Simple Pool and Spa Repair from Harvey at All Parts Pool and Spa

Tech Tips and Repair how-to for pool and spa owners

CALCULATING THE WATER CAPACITY OF YOUR POOL OR SPA BY VOLUME OR FILL TIME

CALCULATING THE WATER CAPACITY OF YOUR POOL OR SPA BY VOLUME OR FILL TIME

Hey, no need to be embarrassed if you’ve forgotten all those mathematical equations from your high school days. After all, most of us don’t use them every day, anyway.
For pool and spa owners, however, some geometry and conversion rates are necessary to know in order to properly perform basic maintenance tasks.
For example, to regulate the chemical balance of the water, or control the temperature, you must first know the water capacity of your pool or spa; and in order to know that, you must first figure out the VOLUME of your pool or spa, measured in cubic feet. Then, this number is simply converted to gallons in order to express the unit’s water capacity.
So, here are the necessary math formulas for Calculating the Volume of your pool or spa:
1) If the pool or spa is rectangular or square, measure in feet its Length, Width, and Depth; then
VOLUME = LENGTH X WIDTH X DEPTH;
2) If the pool or spa is a circle, measure in feet its Diameter (from one side to the other); then
VOLUME = 3.14 X RADIUS² X DEPTH
(Did you remember that the Radius is half the Diameter?)
3) For pools or spas which are shaped like an oval, measure in feet both Diameters; then
VOLUME = 3.14 X FIRST RADIUS X SECOND RADIUS X DEPTH
Now, simply change “cubic feet” to “gallons” to determine the Water Capacity of your pool or spa by multiplying the above answer by 7.48 as the conversion rate below indicates. For example, a pool that has a Volume of 10,000 cubic feet would have a Water Capacity of 70,480 gallons since 10,000 X 7.48 = 70,480.
One (1) Cubic Foot of Water = 7.48 Gallons
One (1) Gallon of Water = 0.134 Cubic Feet
Now, this measurement isn’t going to be exact since most pools and spas have sloping floors and walls. So, for a much more accurate measurement, determine the Water Capacity by Fill Time, when your pool or spa happens to be empty.
Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes to fill your pool or spa; then, using the same hose and water pressure, time how long it takes to fill a five-gallon bucket, as well. Simply compare the two measurements to create a useable conversion rate from buckets to gallons, and you’ll have your answer.
In other words, if the bucket takes 30 seconds to fill and your spa takes 30 minutes (1,800 seconds) to fill, then you could conceivably fill 60 five-gallon buckets in the same amount of time it takes to fill your whole spa, right? (1,800 seconds ÷ 30 seconds = 60 five-gallon buckets) Therefore, the water capacity of your spa is 300 gallons because 60 total buckets X 5 gallons per bucket = 300 total gallons.
In the same way, if the 5-gallon bucket took 30 seconds to fill and your pool took 10 hours (36,000 seconds) to fill, then the water capacity of your pool would be 6,000 gallons.
So, it’s not even necessary to remember all those geometry formulas from high school in order to calculate the water capacity of your pool or spa. I just wanted to include them in this article so that now you may actually be able to help your kids with their math homework.

ALL PARTS POOL AND SPA

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June 23, 2017 at 9:12 pm Comments (0)

SALT POOL? DON’T FORGET YOUR BASICS!

SALT POOL? DON’T FORGET YOUR BASICS!

Many people think that a “salt” pool means that all you need to do is add salt, turn on the generator and be done. While it is true that using a generator to make sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) means that you do not have to store large quantities of dangerous chemicals, it does not absolve you insuring that the chemicals in your pool are balance and thus safe for the use of your family and friends.
To be safe for use, salt pools need to be balanced the same as every other pool. Your generator makes your sanitizer from salt. You will need to check the level of the sanitizer in your pool to make sure that you have enough to provide sanitation. You need to make sure that your pH in the pool is correct. If it is not in the correct near neutral range your bathers will not be comfortable. And when it gets too far in either direction it will be detrimental to your pool equipment and shorten the life of your pool and cost you money in repairs.
No matter what kind of pool you have or how you get sanitizer into your water you need to have a good test kit and use it regularly to test and adjust your water chemistry following recommended guide lines. Adjust your total alkalinity and then your pH. Follow by checking your sanitizer level. Regularly check calcium hardness and total dissolved solids.
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Enjoy your salt pool, but don’t forget the basics.

