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Swimming Pool Plaster Startup Do's & Don'ts
The main objective in a pool startup is to clear or get rid of the plaster scale (dust), and to balance and stabilize the water chemistry in the pool as soon as possible. The first 30 days of plaster curing are the most critical. The need for proper water chemistry and maintenance continues for the life of the pool. The following are some of the "do's and don'ts" for starting up a freshly plastered pool.

Startup Do's & Don'ts are designed to provide basic new plaster start up information. There are other start up techniques and procedures available. Please consult with your plasterer, service technician or other pool professional.

A. The Source Water
Before adding any water to the pool, make sure you know the quality of the water. This is recommended because water quality is not the same everywhere. You may find that your local water source is not suitable for filling a freshly plastered pool. It is recommended that all water chemistry readings be written down for future reference.

B. Determine the Water Gallonage Of Your Pool
You may want to take a meter reading if you are filling from one source with a water meter.
Square or Rectangle-LxWxAverage Depthx7.5
Round-Diameter x Diameter x Average Depth x 5.9
Oval-L x W x Average Depth x 5.9
Irregular shaped pools should be divided into the above geometric shapes and added together.

C. Filling The Pool
After the pool has been plastered, the plaster crew should leave a hose in the pool to fill with water(refer: Footnote in left scroll box). This hose should have a clean, soft cloth tied on the end of it to diffuse the water so that it does not whip, protects the pool surface from being marred by the end of the hose, and to catch any debris that may be in the water system. Do not add anything but potable water. Make sure the fill is not connected to a water softener.
1. Fill Pool as fast as possible. Additional hoses will fill the pool faster. Make sure by a clean, soft cloth. If the pool fills too slowly, check cracks may appear on the step and near the tile line on the walls.
2. Do not let hose whip or flail around the pool.
3. Do not use fill lines on the wall or tile line.
4. Put all hoses in the deep end of the pool.
5. Do not let the hoses rest on the plaster, particularly across the length or width of the pool. They may leave a mark.
6. It is okay to leave the protected end of the hose floating in the forming pool of water.
7. Do not add anything to the pool until it has finished filling. This includes water clarifiers and chelating agents.
8. Do not stop the water until the pool has completely filled. This is usually to the middle of the skimmer opening.
9. If it looks as if the pool is going to finish filling while you are not around, turn down the volume of water to a lower rate, but do not turn the water off.
10. If you turn the water off while you are filling, it will leave a water stain ring at that point on the plaster that could be permanent.
11. If you splash, spill, wash onto or cause anything to fall onto the plaster, it may stain the plaster.
12. Do not walk on the freshly plastered surface or allow pets or animals to walk on the fresh plaster.

D. Test the Water Again.
You may find that the water is substantially different after filling the pool than when first tested. Write the chemistry readings down. In order to satisfy water chemistry needs for calcium, water must contain a minimum of 150 ppm of calcium. Insufficient amounts of calcium in the fill water will force the water to draw calcium from the fresh plaster material, creating surface conditions which may not be able to be corrected.

E. Starting The Equipment.
1. Make sure you start with a clean filter.
2. Make sure that the circuit breakers are on and that the time clock is set for 12 hours or more.
3. Prime the filter pump with water and start the pump. There will be air in the plumbing so make sure that all of the air has been purged from the system.
4. If you have a diatomaceous earth filter it will require pre coating as per manufacturer's directions.
5. Write down the pressure reading from the gauge on top of the filter. Make sure this is the reading with a clean filter. This reading is important because when the filter pressure has risen 4-8 psi, it will be time to clean the filter again.
6. If there is a main drain valve, open it all the way.
7. Do not turn on the heater for a minimum of three weeks.
8. Do not turn on waterfalls or fountains that aren't necessary until the startup procedure has been completed.
9. Do not swim in the pool until after the start up procedure has been completed.
10. Do not use any automatic pool cleaners for a minimum of three weeks after plastering.

F: Adding Chemicals
Due to the varying differences in source water chemistry, it is up to the person who is doing the start up to evaluate the water conditions present. It must be perfectly clear that the person administering the chemicals should be aware of the power and effects of each chemical and the possible reactions of each chemical. It is the sole responsibility of that person to administer the chemicals in a calculated and safe manner.

G: Adding Stain Preventative And Water Clarifiers
These chemicals are extremely important. They help minimize normal staining. Do not add these chemicals until after the pool is filled.
1. Follow manufacturer's directions for dosage.
2. Before pouring chemicals into the pool dilute mixture in a large pail. Always add chemical to water; never water to chemical.
3. Apply diluted mixture around the pool away from the pool walls. Do not pour directly into one spot.
4. Brush pool immediately.
5. Adding water clarifiers and/or chelating agents in excessive proportions may lead to opposite effects.
6. Chelating agents are broken down by UV light and should be replenished as part of normal maintenance.
7. The mixing of water clarifiers and chelating agents together may cause unwanted results. Make sure chemicals are compatible.
H. Other Chemicals
1. Adding large doses of chlorine to water in one spot may cause mineral and metal fallout. This may cause staining of fresh plaster.
2. The addition of large doses of any chemical in any one spot may cause mineral and metal fallout resulting in stained plaster.
3. Addition of muriatic acid to pools during start up will reduce plaster scale(dust). Also, reduces the water's alkalinity and lower the pH.
4. Failure to rid the pool of scale(dust) during the start up can lead to the hardening and sticking of this scale(dust) to the surface of the plaster.
5. The addition of excessive amounts of muriatic acid to plaster surfaces may cause it to etch.
6. Broadcasting any granular or powder chemical products onto the plaster surface may stain it, especially colored plaster.
7. Pre-dissolve all dry chemical products before introducing them into the pool.
8. Conditioner (cyanuric acid or stabilizer) should be introduced into the skimmer with the equipment running, and allowed to dissolve before turning off the equipment. This is generally about 24 hours. Add conditioner after all plaster residue has been removed.

