Cleaning your pool and your spa

Everyone who uses your pool or spa may become ill if you do not disinfect your water properly. Even clear water may contain micro-organisms. You could develop ear infections, stomach aches or rashes, among other possibilities. Pool water, hot water and the small volume of spas create a favourable environment for the development of micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Good hygiene reduces the number of microorganisms in the water to safe levels. To protect those who use your pool or spa, you should regularly check the water balance (adequate levels of disinfectant, pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness). You must test the water every day, especially during peak periods.

How to disinfect my pool or spa?

Products containing chlorine and bromine are effective disinfectants and also control the growth of algae. When added to water, the chlorine-based products release hypochlorous acid, while bromine-based products release hypobromous acid, the main chemicals responsible for disinfecting swimming pool and spa water. You can buy chlorine and bromine in chemical form (they are sold in puck, tablet or liquid form) or use generating devices. Some types of chlorine and bromine are also available in applicator format.

How much disinfectant should I use?

It is important to use chemicals designed for pools and spas in strict accordance with the directions on the label. The label tells you how much product to use and how to handle the product safely. Always read the label before using the product. Devices for the pool and spa that produce or release a disinfectant are accompanied by a user's guide containing detailed instructions. These instructions also appear on the packaging as well as on the device itself. Always read the label and the user’s guide before installing and using the device. Ask one of our specialists, who will suggest the proper water treatment for your pool or spa.

Algae Control

Warm temperatures, sunlight and low levels of disinfectant can also promote the development of algae. Algae are usually not harmful to humans, but they can still present a potential danger by making the surfaces of the pool and hot tub slippery and the water cloudy. Algae can also decrease the effectiveness of disinfectants, since they will be devoted mainly to control algae instead of treating the harmful bacteria and viruses that may be in the water. A reduced rate of disinfectant also promotes the growth of bacteria and viruses. Regular use of a disinfectant should prevent the excessive growth of algae. However, you may also need to use algaecides, such as products made from copper sulphate or quaternary ammonium chloride, should you be faced with a significant presence of algae. Devices that spread metal ions through pool or spa water may also control the presence of algae.

How should I use copper sulphate-based algaecides?

Algaecides containing copper sulphate for pools can be used to :

  • Control algae.
  • Improve water clarity.
  • Reduce the necessary amount of products containing chlorine or bromine.

They cannot :

  • Control the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
  • Eliminate the need disinfectants such as pool products containing chlorine or bromine.

Since products containing copper sulphate do not control the presence of bacteria and viruses in pool water, they must be used jointly with disinfectants containing chlorine or bromine in order to protect swimmers.

Note : Although the use of an algaecide containing copper sulphate reduces the required amount of chlorine- or bromine- based sanitizers in your pool, the actual amount will vary depending on the size of the pool, its type and its location.

Are copper sulphate-based algaecides safe?

The use of algaecides containing copper sulphate in swimming pools does not present significant risk to bathers. If used according to the instructions on the label, copper sulphate-based algaecides should not harm the skin. However, carefully follow the directions on the label when handling a product containing undiluted copper sulphate in order to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

There are four types of devices used in swimming pools and spas

There are four types of devices used in swimming pools and spas :

  • Chlorine and bromine generators use electrical energy to produce hypochlorous or hypobromous acid from salts. These acids are the main chemical compounds responsible for the disinfection of pools and spas treated with products containing chlorine or bromine. These devices must be approved.
  • Chemical distributors are designed to automatically release approved hypochlorous or hypobromous acid in the pool water. You must strictly comply with the recommendations contained in the user guide. It is not necessary that these swimming pool devices be approved.
  • Ionizers produce metal ions (such as Cu2+) to combat algae. You must also use products containing chlorine or bromine. Ion and disinfectant concentrations should be checked frequently, and the electrodes must be replaced as needed. These devices must be approved.
  • Ozone generators are used to remove organic matter in pool and spa water. These devices can be a useful complement to products containing chlorine or bromine, but cannot replace them. Their main function is to oxidize organic matter. It is not necessary that these devices be approved, unless there are allegations of a sanitation effect (fight against microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses) or an algaecide effect.

When using an ionizer or an ozone generator, you must continue to disinfect the water with products containing chlorine and bromine. Care must be taken to maintain an adequate concentration of chlorine- or bromine-based disinfectant in order to prevent the proliferation of microorganisms that can cause disease.

