Gear up your grill with these tasty recipes

This summer we were lucky to have Grillmaster Brent hanging at our Gladstone store grilling up yummy recipes 4 days a week. So I have a lot of recipes that you should consider for the big game. Let’s start with:

Sirloin SteaksStart grill and preheat to medium high heat 375°- 400°. Prepare 1” Thick Sirloin Steaks as follows: Lightly rub steaks with olive oil. Season with your choice of Traeger Rubs, Coffee or Beef rubs are a great choice! For a nice crust on your steak you can rub on minced garlic. Grill 5 minutes, turn and grill an additional 4 minutes for medium rare 125°. Yields 2 Steaks

Bacon Wrapped Potato Bites

15 Small Red or Yellow Potatoes

5 Slices of Regular Sliced Bacon cut into thirds

15 Toothpicks

2 ½ tsp. Traeger Summer Shandy Rub

1 T Olive Oil

Preheat grill to 400°. Wash & dry potatoes, cut into roughly the same size one inch cubes. Put potatoes in medium pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook 3-4 minutes. Drain potatoes. Using a large bowl, toss potatoes with Traeger Summer Shandy Rub and olive oil until coated. Wrap bacon around potatoes, securing with toothpicks. Line cookie sheet with foil and place bacon wrapped potatoes on sheet giving them space between.

Cook 15 minutes, turn and cook additional 15-20 minutes

Spicy Sour Cream Sauce

8 oz. Sour Cream

3 tsp. Hot Sauce

Mix sour cream and hot sauce in a bowl. Season with salt & pepper.

Fresh HOT WATER Start-up Procedure for Chlorine or Bromine

When beginning with fresh water the following is recommended:

Add Stain and Scale per manufacturers directions. This will keep any metals, including iron, copper and magnesium from adhering to any of the equipment in the tub. Remember all water has some level of metals.

Use a non-chlorine shock with Bromine to bring up the level of the Bromine.  Bromine is a stabilized substance and needs a boost to kick in.
No shock is necessary with chlorine.

Check the water and based on the readings add the chemicals to balance chlorine or bromine, alkalinity, pH and calcium hardness. We do free water testing if you have any questions or just do not want to test yourself and remember to ask for a free water sample bottle.

Range If over range, add If under range, add
Chlorine 1.0-2.0 PPM Tap water Chlorine
Bromine 3.0-5.0 PPM Tap water Bromine, non-chlorine shock
pH 7.4-7.6 PH decreaser Alkalinity Increaser
Alkalinity 80-120 PPM PH decreaser PH Increaser
Calcium 200-400 Stain & Scale Control Calcium Hardness Increaser

Add chemicals in increments of 3 oz. with 30 minutes between each application.
Add directly to water with jets on high and air open.
Keep the cover off hot tub while adding chemicals.
Chemicals can be added to cold or warm water.

Chlorine or bromine, alkalinity and pH should be checked twice weekly.

Remember this is a good time to clean or replace your filter(s).
Soak in a filter cleaner over night, rinse well and let dry out before putting the filters back in the hot tub.
Filters last about 2 years if they are well taken care of.

Water Testing for Saltwater Pools

Saltwater pools use a chlorine generator with an electrolytic cell, which produces chlorine as the salt passes over the cell. You’ll add several 50-pound bags of salt a few times a year.

The ocean contains about 35,000 ppm of salt (3.5 percent), while a saltwater pool is kept at 3,000 ppm. Your eyes, skin, and tongue shouldn’t be able to detect the salt at all. Since salt is a natural conditioner, your skin will actually feel smoother, and your eyes won’t be irritated.

Because the chlorine from a salt chlorine generator is pure and is not combined with additives found in solid products, this form of chlorination does not affect total alkalinity or calcium hardness directly.

Heavy swimmer load like a “Pool Party”, rain and windborne contaminants, splash-out, carryout, and treatment chemicals all affect these levels. Free chlorine, Total Alkalinity and pH should be checked weekly and Calcium Hardness be tested at least monthly.

As water is recycled through the salt chlorine generator, any combined chlorine—the irritant that causes red eyes and the unmistakable chlorine odor is eliminated as it passes over the electrolytic cell. Under normal conditions, there should be little combined chlorine in a pool with a salt chlorine generator. But after a pool party, heavy rain or windstorms, or if there are signs of an algae bloom, test for combined chlorine.

If the combined chlorine level exceeds 0.2 ppm, you will need to super chlorinate the water. Some salt chlorine generators are equipped with a “boost feature” that enables you to increase the chlorine level over a short period of time (usually within 24 hours). Or, use the traditional method of “shocking your pool” and add more chlorine directly to the water yourself.

After super chlorinating/shocking, the chlorine level should be tested again before the pool is reopened to swimmers. EPA guidelines suggest 4 ppm is a safe re-entry level.

pH is influenced by the total alkalinity of the water. When adjusted to within the recommended range of 80–120 ppm, total alkalinity acts as a buffer for pH. Read your chlorine generator manual; some manufacturer’s recommend the generator tends to keep a steadier pH with an alkalinity between 90–100 ppm.

A pH outside of the acceptable range (7.2–7.8, ideally 7.4–7.6) is potentially irritating to bathers. When pH is too high, chlorine’s sanitizing ability is lessened and scale tends to form on pool surfaces and equipment. When pH is too low the water tends to be corrosive, pitting the concrete and dissolving the metal it touches.

