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Pool Volume and Water Flow Meters

There's no match for knowing exactly how much water a pool contains, including the plumbing system. So in this article, we're going to make the case for using a water flow meter when filling (or refilling) a swimming pool.

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pool chemical shortages, chlorine shortage, chlorine demand, acid shortage, acid demand, reduce pool chemicals, empty pool store shelf

Pool Chemical Shortages in 2022

Just like 2021, supply-chain and labor shortages are causing uncertainty in the economy. But amidst the unknowns, a few things are certain, and this article is here to help you plan for them and adapt accordingly.

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saltwater pool, salt pools, swimming pool chemistry, salt pool conductivity, salt chlorine generator, conductivity in water, salt pool salinity, pool water temperature

Conductivity and Saltwater Pools

In this article, we discuss how salinity and water temperature affect saltwater pools; specifically how they affect the performance of a salt-chlorine generator.

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standardize pool chemistry, baseline pool chemistry, orenda program, orenda pool chemistry, orenda pool

Standardizing Pool Chemistry

We have recently noticed that most swimming pool service companies we speak to do not have a well-defined, standardized operating procedure (SOP) for water chemistry. Regardless of the number of pools the company services, we believe all service companies can benefit from standardizing a few things. This article will explain why.

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organic staining in pool, tannins, tannin staining, pool organic stain, leaf stains in pool

Tannins and Organic Staining in Pools

What causes organic staining in swimming pools? Why do leaves, pine needles, acorns, berries and other plant droppings stain pool surfaces? The answer to both questions is tannins, and this article will explain more.

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orenda year in review, pool industry 2021, orenda 2021, orenda technologies

Orenda's 2021 Year in Review

It was another odd year in the world, and at Orenda, we thought a recap is in order. If we could choose two words to summarize 2021 in the swimming pool industry, they would be inflation and consolidation.It all started in...

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is concrete waterproof?, pool waterproofing, concrete pool, concrete pool problems, swimming pool waterproof, calcium nodules

Are Concrete Pools Waterproof?

Most people probably think swimming pools are waterproof. You might be surprised to learn that most pools are not actually waterproof. Sure, vinyl liner and fiberglass pools are, or at least should be. But in-ground concrete pools are not. In this article, let's discuss the process of waterproofing for concrete pools, and if waterproofing is necessary for your pool.

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Pool Party

The Chemistry of a Pool Party

Hosting a pool party? You might want to be aware of the challenges your pool will need to overcome. But no worries, we've got you covered in this article.

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swimming pool vinyl liner, pool liner, vinyl liner pool, vinyl swimming pool liner, vinyl pool, vinyl pool chemistry

Understanding Vinyl Liner Pools

Swimming pool vinyl liners are a popular alternative to cement-based finishes and fiberglass pools. At Orenda, the majority of our focus has been on cement-based finishes (plaster, quartz, pebble, etc.) because of their interaction with water chemistry–especially during the initial few days of a startup. But this article is specific to vinyl liners and how they interact with the water. Spoiler alert: the LSI still matters.

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Containing pH vs. Controlling pH in a Pool

The COVID-19 supply chain shortages have hit the swimming pool business. A parallel consequence of the chlorine shortage is now an acid shortage. This article will explain how to reduce acid demand by balancing your water chemistry in a more favorable way. You will learn how to stop chasing pH, and instead, learn how to contain it. The results will be less wasted chemicals and more predictable water chemistry.

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What does PPM mean?

PPM stands for Parts Per Million. Those of us in the pool business often take acronyms for granted, as though everyone knows them. This article will explain PPM and why it matters.

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Cicadas and Swimming Pools

Cicadas are coming. And while cicadas are not into swimming, their sheer numbers will lead to many landing (and dying) in pools. Let's discuss how to handle these giant insects.

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What Causes High Alkalinity in Pools?

Have you ever managed a swimming pool where the alkalinity level fluctuates? Usually, alkalinity decreases each week due to acid use, but what about an alkalinity level that rises? Those of you with CO2 feeders are probably already familiar with a seemingly endless rise in alkalinity. If you have ever wondered why alkalinity sometimes climbs on its own, this article is for you.

