How long should my liner last?

We find that liners tend to last 10 to 15 years with good care.  Warranties are a funny thing and we’ll never lie to you about them.  Warranties on liners, covers, and things of that nature cover seams and manufacturer’s defects.  That means if a seam lets go then it’s covered by warranty.  Honestly, if you have a weak seam, it will probably let go soon after installation.  Liners and covers on a pool are subject to chemicals, nature’s elements, and care by the homeowner. Companies don’t warranty against those elements.  Manufacturers don’t know how high you keep your chlorine, if you apply it properly, if you balance your water, if your kids have sharp objects while playing in the pool, or if the liner was measured and installed properly.  They also don’t cover incidentals such as water to refill the pool and chemicals to rebalance it.  Family Pools can help in a couple ways by working with the manufacturers for you and by offering liner insurance.  We’ll never give you the manufacturer’s phone number and say ‘give them a call’.  You just come straight to us.  For any other questions on liners, contact Chris for inground liners at 978-688-8307 ext 18 or our NH store for above ground liners at 603-642-9909

How long will it take for my pool to clear up?

There are variables.This depends on how bad the pool is, how quickly you call us, and what type of equipment you have.  (more…)

Are test strips accurate?

They can be.  There are all different brands on the market.  We’ve tried a few and we like Lamotte’s 5-Way Test Strips the best.  It’s our customers’ favorite as well.  It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions even on something as simple as a test strip.  You should take the sample from elbow deep, not right at the surface, and you should take it after the filter has been running a while.  Again, read the instructions to see if you should shake the strip, read the result right away, or wait a certain period of time.  Do not dip into the bottle with wet fingers.  Do not leave the bottle outside in the sun or exposed to chlorine fumes that my fade your colors to match to.  The biggest problem with test strips is the wide ranges on the ppm results.  For instance, the Total Alkalinity results read 0, 40, 80, 120, and so one, whereas, our lab tests every 10 ppm so we can give you a much more accurate result.  We recommend using the test strips at home for a gauge then bringing your water into Family Pools for a more accurate reading once per month.

Can I install a safety fence by myself?

Yes you can. We’ll even help you figure it out.  It’s not really hard, it’s time consuming.  You’ll have to rent a core drill and buy a drill bit.  The rest is procedure.  We don’t recommend gates.  Removing a small section of fence instead of using a gate is much cheaper and makes for a much easier installation.  Should you decide you would like to know more, please contact Will or Dave in our Service Department at 978-688-8307 ext 14 for more complete details.  Fences can typically be in stock 48 hours from purchase.

Can I summerize my pool myself?

Yes.  In fact, you can’t really break anything on a summerizing.  If you forget to put a plug in, you’ll get wet.  If you don’t make your connections tight or forget to use Teflon tape or lube and end up with air in the system, it’ll still work; you’ll just have to recheck your connections to make the fix.  Air in the system won’t hurt anything.  Don’t forget to add your filter media if applicable.  Make sure your water level is high enough and prime the pump before turning the filter on.  Log in or stop by our store for printed directions.

Can I swim right after I Shock the pool?

Only if you’ve used non-chlorine shock treatment such as Family Pools Power Shock.  If you’ve used regular chlorine shock then we recommend that you put it in at the end of the day when everyone is done swimming.  Make sure the filter is running when you add it and follow proper procedures for the particular shock you are adding.  Ask your pool professional if you have any questions.  The chlorine level should be 3.0 ppm or below when re-entering the pool.  If the package says it is alright to swim sooner, then it’s okay.

Can I swim right after I balance the pool?

Most likely.  It depends what you’ve had to balance.  It is okay to swim right after adding typical balancing chemicals such as Total Control 1000, Builder 2000, Controller 2000, and Calcium Lift 3000.  It is normally a good idea to give the product a chance to dissolve before jumping in.  Typically, these products dissolve right away.

Can I swim right after adding Pristine Blue?

According to the manufacturer, it is okay to swim 15 minutes after the addition of Pristine Blue or Algae Shield.

