TIPS' N TRICKS
BASIC POOL MAINTENANCE TIPS
The easiest way to keep your swimming pool and equipment in great shape, enjoy more swimming and reduce your operating costs is to keep up the routine maintenance – summer AND winter. Here’s a few tips to get the most from your pool. we recommend setting up a simple maintenance routine.
Surface Clean & Skim
Much of the cause of poor pool water or equipment issues comes from debris entering your pool via the surface. A quick surface skim (at least weekly) can make all the difference to your equipment, baskets and water quality. A quick skim will take 10 minutes and removes insects, leaves, feathers, grass and the like from entering you basket or vacuum clean system
Clean your baskets
Your pool has a basket in the skimmer box and the pool pump. (In-floor cleaners also have a basket fitted). Do not forget to empty your skimmer basket regularly - ideally when you clean the surface. Baskets fill quickly and if not emptied filter operations will be inhibited giving poor water quality and pressure on pumps. Eventually, your basket will crack, letting debris into the pump or filter. Simply lift your basket out, give it a shake or tap, rinse it and place back into the skimmer box. Don’t forget to check your in-floor cleaning basket in the same way. Spot check your pump basket as you will be surprised how much debris can make it to the pump also.
It is critical that your weir door is operating correctly. If faulty, or non-existent, your basket debris will float back into the pool when the filter is switched off. Faulty weir doors also inhibit water flow to your skimmer box which can lead to severe damage to equipment if not addressed.
Waters levels change year round depending on pool use and weather events. Ensure your pool water is ALWAYS well above your skimmer box level. Water under this will restrict filtering to your pump and damage equipment. If it is low, imply fill with your garden hose. It can be useful to fit an auto water leveller during winter or when away from your pool. They are cheap and fit directly to your garden hose for auto refilling.
Whist it may feel to be task, routine cleaning is quicker than you think. Sand or media filters should be backwashed and cartridge filters rinsed and cleaned per your chlorinator manual and depending on usage. Dirty, unmaintained filters effect your whole pool system from pumps to water quality.
You should check your water chemical balance weekly when the pool is in heavy use and at least monthly during winter. 2 key tests are your pH & salt levels. pH should be maintained between 7.2 to 7.8. Salt levels, although in some cases monitored by your chlorinator, should be checked and ensured they are within the range of your chlorinator specifications (they all vary slightly). Good water balance will ensure you keep ahead of any potential issues such as algae, stains or equipment damage. pH & Salt can be checked with test strips or battery operated testers can be used.
It is important year round to vacuum the floor and walls of your pool. Keeping the bottom clean reduces algae growth, ensures no staining from leaves and assists in water clarity and chemical balance. Even when the pools not being used, don’t forget to add vacuuming to your routine, whether by hand, suction cleaner or robot.
WINTERISING YOUR POOL
Most of the focus on a pool is in summer. Clean sparkling water, sunny days and family fun, it’s all about summer. However, it is critical to establish some basic winter pool maintenance practises to ensure equipment is maintained, chemical usage and cost is reduced and time to get your pool ready when summer hits is minimised. Plus everyone will agree a clean, sparkling pool is amazing to look at and enjoy in your garden year round.
End of season scrub down
Your summer maintenance, usage and vacuuming will have kept your pool clean for summer. But it is really, really worth getting in your pool at the end of summer and giving it a good bath! A basic pool brush is all you need, give the surface a scrub, waterline and tiles. Focus on the corners, steps and areas where algae or dirt can build up. Don’t overlook cleaning the surface of your lights, airjets and returns and your skimmer box. This will give you a head-start against algae and grime during winter when the pool is more dormant.
Set your chlorinator & solar to winter mode
Set your chlorinator to winter mode but do NOT turn it OFF. Your pool water must continue to cycle filter during winter, although the number of hours can be reduced per your pool and chlorinator manuals. No filtering will mean green water and potential damage to equipment. Plus the cost of bringing the pool back to summer standards could cost more than the power and chemical savings during winter of not running your pool.
Maintain your water balance
It is critical to not let your water balance get out of whack during winter. Although not being used and with less sun, the water chemistry will change quickly with rain, cold, heat changes and dirt/debris entering the pool. Check your water chemical balance at least fortnightly and correct it as needed. It is common advice to also shock dose your pool on a routine during winter.