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Orenda's 100th Blog

Our 100th blog article marks an achievement that we owe to you, our readers, with sincere gratitude. We want to use this article to discuss our company and mission and ask for your continued feedback in 2021.

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Swimming Pool Service Industry, 2020

State of the Swimming Pool Service Industry, 2020

As 2020 draws to an end, there is perhaps one thing that unites people from all over the world: we want to get back to normal. This article is our end-of-the-year wrap-up and a positive outlook for swimming pool owners and industry professionals in 2021.

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pool covers, pool winterization, pool safety cover, orenda pool chemistry, orenda pool

Swimming Pool Covers and Their Impact on Water Chemistry

Swimming pool covers impact water chemistry in different ways. This article discusses each type of pool cover and how they affect water chemistry. Perhaps most importantly, we will discuss how the type of pool cover you have determines how the pool should be winterized and closed.

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pool price inflation, pool chlorine shortage, chlorine price, pool service cost

Pool Service Prices Will Increase in 2021. Here's Why.

Swimming pool service companies have traditionally ignored and absorbed gradual price increases, because nobody likes raising prices on customers for the same services rendered. Due to COVID-19 and other unforeseen circumstances, that is no longer possible in 2021. We are writing this article to inform homeowners about what has happened to our industry and how you can prepare for the increased costs of maintaining your swimming pool.

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calcium flakes, salt cell calcium, scale in salt generator, saltwater calcium, salt pool calcium, swg calcium flake, calcium flaking in pool

Calcium Flakes in Saltwater Pools

If you own or maintain a saltwater pool, there's a good chance you have seen calcium flakes in it too. This article will explain what the flakes really are and debunk some myths about them. Let's get into it.

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Understanding Calcium Nodules in Pools

Calcium nodules in pools look like little calcium volcanos or blisters that ooze out of pool walls and floors. In this article we cover two opposing viewpoints about what causes calcium nodules, and lay out the facts that everyone agrees on. Then we'll discuss how to prevent and fix calcium nodules.

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henry's law, co2 and pH, carbon dioxide in pools, co2 pH relationship, why does co2 lower pH, why does co2 raise alkalinity

CO2 and pH: Understanding Henry's Law

This topic is fascinating to us. It is also an incredibly helpful lesson that explains why pH naturally rises. If you maintain pools on a weekly basis, you probably notice the pH is almost always higher when you come back after a week. That's not your fault. It's natural. This article explains why.

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total dissolved solids, TDS, total dissolved solids in pools, pool TDS, TDS and LSI, how to reduce TDS

Understanding Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a metric used in water treatment that measures all dissolved minerals, salts, chlorides, metals, organics and many other contaminants in water. TDS impacts water conductivity and is related to corrosion, chemical efficiency, water clarity, and is an often-forgotten factor in the LSI.

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hot water and CYA, temperature and cyanuric acid, cyanuric acid in pools, chlorine stabilizer

Does Temperature Impact Cyanuric Acid Performance?

Today we are discussing two of the six LSI factors: water temperature and cyanuric acid (CYA). Specifically, does warmer temperature affect CYA's ability to protect sunlight? There is a widespread belief in the industry that hotter weather means you need higher CYA to protect chlorine from sunlight. So we asked a leading expert about what's really going on.

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cya chlorine, pH and chlorine, pH and CYA, cyanuric acid, free chlorine to cya ratio, fc cya ratio, chlorine strength, cya HOCl, pH HOCl

Chlorine, pH and Cyanuric Acid Relationships

We have always been taught that pH controls the strength of chlorine. And that's true, except when cyanuric acid is in the water too. CYA changes the entire dynamic. Fair warning, this topic is controversial and contrarian to most textbooks and industry beliefs. But it is backed in science that we will cite in this article. Buckle up.

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weepers, efflorescence, concrete pool shell, orenda, swimming pool leak, shotcrete pool

Weepers, Efflorescence, and other Concrete Pool Shell Problems

Believe it or not, swimming pools can leak in both directions. Most of us think of pool leaks as water escaping out of the pool, but this article is about water pushing into the pool from the outside from hydrostatic pressure. We'll discuss what the consequences are, how to fix them, and more importantly, how to prevent these issues from the beginning.