I: Clearing the Scale(dust)
You may notice plaster scale (dust) on the bottom of the pool. This is normal and will go away with proper treatment and brushing. The main objective in starting a pool is to clear or get rid of scale(dust) and to balance water chemistry in the pool as quickly as possible.
1. Do not use a wheeled vacuum for three weeks after plastering. The use of a brush vac is recommended during the first three weeks to avoid marring the plaster.
2. On some pools you may have to turn off the main drain so that you can vacuum.
3. When you vacuumed the scale (dust) from the pool it is important to clean this residual from the filter right away. Remember to recharge the filter if it is a D.E. filter.
4. It is okay to vacuum the scale (dust) to waste if you wish.
5. The more you brush the pool the better it will look. The entire pool should be brushed preferably twice a day until the water is balanced and the plaster scale (dust) has gone away.
6. The pool should be brushed after each vacuuming.
7. The filter pump should be on with the main drain open.
8. Add chlorine in small amounts as needed to the pool until after the scale (dust) has been eliminated, the water is balanced and stabilized and conditioner added.
Custom Pool Plastering's Color Plaster Disclaimer
Since pool plaster is composed of natural materials which have certain inherent characteristics, a certain amount of shading or color variation is a natural occurrence which should not be construed as a defect and which only enhances the natural beauty of your pool. Homeowners need to understand that the plaster is NOT guaranteed for evenness of color and may not be the exact shade anticipated. The shade and color may vary and fade over time. The plaster may become streaked, blotchy, or have a mottled appearance over which the contractor has no control. Homeowner should also understands that crazing(check cracks and hairline cracks) may be noticeable and may be quite pronounced with colored plaster.
Due to atmospheric conditions(humidity, temperature, etc.) during plastering, light and/or dark streaks(a marbleized look) may appear in the plaster and may be more pronounced on a cloudy day or at night with the light on. These conditions are beyond the contractor's control.

Custom Pool Plastering's Chemical Recommendations
Chlorine: 1.5 to 3.0 ppm


pH: 7.2 to 7.8


Total Alkali: 80 to 120ppm


Total Calcium: 200 to 450ppm


Cyanuric Acid: 40 to 60ppm


Total Dissolved Solids: Under 100ppm

For finishes other than white plaster, home owner needs to refer to manufacture's specification.




  Custom Pool Plastering Co., Inc.
Dictionary
of the Pool & Spa industry

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J- K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y -Z

