Pool Water Maintenance (Please print this off and keep with your Pool Service Papers)

Whether you care for your pool yourself or use a pool service professional, you should settle for nothing less than the best, for your water (and your pool), at all times.

For maximum life of the coating, the pool water quality should be maintained continuously in accord with accepted pool water management practices and the following criteria;

  • pH 7.4 -7.8, Water temperature between 5 – 35 Deg C
  • Total Alkalinity 80-120 ppm (mim) to 160 -180 ppm maximum
  • Chlorine levels 2 – 3 ppm (parts per million)
  • Calcium Hardness should be closely monitored and kept within 270 – 330 ppm
  • Pool regularly cleaned in accord with generally accepted practice,
  • Pool chemicals to be correctly mixed and not dumped into pool,
  • Pool remains full of water
  • If using a Cu/Ag system monitor and keep ion concentration low to prevent staining.

If having your pool professionally maintained then make sure they set the testing equipment to painted surfaces, not any other. Otherwise incorrect chemical dosage may result, shortening the life of the EPOTEC.

Also Total Alkalinity should be carefully maintained to prevent a powdery surface developing with attendant “pick up” on hands and feet and a shorter life.

Surface Cleaning:

The EPOTEC is resistant to surface contamination and fungal growth. However over time the surface will tend to change with the attachment of slime and fat build up. This can be removed easily by giving the surface a “wash” with a broom or brush. The most affected areas will be at the water level, and within 300 mm of it. Body fats, suntan lotion and other matter that floats on the water surface will tend to stick to the sides of the pool. A regular scrub (bi monthly and more often in times of high usage) for this area should be a part of the maintenance program. Using “Creepy Crawlers” and similar are fine though make sure they don’t have seized wheels or hard plastic parts that will scape on the Epotec, wearing it down prematurely. The white powdery deposits (See below) if allowed to build up will through the abrasive action of pool cleaners, reduce the life of the Epotec and allow “colour pickup” and more so  if pool has sand in it.

Calcium Build-up:

One of the by-products of pool chemicals is the formation of calcium deposits on walls and floors.  Calcium comes from the hardness of water, Salt, or the “Chlorine 65%”, in previous section. This can usually be seen as a whitish “scum”. It may be noticed if you wipe the surface with your hand and you see a white “cloud” in the water. The EPOTEC will be glossy underneath. It should be removed as can act as an abrasive when pool cleaners in use and reduce the life of EPOTEC.

It can be removed by using a flocculating agent. See your pool shop for specific details.

Chalking:

Epoxies slowly chalk as they age. EPOTEC is resistant to this however it will happen over time. It’s a natural process and will be more noted on darker colours. It’s a fine white powdery deposit on the surface and may be quite hard and difficult to remove, unlike a calcium build up.
The rate and extent of chalking is dependent on many things including: Pool water chemistry stability, water type, UV attack and the overall pool water management
Conditions which will accelerate chalking include: pH being too high or too low, Total Alkalinity being out side the range of 120 – 160 ppm, Chlorine levels too high,
At the end of winter it’s a good idea to give the pool a good scrub to remove any winter build ups and prevent “blue” hands.

Blistering – Bubbles:

EPOTEC is both water and vapour impermeable meaning it protects the underlying surface and wall components (such as reinforcing steel) from the ravages of salt water. As a result if any (ground) water or moisture gets behind the coating it may generate blisters. These are not common, however if seen contact us for further advice.
Other causes can be poor preparation, applying when temperature to hot, applying on wet surfaces.
This is not the same as OSMOSIS in fibreglass pools which are slow to develop, usually contain smelly water and are there for the life of the pool if indeed it has osmosis. Should you see this developing in your pool, contact us.

Stains:

In some cases you may get stains.
If these are seen within the first weeks, as random yellow – brown colouring over the surface, it’s most likely the hardener leaching to the surface. It usually disappears over several months as the pool gets into its normal chemical balance.
Other causes are leaves etc, dropping onto the still curing final coating. Remove these when safe to do so before filling pool.
Stains after the pool in service maybe from rotting vegetation (leaves, twigs – tannins) or from mineral or metal build ups. Some water supply contains high amounts of metals which can react with “salts” in pools to create metal stains. Your nearest pool shop is the best place to get advice. You may also get metal stains as result of reactions in salt chlorinators.

Damaged Areas:

In the unlikely event your pool surfaces are damaged and the film integrity of the EPOTEC punctured, there is the prospect of water from the pool getting behind the EPOTEC. This will also allow the pool water with its corrosive salts, chlorine and other chemicals to come into intimate contact with the now unprotected concrete. Chemical attack of the concrete is possible with the result that it will fail, and there by undermine the further integrity of the EPOTEC. Any such damaged areas should be repaired promptly. We have touch up kits for this and they can be used underwater.

Pool Water Chemistry: (in a little more detail)

Pools are very simply, mild chemical baths. EPOTEC is used mainly to protect the surface (and underlying structure) from the ravages of these chemicals. Most pools and spas use some form of chlorine for sanitation.