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Evaporation and Accumulation

When water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals, metals, and other dissolved solids like salt. Naturally, whatever is left behind will accumulate over time. Let's discuss the impact that evaporation has on water chemistry, and how you can be proactive and adapt to it.

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six bad habits in the pool business, pool service issues, profitability in pool service, pool service profit

Six Bad Habits in Pool Service

This article will outline six bad habits that you can change immediately–for free–that will give you an immediate return on investment (ROI).

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How to Add Acid to a Swimming Pool

Do you need to reduce alkalinity or pH in a swimming pool? If so, you may need to add some acid. This article introduces the best known practices for how to safely handle acid products, and how to add acid to a pool properly. Yes, it DOES matter how (and where) the acid is poured in the pool. And we debunk the myth of the "column pour."

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high LSI tap water-2

Scale-Forming Tap Water

We recently had to adapt the Orenda Startup for a unique tap water situation.

Most tap water we test is low on the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI). On the Orenda app, it shows up with a red LSI number at the bottom. And by "most tap water", we mean almost all tap water in the country. That is, until the water we tested recently in the Bay Area of Northern California. It had a purple LSI.

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Winter Pool Service

Winter Pool Service: Necessary or Not?

There are few certainties in life: death, taxes, deadlines, and homeowners who want to suspend or cancel pool service during the winter. We understand the logic behind suspending pool service, but we also know that the logic is based on incomplete information. As pool professionals, it is our responsibility to inform customers–homeowners who ultimately make the final decisions about their pool–about what cold water can do to their pool over the winter.

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algae, types of algae in pools, how to prevent algae, how to remove algae, orenda algae

Understanding Algae

Algae (plural) are common in swimming pools that struggle with chlorine efficiency, sanitizer killing speed, and high phosphates. This article is an overview of what algae are, and how to kill and prevent algae from taking over your swimming pool.

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ideal pH, ideal pH in pool, what should pH be

What is the ideal pH for swimming pools?

Pool industry textbooks and certification courses tell us that swimming pools should be maintained ideally between 7.4 to 7.6 pH. But why? Is it for sanitizer efficiency or overall water balance? Or perhaps it is because of swimmer comfort. Everyone we have asked in the pool industry makes mention of the pH of human tears...but a simple online search debunks that myth. So let's challenge conventional wisdom and get to the truth.

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How to safely add chlorine BLOG

How to Safely Add Chlorine to a Swimming Pool

Chlorine is the most popular pool sanitizer. Its responsibilities include sanitization, disinfection and oxidation. Needless to say, having a good residual of free chlorine is essential to having a healthy and safe pool to swim in. This article will explain how to add various types of chlorine to your swimming pool. Let's get started.

First and foremost, a word of caution. NEVER mix different types of chlorine together. Even storing them near each other can be dangerous. Chlorine is a volatile oxidizer and when mixed with other types of chlorine, it can be deadly. Always use protective gloves and glasses, and use caution. In fact, as a rule of thumb, NEVER mix chlorine directly with anything else.

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How to add soda ash and bicarb BLOG

How to Add Soda Ash or Sodium Bicarb to a Swimming Pool

Do you need to raise alkalinity or pH in your swimming pool? If so, there are two dry chemicals that you can choose from. One is sodium bicarbonate (bicarb), and the other is a higher pH substance called soda ash.

This article will walk you through how to safely and properly add either of these chemicals. And yes, bicarb and soda ash are different! The procedure for adding them, however, is identical. We just dose them differently. Adding dry chemicals like soda ash and sodium bicarb is not as simple as it sounds...you don't just throw them in the pool. Like any other dry chemical, we should pre-dissolve sodium bicarb or soda ash in a bucket prior to adding to the pool. Let's explain.

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What is a 22hot start22?

What is a Hot Start?

A "hot start" is a method for starting up a new or resurfaced pool using a lot of acid. It is extremely aggressive–by design–so it etches calcium off the surface, hopefully evenly. The objective of a hot start is to "burn up" plaster dust and any imperfections left behind by the plaster application process, so that the customer is left with a beautiful looking pool. A hot start may also be called a "zero alkalinity startup" or an "acid startup". This article will discuss what hot starts are, why they are used, how they are done, and the chemistry behind the process.

