FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

A1. This can occur when one or more of these conditions exist: 1.) The filter/circulation pump does not run enough hours. 2.) The filter needs to be cleaned or the media replaced. 3.) A high amount of debris has accumulated in the pool. 4.) The pool walls, floor and steps have not been thoroughly brushed on a regular basis. 5.) One or more of the 6 water chemistry parameters are outside the critical limits. Test and adjust as needed: disinfectant, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, total dissolved solids and stabilizer.

Portofino Technicians are all CPO® – Certified, trained and written-test examined on their knowledge of pool water chemistry and operation at Portofino University. In addition, they receive several weeks of initial rigorous hands-on field training and weekly reviews on equipment operation and calibration to ensure your water-quality is maintained correctly and accurately, providing you peace-of-mind.

A2. Algae spores are microscopic water plants. They grow in the moisture on tree leaves and shrubbery. Lawn and shrub fertilizers are plant food and boost algae growth. They are carried into swimming pools by wind blowing water drops off the landscaping and people entering the pool after having coming in contact with them on the pool deck and furniture or walking through the grass. An “algae bloom” occurs when a large amount of spores accumulates in the pool water. This occurs during periods of heavy rain and wind. They grow rapidly, within 24 to 48 hours after a storm and when one or more of these conditions exists: 1.) Lawn and shrub fertilizers are blown in to the pool feeding the algae. 2.) The filter/circulation pump does not run enough hours. 3.) The water chemistry, disinfectant and balancers, are outside the critical limits (diluted by rain) and 4.) The water temperature is warm. Super chlorination and thorough brushing will clear the water and correct the condition.

Portofino CPO® Certified Technicians learn algae prevention and correction at Portofino University.

A3. Salt pools actually are chlorine pools. The difference is special equipment located next to the pump and filter manufactures pool chlorine. This so you don’t need to buy ready-made chlorine sticks or disks. The added benefits: 1.) The equipment maintains a consistent level of disinfection (chlorine) in the pool, as it has sensors in the water pipe to monitor the critical limits of chlorine and a computer chip turns it on and off as needed. 2.) The salt in the pool water gives it a silky feel to it. 3.) Not necessary to frequently buy add chlorine sticks or disks.

Salt generators are very popular on residential pools, however for commercial pools the Department of Health (DOH) requires a professional engineer to specify and size the equipment and a licensed commercial pool contractor to file for a DOH Modification Permit before installing a salt system. In addition, a traditional automatic chlorine system must be installed and operated using sticks or discs in order to assure a minimum ppm disinfectant is always present in the pool water to ensure safety from pathogens. Today’s advanced Automatic Chemical Feed Systems using traditional ready-made chlorine sticks and discs can provide the same consistent levels of disinfection.

Cost effectiveness: Over a period of 7 to 10-years the total cost comparison of each are exactly the same. The initial cost of installing a salt chlorine generator is paid upfront and equipment repair and replacements are required every few years. Traditional stick and disc systems spread the cost out monthly over the same 7 to 10-year period.

A4. One cubic foot of space holds 7.5 gallons of water. First, measure the length, the width and determine the average depth of your pool – measure the depth at the deep end and the shallow end, add the two together, and divide by two; this is the average depth.

Then use these formulas based on your pool’s shape:

Square or Rectangle: Total Gallons = length x width x average depth x 7.5

Circle: Total Gallons = diameter x diameter x average depth x 5.9

Oval: Total Gallons = Long Diameter (in feet) x Short Diameter x Average Depth x 5.9

A5. It is critical for commercial/public pools to run 24/7/365 days in warm climates by national standards and local codes. This is to ensure the water is thoroughly mechanically cleaned of containments, and the automatic chemical drip systems cleanse the water of pathogens. Residential pools should run longer hours in hot weather (12-14 hours) and may run less hours in cold weather (6 hours). On average 8 to 10 hours/day.

A6. NO! Only highly qualified, licensed, and insured contractors should perform this work. Underground water pressure below the grass level must be verified by a licensed professional contractor and de-watering pump(s)installed to draw the water off under the pool and reduce the pressure pushing up on the pool shell before the pool water is drained out. If not, the pool may pop several feet out of the ground causing thousands of dollars of damage. Additionally, the pool plaster surface on the walls and floor is engineered to be wet at all times, if the plaster is left dry for too long a period of time, it will crack and peel away.

A7. First check to see if you have electrical power. An electrical breaker may have tripped. If the pump/motor runs and no water moves, shut the power off to the pump. Clean the filter. If this doesn’t work, there may be a pipe blockage. Your pool service technician will check it out on the next regular service visit. Minor problems will be fixed at that time.

Should you need immediate response, Portofino will promptly dispatch a technician. If more extensive diagnostics, repairs, parts and/or equipment replacements are needed, Portofino is licensed and insured to do so and our CPO® Certified Repair Technicians are fully trained to perform work in accord with equipment manufacturer instructions.

A8. Portofino University offers a variety of online and live classroom courses from entry level certificate courses to advanced certifications. We are offer both NSPF® and APSP® industry leading courses. Our certified instructors are experienced industry professionals. International consulting is also available. We travel globally to train commercial and residential pool aquatic facility managers, technicians, contractors and owners.
A9. An extension of your indoor living space into the beauty of nature. The mainstays of outdoor living are cooking appliances, dining tables and chairs and/or counters with stools, and a hearth, fire pit and/or fireplace. From here, begin to add decking materials, screening, overhead coverings, a pergola or gazebo. Almost everything that you can do inside your home can also be enjoyed outside, so be creative with decorative touches and enjoy the great outdoors right in your own backyard.

A10. It takes legwork to find the best contractor for your pool renovation job. First, make sure to get everything in writing. Also, ask for referrals and check their references; check government websites to confirm licensing and insurance credentials. Verify national and state trade association credentials to ensure high standards and continuing education – those who invest in course work and rigorous testing to earn professional certifications display a commitment to the profession.

Interview candidates the same as if you were hiring an employee; how well organized are they, what is their process of project management (high level communication is critical to your peace-of mind)? Look at their business experience and management skills. Visit their business location; are they professional, do they have a permanent showroom? Talk with their employees and look around; will someone actually answer the phone, who will you be talking to when you call the office in the middle of your project?

Other questions to ask: how long have they been in business, are they involved in the community, are they trust worthy? Again, get everything in writing and take detailed notes.

Portofino Pool Services & Outdoor Living was founded in 1956 and Portofino University followed in 2005; the most prestigious commercial and residential clients have been choosing Portofino for 60 years and we welcome you to experience the clear choice as well.