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FAQs

FAQs

 

General

  1. What type of pool cleaner do you recommend?
  2. There are four main types of pool cleaners: manual, suction side, pressure side, and robotic.  Manual is just cleaning your pool with a hand operated vacuum.  Suction side cleaners operate off of the suction from your pump and draw the dirt into the filter.  These generally only clean the bottom of the pool well.  Pressure side cleaners stir up the dirt for your filter to catch.  At APCO we prefer robotic cleaners as they have their own pump and filter built in reducing the demand on your filter.  They also will climb above the water line thoroughly cleaning the walls and they can be used independently from the pool pump. All of these methods work with both above-ground pools and inground vinyl pools, and other types of inground pools.

  3. What is cyanuric acid / stabilizer / conditioner, and do I need it?
  4. All three names are the same product just with different packaging.  It is used to keep the chlorine from decomposing or burning off to fast.  Without cyanuric acid it will be very hard to maintain a constant chlorine level and usually will be indicated with green algae in the corners and crevices.

  5. How do I automate my pool?
  6. Automating your pool can be anything from a automatic chlorine dispenser, to a salt water chlorine generation system, to an all out system with all equipment including pumps, heaters, blowers, lights, valves, and water features all controllable from either an indoor panel or a hand held remote control.

  7. Are chlorine tablets ok to use in my pool?
  8. When used properly they are safe to use in any pool.  They should NEVER be used in any skimmer as they can cause extensive damage to the underground plumbing lines.

  9. Should I use a floating chlorine dispenser?
  10. APCO never recommends any floating chemical dispenser be used above-ground or inground vinyl pools as they will eventually cause damage to the liner.

  11. What does VGB stand for?
  12. VGB stands for Virginia Gramme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.  This is a federal law enacted in December 2008.  It is designed to protect swimmers from submerged suction outlets (drains).

  13. Can I add a handrail to my swimming pool?
  14. Handrails can be added to any pool at any time.  It is most cost effective to add a new handrail as part of any concrete installation as there are typically no installation costs involved when installed with new concrete.  If new concrete decking is not being installed it requires drilling the concrete and anchoring the handrail receptors in place.

  15. Why does my pool light seem dull or dim?
  16. This question is most often asked after new pool liners have been installed and the old pattern was faded or the new pattern is a darker color.  The light is not actually dimmer or darker but it is reflected less and appears that way.

  17. I am ready to purchase a house with an inground pool. Should I get a pool inspection?
  18. Absolutely!  You would never think of buying a house without a home or termite inspection. So why would you not get the pool inspected as well?

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Filtration Equipment

  1. How does salt water chlorine generation work?
  2. Salt (NaCl) is made from sodium and chloride (chlorine).  When the water in the pool passes thru the “cell” electrolysis is used to break down the salt into usable chlorine which then treats your pool.  The average residential pool will use about 100-150lbs of salt per year.  This is mostly from splash-out and backwashing as evaporation does not affect the salt.  Total cost for 150lbs of salt is about $35-$40.

  3. How does the salt taste?
  4. The salt level in a pool using salt water chlorination (not a salt water pool) is about half of the level of salt in your tears.  In most cases it is barely detectable to taste and never to the point of being a bad taste.

  5. Should I purchase a diatomaceous earth (DE) or sand filter?
  6. Either one can keep your pool clean and clear when used properly.  A DE filter will trap smaller particles of dirt easier than a sand filter but can be a little messier for maintenance.  Typically sand filters are used more in commercial pools and DE filters are used more in residential pools but it really comes down to personal preference.  APCO Pools always prefers a DE filter over a sand filter.

  7. Why is my pump so noisy?
  8. Pumps can be noisy due to many reasons.  If it is a high pitched whine it may be a bearing or seal.  Most pumps are louder when priming but if it is loud while pumping it may be caused by any of the following: pump too large for plumbing, air leaks in system, clogged or collapsed plumbing line.