Water analysis

Whether you choose to use chemicals or an electrical device to disinfect your pool or spa, you should maintain a minimal concentration of disinfectant to prevent the proliferation of microorganisms that cause disease. The exact quantity of disinfectant you will need depends on many changing factors such as the number of bathers, the frequency of use, water contamination by substances such as suntan oils and creams, the water temperature and the recent amount of rainfall. Also, adequate water balance (levels of disinfectant, pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness) as well as a proper concentration of copper sulphide-based algaecide must be maintained to keep the water surface clean. In addition to using the chemical or device according to the instructions on the label, you must test the water every day to determine if the sanitizer level in your pool or spa is sufficient to protect bathers against micro-organisms of disease. You can analyze the water using a good quality test kit, or simply bring a water sample to a Desert Grove store.

When using chemicals for pools and spas

  • Read the instructions and warnings listed on the label before using these products.
  • Do not smoke, do not eat food and do not drink during application of a chemical.
  • Never mix these products with other chemicals.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after manipulating chemicals for pools and spas.
  • Clean all surfaces that may come into contact with food, such as kitchen counters, tables and stoves.
  • Always store pesticides out of reach of children and pets and away from food and drinks.
  • Always read and follow the instructions on the product label concerning proper storage procedures.

The warnings listed above are of a general nature. Always read the label for details.

In case of accidental poisoning?

Consult a physician or poison control center immediately. In case of accidental poisoning of pets, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Disposal

Do not reuse pesticide containers. Wrap and dispose of in household garbage. Unused pesticides or pesticide residues should be taken to provincially- or municipally-designated household hazardous waste disposal sites.

Advice on manipulating chemicals

You must always :

  • Read the label and follow the instructions.
  • Keep chemicals away from children and pets.
  • Keep containers closed and, when they are not used, store them in the same containers in which they were sold.
  • Wear protective equipment and clothing such as gloves, goggles and shoes.
  • Use a separate and clean metal or plastic measuring cup for each chemical.
  • Protect chemicals against moisture and water.
  • Add chemicals to water (unless otherwise stated on the label).
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling any chemical.
  • Report any pesticide-related incident to the product manufacturer (phone number on the label). The manufacturer is obliged to share this information with Health Canada.

You should never :

  • Use the contents of an unlabeled container.
  • Mix different chemicals or return a spilled chemical into its container.
  • Touch undiluted chemicals or smoke when handling chemicals.
  • Produce dust when picking up powder or solids. Dust can react with the skin’s moisture and may cause injury.
  • Store liquids above powders or solids.
  • Stack containers and store materials or chemicals above head level.
  • Store pool chemicals near gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, grease, paint, tile cleaner, turpentine or other flammable materials, especially when the pool chemicals are stored in a shed or a small storage room.
  • Expose chemicals to heat or flame.
  • Use a dry chemical extinguisher to extinguish a fire. Only use large amounts of water. If unable to extinguish the flames, immediately leave the area and call the fire department.

First aid

Ask another person to call for medical attention.

Remove the person from source of contamination and quickly remove contaminated clothing, footwear and leather goods.


Clean contaminated area with a gentle stream of warm water for at least 15 to 20 minutes (or for a longer period if chemical is corrosive).

SWIMMING POOLS SAFETY

Controlling access to the pool is the surest way to prevent accidents. Whether you already own a pool or are considering purchasing one, its access must be controlled. Each pool owner is responsible for limiting access to his pool and ensuring constant supervision.

Always dilute products with water before pouring them in the pool. Don't forget that chlorine affects steel (rust). Most important, be sure to store your pool products out of children's reach.

Some suggestion to ensure your safety when using the pool. Good sense suggests establishing safety rules around the pool. Read these rules at the beginning of each season. The following are a few suggestions:

Rules to ensure safety when using the pool :

  • Avoid running, pushing and horseplay around the pool.
  • Take a shower before going swimming. This will decrease the quantity of bacteria and contaminants you introduce to the pool.
  • Limit diving to the diving board and the deep end.
  • Keep a buoy or life saving pole close to the pool.
  • Keep glass and other fragile objects away from the pool area.
  • Don't go swimming when there is thunder or lightning.

Safety Rules for young children

  • Identify shallow areas where it is safe for very young children to play.
  • Make sure that an adult is present to supervise the children all the time they are in the pool.
  • Install a fence around the pool. (Your municipality may also require a fence).

Preparations in the event of an emergency

  • Always keep a well stocked first aid kit nearby (but out of reach of children). It should be stored in a location that is clearly identified and easy to reach.
  • Keep an instruction sheet describing mouth to mouth resuscitation close to the pool. Make sure these instructions are waterproof.
  • Encourage all the members of your family to learn the mouth to mouth technique.
  • Ensure emergency phone numbers are recorded in your telephone's memory.

SPA SAFETY

A better understanding of chemicals and their intended usage will ensure that your spa water is safe and clear. It will also avoid you the expense of correcting its chemical balance and cleaning your spa. In certain cases, it may even be necessary to empty your spa.