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What Causes a High pH in a Swimming Pool?

It happens all the time. Swimming pool pH climbs, or sometimes spikes, and all sorts of problems like calcium dust and carbonate scale can occur. But what causes high pH in pools? Why does the pH sometimes climb, and other times stay relatively steady? In this article, we will discuss pH and how it shifts, and offer some remedies to correct the pH, based on each situation.

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The Orenda Purge

The Orenda Purge

When first using Orenda products like SC-1000 and CV-600/700, the initial dose is what we call the purge dose.  So what is a purge? And why is it necessary? This article will explain.

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Orenda four pillars, Orenda Pillar 4, minimal cyanuric acid, reduce cyanuric acid, dilute CYA, remove CYA, how much CYA

Minimal CYA | Pillar 4

Our Fourth and final Pillar is to minimize cyanuric acid (CYA). Maintaining CYA at a manageable level can be a struggle, and we realize that. But CYA has a major impact on chlorine efficiency. It can be summarized in two words: avoid over-stabilization. This article will explain what CYA is, why we use it, how it gets into our water, and how to manage it to prevent over-stabilization.

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Orenda four pillars, Orenda pillar 3, phosphate remover, phosphate removal, phosphates in pools

Phosphate Removal | Pillar 3

Phosphates. The invisible common denominator behind many pool problems, elevated chlorine demand, and sometimes even cloudy water. Removing phosphates is the third of Orenda's Four Pillars of Proactive Pool Care. This third pillar is an easy one to master. The action step is simple: keep your water's phosphate levels as low as possible; ideally below 500 parts per billion (ppb). In this article, we will explain why phosphate removal is so beneficial and important, even if it's not always mandatory.

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Organic Waste and Carbon Management | Pillar 2

Bather waste. Non-Living Organics. Body Butter. Grease and oils. Whatever you want to call the organic waste products that contaminate swimming pools, managing them is the second of Orenda's Four Pillars. So what do we know about non-living organics? We know that swimmers and animals that use the pool leave behind oils and other carbon-based waste, and chlorine will try to oxidize these contaminants. Unfortunately, oxidation is not chlorine's specialty. Chlorine–or more specifically, the strong form of chlorine in water, Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)–is primarily a sanitizer and disinfectant.

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LSI Balance and Calcium Management | Pillar 1

LSI Balance and Calcium Management is the first of Orenda's Four Pillars. This is arguably the most important of the Four Pillars because it is about understanding water and how it behaves. This article aims to simplify chemistry, so it can be more easily understood. If you are a chemist (who is not already familiar with this subject) and you would like to get more in depth on the science of this topic, this is one of our primary sources. We will link to other external sources in this article as well. So let's get into it.

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The Four Pillars of Proactive Pool Care

The Four Pillars of Proactive Pool Care

Are you proactive in your approach to pool management and water chemistry, or are you reactive? Based on the types (and amounts) of products sold in the pool business, it is clear that plenty of pool people are reactive. According to Dr. Charles Bens, less than 10% of healthcare costs go toward proactive measures...which means over 90% is spent reacting to diseases and illness. In other words, over 90% of the medical industry is treating symptoms and consequences, not preventing them. Amazingly, the same argument could be made in the swimming pool industry.

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wildfires and swimming pools

Wildfires and Swimming Pools

Once again, wildfires rage with devastating fury. To say they are a disruption would be an understatement. We sincerely hope your homes and communities are safe. But even if you are not in eyesight of the flames or smoke, there is a good chance swimming pools will be affected in the region. A good rule of thumb is if you can smell it, it is impacting your swimming pool. Debris can travel many miles, and smoke can travel hundreds of miles. Even if a home is not touched by the flames, there is likely to be a recovery and clean-up process once the flames are finally snuffed out.

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MAHC and NSF Certification Blog title

NSF/ANSI Standard 50 and the MAHC

Commercial Pool Chemicals must be NSF Certified or EPA Registered

"New: Specifies that numerous pool chemicals (stabilizers, pool-grade salt, clarifiers, flocculants,...

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how to reduce CYA

How to Reduce Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in a Swimming Pool

High levels of Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in pool water can cause issues. That's why Minimal CYA is Orenda's Fourth Pillar of Proactive Pool Care.

