What are the effects of salt water chlorine generation systems on vinyl pool liners and swimming pools?
What are the effects of salt water chlorine generation systems on vinyl pool liners and swimming pools?
The growing use of pool chlorination by salt water chlorine generation systems has added some serious implications for in-ground pool liners, steel walls and equipment that need to be considered.
Let’s start by making the following statement: Salt water in the swimming pool, maintained at the recommended concentration and PH, does not constitute any potential for either equipment corrosion or liner deterioration.
However several other important factors need to be considered:
- The splash out areas around the pool, where deck, coping and equipment are wetted by salt water, will go through a cycle of wetting and drying, creating much higher concentrations of salt and salt residue, which is much more corrosive and will etch decking and corrode exposed aluminum and metal fittings and deck anchors. It is recommended that after each use, the areas are flushed with non-saline water.
- High levels of chlorine will damage liners and equipment much the same way as high salt concentrations would speed up the corrosion of metal components. Because chlorine is continually generated in a salt system, unless monitored, it is very easy to have chlorine concentrations well above the recommended levels which will have adverse effects on pool liners.
- The prolonged use of solar covers or will allow the chlorine levels to build up to higher than normal levels as the chlorine cannot dissipate or gas off into the air. Auto-covers kept closed for long periods of time create the same build up of chlorine which can damage the cover and the uncoated aluminum components. This can be more drastic because the condensation that will occur under the cover will coat all areas under the cover and lead to a buildup of salt levels as well.
- The continual generation of chlorine does not have the same build up of chloramines as normal chlorination. The chloramine is what provides the characteristic chlorine smell and consequently, in salt pools this lack of chlorine smell may lead users to assume the chlorine levels are at an acceptable level and not monitor the water chemistry as often as necessary.
- Salt Systems are often sold as low maintenance products and the users are not educated properly. The assumption that these systems require less maintenance applies only to the addition of chemicals. The water testing and monitoring frequency is the same as for conventional pools and perhaps for many of the reasons mentioned above, even more attention is required as high concentrations of chlorine over even short time duration can and will alter the vinyl and affect other metal pool components. High chlorine concentrations can also cause a swing with the levels of other stable water components such as PH and total alkalinity. Both are instrumental in balanced water which is critical for the longevity of pool liners and components.
*The information provided comes from a manufacturer of pool components.
One of the great benefits for those of you who winterize your pools with a safety cover is that it keeps your pool surface out of the sun and chlorine-free for perhaps six months of the year. A pool is a big investment, and you want it to last as long as it can. Properly winterizing and using a safety cover can greatly extend the life of your pool.
A Safety Cover also keeps your swimming pool free of the debris that would otherwise create a mess in an uncovered pool. Protecting your pool from debris will also save you money on costly seasonal maintenance such as re-painting and re-plastering, and eliminate the need for messy spring clean-ups.
Below is a breakdown of our safety cover materials. You can also click here for more information on safety covers.
SAFETY COVER SELECTION CHART
Almost every pool liner warranty in the industry covers the welded seams only and nothing else. The seams, of course, are very important but if they hold for a week, they will most likely hold for seven years. If there is going to be a problem that is covered by your warranty, it will be evident soon after the liner is installed. It is very rare for a seam to fail after the first six months.
What is not covered are all the other things that may happen to your liner such as material defects, print fading, irregularities in printing, damage from pool chemicals, wind and ice damage, rips, tears or holes that can be snagged or punched in the liner.
Even if you do have a legitimate split seam warranty issue, your warranty does not cover installation, freight or the cost of water and chemicals.
Like Dad always said, warranties are designed to limit the manufacturer’s liability, not to benefit the consumer. Pool liner warranties are not any different.
Oftentimes people ask us which liner material is “better:” the 20 mil or the 27 mil?
In reality, there is no “better” liner. The most important choice is not the thickness of the material, but the liner pattern that you choose. Liners fail for two reasons. The ink fades or the material dry rots above the waterline. Thicker material solves neither of these problems.
Choose the vinyl liner pattern that you like the best. If it comes in 27 mil at no extra charge, take it, but don’t pay extra for it. You shouldn’t pass on your first pattern choice just to get the thicker material. In our opinion, there is no meaningful advantage to thicker material. There is no difference in wear, durability, longevity or warranty. You are going to be looking at that pattern in your backyard for at least the next seven years. Ultimately, the pattern you choose should outweigh the thickness of your liner material. It is what you think looks the best that matters.
View all of our available 27 mil and 20 mil patterns here.
If you have black or grey cloud-like stains on the floor of your in-ground vinyl liner, they are most likely caused by bacteria that is living in the ground under your pool. Bacteria sometimes show up years after a pool has been installed. We think the bacteria can be washed into your pool area by flooding rains or when a septic tank overflows.
There is little proven research on this topic but we understand the bacteria actually gets sunlight through the water, eats on some food source in the ground and then secretes a dye-like material that migrates through the vinyl and shows up as a stain on the floor of your pool. Often these spots appear grey, greyish green or light black in color. Once the spots appear, the damage to your liner is done and it’s irreversible. Algaecides and other chemicals used in the pool will have no effect on these stains since they can’t get to the source of the problem which is the bacteria in the soil.
So you live with stains as long as you can and then, when it’s time to change your liner, it’s also time to try and get rid of the bacteria to avoid a repeat problem with staining. No one knows precisely how to solve this problem but there are four methods that we understand may be effective. You may want to choose one or even try all four.
- The simplest way to attempt to kill the bacteria is to have your contractor spray the floor of the pool with liquid chlorine before installing your new liner. Chlorine bleach works fine and they will mist the floor of the pool using a garden sprayer three or four times.