  9. Why won’t my pump prime?
  10. The most common cause is an air leak.  This leak can be as small as a pin hole.  It is usually on a gasket on or near the pump.  Any air leak in any place on any suction line will cause the pump to either partially prime or not prime at all.

  11. Do I need a timer?
  12. Yes every pool should have a timer.  It is important to have the filter and pump running a minimum amount each day and ideally the same amount each day.  This is best accomplished with a timer.

  13. How do I/you check my underground plumbing lines?
  14. Most time this cannot be performed by the pool owner except under very basic conditions. When we want to determine if a plumbing line has a leak, it requires a pressure test.  If it is collapsed it would require a flow test.  If the exact location of the leak needs to be determined then a underground listening device is used.

  15. What are the best/cheapest ways to put chlorine in my pool?
  16. Salt water chlorine generation is by far the cheapest and the best solution as the chlorine is all but free.  Second would be an automatic dispenser that is designed for use with large tablets.  Third would be any automatic dispenser.  Fourth would be liquid chlorine.

  17. Can I open a chlorine cartridge to refill it?
  18. No!  This is never as good idea.  The cartridges you refer to are designed to be used as they come and when modified will use more chlorine and may severely damage your underground plumbing lines.  These are the most expensive type of chlorine dispensers and should be changed to a different style if cost of the chemicals is the issue.

  19. Why won’t the pressure on my filter drop?
  20. This is usually the result of a clogged filter.  If after a backwashing the pressure is still high the filter must be dismantled and cleaned.  It is also possible that there is a clog elsewhere in the system downstream from the filter.

  21. What should my filter pressure be?
  22. This is different on every pool and is the result of: the pump size, the filter capacity, the quantity of plumbing lines, and the distance between the pool and the filtration equipment.  On most pools this is between 7-15 psi when the filter is clean but can run as high as 20 or 30 psi based on the equipment.

  23. How often should I backwash?
  24. Typically when the pressure on the filter increases about 10 psi over the base pressure when the filter is clean indicates that the filter is dirty and needs backwashing to clean it.

  25. How often should I have my filter dismantled and cleaned?
  26. Most manufacturers recommend at least yearly this be done.  If you are having trouble getting the pressure down even after backwashing it may need to be done more frequently.

  27. How should I heat my pool?
  28. This is a question of cost versus convenience.  Gas is more convenient as it can raise the water temperature as much as 10 degrees in 2 hours in any weather.  Heat pumps are less expensive to operate but can only raise the water temperature 8-10 degrees a day maximum and only if the outside temperature is 60 degrees or greater.  With solar heat the same 8-10 degrees a day apply, but this is true only if the sun is shining bright all day and you house is oriented properly.

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Leaks

  1. My pool is leaking. Do I need a new pool liner?
  2. New pool liners should never be the answer for a leaking pool unless you are reasonably certain of the source of the leak, and that the new liner will repair the leak.  This can be done by testing and eliminating  other possible causes of the leak such as plumbing lines, filtration equipment, lights, steps, or faceplates.  The age and condition of the pool liners will also play into this decision.

  3. Can my new pool liner have a leak?
  4. Any liner can have a leak and although it is rare, even new pool liners can have leaks.  If the leak is from either a manufacturing defect or an installation error there should be minimal or no costs to the home owner.  Keep in mind that there are the same chances for new or old pool liners to get holes if misused.

  5. How do know if I have a leak in my swimming pool?
  6. If the water loss is more than evaporation and splash out would allow for, than you may have a leak and further diagnosis is required. 

  7. How much water is evaporating from my pool?
  8. Evaporation averages up to approximately a ¼” per day (1¾” -2” per week).  This can vary depending on, landscaping, air and water temperature, humidity, and windy conditions among other things.  You will generally evaporate more in spring and fall than in the summer.  This is due to the weather conditions and lack of humidity with increased winds.

  9. What are common causes of holes in my vinyl liner?
  10. Some of the most common causes of holes in a vinyl liner are: old equipment (brushes & vacuums with worn or no bristles), non pool toys, and defective or missing ladder bumpers.

