safety — if you’re a professional excavator or a homeowner, smart digging always requires a call to 811. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before you dig will help protect you from injury and prevent damages to utilities, service disruptions and potential fines and repair costs. Whether you’re planting a tree or shrub, or installing a deck or pool, every job requires a call—Even if you’ve called before for a similar project. The depth of utility lines varies, and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area. Marked lines show you the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences such as injury, service disruptions to an entire neighborhood, or costly fines and repair costs.

Does swimming pool water harm grass and shrubs around the pool?

No. Chlorine in a pool is one to three parts-per-million (1ppm – 3ppm). This is very similar to the city water that comes out of our faucet, and people have been watering their gardens with this for years.