FAQ2017-06-02T11:31:07+00:00

FAQ

Mirage Pools will happily help you with any question you have with your pool or hot tub/spa.

There are link here for several common questions below:

New pool builds in small backyards2017-06-01T17:11:47+00:00

It seems that with each new home that is built, the backyards keep getting smaller and smaller. Gone are the days of typical homes having large yards with lots of room to play. But if your home has a small backyard, you can still get the maximum enjoyment out of it!
Traditionally, pools were only installed in large yards. The pool itself was big, plus you needed space to have a deck all the way around it, and most still wanted some backyard leftover. Today, pools can be customized by Mirage to suit your backyard. Pools don’t have to be large to be fun or relaxing. In fact, some of the most beautiful pools out there are small!
The pool can also work with your landscape, making your backyard feel cozy but not tiny. Incorporating elements such as waterfalls, lighting, or sitting areas can give your backyard the feel of paradise. Lap pools are also becoming more popular, as swimming provides a great cardiovascular workout that’s not hard on your joints.
Talk to one of the experts at Mirage Pool Service about the options that are available for your backyard. They will be happy to show you the different types of pools that could work for you and your yard. You can choose from many different styles and shapes, steps benches, and they can help you maximize your backyard space. Don’t spend another summer just wishing you had a pool – make your backyard dreams a reality! Let us bring happiness to your backyard.

Call today to have one of our representatives arrange a free, no obligation quotation. 905-319-7665 or email us @ info@mpools.ca

Click Here to Request a Quote

What Can Be Done Swimming Pool Renovation2017-06-01T17:11:01+00:00

Swimming Pool Renovation / Facelift

Renovation of an existing pool is a great way to bring new ideas, new technology and added enjoyment to your backyard. It can also make your pool user-friendly which adds great value to your future sale of your home.

First of all, do your homework. The first lesson is to research the companies willing to do the work involved.
• Check references
• Ask your friends that have pools
• Check the Better Business Bureau and check to see if your contractor belongs to his/her industry’s organization.
• The contractor should have insurance. If you have to sign off on the permit for insurance purposes, you may be responsible if anyone gets hurt on the job.
• It is desirable to have a contractor that can manage all aspects of the project from start till swim.
• Get a detailed quote on all work to be performed and ask what is not included.

In your first discussion with your pool company/renovation contractor you need to address the following:
• Use of the pool for casual enjoyment, exercise and entertaining
• Hardscapes and landscaping ideas
• Energy savings on upgraded pool equipment and lighting
• Lighting ideas, ambience and safety
• Budget / timelines / expectations

Plan your dream pool idea and then you can work with a budget and existing items that can be incorporated into a workable plan.

When discussing future costs of the pool: At this time, you may find by upgrading to energy-efficient equipment you can pay for the new equipment in energy cost savings, as opposed to what the existing equipment uses. You can update the look by using natural coping stones and pavers and adding a fire pit or barbeque to match the new deck and get rid of the old tired looking plain concrete. Pavers give a long life of little maintenance and are easy to add more entertainment area to at a later date, if desired.

After discussing your wants and needs, a permit or drawing s may be needed. Meeting with a landscaper, electrician, fence and cabana tradesman etc may also be important to the overall plans. If you have a larger pool and want to downsize, it is common to place a pool within a pool. Although not a cheap and easy way to do this anything can be achieved. Using a smaller pool enables the existing excavation to be used and built upon. Also, the maintenance costs will be less for less water to be maintained. However, it is easy to incorporate walls with fountains, tanning ledges and shapes to benefit the landscaping and make a new look. This all depends on the site and existing elevations, as well as storm water drainage.

Electrical, water and gas lines are marked, as well as irrigation capped off for future installation into the new plan. Existing electrical and automation need to be discussed at this time to determine what upgrades need to be incorporated into the budget. Building permits may also be required for this work, so be sure to check with your local bylaws.

Preliminary plans are drawn up when necessary to show areas where pool structure, new equippment or new depths are marked as well as other additions, such as a fountains, tanning ledge, steps, sheer decent walls, lighting etc. This plan is then used to survey elevations and in turn calculate the amount of materials and labor needed to perform the renovation. This is done for the surrounding deck areas and landscaping as well. Most important is to plan on the electrical and irrigation at this time. This can save major headaches and money later.
Renovation work can take longer than the initial build of the pool. Weather, inspections and waiting for the next trade person of specific work can delay a construction job. Stay in communication with your contractor and call with any questions you may have.

Mirage Pools takes pride in coordinating these types of jobs and seeing the renovation through from start to finish. Sit back and enjoy the new backyard you have.

