Friday, April 10, 2015


How do I test for a leak in my pool?

Spring is officially here and the temperatures are warming up. Summer months are right around the corner. Normal evaporation during the summer months is typically less than ½” per day. Anything more than ½” per day may indicate a leak. Your pool will experience a larger amount of evaporation if it has a vanishing edge or has a large water feature.  Pool water evaporation increases with the number of water features on your pool, as well as, the frequency of operation of your water features. Also, the pool may require more water during times of heavy use.

We recommend that you perform a bucket test if you think your pool is leaking. 
1) Turn off the auto-fill if you have one.
 2) Place a white plastic bucket on the 1st or 2nd step of the pool entry.
 3) Mark the side of the bucket with a sharpie as close to the water as possible without touching the water. 
4) Remove bucket and fill with water from a garden hose to the mark on the side of the bucket.
5) Put the bucket back on the same step in the pool (now both water inside and outside bucket should be the same). 
6) Turn the pump off and leave it off for 24 hrs. 
7) Measure from the line on the outside of the bucket to the water level in pool. 
8) Measure from the mark to the water line on side of bucket. 
9) Record measurements. 
10) Perform the same test while the pump is running for 24hrs. If the measurements are the same or similar there is not a leak. If the measurement on the outside of the bucket is greater than the measurement inside the bucket then it is possible there is a leak. Call Premier Pools & Spas service team with your results at (916) 669-5500. We are here to serve you Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Salt Systems 101

Salt Systems 101
What does a Salt System do?
Simply put, a salt system is a chlorine generator.  It is essentially a chlorine factory installed at your pool equipment.

How does a Salt System work?
Salt (NaCl) is added to the swimming pool to increase the salinity to approximately 4,000ppm (depending on the specific system).  As a side note, the salinity of the ocean is approximately 35,000 ppm – or almost 10 times as salty as a pool with a salt system.  The system itself is comprised of two components:
  1.   Salt Cell
  2. Control Panel

The Salt Cell is plumbed in-line with the pool equipment and given an electric charge. As the water passes through the cell the charged blades split the NaCl into two separate elements through electrolysis – Na and Cl.  Thus making chlorine.

How much does a Salt System Cost?
As with most things, there are two costs to consider when determining if a salt system is right for you. You must consider initial cost versus ongoing costs.  Depending on the system you purchase a quality salt system will cost you between $1,200 - $1,600.  Stay away from inexpensive salt systems. Replacement cells will cost you between $700-$900.

How long will the salt cell last?
Salt cells are a lot like brake pads in that in doing the very thing they are designed to do, they wear out and require replacement.  There are a number of factors that will impact how long a salt cell will last including, run time of the cell, quality of the cell, bather load in the pool, amount of landscaping and organic material that gets into the pool, additional sanitizers on the pool and more.  As a general rule, a good salt cell on the average pool will last approximately 3-4 years.  After 3-4 years you will need to purchase a replacement cell.

What are the benefits of a salt system?
A salt system provides comfortable “soft” water to swim in.  Much like a water softener “softens” water (through the use of salt in most cases), a salt system will do the same for your pool water.  You also will not need to purchase chlorine from your local retailer.

Are there any drawbacks to installing a Salt System?
Yes.  The following are a few of the inherent problems with salt systems:
  1. Cost – By the time you purchase the salt system and replace a few cells you have spent thousands of dollars.  Make no mistake; a salt system does not pay for itself, no matter what anyone tells you.  It is simply not true.  Install a salt system because you like the performance and feel, not to save money. 
  2. Impact on pH– The chlorine produced by a salt cell is very high in pH (11.0-13.0).  You are trying to keep your pool water around 7.2-7.6 – slightly alkaline – and installing a salt system will make it very difficult to keep your pH under 8.0.  This will result in scaling at the waterline.
  3. Maintenance – From time to time you will need to remove the salt cell and soak it in an acid/water mixture to remove the calcium and build up from the cell.  Be very careful to follow the manufacturers specifications for doing so as using too strong a solution will greatly shorten the life of the cell. 
  4. Corrosive – Salt is a very corrosive product.  It is used in the Midwest to melt the ice on the roads and we have all seen the devastating affect this has on both the roads (potholes, etc.) and the cars (rust, etc.).  Introducing this product to your swimming pool is hard on your deck, equipment and interior finish.

Salt systems have been around for over 2 decades now for use on residential swimming pools.  Their use has risen and fallen over this period for a number of reasons.  Bottom line is this, there are other – less corrosive – means by which you can sanitize your swimming pool and minimize the use of chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine.  A few examples are as follows:

1.     Ozone System
2.     UV System
3.     Mineral System
4.     Combination of any of the above


Friday, January 30, 2015

Fitness Challenge Motivation

My 9 year old daughter inspires me. Have you ever worn something attached to your body 24/7? What was it for? Was it a medical related device? Was is a Fitbit or a Pedometer because you are trying to improve your health?  Regardless of what type of device you currently wear or have worn in the past you most likely had days where you didn't feel like wearing it. My daughter wears an insulin pump that keeps her alive. She doesn't choose to be connected to a device 24/7 - she has to be connected - and yet she has been connected since she was 10 months old. She detaches only to take a shower and sometimes she forgets to reconnect. We all forget to "reconnect" at times. Fortunately for most of us that simply means we won't win the contest that day or we might not have an accurate count of our steps for the day. Sometimes it's annoying to have a device attached to your body, around your neck, clipped to your pants or worn on your belt. I challenge you this month to wear your pedometer from the minute you start your day until the moment you lay your head back down on the pillow at night. Pretend it is more than just a "step counter." If it is bothering you try wearing it in a new location but don't take it off. It's much smaller than an insulin pump and it doesn't have catheter tubing inserted under your skin. I challenge you to wear that device as if it is a life saving device.  Who knows, maybe some day it will save your life from a heart attack or one of the many poor health related diseases.

February 2nd, Keith at Premier Pools & Spas is kicking off a 30 day Fitness Challenge. He wants to see employees, friends and family make healthy lifestyle choices that improve their overall quality of life. Everyone who signed up to be a part of the challenge received water bottles and pedometers last Monday. Feel free to share with us how you are doing with your fitness goals. What do you find the most challenging? Diet? Exercise? Drinking only water? Counting calories? Good luck!


Pedometer vs. Insulin Pump