Raking up leaves is one job that pool owners ignore at their peril. In fact, it’s that type of cool season neglect that is one of the biggest mistakes pool owners make when it comes to maintenance, the pool and spa experts from Swimart have found.
“Neglecting your pool in the cooler months is a big mistake,” says Swimart’s Chris Fitzmaurice.
“Regularly spending a little bit of time making sure everything is looking good and operating well will save you a bigger (and perhaps costly) job later on. It’s important to protect your investment and don’t let it ‘go to sleep’ during the cooler months.”
A major culprit is windy, stormy weather, which can blow leaves and dirt into the pool and, if left to settle, can stain the surface, create an unhealthy breeding ground for pests and damage your equipment if they find their way into pumps and pipes.
However, the good news is that it only takes a little bit of attention on a regular basis to ensure the health and safety of your pool and its equipment. Here are Swimart’s top pool care tips that will keep your pool in top shape until next summer and help prevent damage to expensive equipment.
Would you eat off the floor?
Just because you can’t see germs on the floor, doesn’t mean you’d eat your dinner off it. The same goes for pool water. Just because the water looks clean and clear, doesn’t mean there aren’t invisible nasties in there waiting for a bit of warmth to make them visible to the naked eye.
To ensure the pool doesn’t turn a not-so-delightful shade of green, don’t forget to chlorinate your pool. It depends on the type of chlorine you’re using and the type of pool (and whether it’s stabilised or un-stabilised), as to how many times a week it should be added to the pool. As a rule of thumb, liquid chlorine should be used every day; granular chlorine should be used in a stabilised pool every other day.
Two little letters, but pool owners who forget them take a big risk. If a pool’s pH level is higher than 8, swimmers are at risk of skin rashes, while a pH of lower than 7 can sting swimmers’ eyes. Spend a few moments once a week to check the levels aren’t getting out of hand to avoid irritation (literally), not to mention the expense of fixing the problem with a lot of chemicals in spring.
A quick regular brush of the walls and floor, followed by a vacuum will save a lot of heartbreak later. Algae thrives in dirty water, so remember to clean the skimmer baskets and lint basket at the same time.
The heart of the matter
A pool’s pump acts like a heart, moving water through the filter to be purified then back into the pool. If the pump “dies”, so does the pool – until you put your hand in your pocket for a new pump. That’s money that could have been spent on other things.
Keep the “cholesterol” in check
If the pool’s pump is its heart, then the filter is the lungs, liver and kidneys. It purifies the water. Ensure that the filter is sparkling clean, as any grease or oil deposits will harden over winter and make the filter harder to clean in the warmer months, not to mention reduce its overall efficiency. Think of it as reducing your pool’s cholesterol.
Shock to avoid horror
Sticking with the medical analogy, think of shock treatment as preventative medicine. It’s recommended to use a regular shock treatment throughout winter. Once you’ve added the shock treatment appropriate for your pool, run the pump for several hours to ensure it has been well distributed throughout the water.
Little green monster
Algae is the little green monster that can grow to Godzilla-like proportions unless it’s kept under control through winter. Chlorine has bactericidal and algaecidal properties, but an algaecide will enhance and prolong the effectiveness of the chlorine.
On the level
To keep your pool clean and clear, it’s important to keep your pool’s chlorine levels at a constant level of 2-3 parts per million throughout winter. The exception is if you’re using a salt chlorinator and a pool blanket. In that case, reduce the output of the chlorinator to 1-2 PPM, as pool blankets trap chemicals and chlorine, and can cause high chlorine levels to occur. This can damage the pool equipment.