Always dilute products with water before pouring them in the pool. Don't forget that chlorine affects steel (rust). Most important, be sure to store your pool products out of children's.

Spa Safety Rules

  • To avoid risks to the bathers' health, never heat the water in the spa above 104°F (40°C).
  • Limit the use of the spa to 15-minute periods to avoid causing nausea.
  • Do not use the spa if you are inebriated or under the effect of medication which could cause somnolence.
  • If you take medication, consult a physician before using the spa.
  • Due to the high temperatures, young children should only use the spa with prudence.
  • Pregnant women should not use the spa without their physician's approval.
  • Do not use electric appliances near the water, for example a radio or hair dryer.
  • Hot water is an ideal medium for the propagation of infections. Do not use the spa if you have an open wound.
  • Always be careful when entering or leaving the spa

Preparations in the event of an emergency

  • Always keep a well stocked first aid kit nearby (but out of reach of children). It should be stored in a location that is clearly identified and easy to reach.
  • Keep an instruction sheet describing mouth to mouth resuscitation close to the pool. Make sure these instructions are waterproof.
  • Encourage all the members of your family to learn the mouth to mouth technique.
  • Ensure emergency phone numbers are recorded in your telephone's memory.

SAFETY RULES

Don't forget that, for your safety, certain precautions must be taken when handling and storing chemical pool products. Be sure to read and respect the instructions concerning the recommended dosage and warnings on each label. Never put two chemical products in the water at the same time.

Always dilute products with water before pouring them in the pool. Don't forget that chlorine affects steel (rust). Most important, be sure to store your pool products out of children's reach.

Safety rules concerning disinfectant products :

  • Always add the chemical product to the water; never the opposite.
  • Keep chemical products away from sources of heat and sunlight.
  • Never mix chemical pool products.
  • Keep acid, paint, oil cloths, etc. away from chlorine based products.
  • Never re-use empty chlorine containers to store other chemical products.
  • Never mix two different chlorine products together.
  • Never place chlorinated lime tablets in a trichlor chlorinator.
  • Keep chemical pool products out of children's reach.

The following section is intended to allow you to analyze the water in your pool or spa.
You will find items to check, recommended products and how to solve problems. Of course, if a problem persists, contact without hesitation our analysts and technicians who will be happy to help you.
To succeed the analysis of the water in your pool or spa, it is important to get a good test kit that combines speed, accuracy, ease of use and affordability.

Recipe for success

Here are some procedures that will allow you to keep the water in your pool or spa in top condition and that will minimize the need for analyzes.

  • Change your filter sand every three to five years. However, if you use the product regularly DESERT GROVE FILTER, you can change the filtration sand to five years.
  • Do cleanings weekly delivery or as needed when the gauge pressure is high.
  • Never put two chemicals in the water at the same time.
  • Close your pool as late as possible in the fall while keeping the clear water and the ideal alkalinity, and open it as soon as possible in the spring.
  • Check alkalinity and hardness every week or, if you have a water well, every time you add water.
  • Regularly check the pH and adjust it as needed.
  • Put algaecide 40% early in the season and algaecide 12% weekly.
  • Put chlorine regularly and do a weekly shock treatment.
  • Make sure the bottles of OTO and Phenol are changed every year.
  • Check the expiration date on the bottle containing the tabs AQUA CHECK or DESERT GROVE TEST 3 IN 1.
  • Check if the sand is dirty, worn or contaminated (presence of algae). If this is the case, clean it with DESERT GROVE FILTER, make a backwash or change the sand (for 3-5 years).
  • Make sure that there was due process algaecide according to quantity and recommended concentration.
  • Check if the filter system works at least 18 hours on 24. (No stop if your system has a chlorinator or purifier).

Note: Items are processed in order of importance. This order must be followed because if one component is changed, it can affect the next component. For a complete analysis, you should use the tabs DESERT GROVE TEST 3 IN 1 or regularly bring a sample of your water at Desert Grove branch for a free analysis.

Hydrogen potential (pH)

PH, or hydrogen potential corresponds to the quality of the acids and bases in water. More water is more basic pH is high. More low pH, the more acid. When the pH is not adjusted, chlorine and no longer cloudy water. Do not confuse the acidity of alkalinity and acidity of pH. Water is overcome alkalinity acid with sodium bicarbonate (ALCA +), while the pH is adjusted to the acid water with soda ash (Desert Grove PH +)

The ideal setting for a pH between 7.4 and 7.6.
To increase the pH: Use DESERT GROVE PH +.
To decrease the pH: Use DESERT GROVE PH.
The muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid are not recommended since they also lower alkalinity.

