What type of pools do you build?

Quantus Pools builds custom in ground gunite swimming pools and spas. We have begun to offer vinyl liner pools as well as “hybrid” pools that are vinyl liner with gunite features such as concrete steps, tanning ledges, as well as a gunite spa with a vinyl liner pool.

Water Chemistry Introduction

Water Chemistry

Here’s an excellent resource for learning the basics about water chemistry. Pool Chemistry PDF.  Much of this information is cliff notes from that PDF.

There are three factors that affect your pool’s water quality.

  • Physical Factors
  • Chemical Factors
  • Biological Factors

Physical Factors

Physical factors are comprised of the filtration, circulation (and turnover), and other factors such as oily wastes and appearance of pools walls and equipment inside the pool.

Filtration refers to the pools ability to PHYSICALLY remove debris / contaminants from the water. The different types of filtration systems are

  • Cartridge
  • Sand
  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Each system has its pros and cons but are all effective at filtering the pool water.  More important is how you manage your filtration system since the goal of these pieces of equipment is to PREVENT a problem rather than REACTING.

Circulation is the process of constantly moving water through the various sanitation and filtration systems in the pool.  Turnover is how long it takes for the pool to pass through the filtration system and sanitation systems.

Other factors are composed oily wastes brought on by bather load and micro debris that are too small to be filtered by your filter.  Oily wastes show up as an unattractive scum line along the waterline.  Micro debris can cause a slight haze to the water.  Both of these factors will require a chemical supplement to manage such as a clarifier, flocculation, or an enzyme digestive product.

Chemical Factors

Proper chemical treatment prevents a wide range of issues such as staining, scale formation, cloudy water, and corrosion pool surfaces and equipment.  It also ensures your sanitizer (such as chlorine) performs as it should.

The five chemical factors that affect water quality:

PH: 7.2 – 7.8

Total Alkalinity: 80 – 120 PPM

Calcium Hardness: 100 – 400 PPM

Stain Producing Minerals: Absent

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): 250 – 1500 PPM

PH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness along with temperature will determine your overall water balance.  Water balance refers to the water’s tendency to be either corrosive or scale forming. When those 3 factor are too high, it can cause scale to form on the pool walls as well as cause the water to be cloudy.  When the water is corrosive, those above factors are typically too low and will cause destruction to your pool walls and equipment.

pH

pH (aka potential Hydrogen) refers to the degree of activity of an acid or base in the water.  pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 0 to 7 being acidic and 7 to 14 being base (or alkaline).  It is recommended the pH be kept between 7.2 and 7.8.  This is ideal for swimmer comfort but also allows your chlorine to operate at optimal level without using too much.  Although chlorine sanitizes better when the pH is lower, it becomes unstable and will result in larger consumption.  A source of pH fluctuation can also be your sanitizer.  Depending on the pH of your sanitizer can help you figure out the source of fluctuation.  Di-chlor (granular chlorine) has a pretty neutral pH of 6-7 while sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) has a ph of 13-14.  Your typical tri-chlor chlorine tablet has a pH of 2-3.

Total Alkalinity

Total alkalinity refers to the ability of the pool to resist change in pH.  TA acts as a buffer that allows the pH to resist change.  It is recommended that the TA be maintained between 80 and 120 PPM.  When the TA is low, the pH will be erratic difficult to control.  When the TA is too high, it can cause scaling and the pH will drift upward.  A unique element of TA is that the same chemical that is used to lower TA is the same chemical that will lower pH so it is a balancing act when addressing high TA.  When using acid, it is important you make small adjustments over a longer period of time.  When needing to raise TA, you can add the entire dose needed to get to the desired range.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness is the sum of all calcium dissolved in the water.  High calcium levels is called “hard” water while low calcium is “soft” water.  High levels of CH can result in cloudy pools and scaling.  Low CA can cause the water to become destructive by looking at other sources within in your pool for the mineral.  These candidates can be your pools plaster, the heat exchanger inside your heater or metal fittings located within in the pool.  The ideal range for CA is between 100-400 PPM.  To raise CA, you can add CA increaser.  There is no chemical to lower CA.  The only way is through dilution so water would need to be removed and added back into the pool.