Can I use just any kind of Algaecide in my pool?

No.  You do have choices but you should use the right algaecide for your pool surface, one which is compatible with the other chemicals you are using, and one which is recommended for the type of algae you are trying to fight.  Do not use copper or metal based algaecides on gunite surfaces as they may stain.  Do not use copper based algaecides if you are using metal removal treatments for minerals in your water; that would, obviously, be counterproductive.  Poly based algaecides are good for a wide spectrum of algae, whereas, n-alkyl based algaecides are usually only effective on green algae.  We recommend Proteam Supreme as an algaecide alternative for black algae and if you prefer a very long lasting algaecide.  Algae Shield is spectacular for vinyl pools and our most popular algaecide.  For more information, log in or stop by our store for a printout on various algaecides.

Can I use any kind of Shock in my pool?

No.  You have choices but you definitely want to use a Shock Treatment compatible with the sanitizer you are using.  Do not use a stabilized shock treatment, such as Energizer Plus, if you are using stabilized chlorine such as Quick Tabs or Powersticks. Use Liquid Shock Treatment or Omega Calcium Hypochlorite (predissolved).  If you are using a non-stabilized sanitizer such as Pristine Blue, Energizer Plus is great choice because it is stabilized and fully dissolves.  It is more convenient than storing and using Liquid.  Calcium hypochlorite is not recommended with Pristine Blue.  Calcium hypochlorite is great for gunite pools because, used on a regular basis, it helps maintain calcium levels, however, it does not dissolve well and could lay on vinyl surfaces and cause premature fading and bleaching.  Lithium shock treatments are fully soluble and non-stabilized, work well, but are expensive.  Power Shock is a non-chlorine shock in which you can swim right after use.  If your sanitizer level is low at all or your pool is cloudy, chlorine shock treatments are more effective.  For more information, log in or stop by our store for a printout on various shock treatments.

Can I use Flock with my DE or cartridge filter?

We don’t recommend it.  Flock is a coagulant and could easily gum up your DE or cartridge filter element making it hard for you to clean.  We recommend Flock for sand filters only with the exception of rare extreme conditions of which I can’t even recall any off hand.

Can I use Pristine Blue on a gunite pool?

We don’t recommend it; however, it works so well that we have many customers with gunite pools who do use it.  It’s simple and works fantastic.  The problem is that it is copper based and could possibly stain the surface.  Newer surfaces are more prone to staining due to pH levels rising often and causing metals to fall out.  Many people with older surfaces have no trouble at all.  More durable surfaces such as River Roc are less susceptible to staining.  When stains do occur, they are extremely hard and almost impossible to remove fully.

Can I winterize my pool myself?

Yes.  Unlike summerizing the pool yourself, you could possibly make mistakes that could cost you.  If you don’t remove all the water from your lines sufficiently, drain the filter, heater, pump, or other equipment sufficiently, you could be in for costly repairs or equipment replacement.  Other than that, the procedure is not that bad.  If you have a floor circulation system, it becomes more difficult.  Sometimes a home shop vac is not powerful enough to blow the water out completely from the lines.  You may have to rent equipment to do so.  For complete winterizing instructions, please log in or stop by our store for a printout.

Do I need to Shock my pool if I have a chlorine generator?

Absolutely.  Shock treatment is to keep the chlorine in your pool active and available while oxidizing out combined chlorine and contaminants.  Since your chlorine generator oxidizes the water as it passes over the cell as part of the chlorine generation process, you don’t need to shock your pool as often as someone without a chlorine generator.  You simply need to shock the pool if you see it start to turn dull or hazy, notice that your free chlorine level is low, or notice that you have combined chlorine when you test it.  Any type of chlorine is compatible with your generator.  Be sure to choose one best suited for your pool surface.  Just a tip, it is usually best to shock a pool after a pool party with a large number of swimmers or after heavy rain or wind carrying debris and contaminants into the pool.

Do you clean pools?