Planning for a New Pool2017-06-01T17:10:26+00:00

One of the best ways Mirage Pools existing customers begin planning for a swimming pool is to begin looking at swimming pools and talking to your friends about what they like and dislike about their pool. There are many factors concerning size, shape, and depth of pool that you need to consider before installing a pool such as:

What size does the pool need to be?
For Mirage the average residential pool being built today is approximately 14′ to 16′ wide and approximately 28′ to 32′ long. We typically recommend a maximum swimmer load of approximately 25 sq. ft. of pool surface area per person (For a 500 sq. ft. pool that would be a maximum of 20 people using the pool at one time).

How deep does the pool need to be?
Diving pools are typically at least 8′ deep and most non-diving pools are no deeper than 6′. Most of the pools that are currently being built are non-diving (or sport) pools. Non-diving pools have increased in popularity because of the desire to play water sports such as volleyball and basketball along with all the liability issues that go with it. Non-diving pools are slightly less expensive to build and the costs associated with filtering, heating, and chemically treating the water increases in proportion to the depth of the pool.

What are the legal restrictions?
The local city codes can determine placement of a pool due to setback restrictions, which determine how close the pool can be to the property line. In addition, utility or drainage easements must also be considered. Your survey plot plan contains property line and easement information, which is helpful and needed when planning your pool.

Are there obstructions that I need to consider?
Underground obstructions such as utility lines and septic tanks must be considered as well as overhead obstructions including utility line and trees. Typically utility lines can be relocated in order to place the pool in the desired location in the yard.

Is my yard level?
The elevation, or slope, of the yard is a factor to consider in order to avoid future drainage problems. Considerably sloped yards are usually slightly more expensive to build a pool than flat yards.

What part of the yard do I want the pool?
When attempting to place a pool properly in a yard, the elements of the sun, shade, and wind must be considered to keep the swimmers comfortable in and around the pool. The ideal pool has both sunny and shaded areas to accommodate all of its users.

Should it be close to the house?
A pool should be easily accessible from the house. Otherwise, the nuisance of getting to and from it will overshadow much of the pleasure derived from using the pool. Pool builders are restricted against installing a pool too close to a foundation. Also related to size and depth is the location of the entry and exit points. Whenever possible, steps and benches should be placed in strategic locations to access the house, pool house or spa.

Can I see the pool from the house?
Generally speaking, the pool should be in complete view of the house, yet laid out in harmony with it. In addition, if children are to be using the pool, a view from the house to the pool becomes even more important as a safety issue.
Determining what your needs are and matching them to your budget and space limitations might take some time, but they are critical in assuring that you have no regrets as it relates to size, depth, and location of your swimming pool . One of staff members at Mirage Pools will take this into consideration when designing the correct swimming pool for you.

10 Reasons to Own A Swimming Pool2017-06-01T17:09:13+00:00

10 Reasons why a pool could be the greatest investment in your family you’ll ever make

Install a pool and just see how quickly it becomes the place where so many wonderful memories are made. It’s where your family gathers, entertains and brings happiness to your backyards! Here are the top ten reasons pool owners report that installing a pool was one of the best decisions for their family they ever made.

1. The Great Outdoors “Mirage” style
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with air conditioning – it’s great for keeping the house cool so everyone can sleep soundly during those hot, humid summer days. But when it comes to the rest of the day, most folks would much rather sit and cool themselves pool-side instead. Pools get you and your family outside enjoying everything your backyard, with your very own pool has to offer!

2. Entertaining
The shimmer of your pool makes a wonderful scene and the area surrounding it perfect to entertain your friends and your family. From a midsummer barbeque to a late night fire, a pool makes your backyard a great little get away from it all

3. Relaxation
There is nothing like floating peacefully on your back after a long day or week at work or at school. How about simply sunning yourself pool side, knowing you’re just a couple of steps away from a dip in your very own summer oasis? When it comes to your home and your very own pool – there is no place you’d rather be.

4. Exercise
According to several medical studies swimming is an activity that burns a lot of calories, is easy on the joints, supports your weight, builds muscular strength and endurance, improves cardiovascular fitness, cools you off and refreshes you in summer, and one that you can enjoy safely into old age. Phew, who knew exercise could be so much fun!

5. Games
Water polo anyone? Diving for dollars? Many of us remember these and other fun games while ‘hanging out at the pool’. Pool games turn an ordinary pool into a fun and challenging activity centre that brings sounds of laughter and memories for life. With a pool, the games your kids will be talking about won’t be those found on video, unless they’re referring to the ones you capture of them having so much fun.