  11. Why did my pool start leaking after it was closed?
  12. Most times it is caused by damaged during the final cleaning. It could also be the result of a defective or improperly used cover pump.  This happens when there is a hole in the winter cover and the water flow does not stop as designed.

  13. How do I know if my light is leaking?
  14. This is probably the hardest leak for a pool owner to verify.  It is usually indicated by the water level leaking down to about the middle of the light and then stopping.  We do not usually recommend letting the pool leak to this level as it can cause other problems.

  15. Is my leak covered under my pool liners warranty?
  16. This depends greatly on where the leak is.  If the leak is due to an open seam or manufacturing defect, it may be covered under your liner warranty.  If there is a leak at the faceplate or gasket seals and the liner was recently installed, the pool contractor may cover this under his installation warranty.  Holes in liners are usually never covered by warranties. As a general rule, if the pool did not leak immediately after the new liner installation, it will most likely not be covered under a warranty.

  17. My pool is leaking in the winter; can I wait until spring to have it repaired?
  18. It depends on where the leak is. It is necessary to keep as much water as possible in the pool over the winter.  The water protects the liner from shrinking and tearing, pool bottom from frost and freeze damage, and walls from bowing and collapsing.  All leaks should be identified as soon as possible. If you are unsure where the leak is, a professional should be called and a plan should be set in place. Most leaks can be detected as long as there is no ice present.

  19. My pool has emptied, can pool liners be saved after this has happened?
  20. Your liner may be salvageable but it depends on the liner condition and pool construction.  Some determining factors are the age and condition of the liner, the type of pool base underneath the liner and the reason it emptied.  The cost to possibly save your existing liner can often be outweighed by a new liner. This decision should be made by you and your pool professional.

  21. Do I have to drain the pool to find or fix the leaks?
  22. No.  In fact most leaks cannot be found even by leak professionals unless they are actively leaking under water.  Repairs are also better made when the liner is fully seated and the pool is filled.  It is possible to find leaks when a pool has drained but it is more time consuming and more expensive.   

  23. How will APCO find a leak in my swimming pool?
  24. APCO Pools personnel are trained in the leak detection process from initial data collection through finding and repairing the leaks.  We have invested in state of the art electronic and computerized leak detection equipment.  This equipment can allow us to find leaks as small as a pinhole in a liner, often in a matter of minutes.  We have additional equipment that allows us to identify and locate leaks in underground plumbing lines. 

  25. How do I know all leaks were repaired and my pool is not still leaking?
  26. We have equipment that can allow us to measure how much water is being lost in real time.   This equipment is so sensitive that we can distinguish between water lost due to a leak, and water loss due to evaporation.  When our technicians have found all leaks, our computerized equipment will confirm that your pool is no longer leaking.

  27. Why should I use APCO Pool Specialties, Inc instead of a leak detection company?
  28. APCO Pools specializes in the leak detection and repair of leaks in swimming pools.  Many leak detection companies will find leaks in swimming pools but depending on where the leak is located they may not offer the services to repair the leak they found.  APCO Pools is a full service inground pool repair company.  We have the ability to repair all the leaks in your swimming pool whether it would in the liner, underground plumbing lines, or filtration equipment.

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Liners

  1. How do pools get filled after pool liners are replaced?
  2. If you have public water, the most economical way is to fill your pool with your hose whenever possible.  If your home has a private well, you may or may not be able to use your well to fill it.  This depends on the flow rate, the recovery rate, and condition of the water in the well.  The conditions around the pool will also be an important factor. If your well cannot be used and you do not have public water, you may be required to get trucked in water.  Most pool owners order trucked in water if their well is not big enough.  There may be ground water issues where the pool contractor will need to order trucked in water even if you are able to use your hose.

