Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I COLLECT A WATER SAMPLE?
SHOULD I DRAIN MY POOL?Your water sample needs to be in a clean container that holds at least 1 cup. Collect the sample from as far down as you can reach and away from the jets or skimmers. If you have added shock treatment to the pool, wait at least 24 hours before collecting a sample. Try to bring the sample as soon as possible, keeping it room temperature. Do not leave the sample in your car for a long period of time, and do not put it in the refrigerator. We can have your water tested in under 5 minutes (unless there is a wait!).
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO CHANGE THE SAND IN MY FILTER?
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO BACKWASH THE FILTER?
SHOULD I CHANGE MY POOL TO SALT WATER?
A salt water generator sounds like the best way to go when talking to your neighbors who have one or even to some pool builders who are trying to push a sale. Most people think it’s an effective alternative to chlorine. What they do not realize though is a salt water generator actually turns salt into chlorine. So if you are trying to move away from using chlorine, changing to salt is not the answer. If you don’t mind your pool still being chlorinated, the only advantage to salt-generated chlorine is not having to handle chlorine tablets and shock on a regular basis. Notice it says “on a regular basis.” At times, such as Spring start-up, through the winter months, or when you have algae (yes, salt pools still have algae), you will still need to shock the pool with regular chlorine shock.
Salt water generators may also seem cheaper in the long run because they think that they will only need to purchase salt for their new system. But there is a hidden truth to this. Salt is corrosive. The people who own a pool with certain types of rock do not learn this until the damage is done. Salt eventually erodes metal parts around a pool. Diving boards, metal fixtures, ladders, handrails, metal parts in your pump and filter….all will show signs of eroding over time requiring the pool owner to replace these parts of their pools. These parts can be costly to replace. Anyone living near an ocean can attest to the damage salt causes over time. Backwash from salt water generators or splash-outs can also cause harm to decorative rock formations, not to mention killing any nearby vegetation. In fact, splash-outs of chemically treated pool water from salt water generators have been known to damage the soil enough so that a living organism won’t be able to grow in that spot again.
Another myth is that salt is the only thing the water will need. After testing and balancing salt pools for several years now, we can tell you that this is not true. Salt pools require balancing more often than any other system. Why is this? First, salt has a very high pH. Pool owners constantly have to add pH decreaser or muriatic acid to keep the pH in the proper range. Secondly, since stabilized chlorine tablets are not being used, granular stabilizer must be added frequently to keep the salt generator from over-working itself and burning out prematurely. And thirdly, the minerals in salt often stain pool surfaces, resulting in a costly stain-removal process that is not guaranteed to work or prevent future stains.
Pool owners must also take into consideration the initial investment of the salt water generator, which can run from $1,000 – $2,000 for the equipment and installation, not to mention purchasing a replacement cell for about half that price every 3-7 years. For what you spend on the initial cost of the system, you could run your pool on regular chlorine for about 2-4 years, depending on the size. And by the time you’ve recouped that money, you’re going to be purchasing a replacement cell.
There are some advantages to owning a salt-water pool. Swimming in a mild saline solution is much like taking a shower in soft water. Generally, when people swim in a traditionally chlorinated pool, they feel like their skin dries quicker upon exiting the pool. They may feel and/or see a whitish residual, chlorine flaking, on the skin. This is usually due to improper water balance. In a salt-water pool the water feels smooth, your skin feels smooth, and many people feel more refreshed.
A chlorine generator’s main function is to produce chlorine for the pool so you do not have to buy it, store it or handle it. Chlorine generators, when functioning correctly, produce chlorine constantly (when the pump is running) with most units. This keeps a residual of chlorine in the pool that prevents some types, but not all, algae from growing.
WHAT IS E-Z POOL?
E-Z Pool is a chemical compound we have been selling since the mid-90s. E-Z POOL is a multi-function granular compound that simplifies swimming pool water care. It combines an algae shield, stable oxidizer, clarifier, scale inhibitor, and balancing agents – all in ONE product! The convenient, once-a-week application takes only minutes to keep your swimming pool water clean, clear and trouble-free. E-Z POOL is compatible with salt, chlorine, and bromine systems. Immediately after adding to the pool, the fast-dissolving formula starts to work by oxidizing contaminants, preventing algae, conditioning and clarifying, inhibiting scale and maintaining overall water balance. E-Z POOL effectively manages pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness with just a once-a-week application. Because E-Z POOL keeps the water clean, clear and balanced, your sanitizer is more efficient and you use fewer chemicals! Traditional water maintenance programs require a multitude of chemicals and frequent testing in an attempt to achieve balance and clarity. These programs are based on reactive science: wait until you have a problem, attempt to diagnose with complicated testing, and then treat by adding a multitude of chemicals that might fix the problem. E-Z POOL works on PROACTIVE science: you actually prevent water problems (algae, organic contaminants, pH imbalance, scale) rather than adding more chemicals to treat them after they occur. With E-Z Pool, you get all the benefits of a salt-water pool (lower maintenance, softer water) without adding expensive equipment that you will have to repair and replace through the years.