And yet, we encounter many people that are hesitant to drain—or even dilute—their pool to reduce CYA levels. Perhaps there are valid reasons—costs, structural risks, labor, environmental concerns—for not draining high CYA pool water. That being said, draining and/or diluting water is still the most economical way to lower CYA levels in a pool.

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Leave it betterthan you found it.

Leave It Better Than You Found It

My grandfather has a few rules that go unquestioned and are universally obeyed. One of them is "leave it better than you found it." It could mean the bedroom I'm staying in at their home...or the kitchen after I eat lunch. It also applies to borrowing tools, the car, the tractor, or anything else that does not belong to me. Leave (or return) it better than you found it. A profoundly simple rule to remind us to respect others and their property.

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nitrates

Nitrates, Nitrites and Urea in Swimming Pools

Nitrates, Nitrites and other Ammonia-based compounds can be confusing. This article is our attempt to simplify the science and explain why these things matter. If you're looking for a high-level chemistry lesson, this is not the article for you. But feel free to read some of our sources to get your fix: the CDC, NIH, ScienceDirect, and peer reviewed studies like this and this.

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How to install a

How to install a feed pump on a swimming pool

Automating chemical feeds in swimming pools is almost always a good idea. Orenda products are no different. This is a step-by-step guide with a video to walk you through how to install a feed pump on a swimming pool.

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Opening-a-Poolwith-Crystals

Four Things to do When you Open a Pool with Crystals in it

What are you going to do if you remove a winter pool cover and find calcium crystals in the pool? If you have encountered the winter crystals in the past--and you may have thought it was 'scale'--what did you do in the past? Did it work? This article will outline four things Orenda recommends if you are trying to open a pool with crystals in it.

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lsi first.range chemistry second.

LSI First. Range Chemistry Second.

What if range chemistry is the wrong thing to focus on when managing water? What if the ranges do not always apply, like in the winter? Theoretically, the textbook ranges for chemistry are ideal. But in reality, that's not always the case. In this article we will explain why we prioritize the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) first, and range chemistry after that.

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water-testing

Honesty in Water Chemistry Testing

 
 

If you're not testing, you're just guessing

Water testing is too often rushed and overlooked in our industry. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to take the startup certification course for the National Plasterer's Council, hosted by Bel-Aqua. As an employee of Orenda, I work with service techs and plaster companies every week. This course was a wonderful opportunity to soak up information like a sponge, and learn more about the business. Granted, I was not actually supposed to take the course (Orenda was a sponsor of the event, and I am not a service tech), but I was invited to participate.

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pool-winterization.jpg

Pool Chemistry During the Winter

This article aims to shed light on what really goes in a pool that is winterized. When the temperature drops, chemistry changes. Pools must be treated differently in the winter than they are in the summer, You can read our primary article about Proactive Pool Winterization here.

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alkalinity.png

What is Alkalinity?

Alkalinity is one of the primary things measured in water chemistry. But what is it? Total Alkalinity (TA) often gets confused with pH and words like alkali, alkaline, etc. I think this topic is one of the least understood in pool management. Many pool service pros know how to test for TA, but may not even know what it actually is, what it does, and why it's important.

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How to add calcium chloride to a swimming pool

How should we add calcium chloride to a swimming pool? How can we make sure we're handling it safely, and properly, to avoid unintended consequences? Adding calcium is not as simple as it sounds...you don't just throw it in the pool. Calcium chloride doesn't dissolve the same way as dry acid, sodium bicarb or a non-chlorine shock; calcium chloride gives off a lot of heat. Like any other dry chemical, however, calcium chloride should be pre-dissolved in a bucket prior to adding to the pool. Let's explain.

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ORP and LSI: The Future of Water Chemistry

Way back in 1984 I founded my service and repair company, The Pool Surgeon. I had no idea what ORP and LSI abbreviations meant, let alone their definitions. To be completely honest with you, I am not certain I was any better informed in the first 25 years of my pool career. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I'm admitting it because it's the truth.