ALL PARTS POOL AND SPA

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June 22, 2017 at 9:11 pm Comments (0)

How Long It Will Take to Heat Your Hot Tub A PDQ Explanation of BTU

How Long It Will Take to Heat Your Hot Tub A PDQ Explanation of BTU

Reference: HotTub Technician Manual, Pages 8-2,8-3; http://www.answers.com/topic/british-thermal-unit
BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is an English measurement of heat used worldwide to determine how much energy is being produced. BTU measurements have a variety of applications, including the determination of fuel efficiency in cars and the rate at which coal burns, for example. Pertaining to hot tubs, BTU is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water, one degree Fahrenheit, in one hour.
In order to determine how long it will take to heat your hot tub, you simply need to know the total amount of energy your spa heater puts out, measured in BTUs not watts; plus, the total volume of water in your spa measured in pounds, not gallons.
1) 1kW = 3,413 BTU; This is the CONVERSION RATE between heater wattage and British Thermal Units.
(So a hot tub with a 5.5 kW heater contains 18,771 BTU because 5.5 X 3,413 = 18,771.)
AND
2) Volume = Length X Width X Depth; 1 Gallon = 8.33 lbs.
(So a hot tub, measuring 10’ long, 10’ wide, and 4’ deep, contains 400 gallons of water, OR 3,332 pounds of water, because 10 X 10 X 4 = 400 AND 400 X 8.33 = 3,332.)
3) TOTAL BTU ÷ TOTAL POUNDS of Water = Degrees of Heat per Hour
(Simply dividing the TOTAL BTU by the TOTAL POUNDS of water will determine how much of a temperature increase you can expect to receive per hour in your hot tub.)
Using a common 400 gallon hot tub with a 5.5 kW heater as an example, the water temperature would increase 5.6⁰ F per hour.
18,771 BTU ÷ 3,332 lbs. = 5.6
Almost all hot tubs manufactured today in the U.S. utilize Electric Immersion Element heaters, sized in terms wattage and expressed in kilowatts for compatibility purposes with users of the metric system in all other parts of the world. As such, a standard 5.5kW heating element (by American measurement standards) may be expressed interchangeably as a 5500W heater; a 1500W heater is also the same as a 1.5 kW element. For this reason, you may need to convert watts to kilowatts before even starting the above calculations, depending upon how your hot tub heater is sized. (1 kilowatt = 1,000 watts)
EIE heaters are one-hundred percent (100%) efficient in transferring their energy to the water as it flows over the heating elements. (Sure, some heat is going to be absorbed into the heater case or lost through pipes, but the loss is too minimal to notice.) So, you’ll find this formula to be consistently reliable in determining heat increase per hour if your hot tub has an EIE heater.
This same math formula should be used regardless of the type of heating unit your spa has, but the actual results may vary simply because other hot tub heating systems (i.e. gas, solar) are not as efficient as an EIE.
If your hot tub has an EIE heater and the water temperature is NOT increasing as fast as it should, some simple Repairs or a larger Heater may be necessary.
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June 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm Comments (0)

POOL AND SPA “KNOW HOW”: FIVE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO WATER BALANCE

POOL AND SPA “KNOW HOW”: FIVE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO WATER BALANCE

Water Balance is directly related to the life-expectancy of your pool/spa. We sanitize pools and spas in order to prevent bacteria from developing in the water. Otherwise, these invisible bacteria are likely to enter our bodies and get into our bloodstream, causing a harmful disease. For similar reasons, it’s necessary to maintain Water Balance in our pools/spas. A neutral water composition in pool/spas – neither too acidic, nor too alkaline – is necessary in order to prevent the predominance of any one element (like calcium, for example) from developing in the water which, over a period of time, would eventually cause damage to the equipment.
Water quality depends on its source, location, and use. A pool filled with water from a well is going to have a much different composition than one in town that is supplied by a water treatment facility. The hot tub owner living in a forest somewhere is going to be concerned about debris falling into his water, whereas the owner in Los Angeles is going to have to deal with an excessive amount of pesticides as contaminates in her water. The more one uses his pool/spa, the more one must consider the effects of bodily waste on water composition, as well as how certain water elements affect our bodies. Of course, every pool/spa owner is familiar with how the chemicals used to sanitize the water, and oxidize bodily waste, causes the water to become imbalanced. So, the amount of time and effort needed to maintain good Water Balance is going to be different for everyone based on these varying influences.
However, regardless of these varying external influences, the way to achieve Water Balance is always the same.
1) pH, “potential hydrogen” is a measurement of the acid/base condition of the water. The pH Scale is 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Less than 7.0 is acidic; greater than 7.0is alkaline. The acceptable range for pool/hot tub water is from 7.2 to 7.8.
Below 7.2 the water becomes too “active” with hydrogen (acidic), causing damage to vinyl and plastic pool toys, for example, as well as to internal pipes and equipment. Low pH can also cause eye and skin irritation, like itchiness. Add Soda Ash to neutralize the water in the event of low pH Levels.
Above 7.8 the water is too “inactive”, whereby it becomes cloudy from contamination and calcium scales start forming on surfaces because there’s not enough movement from hydrogen ions to alleviate these influences. Add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to neutralize the water when pH Levels get too high.
2) TA, or Total Alkalinity, is a representation of the water’s ability to resist a change to its pH Levels. In other words, adequate TA will reduce the amount of pH adjustments needed in your pool/spa water. Your pool/spa water must have good TA Levels, or it’ll never be able to neutralize, or balance, in the first place.

