Five swimming pool maintenance jobs to prepare your pool for summer.
With the thermometer in the low 20s and a warmer-than-average spring predicted for most of Australia, many of us will want to start enjoying our swimming pool. And right now is the perfect time for swimming pool maintenance so it’s ready for the warmer days.
“Over winter, sun and rain dilutes pool chemicals, especially chlorine and salt, which turns pool water green and helps algae get a hold and grow,” says Swimart Australasian manager Chris Fitzmaurice. “While microscopic in size, if your pool water lacks the right balance of chemicals, algae can multiply, turning your pool water green and creating patches of yellow, pink or black on the surface of your pool.”
Aside from making any pool look uninviting, algae can damage pool equipment and make swimmers ill as it often harbours bacteria like E. coli. “If you’ve let swimming pool care fall by the wayside over winter, it’s likely the pool water isn’t as clean and healthy as it needs to be,” explains Chris.
If your pool is looking a little green or has algal blooms across its bottom, these five swimming pool maintenance jobs will quickly return it to peak condition, ready for that first swim.
1. Take a sample of your pool water for testing
A free computerised test will indicate whether your pool needs its pH, calcium and total alkaline levels adjusted. A consultant will advise you on the best course of action and recommend products.
2. Check and clear your equipment, and run the filter and pump
Before you add any products to your pool, turn your pump on (if it isn’t already running) and run it for a few hours to help clear debris and dirt from the water. While the pump is doing its job, check the filter, skimmer box and pump to ensure they are all working efficiently and clear any blockages or calcium build-ups.
If your filter cartridge needs a clean, simply give it a good wash with the hose. If you have a Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filter, you may need to take it apart and clean it with a small brush and water. If you have a sand filter, set it to backwash to flush it out (don’t forget to return it to its normal setting).
3. Add a sanitiser
Your pool water may need to be sanitised to condition and ready it for other treatments. Try a chlorine-free treatment called Aqua-Health Ultra Shock, which destroys organic waste and leaves your pool water clean and sparkling. Simply dose while the pump is running and wait a few hours before swimming.
For a more rapid sanitising effect, Aqua-Health’s Instant Pool Chlorine Pellets can be added straight to the skimmer without the use of a floating dispenser. They’re easy to use, have a built-in stabiliser, and do not alter water hardness.
Spa owners can use the dual-action Poppits Spa Sanitiser – which is also free from chlorine and bromine – as it cleans and conditions in one simple action. Using hydrogen peroxide to oxidise the bacteria in spa water, it also prevents the build-up of organic slime on the walls and seats.
4. Re-balance the pool water
Depending on your pool’s current water quality, you may need to add chlorine and algaecide and acid to adjust the pH level (the optimal level is between 7 and 7.6). Getting your pool water’s pH level right is important as it dictates how much chlorine turns into hypochlorous acid (HCIO), an active ingredient needed to kill germs, algae and bacteria.
Pool water turns green when the chlorine level is too low. If your pool water’s chlorine is below 0.5ppm, you need to ‘shock’ the water with a large dose of chlorine to get it to 10ppm. Run the filter after dosing and don’t enter the pool until the chlorine level falls below 3ppm (high chlorine levels can cause itchy skin and red, dry eyes).
5. Clean your pool’s surface
Brush your pool’s walls, which helps remove algae and loosen dirt, then follow with a vacuum.