With winter behind us, the time has come to get your pool ready for the warmer months ahead. We chatted to pool and spa specialist Swimart to find out what it takes to get your pool swim-ready for summer
Pollen-proof your pool
Spring not only affects those who suffer from allergies but also your swimming pool. Known as pollen, the microscopic powder released from plants can clog up filtration equipment and affect chemical balance. To prevent pollen from affecting your pool this season, clean baskets regularly throughout the heavy parts of spring, replacing any that are faulty, broken or not operating properly. If your pool is surrounded by flowering plants, you could always attach a fine material such as cheesecloth or pantyhose to your skimmer before cleaning the pollen from the surface of the water. If you plan to go on holiday, roll out your pool cover to prevent pollen from being blown into the pool while you’re away.
Clean the filter
If it has been particularly dry in your area this winter and you need to top up water levels, it’s a good idea to first clean the filter cartridge. For many models this simply involves removing the cartridge and giving it a good wash with a hose. If your pool has a diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filter, you might need to take it apart, clean it and then reassemble it. If you have a sand filter, set the filter to backwash to clean out the sand before returning it to its normal setting.
Re-balancing pool chemicals
Proper pool chemistry not only creates a safe environment to swim in, but also reduces the cost involved in using excess chemicals. Here are three key factors required to balance swimming pool water:
- The pH level, which typically fluctuates between 7.2 and 7.4, dictates how much chlorine turns into hypochlorous acid in the water.
- Total alkalinity from 80 to 120. Alkalinity is a pH buffer — pH levels will be consistent if the alkalinity level is correct. Use sodium bicarbonate to increase alkalinity and muriatic acid to decrease it.
- Calcium hardness from 150 to 250 ppm (parts per million). This is directly dependent on the hardness of the water. The softer the water, the more calcium it will absorb from its environment.
Preventing and removing algae
Algae are microscopic, living organisms which grow in water bodies such as streams, lakes, rivers, oceans and swimming pools. Out of the thousands that exist in nature, the four main types that afflict swimming pools are green (Chlorophyta), yellow (Phaeophyta), pink (Paecilomyces Lilacinus) and black (Cyanophyta). Typically dispersed by wind and rain, algae blooms can leave the pool looking unsightly, damage pool equipment, and even make people sick by harbouring bacteria like E. coli. Prevent algae from taking over your pool this summer by maintaining proper pool chemical balance and chlorine levels; regularly cleaning your pool filter; regularly brushing and vacuuming the pool’s surface; and circulating the water by operating the pool filter pump constantly for 48 to 72 hours.
Timber decking around the pool requires regular maintenance to prevent it from cracking or splintering. Before you invite the neighbours around for a pool party, make sure you inspect for damage and, if necessary, remove protruding nails and repair loose boards or rotting posts. Give the entire surface a thorough clean, starting by sweeping with a stiff bristled broom and timber deck cleaner to remove dirt, algae or moss before rinsing with water. Finally, apply one to two coats of high-performance deck oil. Don’t forget to make sure it’s slip-resistant and able to weather Australia’s harsh climactic conditions and UV exposure.
Spring into pool safety
It’s easy to let pool safety slip when you haven’t been in the pool since last summer, so now is a good time to check that it’s season-ready. Is the fence or gate in need of repair? Does the self-latching gate still work properly? Do you still need to replace the resuscitation chart that was blown away during that last storm?
Annual equipment inspection and service
For time-poor pool owners, Swimart offers a range of home service packages that include everything from general repairs to a 94-point pool check. The company’s fleet of mobile vans, led by experienced technicians, delivers pool maintenance and services to pool owners’ doors, along with hundreds of spare parts and fittings to enable technicians to help fix any general maintenance issues on the spot.
Originally from Poolside magazine Volume 46