Chlorine is a strong oxidizing agent and is quite dangerous if mishandled. Hence for pool use its either sold in diluted liquid form (12.5%) , tablets or generated via a salt water chlorinator.

There is a lot of information written about pool water chemistry. Much of it by commercial enterprises who are keen to sell you something. There is little unbiased information available for the home pool user.

Pool water can be a very complex mixture of metals, nonmetals, salts, oxides, chemicals, oils and phosphates etc.

ALSO the water you put into your pool (Bore or town supply) may also contain many salts & metals in small and varying concentrations. These can vary daily ( and within your street) and impact quickly on the pool water chemistry and how you need to deal with it.

The most important aspects to monitor are: pH, Water Balance, Total Dissolved Solids and Bacteria

In one sense having a low maintenance pool is the most delightful experience and some owners achieve this year in year out. Others struggle to get theirs to run well. Why?

The best place to get good advice is your pool shop, however not all are run by knowledgeable persons who can discuss your pool issues and take the time to work out what’s going on. Many simply run a simple computer test for pH, Chlorine, TA (Total Alkalinity) and CH (Calcium Hardness) and sell you some chemicals to add to your pool, in the expectation all will be well. Yet a few weeks later you are back seeking a solution to an issue. Why? Could the TDS be getting to high and causing additional problems?

In so far as pools coated with EPOTEC there are very few issues. However the main issues we see are to do with a white powder on the surface. These are sometimes in salt water pools and less so in liquid or granular chlorine treated pools. (You may see finger or foot lines on the sides of the pool, below the water line)

If you wipe your hand over the surface, just below the water line, you will see what looks like white chalk dust floating in the water, once the hand movement stops. The immediate reaction is the paint is oxidised and coming off. Yet if you rub hard against the surface no paint comes off at all. In fact you see a nice glossy coating showing up. What gives?

Well in a nutshell the white powder is the insoluble residues for the pool chemicals. Often Calcium salts but can include others too.

As an example Cheetham Salt has the following on their bags of pool salt: “… does not guarantee a clear pool in each instance and accepts no liability of any loss from using Sunray Pool Salt” So you need to know.

Salt Water Pools
These are now quite common, but are not “NO” maintenance. They do require care and attention.

Firstly in an average size pool some 200 kgs of pool grade salt is used. And it’s topped up from time to time. This salt (Cheetham) is from sea water so it has the same composition as sea water, including sodium chloride (Nacl) along with other minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, and salts of these. There are many trace minerals and some metals too, along with fine sand.

Some minerals are not (very) soluble and it represents about 0.6% (or more) of the amount of salt in your pool. Thus with 200Kgs of salt, then there is about 1.2 kgs (or more) of insoluble materials. A portion of these insolubles may be filtered out by the filter mediums, but some are very fine and are not removed, or the filter is ineffective and they remain in suspension for a period of time. Then if the water temp changes suddenly or the pH changes abruptly or the TA is heading higher, it may cause the remaining suspended material to drop out lining the inside of your pool. Also the Chlorinator itself may assist in creating insoluble materials such as calcium and alkali precipitate and resultant scale in the pool itself.

Chlorine pools:
In pools with liquid or granular chlorine, Sodium Hypochlorite is the most common sanitiser used. Calcium Hypochlorite (increases Calcium load) and Lithium Hypochlorite (higher cost, lower effectiveness) less so.

However even Sodium Hypochlorite leaves a residue that’s about 85% salt, NaCl. This is reactive and may combine with other minerals and salts in the pool (water supply, rain water flowing across cement) to form insoluble salts too, much like those seen in Salt Water pools.

Fibreglass, Vinyl, Painted Pools:
Pools with non-mineral surfaces can suffer from a low Calcium levels. If there is no Calcium in the pool lining, (non-mineral) then with rain water entering pool, (that’s calcium free) plus any limited Calcium in the pool is being filtered out, a deficiency exists. This upsets the water balance, leading to a loss of “buoyancy” to hold dissolved solids in suspension. Within a matter of minutes the dissolved solids drop out as a white film over the pool surfaces.

What to do if your pool shows these signs?

Discuss with your pool shop. We can also provide more information on the white film and how to get rid of it. Usually a flocculating agent will do the job. Note there are two Types: Aluminium Sulphate and Synthetic Polymer and either one may work. You may need to try both. If not successful then it may be that TDS is too high and the pool needs to be partially emptied to remove water and some of the TDS and replaced with clean, water. Only further testing will confirm this last approach as being needed.

In a nut shell there are remedies to overcome these issues and in some cases they are straight forward. In others more detective work and some trial and error is needed to get you pool back to being in tip top

Summary:

To get the best performance from the Epotec, look after it well, cleaning it every now and then. Keep the pool water in tip top condition throughout the year.

Also note that chlorine, pool acid, and many other pool chemicals can do great damage to you and your pools health if not used correctly.

You may need to call on other professionals to assist you in obtaining the very best in pool water maintenance.

One web site you may like to visit for more information is SPASA and their Fact Sheets at: www.spasa.org.au