Glossary Of Swimming Pool Terms & Definitions - O | Print |
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ORGANIC Refers to volatile, combustible and sometimes biodegradable chemical compounds containing carbon atoms bonded together with other elements. The principal groups of organic substances found in water are proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils. See organic waste.

ORGANIC WASTE Also called swimmer or bather waste - All of the soap, deodorant, suntan lotion, kipstick, makeup, cologne, body oils, sweat, spit, urine, etc., brought into the water. They also form chloamines, which are foul-smelling and body irritants. Requires large amounts of chlorine or non-chlorine shock to destroy.

ORP An abbreviation for exidation reduction reduction potential. It is a measurement of a body of water's ability to exidize contaminants. Measured with an electrode and an electronic meter. It is an indication of the sanitizing level or degree of safety from disease in the water. Measured in millivolts with the accepted minimum level being 650 mV.

OTO Abbreviation for orthotolidine. A chemical reagent used to test the total chlorine level in pool and spa water. It does not measure free available chlorine. .

OVER-ACID An incorrect term used to describe water that is acidic or water that has a pH lower than 7.2.

OVERDRAIN Also called a diffuser or distributor - An internal sand filter device that evenly distributes influent pool water over the sand filter bed.

OXIDATION To rid the water of ammonia, nitrogen com- pounds and swimmer waste (organic compounds). These organic compounds disable chlorine, are body irritants and have a foul smell. Re- moval is accomplished by superchlorination or by shock treating with a non-chlorine oxidizer.

OXIDIZER A non-chlorine shocking compound that removes or destroys built-up contaminants and chloramines in pool water without raining chlorine levels as required when "superchlorinating."

OZONATOR A gaseous molecule comprised of 3 atoms of oxygen. It is generated on site from air or oxygen and used for oxidation of water contaminants.

PATHOGENIC ORGANISM An organism that causes disease.

PETCOCK A small, manually-operated faucet or valve for draining off liquids or releasing air pressure. The air-relief valve on a filter is an example.

pH A term used to indicate the level of acidity or alkalinity of pool water. Too low of pH causes etched plaster, metal corrosion and eye irritation. Too high of pH causes scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency and eye irritation. The ideal range for pH in swimming pools is 7.4 to 7.6.

PHENOL RED A chemical reagent dye used to test for pH. It can measure pH from 6.8 to 8.4.

PLASTER A mixture of white cement and white marble dust used as an interior finish, which can be tinted, colored or left white; applied to the gunite or shotcrete of a pool or spa.

POLYMER A substance made of giant molecules formed by the union of simpler molecules. Many water clarifiers are made from organic polymers. An example would be polymerized ethylene, called polyethylene.

POTASSIUM PEROXYMON Potassium Peroxymonosulfate - The active ingredient and chemical name of a non- chlorine shock treatment or non-chlorine oxidizer. Does not kill bacteria or algae but it will oxidize or destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste. It has a low pH, and it does not increase chlorine or bromine levels the way that superchlorination does, so water may be entered in 15 minutes after addition. It will also reactivate bromine to its killing form, hypobromous acid.

ppm An abbreviation for parts per million. It is a weight-to-weight expression. It means 1 part in 1 million parts, such as 1 lb. of chlorine in 1 million lbs. of water. Many of the common pool water tests, as well as acceptable ranges, are stated as ppm. For example, free available chlorine should be kept between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm; total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm; and and water hardness should be between 200 and 400 ppm.

PRECIPITATE A substance separating, in solid particles, from a liquid as a result of a chemical or physical change. It also means to form a precipitate.

PRECOAT Depositing diatomaceous earth (D.E.) onto the filter grids or elements.

PRESSURE GAUGE A gauge with an analog dial indicating the pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure that has built up within a closed container, such as a filter.

psi An abbreviation for pounds per square inch.

PUMP A mechanical device, usually powered by an electric motor, which causes hydraulic flow and pressure for the purpose of filtration, heating and circulation of pool and spa water. Typically, a centrifugal pump is used for pools, spas and hot tubs.

PUMP CAPACITY The volume of liquid a pump is capable of moving during a specified period of time. This is usually gallons per minute (gpm).

PUMP CURVE Also called a pump performance curve - A graph that represents a pump's water flow capacity at any given resistance.

PUMP STRAINER BASK Pump Strainer Basket - A device placed on the suction side of the pump, which contains a removable strainer basket designed to trap debris in the water flow without causing much flow restriction. Sometimes called a "hair-and-lint trap."