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calcium.png

Calcium: The Most Misunderstood Chemistry in the Pool Business

Calcium hardness has a bad reputation, and that reputation is undeserved. When people see calcium scale or plaster problems that are white in color, they immediately assume it's calcium's fault. In reality, calcium is actually your best friend for water balance, as it is remarkably stable, and able to help you keep your pool in LSI balance year-round.

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Types of Phosphates.png

Different Types of Phosphates

What kinds of phosphates might be in a swimming pool? There are several variations, and this article will outline some of them. Mainly, we want to illustrate that some phosphate compounds will not show up on an orthophosphate test kit.

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Avoid Instant Gratification

We live in a world of instant gratification

Delayed gratification doesn't sell. In an effort to get ahead, tech companies (social media platforms, in particular) are in a race to feed our instant gratification appetites. Want that item? Get online and order it, it will arrive in just a few days. Wait, no, order it directly from the app.  Wait, even better, tell Siri, Alexa or "Ok Google" to order it for you! Ahh, yes, progress.

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metals.png

Heavy Metals: Oxidation and Metal Staining

It's your one-way ticket to midnight. Call it heavy metal.
Oh wait, we're talking about dissolved metals in water. Just uhh...disregard that Sammy Hagar reference. Sorry.

In this article we will be discussing metals in swimming pools. How they interact with other things in water like chlorine, and also how to prevent issues like stains. We will cover oxidation, sequestration and chelation, and attempt to simplify these terms.

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Before Firing a Pool Technician, Read This

Pool owners can get frustrated with pool service techs when the water doesn't look good, or problems occur. It is understandable, and maybe the service tech is at fault...but then again, maybe they are not. Know the facts of the problems before pointing fingers. Otherwise, you're just stuck with the problem.

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breakpoint chlorination.png

Understanding Breakpoint Chlorination

Breakpoint chlorination is a key concept in pool chemistry. In May 2017, we published a two-part article about pool sanitizers. In part one we compared different chlorine types, and their pros and cons. This article dives deeper into the science of chlorination. We explore the difference between breakpoint chlorination and hyperchlorination (shocking).

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what is carbonate alkalinity, carbonate vs. total alkalinity, Orenda blog title image

What is Carbonate Alkalinity?

The LSI calls for the carbonate alkalinity of pool water...but this is a confusing term. Pool chemistry test kits only measure total alkalinity. So what is carbonate alkalinity? And how is it different than total alkalinity? As we have learned, semantics really do matter for this topic.

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BLOG how enzymes work

How Swimming Pool Enzymes Work

Enzymes are made up of proteins and amino acids, and they catalyze certain chemical reactions. Our bodies contain countless types of enzymes that help us process food and other things. Pool enzymes are made to break down and digest non-living organics, which makes water cleaner, and chemicals more efficient.

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calcium crystals

Calcium Crystals vs. Scale

NOTE: This article has been revised from its original version, due to learning more from laboratory results. We still have more unanswered questions about crystals than we have answers. Why do they harden? How many forms are there (we know of at least 3)? Why are some crystals easy to clean up, and others stubborn? What common denominators are involved, beyond cold water and lack of calcium hardness?

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Channeling-1.png

Pool Filter Channeling

Seasoned pool operators know the triad of great pool water: filtration, circulation and chemistry. Without effective filtration, there will be problems... and filter channeling undermines filtration.

When sand filters become overloaded or otherwise compromised, water must still find its way through the filter. The water pressure can eventually force its way around the sand (or a channel through it), creating a new path of least resistance for water to travel. Filter channeling is a problem that almost guarantees cloudy pool water, as the channel itself is like a highway for larger particles to travel and bypass the filter media.

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Pillar Page Graphic_ What Is Orenda Pool _Download App

How to Use the Orenda App

 UPDATE, June 2019: The Orenda App has grown to become one of the most popular and widely used swimming pool apps in the world. We are grateful for all of our users, and are pleased to have created such a valuable tool.

This article will walk you through how to use our app, the LSI Dosing Calculator, and other features.

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bather load, busy swimming pool, warm up pool, ultraswim, high chlorine demand, best pool enzyme, orenda enzyme

An Overloaded Warm-Up Pool

The following is a true story, exactly the way I remember it. Not that I could ever forget my time in that tiny warmup pool...