  3. Do I have to have trucked-in water?
  4. Some contractors will require that you purchase trucked-in water.  They do this because it makes their job easier and more profitable at your expense.  There are times when trucked-in water is required such as shallow wells or major ground water conditions.  In these circumstances it is invaluable.  However, more often than not, trucked-in water is not required and if you have public water, it is rarely required.  On average trucked-in water costs 3-4 times as much to fill your pool than using your hose.    

  5. How long does the new liner process take?
  6. Most pool liners can be installed in about 1-3 days.  The liner may take 1-2 weeks to be manufactured and delivered to APCO Pools.  The other variables involved are customer liner selection and weather.  In special emergency type of circumstances if required a liner can be measured, installed, and filled and operating in less than 48 hours. This can add considerable additional costs and is only occasionally done.

  7. Do I need to be home when you install my new liner?
  8. No.  APCO Pools technicians are always doing work without the homeowner being home.  However, we feel that it is always best that a homeowner be present so that we could answer all of your questions as they arise and consult you with any issues that occur.

  9. Are thicker gauge pool liners better than standard gauge?
  10. Yes, but APCO Pools believes that it is not worth the additional charge. A thicker liner can cost anywhere from $100-$500 more depending on the size and shape of the pool.  A thicker liner has the same warranty and the same ink as a standard liner and there is no guarantee that a thicker liner would last any longer.  Because of this, it is worth getting if it is a free or promotional upgrade but not worth paying extra money for.

  11. What is beadlock?
  12. Beadlock is a small vinyl “T” shaped molding.  It is sized to fit into the gap between the liner bead and the top of the liner tracking.  Beadlock can be installed anytime after the liner has been installed. When installed properly, beadlock helps prevent the liner from coming out of the tracking.

  13. What are aquador?
  14. Aquador consists of two parts, a skimmer cover that looks like a Tupperware lid for your pool skimmer and its matching faceplate. Installation of an Aquador requires removal of the old skimmer faceplate and is typically done with a new liner.  This closure device saves time, money and chemicals when you winterize your pool.  Once you have an Aquador installed, you will never have to drain your pool again to winterize.

  15. My liner is floating; does my pool need to be drained to be fixed?
  16. Probably not, but it depends upon several factors such as: the age of the liner, condition of the pool, the original fit, and the type of material underneath the liner.  APCO Pools resets liners all of the time without draining the pool.   

  17. Can wrinkles be removed from pool liners?
  18. Maybe, but it depends on several factors; the age and condition of the liner, how long the wrinkles have been present, and how well the liner fit originally.   This requires an inspection of the pool in which the water must be clear and the bottom free of debris.

  19. Can I add a light to my pool?
  20. Yes, in most cases a new light can be installed. This is typically done in conjunction with a new liner installation.  Pool lights are installed in the wall structure and require wiring underneath the decking to a power source.  This can make it an expensive option but it is possible.

  21. Can I add steps to my pool?
  22. Yes. There are two different types of steps you can add to your pool.  The first step is the walk-in type, usually white and made from acrylic.  However, the installation of the step requires that the surrounding decking would have to be removed and replaced.  The other type of step available is the “wedding cake” step.  This step is a pre-manufactured step that is installed in the shallow end of the pool underneath the liner. This step does not require any decking removal or replacement.  

  23. Should I change my sand bottom to a hard bottom?
  24. Not unless there is a compelling reason.  Many pool owners have had pools for many years with sand bottoms and never had a problem.  However, some pools have ground water issues which can cause the sand to shift, erode or wash-out.  It may be to their advantage to install a “hard bottom” in conjunction with the new liner to prevent reoccurrence.   

  25. What is wall foam and do I need it?
  26. Wall foam is a layer of padding that is installed on the pool walls before you put the new liner in.  It gives the new liner a layer of protection from rust and wall defects.  Not every pool needs wall foam. APCO Pools always installs wall foam if it is required.  However, if there is a history of ground water or other problems that can allow the wall foam to move it may be best to not install it.  If your pool never had wall foam and your walls are in good condition, it may also not be required.