Stain Producing Minerals

Iron, copper, and manganese are the most common sources of stains in your pool.  The source of these minerals is typically your fill water.  A simple can determine the type and amount of the mineral in your fill line.  All of the problems associated with these metals can be PREVENTED by using a sequestering agent.

Iron: When iron reacts with chlorine, it will turn a rusty red color.  It can as little as .01 PPM to cause staining.

Copper: Stains ranging in color from green, to blue green, to black are typical caused by copper.  Copper can be from your fill water but can also be sourced from your heat exchanger in your heater or copper based algaecides.

Maganese: When manganese is present, the water can turn pink to a deep purple depending on how much is in the water. This is typically sourced through your water supply.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

TDS is the sum of all materials in the water.  When the TDS is high, it can cause cloudy water, difficulty in maintaining water balance, reduction in sanitizer activity and foaming.  There only way to lower TDS is by dilution through water replacement.  TDS is not a typical problem found in colder climates since your water is drained during winterization thus diluting the TDS.

Biological Factors

Sanitization, shock treatment and algae control are the key elements in keeping the water CLEAN.  Water balance helps keep the water clear while the above helps the cleanliness of the water.

Sanitization

Sanitization is the process of controlling the bacteria in the water so it’s safe to swim in.  There are several different types of sanitization but we will focus on the most popular which is chlorine.

Chlorine Types

Type Form % of Active Incredient pH
Sodium Hypochlorite(liquid bleach, liquid chlorine) Liquid 10-12% 13-14
Dichlor (granular, stabilized chlorine) Granular 56-62% 6-7
Trichlor (tableted, stabilized chlorine) Tablets, Pucks, Sticks 90% 2-3
Calcium Hypochlorite (granular chlorine, unstabilized) Granular 47-75% 11-13

As noted above, there are a variety of chlorine types.  Once the chlorine enters the water, it goes through another metamorphosis and becomes free or combined chlorine.  A simple water test kit can be used to find out your free and total chlorine readings.

Free Chlorine: This is the most desirable form and is the form responsible for the actual sanitization.  Free chlorine is highly reactive and will attach to bacteria and other wastes.

Combined Chlorine:  Once free chlorine reacts with bacteria or other wastes, it becomes combined chlorine.  This form of chlorine has little to no sanitizing ability and is also responsible for the chlorine smell that many people associate with “too much chlorine”.  Not only is the odor unpleasant, it can cause skin and eye irritation.  Combined chlorine should be kept to a minimum.  The combined chlorine reading should not exceed 0.2 PPM.  To manage your combined chlorine, use a non-chlorine shock.  This will change your combined chlorine back into free chlorine.

Total Chlorine:  This is the sum of the free and combined chlorine.  There is no test for combined chlorine so you would take the total chlorine MINUS the free chlorine and the remainder would be the combined chlorine.

Do you do anything besides pools?

We not only do pools and water features, but we also do decks, rock formations, outdoor kitchens, custom grills, fire places, and pergola structures.

What are the phases for a new inground pool?

New Inground Concrete Construction Phases

  1. Permitting:This is a question many people may ask themselves when planning alterations to their home. Some homeowners are finding when they try to sell or refinance their home, prospective buyers or lending institutions want proof that alterations are in compliance with local codes. Without a permit and inspection on record, there is no proof. The homeowners would then need to apply for a permit and verify that the existing alteration is up to code. If it is not, this could cause delays in selling their home. In some jurisdiction, unpermitted alterations can be subject to some pretty hefty fines. Permits not only show record of compliance but also give piece of mind that the alteration follows certain standards that protect consumers.

Timelines for permits can vary by quite a bit depending on your local municipality. They can range from one week to two months depending on their requirements with just as much variation in their price. Some permits are a couple hundred dollars while others are several thousand. It’s important that your builder has an experienced permitting staff since they can be the largest source of delays for your pool project. From the permitting office down to the front line laborers, all of them must be educated in building codes to ensure there are no delays.