6. Activities
The simple acts of swimming, floating, diving and sliding are all some people need or want to enjoy their pool to the fullest. A pool makes even the simple things in life seem out of the ordinary. Especially when they can be enjoyed right there in your own backyard!

7. Maintaining Value
Pools aren’t inexpensive to install, which is why if you have a pool it pays to keep it in great working condition. Home-buyers are often drawn to homes that already have an established, well-run and maintained pool. Not only do they expect to pay more for homes with a pool installed, it’s another thing for them to remember your home by – all the fun they imagine having on hot summer days!

8. Family
Families that play together, stay together. Pools bring your family close, emotionally and physically: both when kids are young – as parents take the time to teach them to swim, dive, or slide. In fact, teens often decide amongst themselves to meet at their friend’s houses that have a pool.

9. Safety
Teaching kids to swim at a young age is never a bad idea, and combined with lessons that give them healthy respect for the dangers of water, it can turn into a great way in which you can help to protect them.

10. “Mirage” Memories
When you add up all the reasons why owning a pool is a really great investment – one word comes to mind very quickly – memories. Whether they are memories of your family’s pool growing up, or of being at a friend’s house that had a pool, one thing is for certain; with a pool you’ll soon be creating the best memories of all – those of you and your family having fun and vacationing together – in your own backyard!

Energy Efficient Equipment2017-06-01T17:07:26+00:00

Is Your Pool an Energy Thief?

If your electricity bills are sky-high during pool season your pool pump may be to blame. Your pool pump may use more electricity than any other appliance in your home — as much as three times the electricity used by your refrigerator. Replacing your old single-speed swimming pool pump with an efficient variable-speed pump is an energy retrofit measure with a very fast payback.
The main purpose of a pool pump is to circulate water from the swimming pool through a filter. In addition, a pool pump is sometimes used to circulate water through an artificial waterfall or other water “features.” For years, pool installers have used oversized single-speed pumps — a type of pump that is inexpensive to install but expensive to operate. Many swimming pool pumps perform multiple functions, and installers traditionally sized a pump that was big enough for the most demanding task.
A variable-speed pump does a better job of matching the speed of the pump (and its watt draw) to the task being performed. Compared to a single-speed pump, a two-speed or variable-speed pump can save tremendous amounts of energy. Compared to a single-speed pump, a two-speed pump can yield 55% energy savings, while a variable-speed pump can yield 83% energy savings.
The most efficient type of swimming pool pump is a variable-speed pump. A variable-speed pool pump will allow the home-owner to achieve the ideal filtration flow rate with the least amount of energy consumption. Variable speed pumps utilize permanent magnet motors (PMM). PMM pumps can produce the same gallons per minute flow rate as single-speed induction motors if needed; they simply run much more efficiently. Variable speed pumps are noticeably quieter, require less maintenance, last longer, and, through slower water filtration rates, allow for better and more effective filtration of the pool water.
There are many examples of home-owners who save between $500 and $1,100 a year by installing a new pump; in one case, a pump drawing 1,900 watts was replaced with a variable-speed pump that draws only 150 watts. Although a variable-speed pump is a bit more expensive, the payback period for this work can be as short as one or two years. The more equipment that you change from standard to energy efficient, the more you will save. Depending on the equipment and how often it is used, the savings can quickly cover the cost of purchasing it!

Mirage Pool Service has all of the energy efficient pool equipment you need to make your pool ‘green.’ If you are putting in a new pool they can make sure your pool is energy efficient from your first swim. If your current pump is sucking more energy than water it’s time to upgrade! Their expert staff can recommend what equipment will save you the most, and are happy to answer any questions you have.

Call today to have one of our representatives arrange a free, no obligation quotation. 905-319-7665 or email us @ info@mpools.ca

Click Here to Request a Quote

When is it time to replace my vinyl swimming pool liner?2017-06-01T17:06:20+00:00

Is it time to replace your pool liner? Has the summer sun exposure caused the vinyl above the water level to breakdown and tear? Has groundwater or leaks caused permanent wrinkles, or has it has faded so much that it is no longer ascetically pleasing? Living in an area that is susceptible to ground water problems and having the ground water sit under the liner for any period of time can decrease the life span of a liner.

If any of the above issues relates to your pool liner than it may be time for a change. Although a change may be apparent, if you have received more than 10 years out your existing one than the liner has paid for itself.

On average liners will last between 8-12 years. Many uncontrollable factors such as sun exposure, ground water, & leaks can affect longevity, but the most important is water chemistry. A well balanced pool is the key to making a liner last longer. A liner is custom fit to your pool and it is critical that the measurements are accurate prior to the manufacturing process.