  DIVERTER VALVE: A plumbing fitting used to change the direc- tion or redirect the flow of water. Some diverter valves are used on pool/spa combin- ations to allow the use of the spa and then switch the flow back to the pool. A brand name diverter valve is called an Ortega valve, which is sometimes used to describe a diverter valve.
DIVING BOARD: A recreational mechanism for entering a swimming pool, consisting of a semi-rigid board that derives its spring from a fulcrum mounted below the board and attached to the deck.
DPD: An indicator reagent used for the determin- ation of free and total chlorine, bromine, ozone and other oxidizers in water. Better than using OTO for chlorine because it measures free chlorine.
DRAIN: This term usually refers to a plumbing fitting installed on the suction side of the pump in pools, spas and hot tubs. Sometimes called the main drain, it is located in the deepest part of the pool, spa or hot tub. It is not a drain, such as a drain on a kitchen sink. Main drains do not allow the to drain to waste but rather connect to the pump for circulation and filtration.
DRY ACID: Chemically, sodium bisulfate. A dry white crystal that produces acid when added to water. It is used for lowering pH and total alkalinity. Safer to handle than muriatic acid.
  EFFLUENT: The water that flows out of a pump, filter or heater, usually on its way back to the pool or spa.
ELBOW A plumbing fitting shaped at a 90 degree or a 45 degree angle usually made of metal, PVC or some other plastic.
ELECTROLYSIS: An electrochemical reaction causing a black stain normally found around metal fixtures or on the plaster. It is caused by two dissimilar metals being plumbed together or from an improper electrical grounding of pool equipment or lights. Electrolysis also means the decomposition of water and other inorganic compounds in aqueous solution by means of electricity. Chlorine generators use this principle to produce chlorine from salt in the water.
EPA: Abbreviation for the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
ESCUTCHEON PLATE: An ornamental shield, flange or border used around a pie, plumbing fitting, grab rail or light.
  FIBERGLASS: Finespun filaments of glass which are avail- able in a rope or mat form. When used in a process with polyester resins, catalysts and hardeners, can be formed or molded into pools, spas and related shapes.
FILTER: A device that removes undissolved or sus- pended particles from water by recirculating the water through a porous substance (a filter medium or element). The three types of filters used in pools and spas are sand, cartridge and D.E. (diatomaceous earth).
FILTER AID: A chemical compound added to the water or to the filter that allows the existing filter to become more efficient. Examples are alum, water clarifiers and D.E. (diatomaceous earth).
FILTER AREA: The toal surface area of the filter medium that is exposed to the flow of water from the pump, expressed in square feet. Examples are: a 36 sq.ft. (also 36 ft2) D.E. filter and a 100 sq.ft. (slao 100 ft2) cartridge filter.
FILTER CARTRIDGE: A replaceable porous element made of paper or polyester used as the filter medium in cartridge filters.
FILTER CYCLE: The operating time between cleaning or backwashing cycles of a filter. Also the amount of time the filter has water flowing through it each day expressed in hours.
FILTER ELEMENT: A device within a filter tank designed to trap suspended solids as water flows through it from the pool or spa.
FILTER MEDIUM: The material used in the filter to trap suspended dirt particles as the water is flowing through it. The polyester or paper used in making a cartridge filter element. The sand used in a sand filter. The D.E. (diatomaceous earth) used in a D.E. filter.
FILTER POWDER: A common name for diatomaceous earth (D.E.), used as the filter medium in a diatomaceous earth filter.
FILTER ROCK: Graded, rounded rock and/or gravel used to support the filter medium. Usually used with rapid-rate sand filters.
FILTER SEPTUM: That portion of tjhe filter element consist- ing of cloth, wire screen or other porous material on which the filter medium or filter aid is deposited. The nylon grid on a D.E. filter is the septum.
FILTER, SAND: A type of filter media composed of hard, sharp silica, quartz or similar particles with proper grading for size and uniformity. The most common grade used is No. 20 in sand filters.
FILTRATION RATE: The rate at which the water is travelling through the filter, expressed in U.S. gallons per minute (gpm) per square foot of filter area.
FIREMAN'S SWITCH: A mechanical switch located inside the time clock, which opens a circuit and shuts off the heater 10 or 15 minutes prior to shutting off the water circulation pump, allowing the heater to cool down. This helps reduce lime buildup in the heat exchanger.
FLOC (See flocculation): - The clump or tuft formed when suspended particles combine with a flocculating agent.
FLOCCULATING AGENT: Also flocculant - A chemical substance or compound that promotes the combination, agglomeration, aggregation or coagulation of suspended particles in the water.
FLOCCULATION: The combination, agglomeration, aggregation or coagulation of suspended particles in such a way that they form small clumps or tufts (called floc).
FLOW RATE: The quantity of water flowing past a design- ated point within a specified time, such as the number of gallons flowing past a point in 1 minute - abbreviated as gpm.
FOAM: A froth of bubbles on the surface of the water. Usually comes from soap, oil, deo- dorant, hair spray, suntan oil, etc., that is shed into the water as swimmers enter.
FREE AVAIL.CHLORINE: Free Available Chorine - The amount of free chlorine in the pool or spa water that is available to sanitize or disinfect the water. Sometimes called residual or available chlorine.
  GELCOAT: A colored, polyester-resin material applied to the surface of a molded part. The gelcoat hardens to a smooth, durable form and becomes an integral part of the laminate. Fiberglass pools and spas have gelcoat finishes.
GPD: An abbreviation for gallons per day.
GPH: An abbreviation for gallons per hour.
GPM: An abbreviation for gallons per minute.
GRAB RAIL: Also called hand rail - A tubular steel or plastic device that can be gripped by swimmers or bathers for the purpose of steadying themselves. Usually located near the steps in the pool.
