Krystal Water Pools
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The Krystal Pool Blog...

Swimming Pool Maintenance and Care - Our Trade Secret...

Well, it's really not that complicated. Yes, we do have a few tricks up or sleeves (like our Krystal Clear water treatment) and a few other things - But our real secret is: when we provide our swimming pool care and maintenance services, We treat your pool as if it were our own.

If we can't be proud of it, how can we expect you to be proud of it?

When people think of soda pop, generally they think of "Coke" or "Pepsi" first. These are very popular "brands" that customers recognize. For those customers in our servicing area, we strive to have that same recognition when our current and future customers think of their pool. We want those that are considering service with someone to ask themselves, "Is our pool Krystal Clear?" - and think of Krystal Water Pools.

The biggest differentiation between ourselves and others? We provide exceptional service.

We take a few extra minutes during service to review the equipment (is it all operating correctly?)... Look at the pool's walls (is there even the slightest hint of algae anywhere?).... and by really understanding the chemistry and character of your pool's water (we do this by testing for Free Chlorine, Combined Chlorine and pH at a minimum - as well as all water parameters such as CYA, Ca, T/A several times per year).

It really does take just a few extra minutes - but the results (and our customer's comments) speak for themselves.

Is it hard? Not really - It just takes someone that does that "little bit extra", pays attention to the details, and thinks of your pool as their own.

"What do you mean I need a drain-and-fill?"... The issue with Powdered Shocks and Chlorine Pucks...

When a pool is new - dry chlorine is not a bad idea. You see, most types of dry chlorine contain both chlorine and Cyanuric Acid. Cyanuric acid is commonly referred to as "CYA" or "Chlorine Stabilizer".

The purpose of stabilizer is to protect chlorine from the UV rays of the sun which will, without CYA, quickly burn the chlorine out of the water. When there is no stabilizer in the pool's water, 3ppm (parts-per-million) of chlorine can be consumed in less than a few hours when the sun is out - so some stabilizer (generally between 30-60 ppm) is a good thing. When small amounts of stabilizer is present, it binds with the chlorine and holds it in check until it is needed (this is an extremely simplified explanation).

The drawback to stabilizer however, is that the "killing time" and effectiveness of chlorine is inversely proportional to the amount of stabilizer in the pool. More simply said, the more stabilizer in the pool, the more chlorine you need in the pool to effectively combat viruses, bacteria and algae.

The problem begins generally in the second or third year year of using dry chlorine  - Chlorine evaporates and gets consumed by organics in the pool. But stabilizer doesn't get used up, and once it is added to the water, it continues to accumulate over time. Simply stated, when adding dry chlorine, stabilizer is added with it. When the chlorine gets used up - the stabilizer doesn't get "used up" along with the chlorine, and the stabilizer continually accumulates.

As stabilizer levels accumulate and begin approaching 70ppm, it binds with more and more of the chlorine - which requires ever increasing levels for the chlorine to be effective. Once a pool accumulates too much stabilizer, the amount of  "free chlorine" levels required to keep the pool sanitary begins to rise almost exponentially. For example:

@ a recommended level of 30-50 ppm of CYA, the required chlorine level for a pool is between 2-4ppm - a range most inexpensive test kits measure (OTO test kits measure total chlorine, not free and combined chlorine - and indicate 1-3ppm as a "normal" range).

@ 70 ppm of CYA, the required chlorine level for a pool is 5-10ppm - that's the bottom end of your home improvement center/pool-store OTO test kits (and please don't get us started on the accuracy of paper "test strips").

@100 ppm of CYA, we now need a minimum of 7ppm, with a target of 12 ppm chlorine (no inexpensive test kit can test in that range, and maintaining that level of free chlorine is just darn expensive!).

Additionally, once CYA levels accumulate past 100ppm, its acidic nature begins messing with the pH and Total Alkalinity balance of the pool. If extremely high, the CYA (remember, it is an acid) can begin degrading pool equipment and even worse, the plaster coating of in-ground pools.

