Most people are aware that in order to maintain a clean and healthy pool, certain maintenance tasks need to be performed routinely. These tasks include regular vacuuming, cleaning the filter and checking the chemical levels.
In regards to chemicals that are used in the pool, if misused, these chemicals can be dangerous to swimmers and damaging to the pool liners. So it is imperative that proper dosage levels are adhered to at all times. More is also not necessarily better either, as a too high a dosage can be detrimental to not only the water, but the pool liner as well and can make the pool unpleasant to swim in.
Most swimming pools in Australia will experience two climates: the active summer and the dormant winter time. Each time of year will require different maintenance schedules because the amount of activity in the pool changes.
Your pool’s pH level should always be carefully monitored, and should be above 7.0 to 7.6. Below this and it will be acidic (quite often the cause of stinging eyes after prolonged swimming). Above this and your pool will be too alkaline (quite often the cause of skin rashes after prolonged swimming). When adding chemicals to your pool, there are three important points to note:
- Never add the raw chemical to your pool, always premix it first
- When premixing with water, NEVER add water to the chemical, ALWAYS add the chemical to the water until the concentration is correct.
- Never allow the raw chemical to come in contact with the pool liner, this can stain or damage it.
- You should consider adding the pre-mixed chemicals directly to the skimmer box.
Winterising Your Pool
During winter, as the pool doesn’t get used and will be dormant for many months it is a good idea to “winterise” it. This process involves adjusting the pH to 7.6 and super chlorinating to 5 ppm. This controls algae and bacterial growth in the water. This can also be accompanied by the use of a pool cover, which greatly reduces evaporation, stops leafs and other debris entering the pool and even lowers the amount of chemical that is required. Pool blankets also have the added bonus of trapping in heat, which can extend the swimming season up to a couple of months with a good solar cover.
Always maintain correct water levels for the pool, summer or winter. Don’t think that just because the pool isn’t in use, the amount of water in it can allowed to drop. The water holds the pool liner in place, if the water lowers, the liner can shift and wrinkle.
Reopening Your Pool
Reopening your pool and getting ready for summer should be a simple process if regular checks and maintenance have been followed. Pool chemical levels are restored to normal levels:
- pH – adjust to between 7.4 and 7.8
- Free Chlorine levels should be around 1.0 to 3.0 ppm
- Alkalinity of the water should be between 100 ppm and 150 ppm
- Water hardness for calcium should be around 200 ppm and 300 ppm
- Dissolved solids should be below 500 ppm
Summer or winter, regular maintenance will give you the best out of your pool. So always make sure you at least;
- Monitor your chemical levels at least once a week
- When adjusting chemical levels, adjust slowly and wait at least 6 hours before re-testing or adding more chemicals
- Cover your pool when not in use, this greatly reduces debris and dirt in your pool, and means you use less chemicals
- Never let the pH fall below 7.0