Yes we do.  We offer partial or full maintenance programs.  We’ll simply test and balance your pool, clean your skimmers and filter if you’d like or we can do all mentioned along with a full vacuuming.  We offer spring clean-ups and balancing, weekly or bi-weekly maintenance.  Please contact Bill Feil at 978-688-8307 ext 44 for pricing and details.

Do you guarantee your pool winterizings?

We guarantee winterizings if we have installed the pool so we know how it is plumbed and if we have winterized the pool since installation so that we know it has been done properly each year and does not have any broken lines.  Beyond that, we guarantee the obvious.  If, for instance, we did not drain your filter and the tank cracked then we would replace the tank since we obviously made a mistake.  We cannot guarantee anything we cannot see so we cannot guarantee plumbing put in by any other pool company.  We don’t know what kind of pipe, fittings, soil or rocky conditions may exist.  We do guarantee to do whatever we feel necessary to prevent any damage.  We do over 2,000 winterizings yearly so we’re doing something right!

Do you sell above ground pools?

Yes.  We sell above ground pools out of our Kingston, NH location.  We do our own installations and service what we sell.  You can call our NH store at 603-642-9909 for details and options.

Do you sell pool kits?

Yes we do.  If you wish to install your own in ground pool, we’ll gladly sit down and speak with you about what equipment and options you would like and give you a kit price.  You are even welcome to observe any ongoing installations we may have in progress if you would like to view the procedure before performing it.  If you are interested in obtaining more information, please leave a message for Bill with Wilmy at 978-688-8307 ext 19.

How can I tell if I have mold in my pool?

Sadly, mold is very common these days.  Bleed through mold affects vinyl pools not gunite pools.  Mold is typically on the bottom of the pool and on the side bays but very rarely on the walls.  It is often seen around the main drain.  It looks dark brown or blackish, non-uniform spots or blotches.  It can start small and get increasingly worse.  It can take over the whole pool.  It tends to fade or disappear with heavy shock treatments then reappear when the chlorine level drops.  Do not waste money on fancy stain removal chemicals.  Simply shock heavily, two to three times the amount of shock you would normally add.  If the color fades then comes back, you’ve got mold.  The mold is beneath the surface of the liner where you can’t reach it with chemicals; it just shows through as a stain.  To fully kill and remove mold, the pool must be pumped down, the liner peeled back, and the mold treated.  We do not recommend this in most cases.  The mold is not harmful.  We recommend you shock the pool heavily a few days before expected company.  They come, they go, and then the stains reappear.  Just swim, enjoy, and ignore.  Make sure when it’s time for that liner change that you tell us you’ve experienced mold.  Do not ever pump your own pool down before consulting with a pool professional.  You could end up with worse problems than mold.  At times, mold will disappear with a deep frost and you’ll be mold free the following season.

How do I get particles to settle to the bottom of my pool?

Sometimes, simply leaving the pump off for 24 to 48 hrs will allow particles to settle without adding additional chemicals if you’re lucky.  If you have a floor circulation system with a Leaf Trapper, you can remove the bullet from the bottom of the Leaf Trapper to stop flow to the floor jets allowing particles to settle.  If you have a floor circulation system without a Leaf Trapper, you most likely can pause the system so that the flow is not going to the floor jets so that particles will settle.  If you have a Sand filter, you can add Last Resort, according to directions, which works wonderfully or Flock as a settling agent.  These products do not work in heavy rains so check the forecast before addition.  The pool must be left off after adding so that particles settle.  The pool must then be vacuumed on “waste” position.  If you do not have a “waste” position on your filter then you should consult with us about possible other options to clear the pool.

How do I get rid of air in my filtration system?