The best time to replace a liner is in the spring so you do not lose any of those summer swimming weeks when you want to be using the pool. Spring is usually the busiest period for liner replacements and manufacturing plants can often get overwhelmed. The usual time for manufacturing a liner is 2 weeks. It is also common you may not have the luxury of being able to decide when to replace the liner when a major tear or hole is present.

If you are in need of a new liner, please contact us and we will be happy to provide a free quote for replacement. The earlier you decide the earlier we can get started and help “bring happiness to the backyard “again.

Mirage Pools is the best choice for replacement Vinyl Swimming Pool liners in the Burlington, Oakville, Waterdown & Halton Region.

Click here to link to more information on our replacement vinyl liner service:

Click Here to Request a Quote

Call today to have one of our representatives arrange a free, no obligation quotation. 905-319-7665 or email us @ info@mpools.ca

Swimming Pool Safety2017-06-01T17:04:35+00:00

There is nothing like the refreshing feeling of entering a swimming pool on a hot summer day. But we all must be aware of the potential danger that exists—and the importance of being careful to avoid such danger.

Parents should be aware that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children 5 years of age and younger. Drowning, which can happen in as little as one inch of water, is usually quick and silent. According to the USA’s National Safe Kids Campaign, a child will lose consciousness two minutes after submersion, with irreversible brain damage within four to six minutes.

Mirage Pools encourages everyone “Play It Safer Around Water”!

Young Children

Parents should be aware that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children 5 years of age and younger. Drownings under 1 most often occur in a bathtub, while from 1-5, drownings most often occur in a swimming pool. In addition, in 10 states, drowning surpasses all other causes of death to children age 14 and under. Drowning, which can happen in as little as one inch of water, is usually quick and silent. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, a child will lose consciousness two minutes after submersion, with irreversible brain damage within four to six minutes.

One way to help prevent drownings is to require that swimmers, especially children, obey pool rules. Following are some pool rules that I would encourage you to consider for young swimmers:

Pool Rules for Young Children:

Never go into the backyard without an adult.
No running around the pool.
Never push anyone into the pool.
Never hold anyone under the water.
Don’t cry for help unless it is an emergency.
No diving unless off of a diving board.
Always use floaties (or another type of floatation device).

Although those are good rules, it is also important that pool owners make a commitment to do the following:

Make sure that your fence and gate meets code (check your local pool ordinance) and stays in compliance.
Keep a telephone outside when we outside enjoying the pool.
Keep all toys (bikes, wagons, etc.) away from the pool.
Teach your children to swim and spend time with them in the pool.
Do not allow swimming in an unlighted pool at night.
Learn CPR.

There are many safety devices available for swimming pools-alarms, safety covers, and safety fences-and all are somewhat effective in helping keep your pool safe.

THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR ADULT SUPERVISION.

This statement has never been more true than it is when comes to preventing drowning, whether it be in a bathtub or a swimming pool. Adult supervision means paying attention-according to the Orange County, California Fire Authority-of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning. Many drownings occur at parties and parents get distracted. We suggest either hiring a lifeguard for parties or at least have the adults take assigned times to supervise the pool.

A very good way to communicate some of these pool safety tips to children is to read them the book “Anthony Mouse Goes Swimming”, written by Elizabeth C. Powhida. This book is out of print and has become a collector’s item, but you are more than welcome to use our copy for reading it to your children. In addition, there is a web site that does a very good job of introducing children to the importance of pool safety-it is www.poolkids.com. It is an interactive web site that is an excellent place for young children to learn about pool safety.

Swimming is an excellent activity that your family and friends can enjoy together, but we must always have respect for the potential danger that exists.
Adding just one extra safety step around the water can reduce your risk.

Following are some suggestions that can help prevent drowning:

Be informed:

Drowning is a quick and silent killer.
Backyard pools & spas need fences & alarms.
Coast guard approved life jackets save lives.
Alcohol and water activities are a bad mix.

Be alert:

Danger zones are not only pools & spas: they are also bathtubs, buckets, toilets, & lakes.
Supervise with your Eyes. Always be a water watcher.
Reach and throw- Don’t go!
Remember: Summer sun, water fun, if trouble comes, call 911.

Be prepared:

Learn to swim at any age.
Learn CPR for the family.
Keep safety equipment nearby.

For more information on drowning prevention and safety please explore some of the following links:

Canadian Red Cross
Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada Safety Information
Healthy Canadian
Canadian Family Safety
USA Government Safe Pool Resource
The Association of Pool and Hot Tub Professionals Safety Information

Pool Chemical Safety2017-06-01T17:02:55+00:00

Pool chemicals are necessary to keep pool water clear, sanitized, and safe to swim in. However, if they are misused or mishandled, they can be dangerous. Following are a few simple guidelines that will ensure the safety and well being of family and friends.

