Pool / Spa Industry Terminology


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ACID (chemical related)  A liquid or dry compound used to reduce the pH of swimming pool or spa water. See also "muriatic acid" and "sodium bisulfate".

ACID DEMAND (chemical related)  The amount of acid (or pH decreaser) water needs to reach the proper pH range. For example, to lower pH from 8.0 to 7.6, your pool may "demand" 2 quarts of acid. The actual amount needed will be dependent upon pool volume and other factors. Some test kits contain the titration test used to determine acid demand.

AIR-RELIEF VALVE A brass or plastic, manually operated valve located at the top of a filter tank for relieving the pressure inside the filter and for removing the air inside the filter (called bleeding the filter). Sometimes called a pressure-relief valve.

ALGAE (chemical related) Microscopic plant-like organisms that contain chlorophyll. Algae are nourished by carbon dioxide (CO2) and use sunlight to carry out photosynthesis. It is introduced by rain or wind and grows in colonies producing nuisance masses. Algae are not disease-causing, but can harbor bacteria, and it is slippery. There are 21,000 known species of algae. The most common pool types and black, blue-green, green and mustard (yellow or drawn). Pink or red-colored algae-like organisms exist but are bacteria and not algae. Maintaining proper sanitizer levels, shocking and super chlorination will help prevent its occurrence.

ALGAECIDE (chemical related) Also called algicide - A natural or synthetic chemical designed to kill, destroy or control algae. Algaecides perform best when used regularly as part of a normal maintenance program along with a routine sanitization program. A variety of algae treatment products are available including polymers, quat compounds, chlorine enhancers, copper and silver compounds, and herbicides.

ALGAESTAT (chemical related)  A substance that retards and prevents the growth of algae.

ALKALI (chemical related) Also called base - A Class of compounds which will react with an acid to give a salt. Alkali is the opposite of acid.

ALKALINITY (chemical related)  Also more commonly called total alkalinity. A measure of the pH-buffering capacity of water. Also called the water's resistance to change in pH. Composed of the hydroxides, carbonates and bicarbonates in the water. One of the basic water tests necessary to determine water balance.

ALUM (chemical related) Any one of several aluminum compounds used in pools to form a gelatinous floc on sand filters or to coagulate and precipitate suspended particles in the water.

AMMONIA (chemical related) Introduced into the water by swimmers as waste (perspiration or urine) or by other means. Quickly forms foul-smelling, body- irritating chloramines - a disabled, less- effective form of chlorine. See chloramines or combined chlorine.

ANTI-FOAM (chemical related) A chemical added to the water to make the suds or foam go away. These products do not remove the source of the sudsing. Most often, the water must be drained and refilled to remove the soaps, oils and other causes of foaming. Shocking and super chlorination may help prevent foaming.

ASCORBIC ACID (chemical related) A chemical compound used to remove iron stains from fiberglass and vinyl-liner pools.

ASME (heater related) Stands for 'American Societyof Mechanical Engineers'. Most local codes require that public pools be in compliance with ASME standards and be inspected by ASME inspectors when manufactured. ASME approved heaters carry the ASME stamp on the heater itself.

AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER A pool maintenance system that will agitate or vacuum debris from the pool interior automatically.

AVAILABLE CHLORINE CONTENT (chemical related) A term used or an index used to compare the oxidizing power of chorine-containing products to gas chlorine. It permits easy comparison of chlorine compounds.

AVAILABLE CHLORINE (chemical related) The amount of chlorine, both free and combined in the pool water that is available to sanitize or disinfect the water. Some- times called residual chlorine.

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