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Blog posts of '2018' 'January'

Understanding water balance in your swimming pool and hot tub


All Swim stabilisedchlorine granulesWhen chlorine is added to pool or spa water a portion is consumed in the process when it destroys bacteria, algae and other contaminants introduced to the swimming pool or hot tub water. The amount of chlorine consumed is known as chlorine demand. Sunlight, bacteria, perspiration, urine, algae, make up, fake tan and many other forms of debris all create this chlorine demand.

Once this initial demand has been met, the chlorine that remains in the water is referred to as the total residual chlorine, which is a combination of free available chlorine and combined chlorine. The free available chlorine is the active chlorine that’s left to kill any new contaminants entering the pool or spa. Combined chlorine is tied up in nitrogen and ammonia compounds referred to as chloramines, which remain in the water from organic waste from swimmers and bathers. Chloramines are responsible for eye irritation and the chlorine odor that some people find offensive. When chlorine is tied up in chloramines it loses most of it’s effectiveness as a sanitiser.

To keep a swimming pool or hot tub sanitary with chlorine it is necessary to maintain the following free chlorine residuals:

  • Residential Pools between 1.0 and 3.0ppm
  • Commercial Pools between 1.5 and 2.0ppm using Calcium Hypochlorite or Liquid Chlorine, sometimes a little lower if using UV
  • Residential & Commercial Hot tubs and Spas between 3.0 and 5.0ppm

When levels are kept within this range chlorine is able to control organisms as well as destroying any new contaminants entering the pool or hot tub.

Super Chlorination

Super chlorination is recommended as a weekly treatment if temperatures exceed 90 degrees, when your swimming pool or spa is receiving a heavy bather or swimmer load, is subject to long periods of rain or when high winds carry debris and pollen into your pool. Super chlorination is the addition of an extra dose of chlorine to pool or spa water, which brings the free available chlorine levels to 3.0 to 5.0ppm (Generally a super chlorination boosts the free chlorine level up to between 5 – 10ppm). This helps restore the chlorine’s ability to control algae and bacteria. Some algae spores can also become immune to small doses of sanitisers so super chlorination can help combat this.

Shock Treatment

All Swim stabilisedchlorine granules Shock treatment is a larger dose of chlorine to bring the free available chlorine level up to 10ppm. This is intended to control visible algae, burn out organic swimmer and bather waste and destroy excess chloramines. When swimmers complain of burning eyes and a strong chlorine smell, it is due to excess chloramines and not enough free available chlorine residual in the water - not too much! The odour can also be even stronger if the pH is also low. The use of a periodic shock treatment along with a normal chlorination routine will aid in the prevention of undesirable side effects of using your swimming pool or hot tub. After shock treatment do not resume swimming or bathing until the chlorine residual drops to below 3ppm.

Please note, if your chlorine reading is very high, typically 10ppm, you may obtain a false result when testing for pH with a testing kit. In these cases lower the chlorine levels first before testing for pH and total alkalinity.


Bromine is another type of pool and hot tub sanitiser, although it is quite different to chlorine. If you using Bromine you won’t require a conditioner (an additive that helps prevent chemicals dissipating under the action of the ultraviolet rays of the sun). Like chlorine, bromine combines with nitrogen and ammonia compounds to form bromamines (as opposed to chloramines). Unlike chloramines, bromamines do not irritate eyes or have an offensive odour, and bromamines are effective sanitisers. Bromine is a more effective sanitiser at higher temperatures and therefore is a popular choice for hot tubs and with pool and spa users that dislike the unpleasant odour associated with chloramines.

A molecule of bromine is 2.25 times as heavy as chlorine, a 1.0ppm chlorine residual is therefore equivalent to a 2.25ppm bromine residual. Therefore, it is important to maintain the following bromine levels:

  • Residential & Commercial Pools between 2.0 and 4.0ppm
  • Residential Hot tubs and Spas between 3.0 and 5.0ppm
  • Commercial Hot tubs and Spas between 4.0 and 6.0ppm

When levels are kept within this range bromine is able to control organisms as well as destroying any new contaminants entering the pool and hot tub.