Be sure to check under your cover regularly
Never assume everything underneath is going along fine. Remove it and vacuum your pool regularly during winter. Remove the cover when adding chemicals.
It is a good idea to add a long term winter algaecide to your pool at the start of the winter season. Winter algaecide such as LoChlor Winteriser Algaecide are good value, last up to 90 days and will enhance your chlorine production and will kill most algae types that may bloom during winter.
Use a Clarifier
The use of a clarifier cube during winter helps to ensure water is maintained with clarity and phosphates are removed. A cube lasts 1 months and are a small investment over the winter months to support your pool system functionality.
Keep you up your maintenance
Ensure you continue to clean the surface, check skimmer baskets, test water quality, vacuum the floor and clean your filters at least monthly during winter. Pools still need this little bit of love in winter.
POOL COVERS - ARE THEY NECESSARY ?
We are often asked by customers, “Do we need a Pool Cover?”
Well .... whilst your pool does not “need” a pool cover, it is “highly” recommended.
A pool cover is a physical barrier which rests on the pool surface. The cover forms a barrier between the pool water and the air above. The cover will significantly reduce water evaporation, help maintain heat (reduce heat loss) in your pool water and reduce chlorine escape from your pool water.
A quality pool cover (such as a Daisy Pool Cover) will allow warmth from the sun to pass through the cover into the pool water. Given that water is a superb absorber of heat, the water is heated by the sun and then the heat is retained by the quality pool cover.
A significant benefit of a quality pool cover is the reduction in water evaporation. The greater your surface area of your pool, the great the evaporation. Placing a cover over your pool protects your water from heat loss, air, humidity and wind. Reducing the evaporation of water.
Using less water, a reduction in chemical use and a warmer pool reduces the cost and environmental impact in managing your pool year round which is a real positive to the use of a pool cover.
To answer a couple of other common questions:
Pool cleaners – Yes you can use a pool cleaner under your pool cover. Pool cleaners operate with the hose or lead suspended in the water and the cover will no inhibit the operation of pool cleaners, suction or robot.
What about Algae – Whilst a pool cover will increase the temperature of your water which can enhance algae growth if you keep your chlorine levels accurate you should have no additional algae problems.
Maintenance of the cover – This is easy. Use a pool roller to protect the cover and make use easier, remove the cover when adding chemicals, maintain your water chemistry, store the cover in the shade when on the roller and give the cover an routine wipe down to remove any built up dirt or grime.
Overall - A pool cover is a great addition to your pool to reduce cost and enhance the overall enjoyment of your swimming pool.
There are a few different options when choosing the correct pool cover. Talk to us tody and we can happily assist you.
DEALING WITH CLOUDY POOL WATER
A cloudy pool is frustrating but can be easily fixed once you understand the cause. A cloudy pool can be caused by poor filtration, unbalanced water chemistry, algae growth, lack of chlorine or sanitiser and oxidisation. Heavy bathing and usage can also cause cloudy water from sunscreen, body fats and oils.
Start with checking your filtration
Ensure your chlorinator is filtering 8 hours per 24 hour period in summer (or heavy use) and 4-6 hours during winter periods
Check your filter is clean. Backwash for media filter or rinse clean for cartridge filters.
Ensure all your skimmer and pump baskets are clean and empty of debris.
Next, check your water chemistry
Check to ensure your key readings are within range checking Total Alkalinity (TA), pH, Salt levels (set to your chlorinator specifications) and Calcium Hardness.
Shock your Pool
Shock dosing your pool will help sanitise and oxidise the pool. This will raise the free chlorine level and help destroy contaminants such as algae, chloramines and bacteria. See our store for simple one step shock treatments from LoChlor for your pool.
If the water remains cloudy
You can now add a clarifier to the water if it is still cloudy. A clarifier helps to “collect” fine particles in your pool water and groups them together so they are large enough filter out. A clarifier can be added in liquid does or for ongoing maintenance via cubes in the skimmer baskets or sometime the pump basket.
Still not clear?
If pool water remains cloudy, check your salt chlorinator is operating correctly by ensuring the salt cell is not calcified and is clean. The use of a flocculent can also aid to remove cloudy water. Talk to us today about the need for a flocculent and the right type for your pool.