How to start up your pool- HTH 4 step program


With the weather beginning to get warmer, it is time to start cleaning your pool. The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and you’re going to need your pool crystal clear for your annual party for all of your family and friends. Here at Page’s we carry HTH pool cleaning chemicals. HTH has a color coded four-step system to help make opening your pool a breeze.

Testing your pool water

Before beginning the HTH four-step system, you need to test your pool water. Here at the store we have a six-way test kit and six-way test strips. Each will test the six different aspects to pool water: free chlorine, bromine, pH, total alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid. One main difference between the strips and the test kit is the pool water sample size. The strips can be dunked directly into the pool. On the back of the container there is a chart to match up to your sample strip. For a more advanced type of testing we recommend the test kit. Fill one of the small containers with a designated quantity of pool water, then add the appropriate chemical, depending on what you are testing. After mixing everything, compare the color of the water to the chart provided.

Step 1: Balancing the pool water

After testing, you may find yourself unsure of your next step. Just look for purple! All of the first step chemicals are convenient to find with their purple caps. The first step is to balance the pool’s pH.

Clarifiers are also included in the first step to getting your pool ready. We have a super concentrated clarifier, a natural clarifier, and a flocculant. All of these options will clear the pool of any cloudy residue in the pool water.
Natural Clarifier: This gets rid of the oil and scum.
Super Concentrated Clarifier: This will improve the filters efficiency.
Flocculant: This will collect the dirt and other particles and drop them to the floor making them easy to vacuum up.
The important part of searching for the right clarifier for your needs is to read exactly what the bottle says it will do to your pool.

Step 2: Sanitizing the water

Upon completion of the first step, you must now sanitize your pool. All the products used in the second step are yellow or orange capped. You have a choice of what chlorine to use: stabilized* (the orange) or unstabilized (the yellow). Stabilized chlorine additives have cyanuric acid/stabilizer that helps to protect the chlorine from ultraviolet rays. The HTH pool care brand offers two different stabilized sanitizers: HTH 3” Chlorinating tablets, and the HTH Super 3” Chlorinating tablets. The HTH 3” Chlorinating tablets are designed to protect the chlorine from breaking down in direct sunlight. The HTH Super 3” Chlorinating tablets protect the chlorine from breaking down in direct sunlight, and can be used in skimmers, floaters, and feeders. In addition to sanitizing, the Super Chlorinating tablets prevent algae growth, clarify the pool water, and leave no residue. Both of these options provide enough chlorine for the pool to last about a week. Unstabilized chlorine does not have cyanuric acid/stabilizer in it, which means that the chlorine will degrade more quickly than stabilized chlorine.

*Always be aware of over-stabilization. Typical signals include:

  • Cloudy water
  • High chlorine reading with algae
  • Adding chlorine does NOT get rid of the algae

To correct over-stabilization, first turn on the pump and make sure it does not need to be cleaned, and is running properly. Next, test and adjust the stabilizer level. The level needs to be between 20-50 ppm (parts-per-million). You will need to drain the pool a little bit and add some fresh, clean water. Now proceed with testing of the bromine, pH, total alkalinity, and total hardness. You can now go about your regular pool maintenance routine.

Step 3: Weekly shocking of the pool

Shocking your pool should be a weekly task to achieve optimal water. Shocking your pool removes the chloramines, the chemicals that cause eye irritation and chlorine odors in the water.   Shocking fixes these problems by adding free available chlorine (FAC). A typical shock treatment adds between 5 and 10 ppm FAC. Always have your filter and pump running while shocking the pool. It is important to make sure your FAC level is between 1 and 4 ppm FAC before you swim in the pool. It is recommended that you shock on the same day and at the time each week. It is also suggested that you shock in the evening so that there is more time for the shock to work without having to fight the ultraviolet rays and create clarity in the water.

In some cases you must do an additional shock. These cases include:

  • After a group of people have gone swimming.
  • After strong rains and winds.
  • During long periods of strong, direct sunlight.
  • If you smell any unpleasant odors.
  • If you see any signs of algae growing.
  • If the water becomes dull, cloudy, or hazy.

Here at Page’s, we have a couple different products to shock your pool, all with red labels. We have: Shock ‘n Swim, SUPER Shock ‘n Swim, and the Green-to-Blue shock system. The Shock ‘n Swim comes in a 1 lb. bag of powder, a 5 lb. jug of powder, and a box of 5 individual 1 lb. bags. The Shock ‘n Swim destroys organic contaminants. The SUPER Shock ‘n Swim destroys organic contaminants, and is buffered for pH control. The Green-to-Blue shock system will turn your green pool to crystal clear blue water in just 24 hours. We have a box containing four bags of the magical powder that does this. For 5,000 gallons of water, two bags will be enough to treat the water. For 10,000 gallons of water, you will use the four bags (or the whole box) to treat the water.

Step 4: Preventing algae
When it comes to preventing algae, you must be aware of your pool size and the intervals at which to add treatments. The step-4 products have green caps and we sell two different algae guards: Basic Algae Guard and Super Extended Algae Guard.

Basic Algae Guard comes in a one-gallon (128 ounces) bottle. This additive will utilize an “initial dose” system and a proceeding maintenance dose. It also has a step for pools that have developed visible algae. The “initial dose” consists of adding 64 ounces to 25,000 gallons of water at the beginning of season. If your pool has visible algae, you must complete the initial dose and then vacuum your pool after 24 hours to rid the pool of the dead algae debris. After the initial dose, you need to maintain your water by adding 16 ounces of Basic Algae Guard to your pool every 3-5 days. If the temperature if above average or if your pool is used frequently, then add Basic Algae Guard every three days. Otherwise, you may get away with adding it once a week. At the end of the season you will be winterizing your pool. You will be adding half a gallon of Basic Algae Guard per 25,000 gallons of water. Assuming the typical pool season lasts from June 1st until September 30th, you will be using three gallons of basic algae guard per year.

Super Extended Algae Guard is a concentrated solution that comes in a one-quart size (32 ounces). You will add 40 ounces to 25,000 gallons of water, which will last about three months. The benefit to buying this product, over the gallon size, is the convenience and less work. Depending on the size of your pool, you could get away with buying one bottle and applying it once for the whole swimming season. Super Extended Algae Guard is not recommended for pools with visible algae.

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