Key 1 - Circulation
Good circulation in your pool means much more than filtering water - it's getting all of the water in the pool moving & through the filter.
Circulation is more than filter or pump turnover; its removing dead spots - you know those areas where algae always seems to grow or where dirt & debris always seems to accumulate.
The better the water is circulation, the better the filtration, the cleaner the pool. In fact it typically takes up to FOUR turnovers to get all of the water completely filtered.
Turnovers are normally determined by "how much" water can go through the filter system - not what is actually filtered. A "typical" turnover is in the range of 4 - 6 hours depending on horse power of the pump & motor, pipe size, valves, and other plumbing system features. Click here to learn how a pool works.
The following chart shows how much of your pool water is typically filtered in a normal filter turnover.
After 1 Turnover After 2 Turnovers After 3 Turnovers After 4 Turnovers
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The 5 Keys to Pool Care ... Key 1 - Circulation
Why does it take so much time & effort? Mainly, it's due to dead spots. Dead spots are those areas of the pool where the water may not completely move or circulate. Dead spots are the "birthing grounds" for algae & biofilms resulting in green or cloudy water. These are the most common areas of would be dead spots:
- the bottom half of the pool especially in pools without main or bottom drains
- corners of rectangular pools
- the "exact" center of almost all round & most oval pools - especially aboveground pools
- behind ladders and / or stairs
- areas directly adjacent to pool skimmers & return fittings
- a combination of all of the above
Let's briefly look at each of these areas & provide a cure to the dead spot.
The entire bottom half of the pool really is a neglected spot. Many pool-owners unfortunately like to see the water rippling across the top of the pool as the filter runs. They point the return jets or eyeballs "up" rather than down toward the bottom. When pointed up, only the top 1/3 or so of the pool is circulated. The bottom 2/3 remains relatively stagnant, especially the further down you go. The cure: readjust the returns down toward the bottom of the pool. This will help create better top to bottom flow of water. Another way is to hook up your vacuum & simply let it sit in the bottom of the pool for a full day, once each week.
Corners of rectangular pools are notorious for being dead spots. You can see where leaves & airborne debris are trapped. Go down along the pool walls from the corners & you'll see that's where algae gets its head start. The cure: be sure to thoroughly brush down the corner areas on a regular basis. Once or twice each week should be a minimum.
Round or oval pools, doesn't mean you won't have dead spots. Over the years we've seen round & oval pools having cloudy centers! Really, we have. The reason, the "circulating" water goes round & round and the center remains stagnant. Overtime, especially in pools that don't get regular or minimal swimming, a column of water sets itself up - something very similar to a hurricane's eye. Lot's of activity around the eye, but the eye is peaceful & calm! The cure: be sure to direct the pool return fittings down toward the bottom & straight across. You'll get better overall circulation.
The areas behind ladders & especially drop-in style stairs get little or no circulation. No bodies brushing against the pool surface. Algae & bacteria are allowed to grow without hindrance. The cure: Be sure to properly & thoroughly brush & vacuum those areas. Movable or removable stairs should be taken out of the pool periodically & the pool surfaces cleaned. This is where the weekly addition of a good algicide is important - more about that under the water chemistry heading. If you use a protective mat, remove & clean that as well. Perform this cleaning at least once in the middle of each swimming season.
The several inches around your pool's skimmer & return fittings are great big dead spots. There may be lots of water activity around or near them, but directly adjacent...no. The cure: pay special attention to brush & vacuum these areas. Even brush, vacuum & clean the faceplates of these fittings.
All of the above! Dead spots are always in combinations. Here are the best cures to poor pool circulation & dead spots. And most of the ideas won't even cost you a penny!
Use the pool. Swim, splash, play. Do laps. Invite some friends over to have some fun. Regular use of your pool is the single best thing you can do to give it better circulation.
Brush & vacuum. It's like brushing & flossing your teeth. You know you have to do it. Brushing the pool walls at least once a week (preferably twice) prevents algae & biofilms from setting roots and becoming a real headache in very little time. For some "uber-brushing" consider a Wall Whale brush. You'll get up to 10 times the brushing force with the effort of one hand.
Be sure to point those eyeballs & return jets DOWN. You don't want to see ripples on top of the water. You want circulation throughout the pool. Consider installing a Circulator instead of the standard eyeball - can provide up to 1500% better circulation in your pool. Awesome new product.
Run the filter a minimum of 8 to 12 hours daily. Every day. To save money & electricity, use a timer to turn the pump on & off and use multiple settings to spread out the time to catch some of those "off-peak" electrical hours.
The 5 Keys typically take about ONE hour or less to accomplish each week.