Here are two testimonies from long-time E-Z Pool users:
“I love Marie’s! I like that when I go in there they treat you like a friend and are always so helpful! I like using E-Z Pool and love not having to buy all of the products to clear up a green pool because we never have that problem!! Thanks Marie’s….you guys are awesome!!!” P. Willis, Oxford
“I’ve been with Marie’s Pool Store since 1994. This company has always been there for me concerning my pool needs. I am just grateful for their wonderful customer service, call backs and anything in between. I think one of the most amazing things was when they introduced me to E-Z Pool. I was so amazed, I told anyone that had a pool about this amazing product. One of their other customers came in and said in a joking way, ‘she talks about Jesus and EZ Pool.’ Grateful that this area has a wonderful company to help with our pool needs.” P. Martin, Oxford
WHEN SHOULD I SHOCK MY POOL?
As a general rule, the pool should be shocked every 7-10 days. The best time to shock is at night or when the sun is no longer shining on the pool. This allows the chlorine more time to work before the sun starts drawing it out of the pool. As a rule, you should shock the pool after heavy use or rain. But it is always good to test the water first to avoid over-chlorinating the water. Upon testing, if the free chlorine reading is low, it is time to shock. Also check to make sure your chlorine tablets have not run out. If you have a test kit that tests for free chlorine and total chlorine, you should shock any time the total chlorine reading is higher than the free chlorine.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN SHOCK AND TABLETS?
Traditional shock and tablet products are different types of chlorine. Tablets are a stabilized form of chlorine, made to break down slowly to give the water a steady dose of sanitizer. There are different types of shock, some stabilized, some not, but it is always in a granular form. We use calcium hypochlorite shock because it has the highest level of available chlorine. Shock is used to raise the chlorine level quickly to “burn out” any impurities in the water.
WHY SHOULD I NOT BUY CHLORINE PRODUCTS FROM THE MASS MERCHANTS?
Aside from the fact that you don’t get any expert help while shopping at those establishments, their products are different and inferior to the ones we carry. The chlorine content of their shock is lower and therefore less effective; however, the price on their shock is higher than ours. Their tablets are less expensive, but that is because the process of making those tablets is inferior. Their tablets are bound with a fatty substance that causes a black oily residue in the pool equipment, prematurely clogging up the filter. The tablets are also not bound as tightly as the tablets we carry, which causes them to not last as long in your skimmer or chlorinator.
WHY IS MY WATER CLOUDY?
There are several possible causes of cloudy, smoky, or hazy swimming pool water. Here are some of them, along with the solutions:
• Poor circulation or filtration: Backwash and clean the pool filter. Clean the skimmer baskets and pump strainer basket. The filter may need to be chemically cleaned.
• Improper water balance: Test the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness, and make the necessary adjustments.
• Excess organic waste: Shock with one pound of pool super shock for every 10,000 gallons of pool water.
• High pH or total alkalinity: Add a pH reducer.
• Low sanitizer level: Add chlorine to bring sanitizer into its proper range.
SHOULD I DRAIN MY POOL?
It depends on the type of pool you have. If the pool is gunite (concrete), then yes, you can drain it. Just don’t leave it drained for more than a few days. If the pool is fiberglass, you will need to take into consideration the ground water surrounding the pool. Fiberglass pools have been known to pop out of the ground when drained if there is water surrounding the pool underground.
You should never completely drain a vinyl pool on your own. If complete draining is required, hire a professional, but you must also take into account the age of the liner. Even if professionally drained, an older liner, or one that has not been properly cared for, can still tear. If your liner is in good condition and is fairly new, you can usually safely drain 24″-36″ of water. But we suggest avoiding draining the pool at all costs. A few extra cleanings or chemicals is much cheaper than replacing your liner.
WHY DO MY KIDS HAVE ITCHY / BROKEN OUT SKIN AFTER SWIMMING?
Check your pH and chlorine levels. A low pH and / or a high chlorine reading can cause skin irritation, especially in children or anyone with sensitive skin.
WHY DO MY EYES BURN WHEN I SWIM?
The pH of your eyes is around 7.0. Anytime the pH of the pool water differs drastically from your own pH, irritation can occur. Check your pH and chlorine levels. High chlorine levels can also cause this.
I LET MY POOL "GO" DURING THE WINTER.....WHAT NOW?
First, remove as much debris as possible by dipping, leaf eating, or vacuuming to waste. This may have to be done “blindly” if you cannot see the bottom of the pool. Next, use a large dose of shock and algaecide (we can help you decide which one and how much). After the algae is dead, vacuum all remaining debris and algae to waste. Once the water is no longer green, just cloudy, bring a sample of water in to be tested.