PH & Total Alkalinity

The two most important factors in controlling your sanitisers ability to kill bacteria are pH and total alkalinity levels.

All Swim PAK 2pH is a value expressing the relative acidity or alkalinity of swimming pool or hot tub water. It is expressed as a number from 0 to 14 with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. A value of 7.0 is neutral. Low pH values cause corrosion of equipment and pool or spa surfaces. High pH values cause scale to form on equipment and on pool or hot tub surfaces. The ideal range for pools is 7.2 - 7.6 and the ideal range for hot tubs is 7.0 - 7.6. For swimming pools, to raise pH you will need to use Sodium Carbonate or PAK 2 and to lower pH you will need to use Sodium Bisulphate or Pool Acid. For hot tubs, to raise pH you will need to use Aquasparkle pH Plus and to lower pH you will need to use Aquasparkle pH Minus.  

Total Alkalinity is the ability of water to resist a change in pH. It is also commonly known as the buffering capacity of water. High alkalinity makes it hard to change the pH and may cause scale. Low alkalinity causes dramatic changes in pH, often referred to as pH bounce, and causes corrosion of equipment and pool or hot tub surfaces. The ideal total alkalinity varies depending on the type of sanitiser you are using. For swimming pools, to adjust your Total Alkalinity you will need to use Bicarbonate of Soda or PAK 1. For hot tubs you will need to use Aquasparkle TA Plus.

Always remember, total alkalinity is the key to water balance. Always adjust total alkalinity first and then adjust the pH.

Sanitiser type Ideal Total Alkalinity range

Liquid Chlorine
Calcium Hypochlorite

80 - 100ppm

Gas Chlorine
Trichlor tablets
Bromine tablets

120 - 140ppm

Dichlor granules
Two part bromine

100 - 120ppm

pH and Total Alkalinity are related. It is not possible to change one without affecting the other.

Conditioner or Stabiliser

Whatever type of chlorine chemical you use in your swimming pool or hot tub as a disinfectant is a very active chemical that is easily dissipated by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. To prolong the useful life of free, available chlorine the addition of cyanuric acid (conditioner) is recommended when filling a new pool or at the start of each swimming season if required. Conditioner acts as a type of chemical umbrella, protecting the chlorine sanitiser against loss against the sun’s UV rays. The ideal range for pool stabiliser is 30 - 50ppm. All Swim Conditioner is ideal for adjusting the levels of stabiliser in your swimming pool.

Calcium Hardness

All Swim PAK 2Calcium hardness refers to the portion of the swimming pool or hot tub water’s total hardness due to calcium salts. Calcium hardness will vary with your local water source, the chemicals you add to the water and the rate of evaporation. If you’re based in Wales you can check your local authority’s source water quality at the Welsh Water website.

High calcium hardness can cause cloudy water and also cause the formation of scale on pool and spa equipment. If hardness reaches a level of 400ppm, approximately 25% of the pool or spa water it should be drained and refilled. Soft water without hardness is undesirable because it can cause equipment corrosion and adversely affect the grout on concrete tiled pools. Recommended hardness levels are 200-400ppm for tiled pools and 175-250ppm for vinyl, fibreglass or other types of pool and spa surfaces. Increasing water hardness can be achieved with the use of All Swim’s Pak 3, Calcium Chloride.

Phosphates and their relationship to algae in green pools

Win The War Against Algae This Season

Green swimming pool caused by algae formationWithout doubt, one of the most irritating things for swimming pool owners is the dreaded appearance of algae in your pool. Not being able to use the pool during the algae elimination process, the expense of treating the problem and so on.

It is a common problem amongst pool owners, and for many, when the algae is caught early and swift action taken to tackle it they find it easy enough to manage.

However, others may find despite that knowing how to clear the pool of algae and following the correct procedure, they are plagued by stubborn recurrences of algae – and are fed up of it!

If that sounds familiar, you may be experiencing an issue with the level of Phosphates in your swimming pool. Phos-what?! Allow us to explain…

What Are Phosphates?