  27. How can I make my aluminum pool coping look new again?
  28. Aluminum pool coping can be painted to make it look new again.  Although it may be need touching up in the future, aluminum pool coping looks really nice with a fresh coat of paint on it.  We recommend a textured spray paint made by coping manufacturers specifically made for aluminum coping and designed to withstand pool chemicals.

  29. Is it safe to place chlorine tablets in my vinyl liner pool skimmer?
  30. NO! APCO Pools recommends that you put your chlorine tablets in an automatic chlorine dispenser. If you put tablets in your skimmer, you may damage your liner and your plumbing lines. When your skimmer is turned off, those chlorine tablets continue to dissolve.  The highly concentrated chemicals in the chlorinated water can cause your liner to bleach out, wrinkle, and leak around the skimmer faceplate.  It can also affect your plumbing lines by weakening and swelling the pvc pipes causing them to collapse or leak.

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Renovations

  1. Can I change the shape of my pool?
  2. Yes, you can change the shape of your pool. In most cases, however, the more drastic the change in shape, the more it will cost.  Most people choose to add new updated pool options such as new steps instead of a drastic change in the shape.

  3. How can inground vinyl pools be upgraded?
  4. You can make a tired old pool look brand new by adding newer options to your pool.  Some of these options include; walk-in steps, new decking, new coping, lighting, water-features, slides, diving boards, and spill-over spa.  If the decking is being removed, as it is in most renovations, it is just a matter of your imagination, available space, and budget.

  5. What are some of the popular decking options for around my pool?
  6. The most popular and most economical deck option is regular concrete.  APCO Pools have also done many renovations using a variety of alternative decking options.  Among them are colored and/or stamped concrete, bricks, and pavers.  You could also choose a natural stone such as bluestone, flagstone, sandstone, slate, marble, or granite.  Many customers use there imagination and incorporate multiple decking materials into the overall design for a stunning look.

  7. What are some popular pool coping options?
  8. Aluminum bullnose pool coping is still the most popular coping option for a vinyl liner pool. This pool coping is usually seen with the concrete decking butted directly up against it.  Other materials that can also be used include hand laid pavers or natural stones and stamped concrete.  Another option is eliminate the coping all together and install a cantilevered decking.  This is where the decking is continuous and overhangs the edge of the pool.      

  9. What is pool bonding and do I need it?
  10. Yes.  The pool bonding is a continuous connection of all metal panels, coping and deck equipment such as ladders and handrails tied to a ground point such as the pool pump.  Its function is to keep pool users safe from stray electrical currents.  Older pools were not required to have a bonding installed, but the current code requires all new pools to have a continuous bond around the pool perimeter.                

  11. Can my pump and filter be moved to a different location?
  12. Absolutely, in fact the best time to move a pump and filter system into a different location is when a renovation is being done.  APCO Pools recommends putting the pump and filter in a location where it won’t be seen or heard but is easily accessible.  This is often on the side of the house or behind a shed.    

  13. What is the difference between sand and a vermiculite bottom?
  14. The difference between sand and a vermiculite bottom is that a sand bottom is soft and can change shape where as vermiculite bottom is made with cement and cannot change shape as easily.  There are advantages and disadvantages to either type of bottom depending on ground conditions and construction type, but in general all new pools are built with a V-lite bottom as it is a better overall product.

  15. Can I change the depth in my pool?
  16. Yes the depth of your pool can be changed. There are pool owners who want to raise their deep end to match the shallow end and there are owners that want the shallow end made deeper.  Either one is possible but must be done in conjunction with a new liner. 

  17. My wall is sagging and bowing, what do I do?
  18. This can be caused from a myriad of reasons, some worse than others.  It is always best to get a pool professional to look at this immediately to prevent further damage.

  19. How long does a renovation take?
  20. It really depends on the work that is getting done.  A renovation can take anywhere from 3 days to a week to complete the actual work in the backyard.  Sometimes more complicated renovations may take a little longer if extensive deck or landscaping in being done.  Unfortunately, the weather may also cause delays to this.