  1. Excavation: After permit has been received, we move onto the dig. Some factors that can impact the cost of your excavation can be:
    1. Type of Soil: If your soil cannot hold structure, this can lead to additional costs since this would be considered abnormal. We always recommend getting a soil sample done to know your costs upfront. Ask your builder if this is included in the contract.
    2. Depth and Size: The deeper the pool is, the more loads of spoils your builder will have to remove which increases number of truck loads and labor hours required to get your pool excavated.
    3. Location of Dump Sites:Truck drivers are paid by the hour. The longer it takes them to get to the dump site, the more it costs per load.
    4. Dump Site Fees:There can be a huge variance in dump site fees from $30 to over a $100.
    5. Access:Good access will allow the trucks to get close to the pool to minimize trip time. Bad access can lead to higher labor costs as well as increased trucking fees.
  2. Steel:Once the pool is dug, rebar is laid out to reinforce the impending shotcrete shoot. This typically takes 1 to 2 days depending on how complicated your pool is
  3. Rough Plumbing:After the steel phase, the plumbing is laid out. This plumbing will manage the circulation of the pool. Some items that can impact the cost of the rough plumbing are:
    1. Location of equipment pad: If the customer wants it far away from the pool, this increases the distance and amount of material required to get your pool plumbed.
    2. Location of utilities:Everything that the pool needs to operate requires electricity (and gas if you have a heater). Depending on the source of this can add additional costs.
    3. Size of Plumbing:The hydraulic requirements for your pool will determine the size of pipe required for proper circulation.
  4. Shotcrete:Shotcrete refers to the type of concrete mix as well as the application. Before shotcrete is applied, forms are made to the specifications of the pool. Forms act as guides for the shotcrete operator to ensure the proper shape is achieved. Some factors that can impact the cost of the shotcrete phase are:
    1. Time of Year:During the winter months, the price of shotcrete can go up significantly.
    2. Wall thickness:Your climate will dictate how thick your walls need to be shot. Warmer climates can have much thinner walls while cooler climates require thicker walls.
  5. Tile:After the pool has been shot, waterline tile is installed. As with any finish, the quality of the material will drive the price. A lot of prep work can be avoided if the pool is shot correctly.
  6. Coping:Coping is installed after the tile. Once again, the type of finish you choose will be the prime determiner of price.
  7. Plaster:Plaster application is typically a 3 day process. There is prep, application, and wash. There are several different types of pool plaster ordered from cheapest to most expensive. Please be aware that plaster can have a huge range of price options with the most expensive option being triple the price of your cheapest option per bag.
    1. White Marble Plaster:This is your cheapest option and is your basic white plaster.
    2. Quartz Plaster:This is your white marble plaster with quartz added to it for enhanced durability. Quartz is available in a wide range of colors.
    3. Exposed / Large Aggregate Plaster: This is also known as pebble plaster. It is quartz plaster mixed with large aggregates to give it a natural feel. An additional option is to add glass beads for that added sparkle
  8. Equipment Installation and Startup:The equipment pad is typically installed last but really can be done right after the pool is shot. The amount of water features, size of pool, and quality of equipment can greatly impact price.
How long can I expect my new pool construction to take?

It can take at least 8 weeks to complete AFTER permit has been acquired. Since all of our pools are unique to the customer’s backyard, a more accurate time schedule can be submitted once the design is complete. Seasonal changes, availability of materials, equipment, weather, inspections, and work performed by buyer (and applicable sub-contractors) are all factors that can impact the project schedule.

Salt Water Pools - Yes It's still Chlorine

Myth: Salt water pools no longer use chlorine to sanitize my pool.

Fact:  Salt water pools use a generator to convert salt into chlorine through electrolysis.  It is still a CHLORINE pool but now you have a way to manufacturer it.  In fact, SCG is an industry acronym for Salt Water CHLORINE Generator. Adding a SCG to your pool will still require the water to be balanced, it just won’t require chlorine tablets anymore.  It is still recommended that you have a traditional chlorinator as a fail safe in the event that the SCG fails.

Swimming pool construction, renovations, hardscapes, decks, outdoor kitchens, water features and more!

If you need any of these services call for a no obligation consultation today!

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