Phosphates are pollutants that also happen to be a form of plant-food. They are present in rainwater, fertilizers for landscapes, soil and leaves – all of which can find their way into your swimming pool water. When the level of phosphates in water builds up over time, it provides an excellent food source for algae, which alongside light, water and carbon dioxide set the perfect conditions for algae to thrive in.

Green swimming pool caused by algae formationWhat Can Be Done To Stop Recurring Algae?

As mentioned above, algae requires four components to enable it to thrive; Light, Water, Carbon Dioxide and Food. By removing one or more of these components, algae will struggle and be unable to thrive. If you find that algae keeps making an unwelcome return to your swimming pool each year, you more than likely have a higher than desired level of phosphates present.

Testing For Phosphates

If all of this sounds familiar, it makes sense to test your water for phosphates. This can easily be done with the Lo-Chlor Phosphate Test Kit. Once you’ve identified a high phosphate problem, you can take the necessary steps to remove the phosphate (food) source, dramatically reducing the chance of persistent algae recurrence.

How Do You Remove Phosphates?

Lo-Chlor Starver XWhen conducting a shock treatment to kill off algae you typically conclude the treatment process with either a clarifier or floculant product to remove the dead algae spores from the pool water.  While this appears to resolve the problem, phosphate particles are very small and do not get removed at the same time. They remain in the water, waiting for the next batch of algae to emerge!

Fear not though, as there are products specifically designed to remove phosphates; Lo Chlor Starver Phosphate Remover and Lo-Chlor Starver X. These products are a natural composition of unique polymers and rare earth compounds, proven to safely and effectively remove phosphates from swimming pool water, ponds and fountains.

Both Starver and Starver X are fast acting while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of sanitisers and salt water chlorinators. There is no need to vacuum to waste as no residue settles in the pool and they are compatible with all pool treatment products and equipment.

We offer free, comprehensive advice on all manner of water chemistry queries and managing your swimming pool too of course, so please feel free to get in touch with any questions you have either by calling 02920 705059, emailing or visiting our swimming pool and hot tub showroom here in Cardiff. We’re here to help!



Heatsavr and Ecosavr, the liquid swimming pool cover

What is a liquid pool cover?

Heatsavr is an effective ‘liquid pool blanket’ for swimming pools and spas that replaces the need for conventional pool covers, greatly reducing heat loss and evaporation from exposed pool surfaces 24 hours a day.

Heatsavr is a patented, non-toxic, biodegradable and completely safe liquid that does not change the appearance or operation of your pool and has been fully tested by numerous independent authorities to ensure that it meets the health and safety standards required.

What are the benefits of Heatsavr over conventional pool covers?

  • Low capital cost
  • Quick payback – costs funded directly from savings
  • Available 24/7
  • No cleaning issues due to bacterial build up
  • Fully automatic – no cover to remove
  • Pool always ready to use
  • Ultimate reliability
  • Energy Savings up to 50%

Using Heatsavr for outdoor pools

An outdoor swimming pool before using Heatsavr Heatsavr works like conventional solar covers for outdoor pools by enabling the pool to benefit from direct solar radiation, so an unheated pool will be naturally warmer or a heated pool cost less to run. Savings relate directly to reduced evaporation and hence pool water heat loss. Heat savings of up to 40% can be expected using Heatsavr although actual savings will depend on location and usage.

Using Heatsavr for indoor swimming pools

In addition to savings on water heating, Heatsavr also reduces the overall energy usage which includes dehumidification and air heating. Reduced evaporation means less load on any dehumidification plant and when the pool is unoccupied the air temperature can be reduced to a set back level, resulting in reduced air heating costs. Dependant on building design and pool usage, overall reduction in energy costs can be as high as 50% when using Heatsavr compared to an uncovered pool.

Chemical Savings of up to 50%

An outdoor swimming pool after using Heatsavr liquid pool cover Whilst the chemical saving benefits of Heatsavr have long been recognised, controlled tests carried out on several outdoor pools during 2011 showed reductions in chlorine consumption of between 45 and 50% - economic justification alone for the use of Heatsavr without taking into account the energy savings!

How does Heatsavr work?