QUATS Quaternary Ammonium Compounds - Also called Quats - The chemical compounds of ammonia used as algaecides and algaestats.

RATE OF FLOW The quantity of water flowing past a designated point within a specified time, such as the number of gallons flowing past a point in 1 minute - abbreviated as gpm.

REAGENTS The chemical agents, dyes, indicators or titrants used in testing various aspects of water quality.

RESIDUAL BROMINE The amount of measurable bromine remaining after treating the water with bromine. The amount of bromine left in the pool or spa water after the bromine demand has been satisfied.

RESIDUAL CHLORINE The amount of measurable chlorine remaining after treating the water with chlorine. The amount of chlorine left in the pool or spa water after the chlorine demand has been satisfied.

S. SESQUICARBONATE Sodium Sesquicarbonate - A chemical mixture of equal parts of soda ash and sodium bicar- bonate used to increase pH and total alkal- inity in pool and spa water. It has a pH of 10.1.

SAND This usually refers to the filter medium used by a sand filter. The grade most often specified by filter manufacturers is grade No. 20 with a particle size of 45 to 55 mm (millimeters).

SAND FILTER A filter using sand or sand and gravel as the filter medium.

SANITIZE To render sanitary: to kill all living things, including bacteria and algae. Similar to sterilize.

SCALE The precipitate that forms on surfaces in contact with water when the calcium hardness, pH or total alkalinity levels are too high. Results from chemically unbalanced pool and spa water. Scale may appear as grey, white or dark streaks on the plaster, fiberglass or vinyl. It may also appear as a hard crust around the tile.

SCUM The extraneous or foreign matter which rises to the surface of the water and forms a layer or a film there. It can also be a residue deposited on the tile or walls of the pool or spa. Sources of scum are soap, oil, deodorant, hair spray, suntan lotions and others.

SEDIMENT The solid material settled out from the water.

EPTUM That portion of the filter element consisting of cloth, wire screen or other porous material on which the filter medium or filter aid is deposited. The nylon grid on a D.E. filter is the septum.

SEQUESTERING AGENT Also called chelating agent - A chemical that will combine with dissolved metals in the water to prevent the metals from coming out of solution (precipitating or causing stains). May also be a chemical that removes dissolved metals from water.

SHOCK TREAT The practice of adding significant amounts of an oxidizing chemical - (usually non- chlorine oxidizers, such as sodium persulfate or potassium peroxymonosulfate) - to the water to destroy ammonia and nitrogen com- pounds or swimmer waste.

SHOTCRETE A mixture of sand and cement sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to build a pool or spa. Plaster is applied over the shotcrete. Shotcrete is premixed and pumped wet to the construction site.

SILT Soil particles having diameters between 0.004 and 0.062 mm (millimeters). Sometimes they may be too small to be trapped by the circulation system. In those cases, a clarifier or an alum product may be needed.

SIMAZINE A chemical substance used in swimming pools and spas as an herbicide or algaecide. Mainly used for killing black algae.

SKIMMER A device installed through the wall of a pool or spa that is connected to the suction line of the pump that draws water and floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.

SKIMMER BASKET A removable, slotted basket or strainer placed in the skimmer on the suction side of the pump, which is designed to trap floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.

SKIMMER WEIR Part of a skimmer that adjusts automatically to small changes in water level to assure a continuous flow of water to the skimmer. The small floating "door" on the side of the skimmer that faces the water over which water flows on its way to the skimmer. The weir also prevents debris from floating back into the pool when the pump shuts off.

SLURRY Water or a liquid containing a high concentration of suspended solids. Diatomaceous earth (D.E.) is usually added to the filter as a slurry by mixing a small amount of D.E. in a bucket of water and then pouring the slurry into the skimmer with the filter on.

SODA ASH (Sodium Carbonate) - A chemical used to raise total alkalinity in pool and spa water with only a slight affect on the pH.

SODIUM BICARBONATE (Baking Soda or Bicarb) - A chemical used to raise total alkalinity in pool and spa water with only a slight affect on the pH.

SODIUM BISULFATE (dry acid) - A chemical used to lower the pH and total alkalinity. 2 1/2 lbs. of dry acid are equal to 1 quart of muriatic acid.

SODIUM BROMIDE A salt of bromine. It is used to establish a bromide "bank" in pool and spa water prior to beginning the use of bromine tablets.

SODIUM CARBONATE (soda ash) - A chemical used to raise the pH and total alkalinity in pool and spa water.