- A second possible solution is to change the pH of the soil under and around the pool. This is done with a chemical called Copperas Iron Sulfate (FeSO4) which is available at tree nurseries or agricultural supply houses. The chemical is sprinkled on the ground around the pool and on the floor of the pool and then the ground is saturated with water for two to three days. The idea is to get the powder deep into the ground so it can change the pH of the soil and kill the source of the bacteria.
- Since bacteria need sunlight to grow, a third option is to eliminate the light source by putting a black sheet of plastic under the liner. This is not advisable if your yard has a high water table as rising water may float the liner and ball up the plastic underneath causing an even bigger problem than the stain.
- Finally, some companies are selling a roll-on epoxy-like stain barrier paint to cover the floor and walls of your pool. It’s like a liquid plastic that sets up hard to form a membrane intended to block out the light and prevent stains from getting to your liner. It is the most expensive of the options but some people claim it really works.
Discuss these options with your local pool professional and depend on them to suggest which method they have tried and found to be most effective.
If you own a concrete in-ground pool and are wondering if it is possible to install a vinyl liner in your pool, the answer is yes, but we don’t suggest it.
Installing a vinyl liner is perhaps the most inexpensive way to fix a leaking concrete in-ground pool, but converting a concrete pool into a liner type pool should be the last resort. We encourage you to repair your concrete pool if you can.
If you decide you must convert your pool, it requires accurately measuring the pool for a liner, installing a bead receiver around the perimeter and then converting the skimmer and other fittings to the liner type that have faceplates and gaskets.
The difficulty of the conversion depends on the internal shape of the pool, whether the contours in the floor are rounded or sharp, and if you have internal steps or other obstacles.
Every job is different so depend on your local pool contractor to advise if your particular installation is a good candidate for a conversion.
It is always a good idea to winterize your pool in order to protect your investment. However, if you own a spa, you might like to use it during the winter months. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your spa during the winter season.
- Drain, clean, and refill before it gets too cold. By cleaning your spa before the harshest weather arrives, you can avoid having to clean again until you are ready to re-open the pool in the spring.
- Maintain your temperature. “Boosting” the temperature is costly. It is more efficient to maintain your desired temperature than repeatedly raising and lowering the temperature with each use.
- Cover the spa. Make sure your spa cover is in good shape and holding heat when the spa is not in use. Consider using a solar blanket on the water’s surface to further prevent heat loss.
- Bundle up! Consider wearing a hat when it is cold or snowing to keep your exposed head warm outside the spa.
Click here to learn more about adding a Highland Spa to your backyard oasis!
It has rained all season long, wreaking havoc on your backyard oasis, and causing the one thing pool owners don’t want to see – liner wrinkles.
During periods of heavy rain, if the water level in the ground becomes higher than the water level in the pool, the liner will float. When the ground water recedes, the liner most likely will settle back into place unevenly, creating wrinkles in some areas and a tight stretch in others. Usually the wrinkles are in the shallow end.
The solution is to drain the water about one foot back down the slope to the deep end, below the floor in the shallow end. Pull the material back up into place in the shallow end, turn on a vacuum blower (just like during the initial installation), and refill the pool.
It is easy to get in trouble here, so this is definitely a job for your pool professional. If the ground is still saturated with water, the pool walls may collapse under the extra weight. You may need to wait for drier conditions before attempting to re-seat the liner. If the liner is more than a few years old, it may be brittle and may rip when you try to get it back in place, or tear away from the face plates around the steps and skimmers.
The bottom line: It is probably a simple and inexpensive fix. Your contractor just drains some water, re-seats the liner and fills it back up. Be aware that the liner may fail during the process, but if the liner is more than seven years old, it is about time to replace it anyway.
Below are more pictures of a liner that floated as a result of excess rain water. You can see the wrinkles caused by the floating and the stretch in the corners.
It’s that time of year again. Pool closing season is here, and depending on your regional climate, the process of winterizing your pool can vary. As such, we recommend that you always consult your local pool professional. With that said, here are some helpful tips for winterizing a vinyl liner pool.
- Clean the pool: Vacuum the floor and skim the water’s surface. Leaves and other debris can settle at the bottom of the pool during the off-season, which could potentially stain the pool floor. We recommend using alkaline base cleaning agents to clean to area above the water line, as acid base chemicals damage the liner. Do not use an abrasive cleaning aid (i.e. stiff bristled brush, steel wool, etc.)
- Watch your pH levels: Maintain a pH of 7.2-7.8 to avoid scaling, staining, or discoloring in the interior of the pool.
- Dilute and circulate: Do not add chemicals directly to the water. This can cause the chemicals to concentrate on the pool floor, staining or bleaching the vinyl liner. Instead, dilute the chemicals in a bucket and pour them into the skimmer with the circulation system running. Allow the chemicals to circulate for a full 24 hours.
- Do not drop the water level if possible: Once a pool has been filled with water, the liner begins to lose its stretching properties; therefore the pool should be kept full of water at all times. The water acts as a protector for the liner and holds the liner in its proper position, eliminating any re-stretching or drying out of the vinyl liner.
- Cover the pool: Installing a safety cover is the best way to protect both your investment and family by keeping out falling leaves and other debris, while also adhering to the safety standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Click here to learn more about McEwen safety covers.
It is now easier than ever to add a vanishing edge spillover spa to your pool!
Available in three colors, our spas feature curved steps that lead to a 6 to 8 person seating area with 12 jets.
Click here for more information about adding the ultimate waterfall to your backyard oasis!