FAQs

Where should I keep the pH in my pool?
Unique Pools & Spas recommends a pool pH between 7.2 and 7.8. To raise or lower pH, simply add acidity or alkalinity to the water. If you are unable to reach the proper pH on your own, please contact us by requesting a free quote.
Why is my water cloudy?

There could be a number of factors that are affecting the visual clarity of your pool water. Here is a list of possibilities you could check yourself. If you are unable to find a solution, please give us a call or request a free quote.

  • Water is not properly balanced
  • Filter is not running long enough
  • Filter is dirty
  • Inadequate or poor circulation
  • Not enough sanitizer
How do I clean a Cartridge Filter?

Unique Pools & Spas suggests you clean filter cartridges every 2-6 weeks on average, depending on dirt accumulation and filter pressure. It is also best if you clean the filter the day before scheduled chemical service.

  1. Turn off the pump
  2. Remove top half of filter canister
  3. Remove cartridge element(s) from canister
  4. Spray cartridge elements until clean
  5. Replace clean elements
  6. Turn on the pump and open the air relief on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system

If you run into any issues, please contact us by requesting a free quote.

How do I maintain my Cartridge Filter?
Have cartridge elements checked every year for wear and tear. If you discover an issue please give us a call or request a free quote.

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When and how should I clean my filter?

A dirty filter can have a dramatic effect on circulation. As water passes through the filter, millions of tiny particles cling to the filtration elements. Eventually, these accumulated particles make it difficult for water to pass through the filter. A dirty filter can reduce pump efficiency by up to 80 percent. In other words, circulating your water for 10 hours a day when the filter is dirty is the equivalent of circulating the water for 2 hours a day when the filter is clean. Many times, a homeowner will find their water is cloudy and greenish, even though the chemical levels are fine, and the pump is running for an adequate amount of time each day. A dirty or damaged filter is usually the source of the problem.

If you have Sand Filters (usually a round fiberglass or stainless steel tank), then Unique Pools & Spas recommends you run the filter system for approximately 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:

  • Summer 8 to 12 hours per day
  • Winter 4 or more hours per day

If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears, then go back to your regular schedule.

If you find the task of cleaning your filter a bit too much for you, please give us a call or request a free quote. We would be happy to help.

Why is my pump making weird noises?

Pumps can be complicated pieces of equipment. Therefore, proper maintenance is required to keep them running efficiently. If your pump is making strange noises, you can use the following check list to troubleshoot.

  • Pump might be pulling air due to low water level, this is a circulation issue.
  • Skimmer basket might be full.
  • Pump basket might be full.
  • Seals on pump wet-end are going bad and need to be replaced.
  • Filter is dirty and is causing the pump to work harder and louder.

If you are still having issues, please contact us by requesting a free quote.

How do I backwash a sand filter?

Most filter manufacturers recommend backwashing after a clean filter has built up passed 10-15 PSI of pressure, as indicated on the pressure gauge. Sand filters usually need backwashing every 1 to 4 weeks. Over backwashing can lead to algae problems in the heat of the summer due to the loss of important chemicals. Avoid backwashing within 12 hours after your pool has been chemically serviced.

**Never move the backwash valve when the pump is running (this will break the parts inside the filter)

  1. Turn off the pump
  2. Turn the multi port or valve handle to the backwash position
  3. If necessary, roll out your backwash hose or open valve on backwash line
  4. Turn on the pump and run system for 1-3 minutes or until water in the sight glass or discharge hose turns clear
  5. Turn off the pump
  6. Place the valve handle in the filter position.
  7. If necessary, redo the first steps, two to three times, this will shake up the sand and remove more dirt at each backwash cycle.
  8. Turn on the pump and open the air relief valve on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system.

If this type of work is just not your thing and you got lost at step 2, Unique Pools & Spas is here to help. Please contact us by requesting a free quote.

How do I maintain a sand filter?

Sand in the filter should be replaced or checked every 4 to 5 years. In painted pools, sand may need to be replaced annually. Please have the filter parts (i.e. laterals) checked for cracks or breaks any time the sand is removed, these parts are under the sand and can only be checked when the sand is removed.

The efficiency of the sand filter, as measured by the largest-sized particle that can pass through it without being caught, is 40-50 microns. (A micron is a millionth of a meter.)

If you find the task of maintaining your sand filter a bit too much for you, please give us a call or request a free quote. We would be happy to help.

How often do I run my cartridge filter?

Unqiue Pools & Spas recommends you run the filter system 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:

  • Summer 8 to 15 hours per day
  • Winter 4 to 10 hours per day

If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears. Then go back to your regular schedule.

How do I clean a Cartridge Filter?

Clean filter cartridges every 2-6 weeks on average, depending on dirt accumulation and filter pressure. Unique Pools & Spas believes it is best if you clean the filter cartridge the day before scheduled chemical service.

Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off the pump
  2. Remove top half of filter canister
  3. Remove cartridge element(s) from canister
  4. Spray cartridge elements until clean
  5. Replace clean elements
  6. Turn on the pump and open the air relief on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system

If you find the task of cleaning your cartridge filter a bit too much for you, please give us a call or request a free quote. We would be happy to help.

What are the drawbacks for having a cartridge filter?
The drawbacks for the cartridge filter are that most cartridge filters are for smaller pools and spas containing approximately 12,000 gallons of water or less. There is no mechanical method for backwashing these filters – it must be manually disassembled and hosed off. The cartridge elements need to be replaced as they become old and worn, which is about every 2 years. This can be expensive, depending on the size, style and brand of cartridge. Pools with cartridge filters tend to develop high dissolved solids levels (TDS) faster than sand or D.E. filters, because there is no water removal via backwashing.

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How often to I run by diatomaceous earth filter?

A diatomaceous earth filter system should be run 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:

  • Summer 8 to 10 hours per day
  • Winter 4 to 8 hours per day

If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears. Then go back to your regular schedule.

How do I backwash a Diatomaceous Earth Filter?

Most filter manufacturers recommend backwashing after a clean filter has built up passed 10-15 PSI of pressure as indicated on the pressure gauge. D.E. filters typically build up these pressure levels in approximately 1 to 3 months. Over backwashing can lead to algae problems in the heat of the summer due to the loss of important chemicals. Avoid backwashing within 12 hours after your pool has been chemically serviced.

**Never move the backwash valve when the pump is running as this will break the parts inside the filter.**

Here are the steps to backwash a Diatomaceous Earth Filter:

  1. Shut off the pump
  2. Turn the multi port or valve handle to the backwash position
  3. If necessary, roll out your backwash hose or open valve on backwash line
  4. Turn on the pump and run system for 1-3 minutes or until water in the sight glass or discharge hose turns clear
  5. Turn off the pump
  6. Place the valve handle in the filter position
  7. If necessary, redo the first steps, two to three times, this will loosen up debris and remove more dirt at each backwash cycle
  8. Place the multi port valve handle back in the filter position
  9. Turn on the pump
  10. Coat the filter grids with D.E. powder by adding the recommended amount through the skimmer.

**FRESH D.E. MUST BE ADDED AFTER EACH BACKWASHING!**

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filters use a powder called diatomaceous earth to strain out the small tiny particles that pass through the system. This product is very inexpensive and readily available at home and garden centers. Each time you backwash a D.E. filter, you will flush out both accumulated dirt and debris and spent D.E. from the filter canister. Failure to replace the canister with fresh D.E. can cause severe damage to the internal elements of the filter and will leave the filter virtually non-effective, since the earth is the primary filtering agent.

There is a simple formula to figure out how much D.E. should be added to your filter. First, determine the size of your filter. The square feet of filtration area inside the filter canister determine filter size. This number is found on a specifications plate on the front of the canister. (Most filters carry a filtration area of 36, 48, 60, or 72 square feet.) Using a one-pound coffee can, add one can of D.E. for every 5 square feet of filtration area. It’s OK to round off to the nearest multiple of 5; the filter won’t mind a little extra D.E. A 48 square foot filter requires 10 cans of D.E. A 36 square foot filter will function effectively on 7 cans of D.E.

If you have any issues, please contact us for help.

How do I maintain a D.E. Filter?

Even with regular backwashing, D.E. filters accumulate debris. Unique Pools & Spas believes it is a good idea to have your filter dismantled and cleaned at least once a year. This affords an opportunity to check internal elements for wear and tear, and to ensure that the filter is working at peak efficiency.

For this service, please contact us for a free quote.

What is Conditioner/Stabilizer and what is its purpose and application?
Conditioner or stabilizer is an essential chemical used in the proper disinfection of swimming pools. Its chemical name is cyanuric acid and it forms a protective bond around the chlorine, making it more resistant to being burned off by the sun. This chemical is typically added during the spring months, but pools with high water loss will also need to be reconditioned throughout the summer. This is a very expensive chemical and we ask that you DO NOT backwash or clean your filter for a few days after this chemical has been added. Pools should also be stabilized whenever large amounts of fresh water are added. It will sometimes appear as a white powdered substance on the bottom of the swimming pool, but will dissipate after a few days (brushing helps).
What is the purpose and application of chlorine?
Disinfection is the most important factor in maintaining a safe and healthy swimming pool. Chlorine is the most widely applied disinfecting agent and is used by Splash Pool Service. With out adequate chlorine in the water, it’s only a matter of time before algae and bacteria begin to form. One day without chlorine is all it takes for a pool to start turning green. It is very important to keep chlorine/disinfectant in the water at all times.
What is total hardness and how can it be prevented?