Air leaks are found somewhere between the skimmer and the pump. First, make sure your skimmer weir (little door flap) is not stuck shut.  This sounds way too simple but it is very common.  Make sure your water level is high enough, at least 2/3 the way up your skimmer opening.  Check for any visible leaks on your pump housing and any connections going into the pump, reseal if necessary.  Make sure your drain plugs have o-rings or new Teflon tape on them.  If your pump housing appears cracked, please consult with our Service or Parts Department at 978-688-8307 ext 14 or 23.  Check for leaks underneath the pump; this could indicate a bad water seal.  Check the gasket on your pump cover. Make sure it’s seated properly and not worn.  Never ever use Vaseline or anything petroleum based on o-rings or gaskets.  Use an approved plumbing lube.  Lastly, check any valves going into the pump.  If suspect, pull the valve apart checking for any o-rings or parts that may be worn.  Reseal or replace as necessary.  If you just can’t find it, contact Will in Service at ext 14 to schedule a technician.

How do I get rid of green algae?

First, check your pH level because we’re going to need to Shock and the Shock won’t work well if the pH is high.  If the pH is low or normal, go ahead and add Shock Treatment, extra if the algae is real bad, 2x to 3x as much.  Brush the walls and bottom unless you think your filter will let the fine particles pass through once they are suspended, otherwise, wait and try to vacuum instead.  Add an algaecide as well for better results.  Run your filter 24 to 48 hrs.  If you have a DE filter, it is best not to run it 24 hrs at a time but 20 hrs instead and give it a shut down period.  Repeat if necessary.  Backwash or clean the filter as necessary.  If the algae settles, vacuum.  If using a Sand filter or DE filter with a multiport valve, vacuum on “waste” position.  If using a DE or Cartridge filter without a multiport valve, vacuum with the drain valve (if applicable) partially open so that the algae goes straight out of the system instead of into the filter.  Refill the pool as necessary.  Repeat as necessary.  If the algae is not settling, you can try leaving the filter off for 24 hrs to see if it settles on its own. If you have a Sand filter and the algae is not settling, you can use Last Resort as a settling agent to help it settle so you can vacuum.  Please read the instructions or ask for advice in our store.  If you have a DE filter, you can simply run it longer and keep cleaning out the filter until all the algae is filtered out.  If you have a Cartridge filter, you can add DE Powder to the filter as a filter aid to trap fine particles that are otherwise passing through.  Add the DE slowly to the skimmer with the filter running until you have made a 1 lb to 2 lb difference in pressure on your pressure gauge.  Run the filter continuously until the water is clear.

How do I get rid of black algae?

Black algae is extremely difficult to get rid of.  It tends to keep coming back.  For this reason, we have found adding Proteam Supreme to the pool to be the best long run solution.  Proteam Supreme is an additive which reduces the carbon dioxide in the water so algae can’t thrive.  It stays in the water, once there, until it is diluted out by addition of water after backwashing and evaporation.  It also helps reduce sanitizer consumption.  Proteam Supreme is compatible with all other products and is never a bad addition.  Other than that, add Shock Treatment on top of or as close to the algae as possible and use a concentrated algaecide such as Poly 60.  Brush the algae repeatedly daily until it loosens and filters out.

How do I get rid of black or brown stains on my pool?

If these stains are caused by mold, please read above about mold.  If these stains are organic, Shock and Algaecide will help lesson them slowly.  Lots of brushing and patience may be necessary.  Ring Leader may be used around the waterline ring.  If you have a plaster finish and have extreme staining, an acid wash may yield the best results.  Although, it is possible to do a suspended acid wash, it is not very common and a routine acid wash after draining the pool is the most effective.  We also sell a tool called a Jandy Stainmaster which allows you to apply acid directly to the stained areas without draining your pool.  They work very well but tend to be a bit time consuming due to the small nozzle used to apply the acid.  Having said all that, those dark colorations could very well be caused by minerals in the water, iron or manganese.  To test this, purchase a 2 lb bottle of Spot Specialist and sprinkle it directly onto one of the stains if possible to see if it disappears.  If this is impossible, put the Spot Specialist into a sock and push it onto a stain with your pole and brush.  Let it sit there 30 minutes with the filter off.  Remove the sock and see if the stain has disappeared.  If so, you have mineral stains.  If you just have a few stains, continue to use Spot Specialist.  Remember to retest and readjust the pH level when you are done because Spot Specialist is an acid and will lower your pH.  Spot Specialist will cloud your water but it will clear up on its own within a couple days with the filter running.  If your whole pool is stained, purchase Super Erace, 2 qts per 10,000 gallons of water for best results.  Use this product at night and after everyone is done swimming.  Adjust your Total Alkalinity to 125 ppm and your pH to 7.8.  With the filter off, pour the Super Erace around the pool as close to the stains as possible.  Leave the filter off for 30 minutes to 1 hour then turn it back on.  Let the filter run for 24 hrs then backwash or clean out the filter.  Do this again after 72 hrs.  The Super Erace will help the metals filter out.  The key is to get them out of the system completely by cleaning out the filter so they can’t get back into the pool and cause further discoloration and problems.  Retest and readjust your Total Alkalinity and pH.  Repeat the process if necessary.