Handling chemicals—Always read the label. It contains important information on the proper application, handling, and storage of the chemical you are using.

NEVER…

Never mix chemicals. An uncontrolled reaction such as fuming, fire, or explosion could occur. Always add chemicals to the pool water separately and to different areas of the pool.
Never overdose your pool. Use the exact amount specified. Make sure your pool volume is accurate.
Never add the water to the chemical when dissolving or diluting. Always add the chemical to the water.
Never inhale fumes or allow products to get in your eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. In the event of accidental contact, follow emergency advice on the product label and call your doctor and/or local poison control center.
Never smoke around chemicals, as some chemical fumes can be highly flammable.
Never allow children to handle chemicals.
Never interchange measuring scoops between products.

ALWAYS…

Always clean up spills as soon as they occur and dispose of the material in a safe manner. Dispose of all chemicals according to label directions.
Always store chemicals safely and out of the reach of children. Keep your chemicals in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from other household or garden chemicals and petroleum products.
Always keep chemical product containers tightly closed when not in use.

Pool Stains2017-06-01T17:02:32+00:00

Most every pool owner has experienced pool staining at one time or another. Stains are usually either organic or metallic in nature. For proper treatment to take place, it is important to know whether it is organic or metallic.
Organic stains are caused when algae, decaying leaves, or pecans sit on the pool floor for an extended period of time. Rub a chlorine tablet on the stain (gunite pools only) to determine if it is an organic stain as chlorine will typically remove an organic stain. Metallic stains are caused by metal in the pool water from pesticides, fertilizer, or keeping the pH in the pool too low. Another source of metallic stains is the overuse of copper-based algaecides. If you rub half a lemon on the stain and it goes away or is decreased, it’s probably a metallic stain. Stains can be one of the most difficult problems that most pool professionals deal with.

If these stains persist, following are some more drastic recommended solutions for your stain problem.

Vinyl Pools – Stains on vinyl pools are difficult to treat, as anything strong enough to remove the stain can potentially damage the liner. Try brushing the area while using Bioguard’s Pool Magnet Plus. Liner replacement is sometimes the only alternative.
Fiberglass Pools – Ascorbic acid has been used for years to treat staining in fiberglass pools. If you are unsuccessful with this approach, try contacting your fiberglass pool manufacturer to determine a solution.
Gunite Pools – First try brushing. If that is not effective, try applying chlorine or acid (but not both) to the effected area. If you are still unsuccessful, use wet/dry sandpaper and sand the stain off. Occasionally a gunite pool has to be drained and then acid washed or chlorine washed in order to remove the stain.

As you can tell, there is no simple solution for stain removal.

If you do get a stain in your pool, find out what caused the stain and correct the situation in order to prevent any future reoccurrence.

Visit us in our showroom to view a number of products that might be able to help. Bring a water sample and a picture of the stain if possible.

Algae2017-06-01T17:02:09+00:00

Most algae can be prevented and can usually be blamed on low sanitizer (chlorine) levels or high pH levels. It is much easier and less expensive to prevent algae than it is to treat it. Many pool owners in the Denton area use an algaecide on a weekly basis as a preventive measure. This, along with brushing the pool regularly, is very effective in preventing algae.

There are several types of algae that are common in this area. They are as follows:

Green algae—is either free-floating or attaches itself to the pool surface.
Yellow (or mustard) algae—usually found in low flow areas of the pool.
Black (or blue-green) algae—forms a root system which makes it difficult to remove.

Treatment varies with each one of these types of algae, but it usually consists of increasing the sanitizer level, using an algaecide, and brushing the pool.

Preventing cloudy water and algae is the key to dealing with the heat that we often experience during the summer.

Cloudy Water Issues2017-06-01T17:01:42+00:00

The best long term solution to cloudy water is to find out what is causing the cloudy water and take care of the problem. In the short term, however, there are water clarifiers available that remove particulate matter which will help the filter clear the pool. These water clarifiers coagulate particles so that they become large enough to fall out of solution and be trapped by the filter. There are many pool owners who use a clarifier on a regular basis to prevent cloudy water. This is especially recommended during the swim season, when cloudy water might keep you from enjoying your pool safely.

