With hurricane season upon us, we have received many questions from customers who are inquiring about protecting their heat pump pool heater in case of a hurricane. Our systems do not require specific preparation for such weather systems. However, there are certain steps that can be taken to help protect your pool equipment, including your heater, should your area be subject to a hurricane or tropical storm. We will go over some of those in this article.
- Increase your chlorine level to 10 ppm as you are going to need the extra chlorine to protect the water. Your filtration and sanitization system may be turned off for an extended period of time, depending on power availability.
- Turn off the electrical power to ALL pool equipment at the circuit breaker.
- To prevent water damage to your pump motor, cover the motor in plastic bag or any waterproof material you may have available. Also check that it is properly secured.
- A pool can float out of the ground when the ground around it becomes over-saturated. To prevent this from happening, DO NOT drain any water from your pool. The weight of the water in the pool will help hold it in place.
- Prune dying or weak branches around your pool equipment to eliminate/minimize debris and damage to your pool equipment and the pool’s finish.
After you have been given clearance to return to your home, or the storm has passed, you should manually clear out as much large debris as possible.
Before turning on the power to the equipment, uncover the pump motor; make sure to check for any downed power lines, make sure all electrical equipment and lines are clear, dry and safe; the following items in and around your heater should be thoroughly inspected before start up:
- Inspect the fan grille and fan assembly to insure debris has not entered into the heater. Branches, twigs, sticks, and leaves caught in the fan grille assembly should be removed. Should you note damage to the fan grille assembly, do not restore power to the heat pump until after an inspection by a qualified technician and repairs have been made.
- Inspect all plumbing and electrical connections for physical damage.
- Inspect for evidence of high water levels that have since receded. Should any indications of high water levels be noted, power to your entire swimming pool system should not be restored until after a qualified technician inspects it to determine if damage to electrical components has occurred.
If you notice any error codes in your heat pump pool heater or other swimming pool equipment during your examination, or after you power up your system, then please refer to your products operation manual to determine what to check for before calling technical support. If you have any doubts regarding the electrical system, you should consider calling a pool professional to make sure that it is safe to re-start your system.
Once your system is back up and running, it is time to turn your attention to the water chemistry in your pool water, due to all of the rain water, you might need to re-balance the chemicals.
Utilizing the chart below, you will be able to determine your pool water balance. Water is properly balanced if the SI (Saturation Index) is 0 ± 0.3. If SI is greater than 0.3, scaling and staining will occur. If SI is less than -0.3, then the water could be corrosive to metallic fixtures and aggressive in some plaster surfaces and vinyl liners.
When the SI (Saturation Index) is too high or low it can also cause damage to the pool finish or your swimming pool equipment. The basic rule is: high calcium concentration, total dissolved solids, pH, and alkalinity all promise a greater tendency for scale. Scaling potential also increases with higher temperatures.
pH + TH + CF + AF + SC + Saturation Index
Once you have determined your balance levels, the proper corrective actions should be taken to rectify, if necessary. The following chart provides you with the recommended chemistry ranges as well as corrective actions for your reference:
|Chemical||Ideal Range||Ideal Test Schedule||Effect of Low /High Levels||Corrective Actions|
|Free Chlorine||1 to 3 ppm||Weekly||Low free chlorine: Not enough residual chlorine to safely sanitize pool water. High free chlorine: corrosive to metallic fixtures in pool water. Can bleach swimwear and hair.||Low free chlorine: Check for combined chlorine level and shock as necessary. Increase purifier output to maintain a 1 -3 ppm residual reading. High free chlorine:Decrease purifier output. Let chlorine dissipate normally until 1-3 ppm is achieved. In extreme cases, pool water can be diluted with fresh water or a chlorine neutralizer added. (Diluting will reduce salt and CYA . Check and adjust as needed.)|
|pH||7.2 to 7.8 ppm||Weekly||Low pH: (acidic) Equipment corrosion, eye/skin irritation, plaster etching, rapid chlorine consumption. High pH: (basic) Scale formation, cloudy water, eye/skin irritation, poor chlorine effectiveness||Low pH: Add sodium carbonate or soda ash High pH: Add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate|
|Total Alkalinity||80 to 100 ppm||Monthly||Low TA: Eye irritation, pH "bounce" stained/etched plaster and metal corrosion. High TA: Constant acid demand, difficulty in maintaining pH, and contrinutes to scale formation or cloudy water conditions||Low TA: Add sodium Bicarbonate. High TA: Add muriatic acid often, a little at a time (may take a week or more to lower the TA)|
|Salt||3000 to 3500 ppm||Monthly||Low Salt: Below 2,500 ppm causes premature cell failure and reduces chlorine production High Salt: Above 6,00 ppm can cause corrosion of metallic fixtures and will taste salty. Note: DIG-220 can safely operate with salt levels up to 35,000||Low Salt: Add salt according to digital display on Pool Pilot® unit or salt chart. High Salt: If undesirably high, partially drain and refill the pool with fresh water. (Diluting will reduce CYA. Check and adjust as needed.)|
|Calcium Hardness||200 to 400 ppm||Monthly||Low CH: Etching of plaster, equipment corrosion |
High CH: Scale formation, cloudy water. Rapid buildup of scale may exceed the system's self-cleaning capability and require manual cleaning of the SuperCell
|Low CH: Add calcium chloride flakes. High CH: Partially drain and refill pool with fresh water to dilute. (Diluting will reduce salt and CYA. Check and adjust as needed) Please note - in some areas there may be higher than recommended calcium levels in the tap water. If this level is seen, call the factory for advice on this condition.|
|Cyanuric Acid (CYA) -Stabilizer -||60 to 80 ppm|
30 to 50 ppm
|Monthly||Low CYA: destruction of clorine by the UV rays from the sun |
High CYA: Requires more clorine to maintain proper sanitizer levels. Note: CYA not needed for indoor or bromine pool. CYA can be reduced to 30 - 50 ppm for DIG-220 in colder climate regions.
|Low CYA: Add cyanuric acid (1lb/5000 gallons increases CYA 25 ppm)
High CYA: Partially drain and refill pool with fresh water to dilute. (Diluting will reduce salt. Check and adjust as needed)
To read more on the proper levels of chemicals in a swimming pool please click here.