Service Industry News

For more than 29 years, Service Industry News has served as the voice of the pool and spa service professional. A twice monthly newspaper, the staff covers featured stories on equipment installation, trouble-shooting and repair; water chemistry and business issues facing the industry; and news pertaining to the interests of the pool and spa technician.

In addition to the newspaper, we have produced three technical books used throughout the industry as training and reference guides. The Professional Pool Technicians' Guide to ChlorineGuide to Alternative Sanitizers and the Guide to pH, Alkalinity, Water Testing and Water Balance are compiled from articles that originally appeared in our newspaper.

We've also updated and republished an industry classic on pool care, Charlie Taylor's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pool Care. This light, easy-to understand and illustrated book has long been a part of any complete library on pool care. Now, it's also available in Spanish!

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Switching the focus to ammonia & ammonium levels

If chlorine demand is high, it is not because

of high levels of phosphates or nitrates

By Marcelle Dibrell

In a recent conversation with a pool pro, the topic of nitrate and phosphate removers came up.  “I never use them,” he said, adding, “It‘s all snake oil.”

When asked if he ever had a problem with algae, what he would do about it, he said, “I don’t have algae problems.  I stay ahead of it with chlorine and good circulation.”

He said he uses liquid chlorine, maintains 50 ppm cyanuric acid, and that seems to work just fine.  If he had an algae problem, he supposed he might use a copper-based algaecide and he would also shock the pool.

While he is certainly no water chemist or marine biologist, he has been a pool service professional for almost 10 years.  His philosophy is to “do one thing, and do it well,” and he lives up to his promise to keep his pools pristine. That shouldn’t be dismissed.

His attitude about algae made us wonder about all the hype surrounding nitrates and phosphates and algae problems.  Algaecides and algestats comprise a major component of swimming pool chemicals, and the latest craze is phosphate removers.  Short of draining the pool, there doesn’t yet seem to be a popular method for nitrate removal, though we can be sure that the chemists are looking.

So what’s the deal?  What problem are these phosphate removers trying to address?  What problem do nitrates pose for your swimming pool?  How do phosphates and nitrates get into your pool in the first place?  Do we really need to get them out of our pools?  What about phosphate removers-do they really work?  And why aren’t there any popular chemical or physical methods for removing nitrates, short of draining the pool?

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