Total hardness is the total amount of dissolved minerals that have built up in your pool water. The total hardness of your water increases every day. This is primarily due to evaporation, which removes only distilled water and leaves the minerals behind. Each time that fill water is added to the pool, more minerals are also added. Over time the pool builds up too many minerals. (Usually after 3 to 5 years)

The desert southwest experiences some of the hardest water conditions in the country. Out of the tap the water is already “hard” meaning it contains high levels of minerals. Combine that with some of the highest evaporation rates in the country (1/4″ per day in the summer); this climate creates a hardness problem very quickly in swimming pools.

Below is a list of issues resulting from High Hardness in a swimming pool:
– Staining on pool surface and tile
– Poor water chemistry. (Often leads to poor water clarity, algae, etc.)
– Clogged filter elements (Causes high pressure on filtration system)
– Rough plaster/pool surface
– Increased swimmer skin and eye irritation

To reduce hardness and to help prevent the issues listed above, it is necessary to drain and refill your swimming pool periodically; every 3-5 years. If you are unsure whether or not you need to drain your pool the best thing to do is have a hardness test preformed on the swimming pool water. 250 ppm – 500 ppm is considered normal. Above 500 ppm is high.

What causes algae?

Algae spores are everywhere. These microscopic single-cell structures are blown into the pool by the wind, washed into the pool by rainfall, or carried into the pool on swimmers’ skin or bathing suits. Under the right conditions, tiny spores will bloom into those dreaded bright green, mustard yellow or black discolorations.

Inadequate filtration will often lead to algae growth. Water clarity depends on daily circulation and filtration. Anything that impedes water flow from the pool to the filter — clogged skimmer baskets, a dirty or damaged filter, a defective pump motor, or a failure to run the pump for an adequate amount of time each day — will encourage algae growth. The first warning sign of a filtration problem is hazy or cloudy water. Left unchecked, cloudy water can quickly lead to a full-fledged algae bloom.

Algae can develop when little or no chlorine is present. Sunlight, rainfall, temperature, number of swimmers and frequency of pool use affect the rate of chlorine loss. The lower the chlorine level, the more likely algae will bloom. Super-chlorination, coupled with the application of conditioner or stabilizer designed to shield residual chlorine from the effects of heat and sunlight, helps ensure that there is always sufficient chlorine in the pool. Spas, which are often heated to temperatures well above 100 degrees, are especially susceptible to algae growth.

Algae loves a dirty pool! Leaves and dirt left on the bottom of the pool for an extended period of time, not only promotes algae but also causes pool staining. The longer you allow leaves and other debris to sit on your pool floor, the more likely that you’ll see algae, and staining. In a dirty pool, algae will continue to bloom, even when the water chemistry is properly balanced.

What can you do to prevent algae?

To prevent algae, you can try the following:

  • Some spots of dead algae may remain on your pool walls, even after chemical treatment. Brushing the pool walls with a nylon bristle or stainless steel pool brush will remove dead algae, and help keep live algae from forming.
  • Make sure the pump timer is set to run 8 or more hours daily during the summer and 4 or more hours daily during the winter.
  • Periodically check to make sure the water is circulating adequately.
  • Make sure your filter is clean and your baskets are empty.
  • After using your spa, adjust the valves so that the pool water will flow through the spa and into the pool when the filtration system is running. This will replenish chlorine-dissipated spa water with chlorinated water from the main part of the swimming pool.
  • If pool is covered, remove your pool cover one day per week to allow the water to “breathe”. For best results, uncover the swimming pool on your regular scheduled service day.
How many types of Algae are there?

Algae are very tiny plants that grow in untreated water. Once present in water they may be recognized initially, by the formation of slime on the sides and floor of the pool developing into a general cloudiness in the body of the water. In the advanced stages of growth, they take on a green color and, if allowed to progress further, will take on a brownish color. Intense sunlight is very conducive to algae growth by causing increased water temperatures and more rapid loss of residual chlorine. The following three forms of algae are most commonly found.

Green Algae: Green algae is the most common form of algae. It appears as a streaky, slimy buildup, first noticeable on steps, in corners, and on the plastic surfaces of skimmers and return fittings.

Yellow or Mustard Algae: Yellow algae, also known as mustard algae, usually starts on the shady side of the swimming pool. Yellow algae has the same slimy texture as green algae, but it is more difficult to remove. Yellow algae thrives in shade, and will often appear in covered pools. This form of algae grows in a long, streaky pattern, appearing on pool walls, in corners, and on steps and love seats.