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Pool Sanitizers, Part 2: Chlorine Alternatives

Chlorine Alternatives

In part 1, we discussed the various types of chlorine, and why a residual pool sanitizer is essential for a safe, healthy swimming pool. This article will cover chlorine alternatives. Again, this is taking a vast array of information and simplifying it for you to read... as always, if you want to learn more, we encourage you to research these topics further.

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pool sanitizers, pool chlorine, pool chlorine types, types of chlorine, cal hypo, sodium hypochlorite, liquid chlorine, bleach for pool, trichlor, dichlor, gas chlorine

Pool Sanitizers, Part 1: Chlorine

 

Chlorine is the most popular sanitizer/disinfectant used in swimming pools. This article covers the different types of chlorine and how to use them. We will link out to more in-depth articles for each type of chlorine (eventually).

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Cold Water and the LSI

The vast majority of damage done to a pool occurs during the winter, or initial filling/startup. And not just damage to the  the pool plaster, but pool equipment can be corroded too.  Etching and corrosion are more likely to happen in cold water than warm. This article will explain, with the help of the Orenda App's LSI Calculator. It's all about the LSI.

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CLOUDY

What Causes Cloudy Pool Water?

Pools get cloudy for a number of reasons. This article will discuss several of them, but keep in mind you could have a combination of these factors going on. If you need further guidance, contact us, or request an online training with us.

Request Training

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NPC-show.png

I knew nothing about pool plaster. So I went to the NPC Show.

I have never plastered a pool in my life. In fact, until this week, I had never even seen pool plaster being applied. To be honest, I did not even know the difference between plaster, cement, gunite, concrete, shotcrete, or any other type of -crete. Because of this utter lack of knowledge and experience, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this year's National Plasterers Council (NPC) annual conference in New Orleans.

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Calcium-1.png

Understanding Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness is one of the most important factors in water chemistry, and swimming pool chemistry especially. It is one of the six LSI factors, and because it does not fluctuate much, we love using calcium hardness as a foundation for water balance. Let's discuss why.

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The NSPF and APSP Merged

The Pool and Hot Tub Alliance

In January 2019, the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) merged with the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) and became the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance. 

We have revised this article, which was originally written as a guest blog by the NSPF itself. Now we want to showcase the new organization and what it offers the industry. And as far as we can tell, both the NSPF and APSP still maintain their original websites and content, including guest articles from Orenda and others.

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ORP, pool ORP, oxidation reduction potential, oxidation-reduction, what is ORP, chlorine strength

Understanding ORP: Oxidation Reduction Potential

Note: As usual, this is an article that aims to simplify a complex topic. To all the chemists reading this, if something we say needs to be clarified or corrected, please comment below or contact us directly! We strive to publish only the most accurate information possible. Just keep in mind, this article is meant to be in layman's terms. Enjoy!

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Understanding LSI: The Langelier Saturation Index

The Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) is a cornerstone of the Orenda program. The LSI is the unbiased measurement of water balance, as defined by calcium carbonate saturation. It determines if our water is aggressive/corrosive (low LSI), balanced, or scale-forming (high LSI). It sounds simple enough, but let's dive in and show you just how much it matters to other aspects of water chemistry.

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Swimmers Pee in the Pool

Swimmers pee in the pool

Not only is peeing in the pool disgusting, it also results in harmful disinfectant byproducts (DBPs) being off-gassed from the water. Examples of these DBPs are chloramines (specifically the airborne NCl3, Nitrogen Trichloride), chloroform, cyanogen chloride, and other gases. They are harmful and cause swimmers like me to develop asthma and lifeguard lung. Ironically, our urine is one of the root causes of the harmful air we breathe. One would think that would be enough to stop swimmers from peeing in the pool. But there are valid reasons why swimmers pee.

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Protect Pool Plaster with LSI Balance from the Start

Pool builders, plaster applicators, and service techs know that a pool startup can be a real pain. Plaster dust is just the tip of the iceberg. For residential pools especially, most pools have water filling them within hours of finishing the plaster. That means the tap water and its chemistry is immensely important in the curing process (hydration) of new pool plaster.

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world class water clarity

World Class Water Clarity

Any pool is capable of having world class water clarity, provided they have the right components and management practices. Most pools face cloudy pool water at least some of the time. In this article, we focus on the pools that consistently have stunning water clarity. What are they doing differently?

