As you know, over time, calcium levels in your pool accumulate, and the water becomes "harder".
Calcium constantly sticks onto all your pool equipment: pool pump, pool filter and all mechanisms. There are a number of "solutions" and a real solution.
The most obvious is: completely draining your pool. With the current water drought in California, especially in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, it may be quite expensive or even not possible to refill it depending on your area's severity level. Besides, when you empty your pool, the soil surrounding it will push inwards and may crack the walls. Replastering could cost $5,000 - $10,000! And it doesn't make sense to simply throw water way, does it?
One way to reduce water hardness is to add some water softener product to the pool water. It precipitates the dissolved calcium and then you drain out with the pool pump.
Looks quite easy but...all that highly calcium concentrated water extracted from the bottom of your pool will go through your pump. Bad idea again. Every time you do this, your pump accumulates more calcium. No wonder one day it will not be working properly. And adding so many chemicals to the water to remove the calcium will alter the pH level, which may be hazardous to your health.
There is a simple, extremely clean solution: have all your pool water filtered through special microscopic membranes. You don't need to buy it. We come with our mobile trailer with state-of-the-art reverse osmosis equipment (the same that water companies use to make drinking water) and completely remove calcium, excess minerals and microorganisms in 12-24 hours. We do not use your hoses, pump or filter. They remain unaffected. The technique only requires adding approximately 10% of your pool volume with municipal water. The remaining 90% is recycled!
Your pool pump and filters will then work much better and you will be preventing costly repairs or even replacement if you leave the issue unsolved.
An extra benefit is that you will not need to add as much chlorine (because calcium absorbs chlorine like a sponge). This translates to less maintenance expense.
And your water will literally "feel" much softer. Hard water also causes problems to your skin, which you can read about here.
How can you tell if you have a hard water problem in your pool?
Of course, the quick and easy method are water hardness test strips. If calcium is above 275-300, you should perform maintenance.
Hard water problems develop slowly. You even get used to it but it you leave it unattended, your pool filter and pump will malfunction, which can mean a costly repair.
When pressure in the filter tank increases, it is telling you that dirt and calcium are overburdening it. Depending on your filter type comes the maintenance method:
- If your pool uses a Sand filter, calcium can bond with it to form stones. As a result, water will pass unfiltered, or it will become so clogged that it will force the pump to push harder, which could damage it. Mud balls may also form. The problem with sand filters is that they require backwashing, wasting thousands of gallons of water per year. If after the backwash, the pressure in the tank remains high, it is a sign of obstruction due to dust and calcium deposits.
- Cartridge filters can be extracted and manually washed with a hose. You must remember to do it consistently. Among the steps you should follow are: open the tank lid, carefully remove the cartridges one by one. Soak the cartridges in a special trisodium phosphate solution and wait for 1-3 days. Rinse, inspect them for tears or damage and reassemble. Review the O rings and the clamp. At a certain time, anyway, the filter will get saturated, and you will have to replace it.
- Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters are also usual. It is a mineral that has the specific property of filtering dirt and organic matter in your pool. Of course, calcium will clog it. Additionally, you have to be careful when adding coagulants like soda ash too quickly or they will clog the filter. As a result, the DE will harden and will require reloading with fresh DE. You have to be careful at what rate you add it as it needs to cover a compartment called the septa, and doing it too fast or with incorrect pump pressure will fail to properly refill it.
Best long term solution: reverse osmosis treatment
If you look at your pool as an investment (in family entertainment in this case), the soundest strategy is to periodically have all of its water filtered by reverse osmosis. You can learn about this technique here. All excess calcium, magnesium, chemicals, minerals and metals, as well as microorganisms will be removed through ultra fine membranes. Prevent calcium and scale buildup for your family's health and your pool's equipment proper functioning. Hard water also requires more chlorine as calcium absorbs it.