How do I get rid of cloudy water?

This is a loaded question.  There are so many causes and so many solutions.  First, check your sanitizer level and if it’s low, simply Shock the pool and this may clear the water.  If not, let’s take it by filter type.  You should be running your filter, on average, 12 hrs per day normally.  If you have a Sand filter, you can add DE Powder or Flock to the skimmer with the filter running to help it trap fine particles which are otherwise passing through the system.  Use enough DE to make a 1 lb to 2 lb difference in pressure (typically ½ lb on an above ground system and 1 lb on an inground system).  Use Flock according to container instructions as a filter aid.  Run your filter 24 hrs per day and backwash as necessary until the pool is clear.  Don’t backwash immediately because you’ll lose the chemicals you just put in.  Vacuum any settled debris on “waste” position so it can’t go through the sand and return into the pool making it cloudy again.  If the pool is so cloudy that you can’t see the bottom then use Last Resort instead, follow the directions on the container.  Do not use this in heavy rains.  Use 2x to 3x the normal dosage for best results.  If you have a Cartridge filter, use DE Powder as a filter aid.  Make sure your circulation is good before adding the DE.  If not, clean the filter before adding the DE.  With the filter running, add enough DE to the skimmer to make a 1 lb to 2 lb difference in filter pressure (typically 5 lbs+ on a Sta-rite Systems III Modular Media filter).  DE can be purchased in a 10 lb bag.  Run your filter constantly until the pool clears.  If the pressure on the filter rises to where the circulation is poor, hose down the filter.  If the circulation remains good, the DE isn’t hurting anything and can remain in the filter until such time that you need to hose down the filter.  If you have a DE filter and your pool is slightly cloudy then, typically, it will just clear up on its own with extra filtration.  Do not run your filter 24 hrs per day but 20 hrs is okay.  If needed, an Aquapill 2 or Pool Perfect may be added as a Clarifier but we try to resist using any type of Clarifiers, if possible, with DE filters because they gum them up making the pressure rise faster.  If you have very cloudy water for an extended time, you probably have something wrong with the filter.  Stand at the return where the water returns into the pool and, after the filter has been off for a while, have someone turn the filter on for you.  If you get a cloudy burst coming from the return line then you, most likely, have DE Powder coming back into your pool from the filter.  Ask our Service or Parts Departments for assistance in troubleshooting the problem, 978-688-8307 ext 14 or 23.

How do I get rid of iron, manganese, or metals in my pool?