GREEN HAIR: A condition caused by too much copper in the pool water. Green hair is not caused by chlorine. The copper may get into the water by the bad practice of placing trichlor tabs in the skimmer. This acidic product will cause low-pH water, which in turn will dis- solve metals in the equipment. The dissolved metal (usually copper) then stains hair, fingernails and, eventually, pool walls. It can also be caused by keeping the pH too low or misusing acid.
GRND-FAULT CIR.INTR: Ground-fault circuit-interrupter - Also called a GFI - A device intended to protect people. It interrupts (de-energizes) the electrical circuit whenever it detects the presence of excess electrical current going to ground (usually 1/40th of a second and 5/1000th of an ampere).
GUNITE: A mixture of cement and sand sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to build a pool. Gunite is mixed and pumped to the site dry, and water is added at the point of application. Plaster is usually applied over the gunite.
GUTTER: An overflow trough at the edge of the pool through which floating debris, oil and other "lighter-than-wate" things flow. Pools with gutters usually do not have skimmers.
  HALOGENS: The chemical elements either individually or collectively that constitute Group VIIB of the Periodic Table of Elements: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine. Of these, only chlorine and bromine are used as disinfectants and sanitizers in pools and spas.
HAND RAIL: A tubular steel or plastic device that can be gripped by swimmers or bathers for the purpose of steadying themselves. Usually located near the steps in the pool.
HAND SKIMMER: A screen attached to a frame which is then attached to a telepole used to remove large floating debris, such as leaves and bugs, from the water's surface.
HARDNESS: The amount of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water. "Water" or "total" hardness refers to the total magnesium and calcium dissolved in the water. Calcium hardness refers to just the calcium. Measured by a test kit and expressed as ppm. The proper range is 200 to 400 ppm.
HEAT EXCHANGER: A device located inside the heater providing for the transfer of heat from the heat source to the water. This is usually a seriew of metallic tubes with fins located just above the flames.
HEATER: A fossil-fueled, electric or solar device used to heat the water of a pool, spa or hot tub.
HERBICIDE: A chemical compound used to kill or control plant growth or algae. Simazine is a common pool herbicide.
HORSEPOWER: The work done per unit of time. 1 horsepower equals 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute or approximately 746 watts. Motors for pumps are rated in horsepower.
HOT TUB: A spa constructed of wood with the sides and bottom formed separately and joined together by hoops, bands or rods.
HYDROCHLORIC ACID: Also called muriatic acid - A very strong acid used in pools to lower the pH and total alkalinity. It can also be used for various cleaning needs. Used in "acid washing" a pool. Use extreme care in handling.
HYDROGEN: The lightest chemical element. A component of water, and a frequent product of many chemical reactions. pH is a measure of hydrogen in its ionic form in water.
HYDROGEN ION: The positively charged nucleus of hydrogen atom. The relative degree of acid or base of a solution (called pH) is a measure of hydrogen ions.
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE: An unstable, colorless, heavy liqued used as a bleach in industry and as an antiseptic in households. It is used as an oxidizing agent in pools and spas. May also be used to de- chlorinate pool or spa water.
HYDROJET: A fitting in the pool or spa on the water return line from the equipment that blends or mixes air and water, creating a high- velocity, turbulent stream of air-enriched water.
HYPOBROMOUS ACID: The most powerful disinfecting form of bromine in water. Sometimes called the killing form of bromine.
HYPOCHLORITE: The name given to a family of chlorine- containing compounds, including calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite and lithium hypochlorite, that are used as disinfectants and sanitizers in pool and spa water.
HYPOCHLOROUS ACID: The most powerful disinfecting form of chlorine in water. Sometimes called the killing form of chlorine.
  IMPELLER: The rotating member of a pump. The part of the pump that moves the water.
INFLUENT: The water entering the pump, the filter or other equipment of space. Water going into the pump is called in influent, while water leaving the pump is called the effluent.
INLET:A fitting in the pool or spa on the water return line from the equipment that water returns to the pool. Usually the last thing on the return line.
IONIZER: A water-sanitation device that uses elec- tricity to generate metal ions, which are dispersed in the water. It works by passing a low-voltage DC current through a set of metallic (usually copper and silver) elec- trodes placed in line with the circulation equipment. The copper is an algaecide, while the silver is a bactericide. Does not remove swimmer waste.
IRON: Iron in water causes the water to be brown- or green-collored. Can be controlled by the addition of a sequestering agent or a chelat- ing agent. Water can be tested with an iron test kit.
ISOCYANURATES: Also called stabilized chlorine - A family of chlorine pool sanitizers that contain conditioner (cyanuric acid or isocyanuris acid) to protect the chlorine from the de- grading UV rays in sunlight. The most com- mon types are sodium dichlor and trichlor. The granular form is dichlor, which is fast- dissolving and can be used for regular chlorination or superchlorination by broad- casing into the pool or spa. Tablet or stick form is trichlot (which is usually used in a chlorine feeder - either the floating type or the in-line erosion type) used for regular chlorination only.
  JACUZZI®: A brand name and registered trademark for a specific line of spas and whirlpools.
LADDER: A structure for climbing up or down; consists of two parallel sides joined by a series of crosspieces that serve as footrests. It is used for getting in and out of the pool. A double-access ladder straddles the pool wall of an above-ground pool. An in-pool ladder is located in the pool only.