The cause of cloudy water is usually either a water chemistry imbalance or poor filtration.
Cloudy water due to water chemistry imbalance

If it is a water chemistry issue, it is usually low sanitizer (chlorine) levels or high pH levels—which makes the sanitizer much less effective. If you have cloudy water and suspect that it is a water chemistry problem, simply test the water and treat as recommended or better yet, take a pint of your pool water to a professional pool store. They will be glad to analyze your pool water and recommend treatment.
Cloudy water due to a poor filtration

Poor filtration can also cause cloudy water. This could be as simple as excessive debris in a pump basket or skimmer basket, poor water circulation due to a dirty filter, or it could possibly be a problem with your filter. There are three common filters used on swimming pools—sand, D.E. (diatomaceous earth), and cartridge. Depending on the type of filter that you have, the following filter problems can occur:

Sand filter – Your sand should be replaced every 3-5 years. If you are unable to clear up cloudy water and have not changed the sand in several years, it is suggested that you change it.
D.E. filter – You could have a torn D.E. filter grid, which allows D.E. to enter the pool, causing cloudy water. Disassemble your filter and check the filter grids for holes or the filter manifold for cracks.
Cartridge filter – You could have a torn or old cartridge—either situation calls for filter
replacement.

Pool Water Testing2017-06-01T17:01:10+00:00

Many people think that if the water looks clear and blue, then it is free from bacteria and algae. But to fully ensure that pool water is free from bacteria and other contaminants, it needs to be tested at least once a week during the peak swimming season.

Proper water testing will help detect any problems that might be developing, which—when detected early—can be resolved easily so you can avoid headaches down the road. If you want to test your water yourself, here are some tips to help achieve accurate results:

If using a conventional test kit, always start with a clean testing vial and fresh reagents. Test chambers should be rinsed with clean water after each use.
Liquid reagents and test tablets should be replaced at the beginning of each swimming season. If using test strips, they have an expiration date on the bottom of the bottle.
Check the free chlorine level. Generally, levels should be between 2.0 and 4.0ppm (parts per million).
Check and adjust the total alkalinity (TA). TA is a measurement of the “buffer” capacity of your pool water, which prevents big changes in pH and helps avoid corrosion and staining. Total alkalinity at between 80-120 provides optimum performance.
Test and adjust the pH. The correct range is 7.2 to 7.6. This is probably the most important test for your pool.
Be sure you know the pool capacity in gallons for your pool. Chemically treating the improper gallonage can cause problems with your pool water.
Every 2-3 months, bring a sample of your pool water (approximately 250ml) to Mirage Pools for a free water analysis. We have pool owners that bring their water in on a weekly basis. Our water lab can test more and is more accurate than a conventional test kit. It can truly take the look of your pool water to another level.

You will generally only perform from two to three water tests on pool water, but there are actually about six tests, which you should at least be aware of.

Chlorine—ideal range 2-4
pH—ideal range 7.2-7.6
Total Alkalinity—ideal range 80-120
Cyanuric Acid—ideal range 30-50
Calcium Hardness—ideal range 200-400
Total Dissolved Solids—less than 1000 on non-salt pools
Salt level in a salt pool—2700-3500
Metals—ideal range reading – 0

These ideal ranges are dependent and integrated on each other to achieve properly balanced water.

It is recommended that at least chlorine, pH, and total alkalinity tests be done by the pool owner once or more per week. The other tests (cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, total dissolved solids, salt level, and metals) can be left up to our experts at Mirage Pools using our free water lab chemistry service.

Salt Water Information2017-06-01T16:43:50+00:00

One of the most common trends in the swimming pool industry over the last few years has been the popularity of salt water swimming pools. Many of us in the swimming pool industry have been inundated with questions about salt water swimming pools—hopefully the following information will help answer your questions.
What is a salt water pool?

A salt water pool is a pool which has a purification system (also called a chlorine generator) that provides on-site production of chlorine.

Chlorine generators reduce the need to purchase and apply chlorine to your pool on a regular basis. Basically, instead of adding chlorine on a regular basis, you add salt periodically which is converted to chlorine.
How does it work?

The way it works is this: Salt is added to the pool and the salt water passes through an electrolytic cell, where electricity is used to separate the sodium and chlorine molecules. This, in turn produces hypochloric acid, the killing form of chlorine. Once the chlorine is used it combines with sodium molecules and returns to salt and the whole process begins over again.