When the calcium hardness level is too low, water can become aggressive even if the pH is within the recommended range. It may damage plaster, concrete, and grout and could lead to equipment corrosion.

A high calcium hardness level causes the water to deposit scale, also regardless of pH. This crusty build-up is unsightly and rough to the touch. Deposits can clog filters and piping as well as cause heaters to fail.

Chlorine Stabilizer
An outdoor pool being chlorinated with salt water will require the addition of cyanuric acid “stabilizer” to slow the rate UV rays in sunlight destroy the free chlorine residual. (The range recommended by the International Aquatic Foundation is 30–50 ppm). It is particularly important to test the cyanuric acid level regularly during the summer months when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Balanced water, correct salt and stabilizer levels will extend the life of the chlorinator and provide you with the best possible swimming experience.

How to: Change the sand in your sand filter.

  1. Determine the amount of sand you will need by checking the label on the filter or call us with the name of the manufacturer and the model number.
  2. Now that you have the correct amount of sand; remove all the hoses and place them back into the pool so you do not lose any pool water.
  3. Remove the drain plug from the bottom of the filter and let the water drain out.
  4. Remove the clamp from around the multiport valve on your filter.
  5. Using a wet-dry vac (without the shop vac filter) suck all the sand out of the filter. The sand can be disposed of in flower beds around the yard.
  6. Using Duct Tape cover the opening of the standpipe coming up in the middle of the filter.
  7. Put the drain cap back on the bottom of the filter. Fill the tank half full of water.
  8. Once the tank is half full of water; add the correct amount of sand to your filter.
  9. When all the sand is in the filter tank; remove the Duct Tape and connect the multi-port valves and hoses.

Variety of Chemical Products Help in War against Algae

Given the precise conditions, even the most carefully maintained pool can develop an occasional outbreak of algae. And service professionals know that there is no such thing as a magic pill in this fight. It takes conscientious work and a regimen that includes proper pool-water balancing, correct sanitizer levels and regular doses of shock and algaecide. Even then, when weather and environmental conditions are right, things are known to go wrong. The professional arsenal for confronting algae now includes six major types of specialty chemicals designed to kill or prevent an algae bloom. They include:

  • Metallic Algicides, which normally contain either copper or silver and kill by blocking the algae’s metabolism. That means they interfere with the plant’s ability to feed and breathe. Algae are simply a green plant that requires food and light to thrive. The light usually comes from the sun, which explains why algae grows better in warm, sunny climates. The food source is typically phosphates in the water that have escaped the kill normally provided by chlorine or bromine.
  • Quats are short for quaternary ammonium compounds. They usually contain some form of ammonia and have a positive electrical charge. Because algae has a negative charge, they are attracted to the quats. The quat interferes with the plant’s cell membrane, causing the algae to suffocate.
  • Polymers are huge molecules containing several repeating parts. Because they are also positively charged, they work in much the same way that quats do and suffocate the algae after attaching themselves onto the plant’s cell membrane.
    Herbicides are organic compounds that work by being absorbed through the roots of the algae plant, then interfering with the plants’ ability to produce food through photosynthesis.
  • Chlorine Enhancers work in concert with the chorine already present in the water, combining to create material that the algae thinks is a food source. Once the algae ingests the combined form, it is killed by it. The chlorine enhancer, then, is not really doing the killing. It is the chlorine itself. But the enhancer and chlorine are working together to make the chlorine’s job more effective.
  • Phosphate Removers commonly use a chloride-based metallic salt, which combines with the dissolved phosphates in the water to form a solid material that can be filtered out through normal circulation processes. While phosphate removers are not algicides, they help rid the water of a valuable food source that allows algae to grow. Phosphates occur naturally from rivers, lakes, oceans or mined rock and are used in detergents, soaps; shampoos and even soda pop. They are also common in fertilizers, organic debris such as leaves and bark. And they are even used in some pool chemicals. While minimizing the amount of phosphates entering the pool is helpful and they can be removed with a flocculent, sometimes bigger guns are needed in the process

Care & Maintenance of your hot tub cover – tips to make it last longer.

  1. Clean your hot tub cover when you drain and refill your spa.
    Use simple soap and water or cover cleaner to keep the cover free from dirt and stains. It is important to not only clean the outside, but clean the inside as well. It is easiest to remove the cover from the spa, stand it on end then wash and rinse away from the tub.
  2. At least once per year, unzip the cover at the seam and pull the foam out, rotate the foam so the top is now on the bottom and the bottom is on the top.
    This will help to keep the foam inside from warping under the weight of rain or snow and will help avoid low spots and puddles. At this time you can check for mold growth which can cause a smell. Mold is easily cleaned using the same method as noted above.
  3. Use a cover conditioner on the cover yearly after you have cleaned it with soap and water.
    This will help keep the vinyl outer cover supple and will help to weatherproof the stitching, etc. A good liquid car wax will work as well, be sure to let it dry and buff it to a shine.
  4. Be sure to maintain a good chemical balance in your spa.
    It is healthy not only for you, but for your hot tub cover as well, always use an insulating blanket on the surface of the water, this will keep the water warmer and insulate the cover from aggressive and damaging vapors.
  5. NEVER shock your tub with a hardcover on.
    This will not allow the bacteria and chloramines to oxidize properly into the air and it could cause damaging vapors to attack the underside of your spa cover.

Utilizing these hints will extend the life of your hot tub cover and keep it looking better longer.