LEAF BAGGER: A device that attaches to a telepole and a garden hose. Pressure from the garden hose creates a suction by which leaves and large debris are sucked into a large mesh bag.
LIGHT NICHE: The area in a pool or spa that house the underwater light.
LINER: Also called vinyl line - The vinyl membrane that acts as the container to hold or contain the water.
LIQUID ACID: (31.45% hydrochloric acid) - also called muriatic acid - It is used for lowering pH, total alkalinity and for various cleaning needs. It is also used for acid washing.
LIQUID CHLORINE: A sodium hypochlorite solution. Usually provides 10 to 12% available chlorine; has a pH of 13 and requires that small amounts of acid be added to the pool to neutralize the high pH. Good for regular chlorination and superchlorination.
LITH. HYPOCHLORITE: Lithium Hypochlorite - A dry, granular chlor- inating compound with an available chlorine content of 35%. It is rapid-dissolving and can be used to superchlorinate vinyl-liner pools, painted pools or fiberglass pools as well as spas and hot tubs.
  MAGNESIUM HARDNESS: A measure of the amount of magnesium dis- solved in the water. It is part of total or water hardness. It also causes scale if levels are too high.
MAIN DRAIN: This term usually refers to a plumbing fit- ting installed on the suction side of the pump in pools, spas and hot tubs. Sometimes called the drain and is located in the deep- est part of the pool, spa or hot tub. It is not a drain, such as a drain on a kitchen sink. Main drains do not allow the water to drain to waste but rather connect to the pump for circulation and filtration.
MAKE-UP WATER: This is sometimes called "tap" or "refill" water. It is the water used to replace water lost to evaporation, splash-out, leaks or swimmer drag-out in the pool.
MANIFOLD: The branch pipe arrangement that connects several input pipes into one chamber or one chamber into several output pipes. A filter manifold connects several input pipes from the filter septa back into one common pipe.
MARCITE: Originally a brand name for a white plaster finish coat from 1/8th to 1/2 inch thick applied over the gunite or shotcrete.
MICRON: A unit of length equal to 1 millionth of a meter - it is .000394 of an inch. Microns are used to describe the pore size of filter media. Sand filters have openings of 25 to 30 microns; cartridge filters have openings of 8 to 10 microns; and D.E. (diatomaceous earth) filters have openings of 1 to 5 microns. Humans, without magnification, can see objects 35 microns or larger. A granule of table salt is between 90 to 110 microns.
MINERAL: Any substance that is neither animal or vegetable. It is any class of substances occurring in nature, usually comprising of inorganic substances, such as quartz or feld- spar, of definite chemical composition and definite crystal structure. It sometimes includes rocks formed by these substances. Ground water dissolves these rock substances, and the dissolved minerals are present in tap water. Depending on the kinds of rocks the water comes in contact with, the minerals dissolved in the water may be just a few or they may be many. Water handness is mostly comprised of these minerals.
MULTIPORT VALVE: Also called a rotary-type backwash valve - This valve replaces as many as 6 regular gate valves. Water from the pump can be diverted for various functions by merely turning the valve handle. The water may be sent to waste, used for backwashing, bypassing the filter for maximum circulation, for normal filtration, filtering to waste (rinse), or the valve may be closed to not pass water. The pump must be off before changing a valve setting.
MURIATIC ACID: (31.45% hydrochloric acid) - Also called liquid acid - An acid used to reduce the pH and alkalinity levels in pool water. It is also used in acid washing, a process that removes stains and scale from pool plaster.
  NEUTRALIZER: A chemical used to make chlorine or bromine harmless. Used in test kits to counteract the bleaching effect of the chlorine or bromine in order to increase the accuracy of pool water tests. Sold as chlorine and bromine neutralizer, it is used to destroy excessive amounts of chlorine or bromine, so the high levels will not affect swimmers.
NITROGEN: A gas that causes algae to bloom and disables chlorine. It is brought into the water each time it rains. Maintaining proper chlorine levels will prevent nitrogen from becoming a problem. Superchlorination will remove nitrogen and its related compounds.
NON-CHLORINE SHOCK: A term given to a class of chemical compounds that are used to oxidize or shock the water (destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste). They contain no chlorine or bromine and do not kill living organisms. Swimmers may re-enter the water in only 15 minutes after adding a non-chlorine shock.
NORYL: The brand name for a thermoplastic resin used in the manufacture of certain pump components and various other pool equipment fittings.
  ORGANIC: Refers to volatile, combustible and sometimes biodegradable chemical compounds containing carbon atoms bonded together with other elements. The principal groups of organic substances found in water are proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils. See organic waste.
ORGANIC WASTE: Also called swimmer or bather waste - All of the soap, deodorant, suntan lotion, kipstick, makeup, cologne, body oils, sweat, spit, urine, etc., brought into the water. They also form chloamines, which are foul-smelling and body irritants. Requires large amounts of chlorine or non-chlorine shock to destroy.
ORP: An abbreviation for exidation reduction re- duction potential. It is a measurement of a body of water's ability to exidize contam- inants. Measured with an electrode and an electronic meter. It is an indication of the sanitizing level or degree of safety from disease in the water. Measured in millivolts with the accepted minimum level being 650 mV (millivolt).
OTO: Abbreviation for orthotolidine. A chemical reagent used to test the total chlorine level in pool and spa water. It does not measure free available chlorine. See DPD.
OVER-ACID: An incorrect term used to describe water that is acidic or water that has a pH lower than 7.2.
OVERDRAIN: Also called a diffuser or distributor - An internal sand filter device that evenly distributes influent pool water over the sand filter bed.