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Total Alkalinity vs. pH, and Their Roles in Water Chemistry

Have you ever asked "what's the difference between pH and alkalinity? Many of us in aquatics confuse total alkalinity and pH. It’s understandable, given how blurred the line is between words like “alkaline” and “alkalinity.” Indeed, alkalinity and pH in water chemistry are closely related, but they are not the same. This article will distinguish between them.

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Pool IAQ interview with Keith Coursin, Desert Aire

Keith Coursin clears the air: Pool indoor air quality was a big deal before it became a big deal.

As a follow up to part 1 and part 2 of the history of pool indoor air quality (IAQ), I reached out to Keith Coursin, the President of Desert Aire Corp, a prominent pool dehumidifier manufacturer. Coursin has been in the field of HVAC technology since his 20's; in my personal opinion he's one of leading experts on pool dehumidification in the world. This is my interview with Keith Coursin.

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Scum Lines Matter

Scum lines are exactly what they sound like: lines of scum that form around the water’s edge, adhering to tile, grout, gunite and even stainless steel. By scum, we mean carbon-based bather waste (such as body oils, sweat, grease etc.), as well as body products (like deodorant, perfumes, sunscreen and lotions). If you are unfamiliar with scum lines, ask any lifeguard. They are often assigned to scrub them off with a brush and cleaning gel, and it takes a good bit of time and labor. Not to mention, a lot of cleaning products.

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green swimming pool caused by algae, with no phosphates

Green Pool, But No Phosphates?

When a pool turns green it could be for a few reasons. But if it's green from algae, there is a proven clean-up procedure pool pros can use. Green pools, after all, are not uncommon. But if you have ever tested for phosphates in a green pool, chances are the levels were very low, if not zero. How is that even possible?

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SCALE

Carbonate Scale: The Hardened Truth

Carbonate Scale is a buildup of hardened calcium carbonate (CaCO3) on pool surfaces or equipment. Scale can be a big problem for a pool and its plumbing system (and other water systems besides pools, like fountains). Like most of our articles on the Orenda blog, this article is meant to simplify chemistry so that the chemistry can be better understood . If you want more detailed information, just click the links to our sources to read more. 

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salt pools

Salt Pools: The Truth about Salt Generated Chlorine

Given the popularity of salt chlorine generators in residential and commercial pools, it is appropriate to share some valuable information for saltwater pool owners/operators, or those considering making the switch to salt.

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BACKWASHING

Backwashing Sand Filters

What is Backwashing?

A stunning number of pool operators ask us about backwashing. Of all the topics in pool operation, one would think backwashing is fairly straight-forward. When the pressure in the filters gets to a certain point, backwash. Right? Well, as it turns out, that's not what pool operators—especially inexperienced ones—ask us. It's not about 'how' or 'when' to backwash. It's more like...

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What are Chloramines?

Chloramines are chemical byproducts of chlorine oxidizing nitrogen-based compounds in water. They are referred to as disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). Normally, it is the incomplete oxidation of carbon, ammonia and nitrogen-based organic waste that creates the long list of DBPs, whereas chloramines themselves follow a specific pattern.

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Why we treat our water with Enzymes

Chlorine is primarily a sanitizer. It's secondary role in pool chemistry is oxidation of other contaminants, like bather waste. Unfortunately there is a lot of bather waste and other oxidants that reduce chlorine rapidly, which interferes with its primary mission of sanitization. Enzymes devour non-living organics (bather waste). Supplementing your chlorine with enzymes is part of our Second Pillar of Proactive Pool Care.

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Why I Value Clean Water

I have spent a good chunk of my life in the water as a competitive swimmer. I estimate that I’ve swam (conservatively) over 23,000 miles in my life to date, which is nearly the circumference of the Earth. Swimming is a passion of mine, and obviously, swimming requires water of a certain quality. No one should have to swim in water that is polluted or toxic.

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Phosphates in Pools

Phosphates in pool water have become a common problem, yet the topic is largely misunderstood or misrepresented. Do you know what phosphates are, where they come from, and why they cause issues for pool chemistry? If not, this article is for you.

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