See results for getting rid of black or brown stains in your pool above if the problem is staining.  Works with purple too.  Manganese can cause black or purple staining or discolored water.  If your water is discolored, you can follow instructions for clearing cloudy water (above), with the exception of Shocking, since the discoloration you are seeing is caused by fine oxidized mineral particles in your water that need to be filtered out.  In addition to filtering out the particles, you need to treat the mineral problem.  If your chlorine/bromine level is low, below the ideal range, you can add Metal Muscle.  If your sanitizer levels are normal to high, add Super Erace.  Add these products at night and after everyone is done swimming for the day.  It is important to backwash or clean out your filter after a mineral treatment to get the minerals out of the system completely.  Add DE Powder to Sand or Cartridge filters as a filter aid to better filter out minerals.  Backwash or clean the filter after 24 hrs and again after 72 hrs.  Add more product if you find the discoloration continuing.  If your water source contains minerals such as many wells do, it may be necessary to use Metal Muscle or Super Erace each time you add water to your pool to avoid continuing problems.  You can also add a Eco One Hose Filter at the end of your hose to filter out minerals before they enter your pool.  At very least, put a rag or something acting as a filter, at the end of the hose when adding water.  Lastly, we carry a product called CU Later which we have had good results with.  CU Later packets are placed in your skimmer basket monthly and remain there.  They pull various types of minerals from your water as the water passes over them.

How do I get rid of green hair? How do I prevent it?

Green hair comes from a couple of reasons.  Green hair can come from combined chlorine or green hair can come from copper in the water.  People with dyed hair or bleached hair or children with really fine blonde hair are most typically affected.  Chlorine that is combined is in a state in which it has effectively done its job and it needs to be oxidized out of the water.  A simple test kit can test for combined chlorine.  Even better, shocking the pool on a continual frequent basis such as weekly or bi-weekly can keep ahead of combined chlorine leaving chlorine free and available in which state it should not turn hair green.  Copper from chemicals we use in our pools can also turn hair green.  Pristine Blue and also many algaecides contain copper.  It is important not to overdose with these products.  In fact, we usually suggest dosing Pristine Blue on the lower side.  For instance, if you aren’t exactly sure whether your test is reading .5 or .7 ppm of copper then dose for the .7 ppm which will give you the smallest dosage of Pristine Blue to add to your pool.  Don’t test and dose more than the every two week as instructed.  Pristine Blue is a phenomenal chemical and will work even on the lower side.  Tips for prevention of green hair would also include wetting hair with tap water before entering the pool so it is less absorbent.  Use a leave-in conditioner before swimming.  Shampoo and rinse hair immediately after swimming.  Use a clarifying pre-treatment from your salon.  It is important to maintain your pH level in the proper range of 7.2 to 7.6.  High pH makes chlorine less effective, as well as, makes minerals such as copper fall out of solution.  If you use Pristine Blue, double dose your Pristine Clean regularly.  Pristine Clean helps to keep copper in solution.  Use shampoos formulated for swimmers which contain Vitamin C or sodium thiosulfate.

How do I get rid of mustard algae?

Mustard algae is resistant.  It’s hard to remove and we find it tends to reappear.  We carry a product called Algae Blast which works very well on mustard algae.  It is compatible with all pool surfaces.  Algae Blast is used in conjunction with chlorine shock treatment.  Brush the areas with the algae then add 1 lb or 1 gal of Shock and 4 oz Algae Blast per 10,000 gal of pool water.  Double dose if algae is real bad.  The shock treatment activates the Algae Blast so always use them together.  Do not swim for 3 hrs after adding.  Product may be used weekly for prevention if desired.

How do I get rid of pink slime in my pool?

“Oh no, not the pink stuff”…that’s what we say!  The pink slime you are seeing in your pool is actually a bacteria.  Its real name is Serratia Marcescens.  It is an airborne bacteria so it’s not your fault that you have it.  Because it’s a bacteria and not an algae, we treat it more severely.  We recommend that you place all your pool equipment including vacs, hoses, brushes, nets, poles, automatic cleaners, floats, etc. into the pool then Shock heavily with 2x to 3x the normal shock dose.  Vacuum out any visible pink growth then clean the vac head.  Sponge out all fixtures including skimmers, return jets, and ladders, not forgetting the bottom of the ladder treads.  Throw away the sponge.  Repeat this process as much as necessary until you no longer see any growth.  Anything that came in contact with that bacteria and is then placed back into your pool can bring it back.  For instance, if you have a solar cover, clean it with diluted bleach or replace it.  Make sure to clean out your filter good at the end of the process.