Often times, pool companies tend to omit the cons when selling a salt water system—and it is important that consumers understand the pros and cons of salt water systems. Based on our experience, following is a list of pros and cons of salt water systems:
Pros of salt water pools
The feel of the water on the skin

This is probably the biggest advantage of a chlorine generator. Owners of chlorine generators talk about how soft and smooth the water feels.
Better water quality

Better water quality is maintained because the unit is chlorinating continuously when the pump is in operation.
Less eye irritation

Most report less eye irritation when using chlorine generators.
No need to purchase chlorine

Other than rare situations, there is no need to purchase chlorine. The exceptions to this are: chlorine generator is not producing enough chlorine (due to extremely high water temperature, heavy swimmer load, rain, etc.), chlorine generator is not working, chemical imbalance, etc.
No need to store and handle chlorine

Other than the rare situation listed above, storing and handling of chlorine will be limited.
Cons of salt water pools
Initial cost

Chlorine generators are often sold as a cost-savings system, which is not a true statement in most situations. The installed price for a high quality residential chlorine generator is typically $1,500-$2,000. True that you no longer have to buy chlorine, and salt is less expensive than chlorine, but at $1,500-$2,000, you could buy chlorine for 5-8 years.
Cell replacement cost

Chlorine generators are mechanical devices, and as with any mechanical device—they can break down. The most common failure of chlorine generators is the salt cell, which typically last 3-5 years (depending on use and maintenance) before needing replacement at an average cost of $600-$800.
A salt water pool is not chlorine-free

A “salt water pool” is still a chlorine pool. The chlorine production in a salt water pool is essentially sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine). If you are truly allergic to chlorine, then this is not the system for you.
Increase in electrical costs

A chlorine generator only produces chlorine when the pump is operating, so it is important to operate your pump a sufficient amount of time to produce the amount of chlorine that is needed for your pool. This amount of time will increase under the following conditions: high water temperature, heavy swimmer load, pets that swim, rain, chemical imbalance, etc.

Running your pump for longer periods of time will result in an increase in electrical costs.

Example: A conventional 2hp pump in the Denton area costs approximately 25 cents per hour to operate. If you have to increase your pump run time from 8 hours per day to 16 hours per day, that is an increase in your electrical costs of $2 per day, or $730 per year.
Salt can be corrosive

Salt can be corrosive to coping (especially flagstone), stone waterfalls, decks, and any metal (such as diving board bases, pool ladders, slide legs, poolside furniture, stainless steel filters, etc.). To help slow down this corrosion process, the application of a penetrating sealer to coping and stone waterfalls seems to help. This penetrating sealer needs to be applied at a minimum of once annually. In addition, we recommend rinsing off your coping/decks/metal with fresh water after using the pool.
Not environmentally friendly

Due to the salinity of the water and its potential harm to sensitive plants and fish, many municipalities have restricted the backwashing or draining of salt water pools into the storm sewer system.
They do not provide complete pool care

Often times owners of salt water systems depend on the system to provide complete pool care—they do not. Water testing and cell cleaning/replacement are very important.

Water testing

Chlorine generators only produce chlorine, they do not maintain the water chemistry of the pool. The pool water must still be tested and balanced as needed. We recommend the following testing regularity and ranges:

Test weekly

chlorine—2.0 to 4.0 ppm
pH—7.2 to 7.6
total alkalinity

80 to 100 for calcium hypochlorite, salt, and liquid chlorine pools
100 to 120 for dichlor and trichlor pools

salt level—2700 to 3500 (check with the manufacturer of your chlorine generator to confirm)

Test monthly

calcium hardness—200 to 400 ppm
cyanuric acid

30 to 90ppm on chlorine pools
70 to 90 on salt pools

It is also important to note that salt raises pH—which means more muriatic acid will be needed to keep the pH in the proper range.

Cell cleaning/replacement

Like any mechanical device, chlorine generators must be maintained—most manufacturers recommend that the system’s cell be cleaned every six months. Salt cells typically last 3-5 years, depending on use and maintenance. Salt cell replacement typically costs approximately $600-$800, depending on the brand.
Can cause scale forming deposits on the tile/spa spillways/waterfalls

The use of salt can cause scale deposits to form on tile/spa spillways/waterfalls. Frequent brushing of these areas and use of a scale inhibitor are both recommended to prevent this scale build up.
Does not work in cold water

Chlorine generators do not produce chlorine when the temperature reaches a certain level (approximately 55 degrees). When this occurs, the use of chlorine will likely be necessary in order to prevent problems.

What is our overall opinion of chlorine generators? Like anything, it has pros and cons and if you are aware of them and take them into consideration, a salt water system can be a very good alternative in the right situation.

