The Dog Days of Summer. The hottest time of the year and the busiest time of the year for pool owners. People you haven’t heard from since last late July come knocking to find sanctuary in the cool waters of your swimming pool.
The Dog Days is also the time of year when your pool water is exposed to higher bather loads, intense temperatures, and prolonged sunlight which means it’s time to test your water more frequently and be aware of how all of these elements can add up to drastic changes in your water very quickly.
Run The Filter More
You probably just received your first electric bill of the summer (I did, ouch!). However, July and August is the time when you need the most filtering of the season. Set that pool filter timer a few extra hours longer each day. What you spend in electricity you will save in chemicals which can really add up. Your water is warm enough to shut off the pool heater and the combination of warm water, bright sunshine, and frequent rain storms, all call for more filtering time each day. My little filter runs 20+ hrs/day during August, or the water starts to look bad.
Add More Chlorine
Warmer water, more swimmers and longer sunlight hours means that your chlorine will deplete or burn-up faster. Add extra 3″ tabs to your chlorinator, and/or turn the dial higher to maintain chlorine levels. Pool shock frequency may also rise during the hottest parts of the summer, to fight algae, bacteria, chloramines and cloudy water.
Keep Calm & Stay Stable
Sunlight is an enemy of all pool chemicals on some levels, and as you already probably know, Conditioner or Stabilizer, aka Cyanuric Acid is the money saving chemical that protects your chlorine from the sun. Long hours of daily sunlight means that stabilizer levels are even more important, to prevent degradation of chlorine, when you need it most. Keep your stabilizer level between 20-50 ppm, and reduce or dilute if over 100 ppm.
More important than stabilizer however, is to consistently test your pool water balance during July and August. Your pool water is ever-changing, but never more than during the hottest summer months, when pH, Alkalinity and stabilizer levels can rise and cause water balance problems.
Test your Water Balance
The Langelier Saturation Index is a way to determine if pool water has a tendency either to scale, or to corrode. The math is a bit complicated, but the Pentair LSI calculator does a nice job crunching the numbers. Just enter your pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, Cyanuric, and Water Temperature and it will tell you if you are in balance.
Stay Cool, Beat the Heat
Hot temperatures, long sunlight exposure, and more pool parties means more friends and family with more sunblock and oil. This can lead to a ring around your waterline, more organic solids dissolved in your water, and cloudy or hazy pool water. I recommend Natural Chemistry’s Pool First Aid or Pool Perfect with PhosFree on hand to help eliminate the oily gunk and phosphates that can build up with heavy pool use. I use enzymes, because if I don’t, I get an ugly bathtub ring and my filter starts to gum up. Enzymes are natural oil-eaters that also clean the pool filter of trapped oils and greasy gunk, and reduce chlorine demand by removing organics from the pool and pool system.
All in All – Keep Scale Off the Wall
The important thing to remember during these long, Dog Days of Summer is to enjoy your pool to the fullest but be aware of all the factors that could turn your pool green, cloudy, oily or water balance that can stain & scale your pool surfaces.
It’s easy to slip into complacency mid-season, letting your guard down after months of perfect pH and Alkalinity – but the increased heat, intense sun, and frequent guests requires you to stay vigilant!