Test the TA of the water when the pool/spa is newly filled for a true reading, and adjust accordingly. Total alkalinity is determined by measuring the amount of calcium carbonate in the water. The ideal TA for pool/spa water is 80-120 ppm; minimally 60 ppm and maximally 180 ppm. So, adjust TA before testing pH Levels because you may first need to add sodium bicarbonate to the water in order to build up enough TA to keep the pH in its proper range. To reduce high TA, add sodium bisulfate (dry acid) or muriatic acid, whereby the acids will react with the excessive bicarbonates in the water to lower TA.
In fact, TA is so closely related to pH Levels that – even with water that’s been chemically treated with sanitizers and oxidizers – first testing/returning the TA to its ideal range will almost always cause pH Levels to normalizel. However, the proper TA range for pool/spa water that’s been treated will naturally be higher since sanitizing agents are acidic, themselves. 80-100 ppm TA is recommended for pool/spas using chloride sanitizers; 100-120 ppm TA is recommended for pool/spas using dichlor, trichlor and bromine sanitizers.
3) Calcium Hardness naturally ranges from 100-800 ppm in water. It’s a common mineral found in water but, unlike others, you can actually “feel” and “see” it in the water. Low levels of calcium cause the water to feel slippery or “soft” and, without its presence to act as a buffer, the acids in the water become corrosive to surfaces and equipment. Whereas water that is oversaturated with calcium will feel “hard”, and calcium deposits will accumulate on pool/spa surfaces. One of the primary functions of Water Balance is to control calcium hardness, therefore. Excessive minerals in the water are to pool/spa equipment what bacteria is to the human body – damaging!
In order to maintain non-destructive levels of calcium hardness – between 150-250 ppm for pool/spas – the pH, TA, and Water Temperature all function together to dissolve minerals in the water. Add calcium chloride if the water becomes too soft; and partially drain the unit when the water is too hard, refilling it with water of a lower calcium hardness.
4) Temperature While high water temperatures are effective in dissolving calcium minerals in water which is beneficial, temperatures that are too high cause chemicals to evaporate, negatively effecting pH Levels, which is not good. So, for calcium, chemical, and safety reasons, it’s best to keep the water temperature less than 104⁰ Farenheit.
5) Total Dissolved Solids is a measurement of everything in the water – live/killed micro-organisms, body waste, chemicals, minerals/metals, and debris. If any one of these solids becomes too dominant in the pool/spa water, there’s a specific way to resolve the problem. Bodily waste is oxidized, for example, sanitizers kill bacteria in the water. However, these treatments only dissolve the solids in the water; they can’t actually be eliminated.
So, there will naturally come a point (about every 3 months for spas, and once a year for pools) when the amount of TDS in the water becomes too concentrated for any treatment to be effective. The only way to reduce excessive TDS is to drain/replace the water. Knowing this, it’s best to plan routine times of water drainage as part of the normal pool/spa maintenance requirements.
TDS should ideally remain between 1000 and 2000 ppm, never exceeding 3000 ppm. For this reason, never let the TDS get 1500 ppm higher than the original TDS measurement of the water when the pool/spa was first filled.
By consistently monitoring these five factors with a Test Kit and adjusting the water accordingly, a balanced composition will be effectively maintained and the “life” of your pool/spa is certain to be prolonged, providing you with a lifetime of enjoyment.

ALL PARTS POOL AND SPA

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June 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm Comments (0)