So, people wonder why they're literally dumping chlorine/shocks in their pool and they still have algae... This continual shocking of the pool with powdered shocks also adds even more CYA!

We've actually tested CYA in pools that were as high as 850ppm (this was our estimate after finally having to dilute the sample water almost 10:1 to get a measurable reading.... also, we didn't calculate how much chlorine would be required at that level of CYA, as the CYA was wreaking havoc with the pool's pH and alkalinity too).

So generally, these people's next step is "off to the pool store" to buy some more stuff that has chemicals in it you can't pronounce: Phosphate removers, algaecides, buffers, etc... Not only is this stuff expensive, but some of it is in the best case totally useless, or worse can actually damage your pool's finish and turn your hair green!

Unfortunately, the only way to lower CYA is to dilute the water in the pool. And the only way to do that is do a partial
drain-and-fill (the % of D&F is based on the CYA reading and how much water is needed to get CYA in a range of 30-50ppm).

Not all pools have too much CYA - but it's one of the most important things to test for at least once a year, and address if it right away if it is too high - otherwise keeping the pool in shape is a losing battle. We test for it whenever we take a new pool under our wing, and then at the end and beginning of every season - and adjust as necessary.

If it is high, we'll show the customer the test (or re-do it with them and explain the process and impacts) as well as work with them to address it.

A great article is on the web discussing the drawbacks of high CYA, for the analytical minded people out there at "Pool and Spa News".

"You test my water for free... Thanks! (and then sell me stuff you don't test for and I don't need...)" A recent trip to the pool store...

In rare cases, we find ourselves going to the local retail pool store. On a recent trip, we were standing at the counter waiting while the person in front of us gave the clerk sample water for his "free test".

While awaiting his water to be tested, the person has a large pail of stabilizer he's grabbed sitting on the counter in front of him. When the clerk's testing is complete, the customer asks the clerk, "Do I need any acid?"

The pool store clerk replies, "No." And the clerk proceeds to grab the customer another large pail of stabilizer telling him "you'll need to add some of this each season" (we proceed to bite our tongue - did he really just say that?), and then the clerk also hands the customer a few other things off the shelf. The total transaction was well over $100.00.

Once the transaction finished, the customer left the store leaving his testing results on the counter. After what we just hear the clerk say, we couldn't help ourselves... A quick glance at his test results:
  • Total Alkalinity: 180ppm (should be 70-90 ppm - Acid is used to bring this down)
  • pH: 8.2 (should be between 7.2 and 7.6 - Acid is used to adjust this as well)
  • Stabilizer (CYA): NOT MEASURED! (See above blog post on the impact of high stabilizer levels).
We take our chlorine, pay, and quietly shake our heads as we leave... Wish we would have given that customer a business card.

True story. Really.

"Here's your sign!" (not exactly pool related, but true and darn funny)

So, it's going to be a very hot day and it's early morning. Have to get some ice for the cooler as we've got an all-day job to do.

We stop at Safeway and go in and get some sodas and water, and then go to the check-out to pay and get some ice.

Me: "Miss, can you add a large bag of ice and I'll grab it from the cooler on the way out?"

Checker: "We're out of the large bags of ice Sir, we only have the eight-pound bags left."

Me: "That's ok... how much are two bags?"

Checker (without skipping a beat): "Why, that's Sixteen pounds, Sir..."

Followed by a really awkward silence between the two of us...

Here's your sign...

"Law Enforcement Logic?" (not exactly pool related, but true and darn funny)

We do a lot of driving in this job. The other day, we were served a traffic ticket as we left the gas station and entered the roadway...  Note: we were doing no more than 5-7mph when we were pulled over.

For not wearing our seat-belt...

From a
Motorcycle cop.

Somehow, the term "Ironic" here doesn't seem to fit quite right...

True stuff is
always the funniest stuff. We hope you enjoyed our little rants, and decide to give us a call for your pool care needs!

Krystal Water Pools
Serving Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and San Martin

Pool Services, Pool Equipment Maintenance and Upgrades, Water Analysis

Call us and ask for Jeff, or e-mail us at:

(408) 666-6029