Total alkalinity

The total alkalinity is the sum of the carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides in solution in water, such as sodium and potassium. Over there, the more water is alkaline. Unless there are, the more acid. After the lack of chlorine is the main cause of water problems. When the alkalinity is too low, it detects chlorine odor, eye heat, algae form, the pH is disrupted and chlorine disappears quickly. Warning, your water is still very clear. When the alkalinity is too high, the skin is irritated, chlorine no longer, pH malfunctions and cloudy water.

Note: Avoid using the "little cow" to increase the alkalinity because the effect is only temporary. If the pool water comes from an artesian well, water will be alkaline because the alkalinity of well water is usually between 180 ppm and 300 ppm.

The ideal setting for alkalinity is between 100-120 ppm.
To increase the alkalinity, use the + ALCA.
To reduce the alkalinity is used muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid. It is recommended to add this product in the evening.

Hardness

The hardness of the water depends on the content of calcium and magnesium in water. Several factors affect the test results of the water hardness or alkalinity, pH and the amount of chlorine; so it is important to adjust before analyzing hardness. Too low hardness creates too corrosive water. Too high hardness encourage the formation of tartar.

The ideal setting for hardness is between 200 - 240 ppm.
To increase the hardness, is used DESERT GROVE calcium (CAL +).
To reduce the hardness is used DESERT GROVE MetaLoc or any other product for blocking metals in water.

Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric acid is what is commonly called the chlorine stabilizer. A well stabilized water will make substantial savings chlorine during the season. When cyanuric acid is too high, the chlorine is not more and reading remains high even when chlorine is added. When cyanuric acid is too low, chlorine evaporates quickly under the effect of the sun and we must use a larger quantity.

The ideal setting for cyanuric acid is between 30-50 ppm.
To increase the cyanuric acid, is simply added DESERT GROVE STAB.
To decrease the cyanuric acid, water is added to dilute it.

Free Chlorine

Chlorine is used to rid the water of bacteria and algae to burn. It is a powerful oxidizing agent and disinfectant. When chlorine is too high, it burns the eyes, gives off odors and discolored swimsuits. When chlorine is too low, it does not eliminate bacteria; cloudy water and forms chloramines. There is also a risk of skin irritation. The ideal setting for the free chlorine is 1.0.

Combined chlorine

Combined chlorine consists of small bacterial particles contaminated with organic material (skin, mucous, urine, cosmetics, leaves, dust, etc.). These pollutants react with free chlorine to form combined chlorine or chloramines. The test kits for detecting the combined chlorine using small tablets are not very accurate. It is therefore suggested that a weekly shock treatment for prevention.

Chemicals products

Here is the list of the main chemicals used in pool maintenance and a description of their properties. Make sure to follow the instructions indicated on the bottles or containers. If in doubt, please contact DESERT GROVE representative. In any case, during the swimming season, wait at least 4 hours between the application of two different products.

DG algaecide

This product is a chemical compound used to prevent or eliminate the formation and growth of algae. To get the minimum amount of starting or in the case of severe infestation, use algaecide concentrate 60% or 40%; to keep, use of the maintenance algicide to 12%. However, it can regularly use algaecide 60% or 40% which will be much more effective, its concentration is higher. There is no test kit to measure the amount of algaecide in the water. We do not recommend the use of a low concentration algaecide because it is not powerful enough, you should add more high doses, so there is no economy. Never algaecide in the skimmer (bad for sand). If there is a chlorinator or DURATION capsules, you may obtain a chemical reaction!

DG Originally

Flocculant used to maintain a clear water. To be used especially when the pH is very high. (It is preferable to increase the pH to 8 before adding this product). It forms a gelatinous precipitate which is deposited at the pool bottom. Then vacuuming on "DRAIN" or "WASTE" to remove deposits. For sand filters only. Tend to unbalance the water.

DG Anti-core

Cleaner concealer / degreaser. This product is used to remove and prevent fatty dark circles around the pool or during discharge cleaning to degrease the filtering. It allows also to avoid rubbing and cleaning cloth. Can be used during bathing.

DG Anti task

Super effective stain remover. Removes stains caused by the formation of calcium scale, with metals such as iron, copper and manganese. Use as needed or preventive weekly.

DG Blue

Reduces chlorine concentrations, algae control, stabilizes the PH and clarifies the water.

DG Brome

(Bromo-chloro-dimethylhydantoin) This product is an effective oxidant, although more expensive than chlorine. It kills bacteria and algae. Mainly used for indoor pools, heated pools or in cases where people have very sensitive skin. Put bromine tablets in brominator or a float, weekly. Make a weekly shock treatment with a chlorine free DESERT GROVE OXY.

DG Calcium

(Calcium chloride) is used to increase the hardness of the water. Prevents corrosion and attacks on the surfaces of pools. Always put the product diluted in water.