product used to LOWER pH and Total Alkalinity. A common acid used in
swimming pools is Muriatic Acid. Due to its extremely corrosive nature, we
recommend using a DRY acid such as
SpaBoss pH minus instead. Dry
acids are safer to use & store in residential settings. Something
known to be acidic in nature has a pH value of less than 7.0.
Algae - microscopic,
single cell plants found virtually everywhere. Various strains range in
color from yellow to dark blue-green. For more detailed information on
algae found in swimming pools plus how to prevent or treat it,
Algicide - chemical
products used to kill, prevent or control algae.
Alkali - a term used to
describe water having a pH value greater than 7.0.
Bacteria - microscopic
organisms found everywhere, some of which may be harmful to people (pathogens).
Balanced Water - the state
of the pool water where the components are in their proper ranges for optimal
comfort, clarity, and sanitizer effectiveness. Components include pH, Total
Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids.
the common generic term used when referring to a class of pool & spa sanitizers
whose active ingredient is PHMB (poly hexamethyl biguanide). These
sanitizers are often times referred to as being non-chlorine or non-bromine or
chlorine-free or bromine-free.
Bio-film - a build-up of
slime, greases & oils on pool surfaces, ladders, filters, piping that form a
breeding ground for bacterial & algal problems.
Click here for details.
Bromine - a halogen
element used in place of chlorine as a sanitizer in spas & hot tubs.
Buffer - to prevent large
fluctuations or shifts in the pH level.
- the amount of dissolved calcium present in spa & hot tub water. Low
levels of calcium hardness can and do promote corrosion and deterioration of
surfaces including spa equipment. High levels promote the formation of
scale, clogging pipes & scaling spa & hot tub surfaces. (Ideal range: 175
- 225 ppm).
- a filtering media using a porous, replaceable element. Dirt, debris &
particles are removed from the water when they pass through the cartridge.
Loose debris can normally be hosed off, however greases & oils must be
chemically removed by soaking the cartridge
Chelant - a
chemical used to "tie-up" heavy metals such as iron, copper, manganese or
calcium to prevent staining & scaling. Can also be referred to as a
Chloramine - a chemical substance formed when a chlorine molecule
combines with organic waste such as sweat, urine, ammonia (and other nitrogenous
compounds) causing a strong, pungent odor and irritation to bathers' skin, eyes
and/or mucous membranes. Chloramines have almost no sanitizing value when
compared to Free Available Chlorine.
Here's an in-depth article about chloramines.
Chlorine - one of the 5 members of the halogen
family of elements. Chlorine is the most widely used bacteria and algae
killing product for hot tubs and spas. Found in 2 forms: Organic
- stable toward UV rays and therefore longer lasting and Inorganic -
which are susceptible to UV degradation and less convenient for pool use.
Please note: Inorganic compounds make effective Shock treatments however
are not recommended in hot water use.
Chlorine Demand - the amount
of chlorine required to be added to the water before a free chlorine residual
can be maintained. Almost anything entering the water (including rainfall
or fresh-water fill ups) can contribute to chlorine demand.
Chlorine Residual - the
quantity of chlorinating product present in the water, available to kill
bacteria & oxidize swimmer and/or environmental waste entering the pool.
This residual is what is left after the Chlorine Demand has been met.
Combined Chlorine - chlorine
that has combined with ammonia, nitrogen or other organic compounds.
Corrosion - pitting, etching
or erosion of pool equipment & surfaces caused by LOW pH and/or other chemical
DPD - a testing reagent
(typically in tablet form) used to measure chlorine or bromine. #1 tests
for Free Available Chlorine, #3 tests for Total Chlorine, #4 tests for Combined
water that flows OUT of a filter or pump.
Filter - a
device that removes particulate matter from a swimming pool utilizing a "porous
media". The e commonly used filters are Sand, Cartridge & DE.
Filter Cycle - the time
between filtering cleanings or backwashings. The longer, the better.
Filter Element - see
Flow Rate - the measure of
the volume of water passing a given point during a specific time period,
typically expressed in gallons per minute.
Free Available Chlorine (FAC)
- (hypochlorous acid) the chlorine residual in pool water that is NOT combined &
therefore able to kill bacteria and control algae entering the water.
Gunite - a
type of "concrete" finish sprayed on pool surfaces.
the most important part of the pump. The impeller's rotating veins create
the suction into the pump & flow through the rest of the filtering system.
Influent - the water entering
a pump, filter, heater or pool.
(Unstabilized Chlorine) - a form of chorine NOT containing a carbon atom that is
very susceptible to UV degradation (i.e. Calcium hypochlorite, lithium
hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite).
- fresh water used to fill or "top-up" a pool or spa. Oftentimes referred
to as "source water".
Nitrogen - an
element that can combine with chlorine & produce chloramines.
- a form of chlorine CONTAINING carbon including CYA. Organic chlorines
are not as susceptible to UV degradation (i.e. Sodium Dichloro or Tri-chloro).
Organic Matter - most
anything living organism, including leaves, bugs, urine, perspiration,
cosmetics, etc. containing carbon in their material composition.
Oxidize (Oxidation) - a
chemical process used to remove undesirable organic & inorganic compounds from
Ozone - a gas containing 3
oxygen atoms. More typically used in spas. Very unstable and has a
short "kill-life". Normally used as a supplement to chlorine or bromine in
pH - a
measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. pH is measured on a
scale from 0 to 14. Under 7.0, the solution is considered Acidic.
Over 7.0 is considered Basic. The ideal range for swimming pools & spas is
7.4 to 7.6; this level provides the best swimmer comfort as well as optimal,
efficient use of chlorine & bromine.
pH Decreaser (minus)
- a generic term for chemicals that LOWER pH (acid)
pH Increaser (plus)
- a generic term for chemicals that INCREASES pH (soda ash)
Phenol Red - a liquid reagent
used to measure pH. Most accurate in a range of 6.8 to 8.2.
Plaster - a type of interior
finish on a spa.
ppm (Parts Per Million) - a
unit of measure for chemical application.
Precipitate - Solid particles
forced out of solution by a chemical reaction. Normally settle out or give
a "cloudy" look to the water.
- those products having EPA approval for factually killing bacteria or
chemical testing solutions used to test chlorine, bromine, pH, Total Alkalinity,
Calcium Hardness, etc.
mineral deposits that form on spa & hot tub surfaces & equipment normally due to excess
calcium in the water. Scale more typically forms in heated water rather
than cool water.
Shock Treat (shock, shocking) - the addition of an
chemicals added to the water with
the purpose of destroying chloramines or other undesirable compounds.
Skimmer - a device in the
pool that aids in the removal of floating debris (leaves, bugs) being taken into
the filter system.
Soda Ash - a product used to
RAISE the pH of the water.
Stabilizer - see Cyanuric
Superchlorination - the
addition of large quantities of chlorine (usually unstabilized chlorine) at a
rate of 3 to 5 times the normal shocking dosage in order to destroy chloramines,
kill bacteria, and to kill algae.
(TA) - a measure of the pool water's ability to prevent pH "bounce" or
fluctuation. TA measures the amount of carbonates, bicarbonates,
hydroxides, and borates in the water.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
- the measure of all of the dissolved matter in the water. TDS over 1500
ppm may interfere with the pool sanitizer's ability to control bacteria & algae.
Turbidity - cloudy condition
of the pool water
Turnover Rate - the time it
takes in hours to circulate the entire spa or hot tub's volume.
the procedure for protecting pools & spas from winter weather. This includes
physical as well as chemical protection. See the Winterizing section for more
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