How do I know if I have DE powder coming back into my pool?

You can do a simple test.  After the filter has been shut off for a while, go stand by the return jet of your pool where the water returns to the pool.  Have someone turn the filter on.  If you see a white cloudy burst come out the return, this is a good indication that you have DE Powder returning to your pool from your filter.  You can also put a sock or nylon stocking on the return line of your pool and see if it collects DE as the filter is running.  If you determine that you do have DE coming into the pool then the best solution is to call our Service or Parts departments at 978-688-8307 ext 14 or 23 to inquire how to check your particular filter for possible causes.  Also feel free to bring your filter or filter internals to our store and, most often, we can check them on the spot for you.  If we’re too busy assisting other customers at the time, you can leave them and they will check them promptly when they are free.  If you have a Perflex filter, the problem could be a broken or ripped finger, a cracked plate, or a worn check valve.  If you have a vertical grid filter, it could be a ripped grid, broken manifold, or faulty multiport valve.  No matter what filter, we have a Service technician that can fix the problem at your house or a technician within our store that can fix it at our location.

How do I clean my filter?

Filter Cleaner can be used on Sand filters following the directions on the bottle specifically for Sand filters.  DE filters and Cartridge filters should be cleaned routinely, at very least, once at the end of the year.  Cartridge filters, depending on their size, can be very timely to clean.  For best results, use large plastic barrels big enough to soak the internal cartridges in.  First soak them in a solution of TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) and water overnight.  Rinse them thoroughly then soak them in a solution of 10% to 20% Muriatic Acid and water overnight.  Always, add the acid into the water and not the other way around.  Rinse thoroughly once again.  When done, add baking soda to the acid solution to neutralize it before disposing.  For quick mid-summer cleanings, if needed, you can follow the instructions for cleaning DE internals, following.  To clean DE filter internals, purchase Filter Cleaner.  You can follow the instructions on the bottle but you do not have to.  We normally take apart our filter, if applicable, and lay out all the elements.  Put a spray top on your Filter Cleaner.  Choose an area away from plants, grass, or anything likely to be affected by the chemical.  Spray all sides of the elements thoroughly.  Wait 15 to 20 minutes then rinse thoroughly.  Do not do this on a windy day or choose a sheltered location so as not to get spray in your eyes.  If your filter elements are extremely dirty, you can follow the soaking directions (above) for cartridge filters.

How do I clean my pool when it looks like a swamp?

First of all, don’t drain it!!!  So many people just want to drain their pools when they look like this then their liners fall out of place, float, shrink, or something horrible…gunite pools can pop right out of the ground.  You want to remove as many leaves as possible.  We realize this is harder said than done since you can’t see below the surface of the water.  Just do your best.  After this, Shock treat heavily with the filter running.  In an average sized inground pool, we would recommend 10 to 20 gallons of Liquid Shock.  Liquid Shock in 5 gallon containers is the cheapest way to purchase Shock.  One gallon of inexpensive algaecide may also be added.  This should help kill whatever algae was living in your pool.  Once you can see the bottom, vacuum on “waste” or in a manner in which the heavy debris goes straight out of the system instead of through it.  Most Sand and Vertical Grid DE filters have a “waste” position.  With Perflex DE and Cartridge filters, open the drain valve 20% while vacuuming.  You may want to fill the pool to the brim prior to vacuuming so you have longer to vacuum.  Once the water gets to the bottom of the skimmer, you’ll have to add more water to the pool to continue.  Some debris will get kicked into solution and you’ll have to wait for it to settle down again before vacuuming again.  Backwash and clean out your filter as necessary throughout the process.  We have Sta-rite Systems III loaner cartridges at our store if you would like to rent one for your initial clean-up.  We don’t recommend running DE filters 24 hrs per day, a short shutdown of a couple hours is more beneficial.  DE Powder may be added to Sand or Cartridge filters to aid in filtering out fine particles.  Add enough to make a 1 lb to 2 lb pressure change on your gauge.