SODIUM DICKLOR A fast-dissolving, granular, stabilized organic chlorine compound providing either 56% or 63% available chlorine. Used for regular as well as superchlorination. Contains an ingredient (cyanuric acid or stabilizer) that prevents the chlorine from being destroyed by the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Recommended for use in vinyl- liner, painted or fiberglass pools and acrylic or fiberglass spas.

SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE Liquid chlorine. Usually provides 10% to 12% available chlorine; has a pH of 13 and re- quires that small amounts of acid be added to the pool to neutralize the high pH. Good for regular chlorination and superchlorination. Not recommended for spas. Does not contain conditioner or stabilizer to protect it from sunlight, but it is protected if stabilizer or conditioner is already in the water.

SODIUM PERSULFATE Active ingredient and chemical name of a non-chlorine shock treatment or non-chlorine oxidizer. Does not kill bacteria or algae but it will oxidize or destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waster. Does not increase chlorine or bromine levels the way that superchlorination does, so water may be entered in 15 minutes after addition. It will not reactivate bromine.

SODIUM SULFITE A chemical used to neutralize or de-chlorinate pool and spa water.

SODIUM THIOSULFATE A chemical used to neutralize or de-chlorinate pool and spa water.

SOFT WATER Water that has a very low calcium and magnesium content (water hardness) - usually means less than 100 ppm or 6 grains. Also water that has gone through a water softener. Pools and spas should never be filled with soft water from a softener. Water with less than 100 ppm of hardness should be increased to a minimum of 150 to 200 ppm using calcium chloride.

SOLAR COVER A cover that, when placed on the water's surface of a pool, spa or hot tub, increases the water temperature by absorption and transmission of solar radiation; reduces evaporation and prevents wind-borne debris from entering the water.

SOLAR HEATING SYS. Solar Heating System - It is usually panels or coils of plastic or metal through which water passes to increase the temperature from the sun's radiant heat.

SOURCE WATER Also called "tap" water - It is the water used to fill or refill the pool or spa.

SPRING BOARD Also called "diving" board - A recreational mechanism for entering a swimming pool consisting of a semi-rigid board that derives its spring from a fulcrum mounted below the board and attached to the deck.

STABILIZED CHLORINE A family of chlorine pool sanitizers that contain conditioner (cyanuric acid or iso- cyanuric acit) to protect the chlorine from the degrading UV rays in sunlight. Most common types are sodium dichlor and trichlor. The granular form is dichlor which is fact- dissolving and can be used for regular chlorination or superchlorination by broad- casting into the pool or spa. Tablet or stick form is trichlor (which is usually used in a chlorine feeder - either the floating type or in-line erosion type) used for regular chlorination only.

STAIN A discoloration or a colored deposit on the walls or bottom of a swimming pool or spa. Most often, stains are metals, such as iron, copper & manganese. They may appear as green, gray, brown or black. They may even discolor the water. Sometimes a sequestering agent or chelating agent will remove them. If not, usually an acid wash is necessary to remove them from the walls & bottom. The metals get in the water because the pH was too low or someone has added a low-pH chemical directly into the circulation system. The low-pH chemical dissolves a small amount of metal from the equipment. The metals begin to come out of solutions & deposit or stain the walls & bottom. Stains are sometimes confused with scale.

STAIN INHIBITOR Also called sequestering or chelating agent- A chemical that will combine with dissolved metals in the water to prevent the metals from coming out of solution (precipitating or causing stains). May also be a chemical that removes dissolved metals from water.

SUPER CHLORINATION The practice of adding an extra large dose (5 to 10 ppm) of chlorine to the water to destroy ammonia, nitrogen and swimmer waste, which can build up in the water. This level of chlorine is required to destroy all of the combined chlorine in the water, which is called breakpoint chlorination.

SURFACTANT A soluble chemical compound that reduces the surface tension between two liquids. It is used in many detergents and soapy cleaning compounds.

SUSPENDED SOLIDS Insoluble solid particles that either float on the surface of or are in suspension in the water, causing turbidity. They may be held in suspension by agitation or flow. They may be removed by filtration, but if the particles are too small, they may not be trapped by the filter. In these cases, a clarifier or alum may be needed to remove them.

TEE A plumbing fitting in the shape of a "T" used to connect pipes.

TELEPOLE A long-handled aluminum pole, which extends in length. Various pool-cleaning tools, such as brushes or vacuums, may then be attached.