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Safety Covers

  1. What kind of safety cover should I buy?
  2. There are many different kinds of safety cover out there on the market with the primary types being mesh, ultra mesh, and solid (with or without a drain).  The pros and cons are discussed in depth on our safety cover web page.  If you have any further questions please call us.

  3. My solid safety cover won’t drain properly, what do I do?
  4. Your straps may need to be re-adjusted so that less tension is on the drain panel area.  If the cover is too deformed or it was not installed to allow this adjustment, it may have to be modified to have a continuous drain panel that does not have the problems that square panels do.

  5. How low should the water be lowered under my safety cover?
  6. It all depends on the type of pool you have, the landscaping in the area, and the water table.  However your manufacturer’s warranty will not cover damage to the safety cover if your water is too low over the winter. For most brands this is no more than 12”-15” below the cover.  In general concrete pools water level should be below the skimmer and tiles. In a vinyl liner pool without an Aquador skimmer, the water should be lowered below the skimmer.  If your pool has an Aquador skimmer lid, then you do not have to lower the water.  Always check with the requirements of the pool structure to verify that the pool can be safely maintained at these levels.         

  7. What is the warranty for safety covers?
  8. Warrantees vary for different manufacturers.  The warranty on the covers we currently install are 10 years for a solid cover (with or without a drain) and 15 years for a mesh cover.

  9. Why is my pool water green every spring?
  10. Sunlight will allow algae to grow and turn your pool water green.  Standard mesh safety covers allow a lot of light to pass thru into the water to promote algae growth.  This is more prevalent the longer the pool stays closed as there are no chemicals being installed.  If you can open early and close late” it may help keep the pool from turning green. But don't worry; you probably won't need any major swimming pool repairs!

  11. Do you need to take my old safety cover to order a new one?
  12. Yes.  It is more economical to use the old cover as a template and to know where the locations of the existing anchors are placed.  If the old cover is thrown-out, then the existing anchor locations would have to be either individually measured or new anchors would be installed.

  13. Is it really safe to walk on my safety cover?
  14. Yes. However, we would NEVER recommend walking on any pool cover.  That said, safety covers manufacturers commonly show cars and elephants on their cover brochures.  This is not trick photography.  When measured and installed properly, it can easily withstand the weight an average person or persons and we will often walk across a newly installed cover as a test.

  15. How do I get new anchors reinstalled?
  16. APCO Pools can reinstall your existing safety cover at anytime.  This is usually a result of partial or total decking repair or replacement.

  17. Can my safety cover be repaired?
  18. Yes, all safety covers can be repaired as part of standard swimming pool repairs.  However, depending on the extent of the damage it may be more cost effective to have it replaced.  Any safety cover that will not meet be safe if repaired will not be repaired.

  19. Do I have to have an automatic cover pump?
  20. Safety covers must have a method of having the water removed from the cover in the event of rain.  This water must be removed at a certain flow rate and be done automatically to be a “safety cover”.  Covers with a drain designed into them obviously would not need a pump.  All solid covers without drains must have an automatic pump that meets the required flow rate and larger covers may require two or three pumps and all must be automatic.  Not meeting this requirement will make the cover unsafe and may void the warranty.

  21. Can I purchase a new safety cover tool?
  22. Yes.  If you either misplace your cover tool or it is just old and rusty it can be replaced. Please call APCO and we will see what type is best for your needs.. 

  23. How do I keep my anchors from getting stuck?
  24. We recommend lubricating each anchor at least once a year.  This is usually done at the opening or closing of the pool.  A commonly used lubricant is WD-40.  Always be careful to keep the lubricant off of the concrete as it may stain the decking.

  25. Should I purchase my safety cover online?
  26. Although the prices are tempting, APCO never recommends purchasing a safety cover from the internet.  Many installers will not install a cover purchased this way.  There are many things to be considered when buying a safety cover and while they may look the same they are usually inferior and have not been designed for your pool.  They are basic shapes that may or may not fit your pool properly.

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