OXIDATION: To rid the water of ammonia, nitrogen com- pounds and swimmer waste (organic compounds). These organic compounds disable chlorine, are body irritants and have a foul smell. Re- moval is accomplished by superchlorination or by shock treating with a non-chlorine oxidizer.
OXIDIZER: A non-chlorine shocking compound that removes or destroys built-up contaminants and chlor- amines in pool water without raining chlorine levels as required when "superchlorinating."
OZONATOR: A gaseous molecule comprised of 3 atoms of exygen. It is generated on site from air or exygen and used for exidation of water contaminants.
  PATHOGENIC ORGANISM: An organism that causes disease.
PETCOCK: A small, manually-operated faucet or valve for draining off liquids or releasing air pressure. The air-relief valve on a filter is an example.
pH: A term used to indicate the level of acidity or alkalinity of pool water. Too low of pH causes etched plaster, metal corrosion and eye irritation. Too high of pH causes scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency and eye irritation. The ideal range for pH in swimming pools is 7.4 to 7.6.
PHENOL RED: A chemical reagent dye used to test for pH. It can measure pH from 6.8 to 8.4.
PLASTER: A mixture of white cement and white marble dust used as an interior finish, which can be tinted, colored or left white; applied to the gunite or shotcrete of a pool or spa.
POLYMER: A substance made of giant molecules formed by the union of simpler molecules. Many water clarifiers are made from organic polymers. An example would be polymerized ethylene, called polyethylene.
POTASSIUM PEROXYMON: Potassium Peroxymonosulfate - The active ingredient and chemical name of a non- chlorine shock treatment or non-chlorine oxidizer. Does not kill bacteria or algae but it will oxidize or destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste. It has a low pH, and it does not increase chlorine or bromine levels the way that superchlorination does, so water may be entered in 15 minutes after addition. It will also reactivate bromine to its killing form, hypobromous acid.
ppm:An abbreviation for parts per million. It is a weight-to-weight expression. It means 1 part in 1 million parts, such as 1 lb. of chlorine in 1 million lbs. of water. Many of the common pool water tests, as well as acceptable ranges, are stated as ppm. For example, free available chlorine should be kept between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm; total alkal- inity should be between 80 and 120 ppm; and and water hardness should be between 200 and 400 ppm.
PRECIPITATE: A substance separating, in solid particles, from a liquid as a result of a chemical or physical change. It also means to form a precipitate.
PRECOAT: Depositing diatomaceous earth (D.E.) onto the filter grids or elements.
PRESSURE GAUGE: A gauge with an analog dial indicating the pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure that has built up within a closed container, such as a filter.
psi: An abbreviation for pounds per square inch.
PUMP: A mechanical device, usually powered by an electric motor, which causes hydraulic flow and pressure for the purpose of filtration, heating and circulation of pool and spa water. Typicall, a centrifugal pump is used for pools, spas and hot tubs.
PUMP CAPACITY: The volume of liquid a pump is capable of moving during a specified period of time. This is usually gallons per minute (gpm).
PUMP CURVE: Also called a pump performance curve - A graph that represents a pump's water flow capacity at any given resistance.
PUMP STRAINER BASK: Pump Strainer Basket - A device placed on the suction side of the pump, which contains a removable strainer basket designed to trap debris in the water flow without causing much flow restriction. Sometimes called a "hair-and-lint trap."
  QUATS: Quaternary Ammonium Compounds - Also called Quats - The chemical compounds of ammonia used as algaecides and algaestats.
  RATE OF FLOW: The quantity of water flowing past a design- ated point within a specified time, such as the number of gallons flowing past a point in 1 minute - abbreviated as gpm.
REAGENTS: The chemical agents, dyes, indicators or titrants used in testing various aspects of water quality.
RESIDUAL BROMINE: The amount of measurable bromine remaining after treating the water with bromine. The amount of bromine left in the pool or spa water after the bromine demand has been satisfied.
RESIDUAL CHLORINE: The amount of measurable chlorine remaining after treating the water with chlorine. The amount of chlorine left in the pool or spa water after the chlorine demand has been satisfied.
  S. SESQUICARBONATE: Sodium Sesquicarbonate - A chemical mixture of equal parts of soda ash and sodium bicar- bonate used to increase pH and total alkal- inity in pool and spa water. It has a pH of 10.1.
SAND: This usually refers to the filter medium used by a sand filter. The grade most often specified by filter manufacturers is grade No. 20 with a particle size of 45 to 55 mm (millimeters).
SAND FILTER: A filter using sand or sand and gravel as the filter medium.
SANITIZE: To render sanitary: to kill all living things, including bacteria and algae. Similar to sterilize.
SCALE: The precipitate that forms on surfaces in contact with water when the calcium hardness, pH or total alkalinity levels are too high. Results from chemically unbalanced pool and spa water. Scale may appear as grey, white or dark streaks on the plaster, fiberglass or vinyl. It may also appear as a hard crust around the tile.
SCUM: The extraneous or foreign matter which rises to the surface of the water and forms a layer or a film there. It can also be a residue deposited on the tile or walls of the pool or spa. Sources of scum are soap, oil, deodorant, hair spray, suntan lotions and others.
SEDIMENT: The solid material settled out from the water.
SEPTUM: That portion of the filter element consisting of cloth, wire screen or other porous material on which the filter medium or filter aid is deposited. The nylon grid on a D.E. filter is the septum.
SEQUESTERING AGENT: Also called chelating agent - A chemical that will combine with dissolved metals in the water to prevent the metals from coming out of solution (precipitating or causing stains). May also be a chemical that removes dissolved metals from water.