TEST KIT An apparatus or device used to monitor specific chemical residuals, levels, constituents or demands in pool or spa water. Kits usually contain reagents, vials, titrants, color comparators and other materials needed to perform tests. The most common pool and spa water tests are: pH, total alkalinity, free available chlorine, water hardness, cyanuric acid, iron and copper.

TEST STRIPS Small plastic strips with pads attached that have been impregnated with reagents that can be used to test pool water for residuals, levels, constituents or demands. The strips are usually dipped in the water, and the resulting colors of the pads are compared to a standard set of colors to determine concentration.

TIME CLOCK A mechanical or electrical device that automatically controls the periods that a pump, filter, heater, blower, automatic pool cleaner or other electrical devices are on or off.

TOTAL ALKALINITY The total amount of alkaline materials pre- sent in the water. Also called the buffering capacity of the water. It is the water's resistance to change in pH. Low total alkalinity causes metal corrosion, plaster etching and eye irritation. High total alkalinity causes scale formation, poor chlorine efficiency and eye irritation.

TOTAL CHLORINE The total amount of chlorine in the water. It includes both free available and combined chlorine.

TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS - Also called TDS - A measure of the total amount of dissolved material in the water. It is comprised of the spent or carrier chemicals added every time chemicals are added, as well as the hardness, alkalinity, chlorides, chlorides, sodium, magnesium, calcium, etc. Maximum amount in pools is 2500 ppm. Maximum in spas is 1500 over starting TDS. The only way to effectively lower TDS is to drain part or all of the water and replace it.

TRICHLOR A slow-dissolving, tableted or granular, stabilized organic chlorine compound providing 90% available chlorine. Used for regular chlorination but must be dispensed using a floating feeder or an in-line feeder (chlorinator). Trichlor contains an ingredient that prevents the chlorine from being destroyed by the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Trichlor has a pH of 2.8, and regular trichlor tabs should not be placed in the skimmer as the low pH will corrode the metal components in the equipment.

TURBIDITY The cloudy condition of the water due to the presence of extremely fine particles in suspension that cannot be trapped by the filter because they are too small. Adding a clarifier, such as an organic polymer or alum, will coagulate the particles and make the filter more efficient.

TURNOVER Also called turnover rate - The period of time (usually in hours) required to circulate a volume of water equal to the volume of water contained in the pool or spa. Pool capacity in gallons, divided by pump flow rate in gallons per minute (gpm), divided by 60 minutes in 1 hours, will give hours for 1 turnover.

UNDERDRAIN Also call filter laterals or lower collection system - Slotted, finger-like tubes that are attached to a sand filter manifold. The slots are on the bottom side to prevent the sand from passing through. Water comes into the filter tank, through the sand, into the under drain, and then back to the pool.

UNDERWATER LIGHT A fixture designed to illuminate a pool or spa from beneath the water's surface.

VACUUM This term can be used to define any number of devices that use suction to collect dirt from the bottom and sides of a pool or spa. Most common is a vacuum head with wheels that attaches to a telepole and is connected to the suction line usually via the opening in the skimmer. It must be moved about by a person, and debris is collected in the filter.

VENTURI A fitting or device that consists of a tube constricted in the middle and flared on both ends. A fluid's velocity will increase and a fluid's pressure will decrease while passing through the constriction. Placing a tube or pipe at the constriction point creates a vacuum. Fluid or air can then be drawn in through the tube. A hydro-therapy jet draws air in and mixes it with the water using this principle.

VINYL LINER The vinyl membrane that acts as the container to hold or contain the water.

WATER CLARIFIER Also called coagulant or flocculant - A chemical compound used to gather (coagulate or agglomerate) or to precipitate suspended particles so they may be removed by vacuum-ing or filtration. There are two types; in- organic salts of aluminum (alum) and other metals or water-soluble organic polyelectro- lytes.

WEIR Also called skimmer weir - Part of a skimmer that adjust automatically to small changes in water level to assure a continuous flow of water to the skimmer. The small floating "door" on the side of the skimmer that faces the water over which water flows on its way to the skimmer. The weir also prevents debris from floating back into the pool after the pump shuts off.



 

Salt in Water

When salt is dissolved in water, the sodium and chlorine break apart to form free sodium ions and chloride ions. Effectively keeping your pool clean.

Baracuda G2

A Baracuda G2 has a 36 - finned disc.

Chlorine

The most common and effective sanitiser of swimming pools in the world is Chlorine.

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