Black Algae: Black algae is the least common form of algae, but once it blooms it is the most stubborn and is the most difficult of the three to eradicate. Black algae is a water borne spore, and is carried into your pool through the fresh water used to fill your swimming pool. Black algae is usually the result of insufficient chlorine levels for an extended period of time. Black algae is most often found in leaky swimming pools that require near-daily replenishment of pool water. As large amounts of water are added to the pool, chlorine and stabilizer levels drop, promoting an inviting environment for black algae to form its roots.

Should algae be allowed to gain a foothold in the pool, “shock” treatment is often necessary to remove the growth.

It is commonly known that black algae is so stubborn and resistant and in many cases deeply embedded into the plaster and can only be controlled and not completely eliminated. An Acid Wash and Chlorine bath does not always work; sometimes re-plastering the surface is required to completely eliminate black algae. In most cases, Unique Pools & Spas water treatment system can control and many times eliminate visual black algae from your pool. (If anyone can do it our professional chemical service can).

Can I Have A Automatic Pool Cover Instead Of A Fence?

A well groomed and landscaped back yard is something that a lot of homeowners like you take pride in. You often go to great expense to have your swimming pool blend in with the rest of your yard and surroundings; you really do not want to ruin the ambience of the setting by putting up a big ugly fence. But you are also very concerned about safety. You wonder what your options are. Have you ever thought about an automatic pool cover instead of a fence? Even if you live in an area where a fence is required by code, it cannot compare to the safety and peace of mind that an automatic pool cover can provide you. So consider adding them both for that all important extra layer of protection.

5464C7501B9D45C7828764584DEBA7F4The first place to start when asking if you can have an automatic pool cover instead of a fence is to check your local codes and other requirements for your city, state or municipality.

Check the Codes. One code that has just been adopted in 2012 and was designed to standardize the swimming pool code not just in the US but the world, is the ICC Code (International Code Council) is ISPSC 2012 (International Swimming Pool & Spa Code). If your City, State, Municipality or Country has adopted the ISPSC 2012 or later versions, then you may be covered (LOL, Pun intended!)…but…each city can adjust or adapt a code and remove or change parts of it, so you still need to check.

Cities, States, Municipalities purchase their Code Books from one of several Code Agencies who spend, sometimes Millions, to vet each code they publish. The main Code Agencies where they buy their Code Books are:: ICC, ASHRAE or IAPMO. The ICC’ International Swimming Pool & Spa Code “ISPSC” does require a Fence…but…also has an “EXCEPTION” if you have a “Powered Pool Cover”. The other Code Agencies are following suit and keeping an eye on the ICC and their new pool and spa codes, mainly because each Code Agency is in competition with the other code agencies (I guess selling Code Books is pretty lucrative), so all code agencies will probably have the same general code and exemptions before too long. Here are the actual Pool & Spa Codes that have been adopted since 2012 by all the Code Agencies that deal with Swimming pool covers:

SAFETY
ISPSC 305.1
IAPNO 415.1.3
ASHRAE
ASTM F1346-91 (2010)

ENERGY
ISPSC 303.4
IAPMO 415.0
ASHRAE 7.4.1

Sometimes a fence around your swimming pool is required whether you want it there or not. If that is the case, then a suggestion may be to move the fence further away from the pool area so it is not a distraction from the looks of poolscape and use an automatic safety cover to handle the needs of making your pool safer.

F3DA277398FB4F2E88FFFF5219AFCEBEAutomatic pool covers are actually quite a bit safer than having a fence. A fence will keep the people out of the pool area, but it does nothing to protect the people inside the area. That is where an automatic cover pool cover makes a world of difference. Automatic pool covers act as an ‘isolation barrier’ when closed, effectively sealing off the pool and becoming a safety barrier which will keep even the smallest children out of harm’s way. It takes less than a minute to turn a key or press a button and put the cover on or retract it back off. That is not much effort required to keep your loved ones and man’s best friend safe. They can often be designed in a way that you do not even notice the swimming pool has an automatic cover when it is not on the pool. Now there is a great thing when it comes to safety and the looks of your poolscape.

C21E8DC293704C009801F08EB31C3601A properly maintained cover, when closed, actually supports the weight of children, adults, or pets that may happen to fall into the pool and drowning is no longer an issue. A child falling into the pool would experience a similar feeling as that of falling into a waterbed. Some companies have even driven motorcycles on top of their pool covers at their testing facilities and they did not make it into the water; automatic pool cover vinyl fabric is that strong when the water is maintained at a proper level in the swimming pool to help support it!

Pool cover fabric even comes in several colors to help you maintain that look you want in your back yard. Many colors can also be custom ordered from some manufacturers if you are willing to wait the extra time required to get them made.

Make a few calls and see what the different choices are that automatic pool manufacturer’s offer. If you do that you will probably find an excellent automatic cover choice that not only meets the requirements of the looks you want in your custom poolscape, but also offers you the safety and peace of mind that is never a bad thing when you have a swimming pool in your yard.



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