When choosing a 3 inch chlorine tablet float dispenser, skip the cool ducks, turtles and sharks wearing sunglasses. Skip the adjustable gimmicks. The gimmick floaters usually have tiny holes that barely dissolve chlorine.
If you have a large pool, 30,000+ gallons, consider the pros and cons of the large size tablet floater, versus 2 standard size floaters. A large size tablet floater can hold 7 tablets, but sinks with 8 tablets, as the amount of Styrofoam that keeps it afloat is the same in a large or standard size. A standard size floater can hold 5 tablets. The cost difference from a standard size floater to a large size is huge.
Always tie off your tablet floater at the side if the pool, when able, to prevent swimmers from jumping on them, and also to prevent the floater from sitting over the top step. The acid in the tablets will dissolve and can severely etch and stain the top step.
Never put 3 inch tablets in the skimmer. Acid is heavier than water, and as the tablets dissolve, the acid sinks low into the plumbing and concentrates. When the pump turns on again, the concentration of acid can cause damage to the equipment over time.
Pool techs, did you know, when buying your standard 3 inch tablet floaters, there is a big difference in price per floater when you buy them by the box fill instead of individually? A box contains 12 floaters. It almost cuts the price per floater in half.
Do you have a suction side floor cleaner in your pool? You know…those Kreepy Krawlys or a Hayward Navigator, PoolCleaner, Zodiac Barracuda or MX8 etc? If you do and it is plugged into a dedicated suction line in the wall, not directly into the skimmer, then you will ALWAYS want to make sure you are using a vacuum lock.
A vacuum lock is a threaded spring loaded clamp that both holds the floor cleaner hose in place so that it doesn’t accidentally fall out, and it also closes in case it is pulled out, to prevent swimmers from getting sucked on to or their hair sucked into an open and active suction line.
This is a very simple and effective safety device that can prevent injury. If you have a floor cleaner plugged into a dedicated suction line in the wall, check and make sure it has a vacuum lock.
What is that flying saucer ufo looking thing under the skimmer basket in my pool, you might wonder. If it is there at all. Most skimmers are missing it, discarded into the nearby bushes, half-buried and rotting away. But your pool skimmer “should” have one.
When the pool water level is sufficient, the float inside the valve floats and water pass from the surface into the skimmer, allowing the skimmer basket to collect debris. If the water level gets too low, the valve float drops, sealing off the top part of the skimmer, and diverts suction down to the main drain instead. This protects the pump from sucking air and causing damage.
The float valve assembly protects the skimmer suction line from large debris, slipping into the plumbing. Sometimes, the skimmer basket will float up or become dislodged, allowing debris to get past it.
At the bottom of the valve is an adjustable flap that can adjust the suction to, either the skimmer or main drain. This is not used so much for cleaning, as the main drain is very inefficient at collecting debris or doing any real cleaning. This adjustment is more for circulation purposes. Typically, I recommend just leaving the suction fully on the skimmer.
Pool Service Tip
These devices, while serving an important function, are often discarded. Whether by ignorance, laziness, inattentiveness or skipping the extra expense, these items often go forgotten. But now you know, that is what they are and what they do. Check your skimmers. Do you have one? 🙂