Importance of Filtration2017-06-01T16:42:42+00:00

The Critical Importance of Filtration

Filtration filters out the micro-organisms, dirt and bacteria feeding particles that cause algae and other forms of bacterial growth, resulting in clearer and healthier water. The most common filters that are used in swimming pools are sand filters and cartridge filters

The Sand Filter
The oldest and most commonly used method of filtration, a Sand Filter is a tank-shaped filter that utilizes a special grade of sand, as a filter media.
While not considered the most effective of filter systems available, results can be improved through regular maintenance and the periodic use of water clarifying products.
A common mistake with Sand Filters is backwashing too often. The reading on the sand filter’s gauge indicates the effectiveness of filtration and helps to identify when backwashing is required. Consult your manufacturer’s instructions to optimize this system.
Also, incorrect operation of the position valve can lead to mechanical failure of the valve around the seal. In addition this can lead to the valve breaking or render it unable to securely hold the position required for the operation in process.
How a Sand Filter Works
With a Sand filter water is filtered from top to bottom. Inside, a special filter sand (called silica sand), which has sharp edges that separate and trap particles, causes filtration to take place.
Water is moved in two directions through this filter system. On the filtration cycle the water comes in through the top and filters down through the sand into the multi-lateral under-drain assembly. On the backwash cycle the water runs down and out this assembly forcing the contaminates and debris out of the sand enabling them to be flushed out of the system.
The 6 Valve Settings of a typical Sand Filter:
1. Filter / Filtration
2. Backwash
3. Drain / Waste
4. Whirlpool / Circulation
5. Rinse
6. Winterizing/Close
Tips for Sand Filter Usage
1. Always turn off the pump before changing positions on the valve to release pressure.
2. After replacing sand ensure that the valve is reaffixed in the appropriate position.
3. Always do a complete full turn to protect the seal.
4. When using the drain or waste position, always fill the pool as high as possible.
5. The whirlpool setting is best for mixing chemicals into the water quickly without filtering, such as floc treatment or phosphate treatment.
6. Backwash when your filter gauge has increased from its normal running pressure by 50% i.e. if your normal running pressure is 10 psi, backwash once your filter gauge reaches 15 psi
7. Backwash until the water in the eyeglass is clear or until water at end of the drain is clears. It is recommended to follow the manufactures directions using the filter gauge. Each backwash should be followed with a rinse for 30 seconds.
8. A Sand Filter should be cleaned using a filter cleanerin the spring, Mid-Summer and fall for best filtration results.

The Cartridge filter
A Cartridge filter is a type of filter that utilizes a porous, pleated component to remove particles. Cartridge Filters are very commonly used in spas and more so now on most new swimming pool installs. This type of filter should be chemically cleaned on a regular basis allowed to dry completely before installation to maintain performance. Cleaning twice a season for most average size pools is recommended.
Cartridge filters can also save significant amounts of water loss due to backwashing and also chemicals usage saving money and helping the environment.
How to clean a Cartridge filter:

1. Dilute 250 ML of Clean in a bucket containing 5 L of warm water or recommended amounts with larger filters
2. Put cartridge in bucket; keep it upright until it is covered with solution and let it sit this way for 5 to 6 hours.
3. Immediately rinse the cartridge with cold water or let it soak in a bucket of clean water.
4. Clean cartridge after every second rinsing

General Maintenance2017-06-01T15:24:23+00:00
  • Run pump and filter 24 hours a day; the more you filter and circulate your pool water the less chemicals you will require and you will be less likely to experience water quality problems.
  • Adjust jets downwards at a 45 degree angle to create a moving circulation pattern in the pool and away from the skimmer basket.
  • Vacuum at regular intervals. Keep pool clean and free of debris such as leaves and other materials.
  • Dirt, oil scum, and smog scum must be cleaned regularly from pool’s surface with a tile and vinyl cleaner. The use of enzymes will greatly reduce oils and scum line around pool.
  • Regular testing of water parameters and sanitizer are important.
  • Tip: Bring water sample to your Pool Professional Retailer every 3 weeks. Inadequate sanitizer levels may cause unsafe water for bathers. PH must be regulated to prevent damage to pool surfaces and to assist sanitizer performance. Smog and rain have a definite effect on pH.
  • Understand how to use filter gauge and backwash as required.
  • Clean filter sand at least once per season using a filter cleaning product.
  • Use a leaf net for seasonal periods of high debris accumulation in pool.
  • Repairs, replacement of equipment, and heavier maintenance tasks should be scheduled for the off season when the pool is inactive.
  • The heater should be serviced once per season by a licensed gas technician.
  • Carefully read instructions for correct dosage and application methods for all chemicals.
  • Follow recommended safety guidelines when handling and storing chemicals.

Didn’t Find an Answer?

If your question was not answered by the information on this page please feel free to contact us with any question at any of the contact avenues below :

  • Call us @ 905-319-7665
  • Email us @ info@mpools.ca
  • Come into our store @ 1800 Appleby Line, Unit # 14 Burlington, ON L7L 6A1