SHOCK TREAT: The practice of adding significant amounts of an oxidizing chemical - (usually non- chlorine oxidizers, such as sodium persulfate or potassium peroxymonosulfate) - to the water to destroy ammonia and nitrogen com- pounds or swimmer waste.
SHOTCRETE: A mixture of sand and cement sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to build a pool or spa. Plaster is applied over the shotcrete. Shotcrete is premixed and pumped wet to the construction site.
SILT: Soil particles having diameters between 0.004 and 0.062 mm (millimeters). Sometimes they may be too small to be trapped by the circulation system. In those cases, a clarifier or an alum product may be needed.
SIMAZINE: A chemical substance used in swimming pools and spas as an herbicide or algaecide. Mainly used for killing black algae.
SKIMMER: A device installed through the wall of a pool or spa that is connected to the suction line of the pump that draws water and float- ing debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.
SKIMMER BASKET: A removable, slotted basket or strainer placed in the skimmer on the suction side of the pump, which is designed to trap floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.
SKIMMER WEIR:Part of a skimmer that adjusts automatically to small changes in water level to assure a continuous flow of water to the skimmer. The small floating "door" on the side of the skimmer that faces the water over which water flows on its way to the skimmer. The weir also prevents debris from floating back into the pool when the pump shuts off.
SLURRY: Water or a liquid containing a high concen- tration of suspended solids. Diatomaceous earth (D.E.) is usually added to the filter as a slurry by mixing a small amount of D.E. in a bucket of water and then pouring the slurry into the skimmer with the filter on.
SODA ASH (Sodium Carbonate): A chemical used to raise total alkalinity in pool and spa water with only a slight affect on the pH.
SODIUM BICARBONATE (Baking Soda or Bicarb): A chemical used to raise total alkalinity in pool and spa water with only a slight affect on the pH.
SODIUM BISULFATE (dry acid): A chemical used to lower the pH and total alkalinity. 2 1/2 lbs. of dry acid are equal to 1 quart of muriatic acid.
SODIUM BROMIDE: A salt of bromine. It is used to establish a bromide "bank" in pool and spa water prior to beginning the use of bromine tablets.
SODIUM DICKLOR: A fast-dissolving, granular, stabilized organic chlorine compound providing either 56% or 63% available chlorine. Used for regular as well as superchlorination. Contains an ingredient (cyanuric acid or stabilizer) that prevents the chlorine from being destroyed by the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Recommended for use in vinyl- liner, painted or fiberglass pools and acrylic or fiberglass spas.
SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE: Liquid chlorine. Usually provides 10% to 12% available chlorine; has a pH of 13 and re- quires that small amounts of acid be added to the pool to neutralize the high pH. Good for regular chlorination and superchlorin- ation. Not recommended for spas. Does not contain conditioner or stabilizer to protect it from sunlight, but it is protected if stabilizer or conditioner is already in the water.
SODIUM PERSULFATE: Active ingredient and chemical name of a non-chlorine shock treatment or non-chlorine oxidizer. Does not kill bacteria or algae but it will oxidize or destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waster. Does not increase chlorine or bromine levels the way that superchlorination does, so water may be entered in 15 minutes after addition. It will not reactivate bromine.
SODIUM SULFITE: A chemical used to neutralize or de-chlorinate pool and spa water.
SODIUM THIOSULFATE: A chemical used to neutralize or de-chlorinate pool and spa water.
SOFT WATER: Water that has a very low calcium and mag- nesium content (water hardness) - usually means less than 100 ppm or 6 grains. Also water that has gone through a water softerer. Pools and spas should never be filled with soft water from a softener. Water with less than 100 ppm of hardness should be increased to a minimum of 150 to 200 ppm using calcium chloride.
SOLAR COVER: A cover that, when placed on the water's surface of a pool, spa or hot tub, increases the water temperature by absorption and transmission of solar radiation; reduces evaporation and prevents wind-borne debris from entering the water.
SOLAR HEATING SYS: Solar Heating System - It is ussually panels or coils of plastic or metal through which water passes to increase the temperature from the sun's radiant heat.
SOLDIUM CARBONATE (soda ash): A chemical used to raise the pH and total alkalinity in pool and spa water.
SOURCE WATER: Also called "tap" water - It is the water used to fill or refill the pool or spa.
SPRING BOARD:Also called "diving" board - A recreational mechanism for entering a swimming pool con- sisting of a semi-rigid board that derives its spring from a fulcrum mounted below the board and attached to the deck.
STABILIZED CHLORINE: A family of chlorine pool sanitizers that contain conditioner (cyanuric acid or iso- cyanuric acit) to protect the chlorine from the degrading UV rays in sunlight. Most common types are sodium dichlor and trichlor. The granular form is dichlor which is fact- dissolving and can be used for regular chlorination or superchlorination by broad- casting into the pool or spa. Tablet or stick form is trichlor (which is usually used in a chlorine feeder - either the floating type or in-line erosion type) used for regular chlorination only.
STAIN: A discoloration or a colored deposit on the walls or bottom of a swimming pool or spa. Most often, stains are metals, such as iron, copper & manganese. They may appear as green, gray, brown or black. They may even discolor the water. Sometimes a sequestering agent or chelating agent will remove them. If not, us- ually an acid wash is necessary to remove them from the walls & bottom. The metals get in the water because the pH was too low or someone has added a low-pH chemical directly into the circulation system. The low-pH chem- ical dissolves a small amount of metal from the equipment. The metals begin to come out of solutions & deposit or stain the walls & bottom. Stains are sometimes confused with scale.