In non-technical terms Heatsavr is a mixture of carefully chosen ingredients which are lighter than water so the mixture automatically floats to the surface. The particles of the liquid are then attracted to each other so they always try to form a perfect, very thin layer - one molecule thick - over the whole surface of the pool. They are individually so small that they are 500 times smaller than the spaces in a super high quality filter so you won’t lose performance from your swimming pool filtration system.

Unlike a conventional pool cover which has to be removed from the pool for swimming, the Heatsavr molecules break apart locally whenever the water is sufficiently disturbed but when the water calms down again they regroup to re-form the protective layer.

Easy and inexpensive to install, it provides a reliable and accurate method of ensuring that the pool benefits from the maximum energy savings possible. Fully programmable to suit pool size and hours of operation, it only requires a periodic check of the reservoir, topping up as necessary.

How to calculate the application rate of Heatsavr

Calculate your swimming pool’s surface area (length x width) then add 0.8ml per sq metre every 24 hours for a skimmer pool and 1ml per sq metre every 24 hours for a deck level pool. To help automatically dose you can use a Heatsavr dosing pump to ensure the Heatsavr liquid is added to your pool on a regular basis.

  • Save money, water & energy
  • Biodegradable: Environmentally friendly
  • Reduces make up water
  • Proven: Lab & field tested and verified
  • Easy to use – no manual handling
  • Reduces humidity in indoor pools
  • An outdoor swimming pool before using HeatsavrSafe: Tested extensively
  • Transparent
  • Safe for filters & plumbing

Heatsavr is also undetectable by pool users as it’s  tasteless, odourless and leaves no residue on your hair or clothing.


For a handy way to dose your domestic swimming pool with Heatsavr why not try the Ecosavr Fish? Combining the effective ‘liquid pool blanket’ treatment in a handy, easy to use sachet. One Ecosavr Fish treats a pool up to 40m2 for approximately one month, larger pools will require two Ecosavr Fish.

A proven alternative to hot tub chlorine and bromine

AquaFinesse: The Alternative Sanitiser

Aquafinesse Spa Kit, the alternative to chlorine and bromine sanitisers for your hot tubAs a hot tub owner, one of the first things you come to understand is the importance of sanitising the water in your spa, right? A vital step in looking after both the health and wellbeing of those using your hot tub and the water quality involves eliminating and killing bacteria, protecting users from the unwelcome, hazardous effects bacteria can pose.

An Alternative Choice

Whilst the majority of hot tub and spa owners still tend to use either Chlorine or Bromine as their sanitiser of choice, did you know there is an alternative product that not only destroys bacteria, but actually prevents it from reforming?!

The AquaFinesse Effect

Firstly, let’s ensure we fully understand the cause of bacterial build up; in order for it to thrive, bacteria creates a layer of slime where they feed, shelter and breed (gross isn’t it?!). As time passes, the slime (called Biofilm) actually increases in thickness, becoming increasingly resistant to sanitisers. In fact, 99% of all bacteria actually live in the Biofilm, only 1% of bacteria present in a spa lives in the water itself!

This then lurks invisibly on surfaces in your hot tub and within the pipework – and even high levels of chlorine or bromine are only able to kill off bacteria in the outer layer, with the remaining bacteria still present (and able to continue breeding) underneath.

Aquafinesse Spa Clean, for deep cleaning your hot tubAquaFinesse is a simple, environmentally friendly, patented weekly treatment that really takes bacteria and biofilm to task; this unique formula acts by loosening the slimy layer of biofilm from surfaces and pipework, which the action of the water then rinses away. Bacteria is also prevented from reforming, as it simply can no longer stick to surfaces during the presence of AquaFinesse. Only a very small amount of sanitiser is required alongside AquaFinesse. An added bonus is AquaFinesse’s ability to prevent calcium build up (your hot tub will thank you for this!).

How Do I Switch To AquaFinesse?

If you have previously been using chlorine or bromine as your sanitiser, you will need to perform a ‘deep clean’ with AquaFinesse Spa Clean prior to changing over AND to shock dose with your sanitiser at the same time. This action kills off and releases the bacteria present. Next you will need to drain your hot tub and fill with fresh water.

Then you can simply continue to use AquaFinesse weekly and enjoy crystal clear, softer and safer spa water every use.

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