STAIN INHIBITOR: Also called sequestering or chelating agent- A chemical that will combine with dissolved metals in the water to prevent the metals from coming out of solution (precipitating or causing stains). May also be a chemical that removes dissolved metals from water.
SUPERCHLORINATION: The practice of adding an extra large dose (5 to 10 ppm) of chlorine to the water to destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste, which can build up in the water. This level of chlorine is required to destroy all of the combined chlorine in the water, which is called breakpoint chlorination.
SURFACTANT:A soluble chemical compound that reduces the surface tension between two liquids. It is used in many detergents and soapy cleaning compounds.
SUSPENDED SOLIDS: Insoluble solid particles that either float on the surface of or are in suspension in the water, causing turbidity. They may be held in suspension by agitation or flow. They may be removed by filtration, but if the parti- cles are too small, they may not be trapped by the filter. In these cases, a clarifier or alum may be needed to remove them.
  TEE: A plumbing fitting in the shape of a "T" used to connect pipes.
TELEPOLE: A long-handled aluminum pole, which extends in length. Various pool-cleaning tools, such as brushes or vacuums, may then be attached.
TEST KIT: An apparatus or device used to monitor specific chemical residuals, levels, consti- tuents or demands in pool or spa water. Kits usually contain reagents, vials, titrants, color comparators and other materials needed to perform tests. The most common pool and spa water tests are: pH, total alkalinity, free available chlorine, water hardness, cyanuric acid, iron and copper.
TEST STRIPS: Small plastic strips with pads attached that have been impregnated with reagents that can be used to test pool water for residuals, levels, constituents or demands. The strips are usually dipped in the water, and the resulting colors of the pads are compared to a standard set of colors to determine con- centration.
TIME CLOCK: A mechanical or electrical device that automatically controls the periods that a pump, filter, heater, blower, automatic pool cleaner or other electrical devices are on or off.
TOTAL ALKALINITY: The total amount of alkaline materials pre- sent in the water. Also called the buffer- ing capacity of the water. It is the water's resistance to change in pH. Low total alkalinity causes metal corrosion, plaster etching and eye irritation. High total alkalinity causes scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency and eye irritation.
TOTAL CHLORINE:The total amount of chlorine in the water. It includes both free available and combined chlorine.
TOTAL DIS. SOLIDS: Total Dissolved Solids - Also called TDS - A measure of the total amount of dissolved material in the water. It is comprised of the spent or carrier chemicals added every time chemicals are added, as well as the hardness, alkalinity, chlorides, chlorides, sodium, magnesium, calcium, etc. Maximum amount in pools is 2500 ppm. Maximum in spas is 1500 over starting TDS. The only way to effectively lower TDS is to drain part or all of the water and replace it.
TRICHLOR: A slow-dissolving, tableted or granular, stabilized organic chlorine compound provid- ing 90% available chlorine. Used for regular chlorination but must be dispensed using a floating feeder or an in-line feeder (chlorinator). Trichlor contains an ingre- dient (cyanuric acid or stabilizer) that prevents the chlorine from being destroyed by the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Tri- chlor has a pH of 2.8, and regular trichlor tabs should not be placed in the skimmer as the low pH will corrode the metal components in the equipment.
TURBIDITY: The cloudy condition of the water due to the presence of extremely fine particles in sus- ension that cannot be trapped by the filter because they are too small. Adding a clar- ifier, such as an organic polymer or alum, will coagulate the particles and make the filter more efficient.
TURNOVER: Also called turnover rate - The period of time (ussually in hours) required to circu- late a volume of water equal to the volume of water contained in the pool or spa. Pool capacity in gallons, divided by pump flow rate in gallons per minute (gpm), divided by 60 minutes in 1 hours, will give hours for 1 turnover.
  UNDERDRAIN: Also call filter laterals or lower collection system - Slotted, finger-like tubes that are attached to a sand filter manifold. The slots are on the bottom side to prevent the sand from passing through. Water comes into the filter tank, through the sand, into the underdrain, and then back to the pool.
UNDERWATER LIGHT: A fixture designed to illuminate a pool or spa from beneath the water's surface.
  VACUUM: This term can be used to define any number of devices that use suction to collect dirt from the bottom and sides of a pool or spa. Most common is a vacuum head with wheels that attaches to a telepole and is connected to the suction line usually via the opening in the skimmer. It must be moved about by a person, and debris is collected in the filter.
VENTURI: A fitting or device that consists of a tube constricted in the middle and flared on both ends. A fluid's velocity will increase and a fluid's pressure will decrease while pass- ing through the constriction. Placing a tube or pipe at the constriction point creates a vacuum. Fluid or air can then be drawn in through the tube. A hydro-therapy jet draws air in and mixes it with the water using this principle.
VINYL LINER: The vinyl membrane that acts as the container to hold or contain the water.
  WATER CLARIFIER: Also called coagulant or flocculant - A chemical compound used to gather (coagulate or agglomerate) or to precipitate suspended particles so they may be removed by vacuum- ing or filtration. There are two types; in- organic salts of aluminum (alum) and other metals or water-soluble organic polyelectro- lytes.
WEIR:Also called skimmer weir - Part of a skimmer that adjust automatically to small changes in water level to assure a continuous flow of water to the skimmer. The small floating "door" on the side of the skimmer that faces the water over which water flows on its way to the skimmer. The weir also prevents debris from floating back into the pool after the pump shuts off.