Ten Easy Tips for the Perfect Pool
“Fun in the sun” is a term that best describes our South African climate and what better way to take advantage of our great summer weather than cooling off in a crystal clear swimming pool. Pool owners will tell you that a pool does not take care of itself. To keep your pool in perfect condition, follow these ten handy tips.
- Get hands-on
By making sure that you regularly remove floating debris from your pool’s surface, you will save time and money. Use your hand or a net to scoop up leaves and other foreign objects from the water before they sink, which will make it more difficult for you to remove. Doing this regularly will ensure that your pool’s circulation is at its peak, which, in turn, means that you’ll have to spend less money on chlorine in the long run.
- Brush regularly
To prevent algae build-up, brush your pool at least once a week. You should, however, make sure that you use the best suited brush for your pool; for a concrete pool use a stuff brush, for fibre glass use a softer brush and for tiles you need a soft brush that won’t scratch as it cleans.
- Keep it clean, but not too clean
You should keep your filter clean but be sure not to over clean it, when there is a bit of dirt in the filter it is easier for it to trap more dirt and debris.
- Eureka! Water levels
Keep an eye on the water level of your pool and make sure that it stays constant and correct, if the water level gets too low it can damage your pump.
- Healthy, balanced pH-levels
Pool owners know that the pH level of the water is very important in terms of safety for swimmers and sanitary reasons. Check your pH-levels once a week and make sure that it is between 7.2 and 7.8. For best results, it is recommended that you add chlorine in the evening.
- Smells like pool
We all know that intense chlorine smell that is often associated with the pool at the gym and public pools in general. Nobody wants their pool to smell like that. Your pool might start to have the sharp chlorine scent when there is a build-up of ammonia and nitrogen in the water. Ironically, the only way to get rid of this smell is to superchlorinate; add an excessive amount of chlorine to your pool and this will “shock” your pool water back into normal chlorine levels.
- A leaky suspicion
So, you’ve done number 4, but no matter how often you try to fill your pool up, the water levels keep going down, this might mean that you have a leak. It is easy to check for a leak; take a plastic bucket (without a handle) and fill it up to two thirds, mark the water line inside and outside the bucket, let the bucket float in your pool for about three days. After the three days check by how much the water level in the pool has gone down in comparison to how much water the bucket has lost. If the pool and the bucket have lost the same amount of water, the loss can be attributed to evaporation, if the pool has lost more than the bucket; it’s time to call in the experts.
- Pump it
There is a specific formula that can help you calculate exactly how long you should run your pool pump for.
- A slippery situation: slimy algae
There are about 21 000 different types of algae, luckily, only a few types are common in swimming pools; namely, green algae, yellow algae, black algae and pink algae. Green algae is the most common and can be taken care of with chlorine and bromine, simply use an algaecide and the shock (superchlorination) treatment. Yellow algae is more persistent than green algae and you will need to use double the dose of chlorine that you would’ve used in treating green algae, an algaecide will also be necessary. Once you have black algae, it’s there forever; you can however try the same approach as you would’ve with yellow algae. You should physically remove pink algae and then use algaecide and the shock treatment.
- Some savoury salt water tips
The main difference between traditional and salt water pools is that in the former you add the chlorine to the water yourself and in the latter, the pool “creates” its own chlorine through the process of electrolysis. Contrary to popular belief, salt water pools are not maintenance-free, they require the same check-ups and tests as normal pools. In addition to checking the pH-levels, water levels etc,. when you have a salt water pool you also need to make sure that you maintain an adequate level of cynuric acid, this is because the type of chlorine that is “produced” in a salt water pool is not stabilised.
So whether you like to splash around in a traditional pool or prefer the saline sensation of a salt water pool, make sure you maintain it well so that your days of fun and the sun don’t cost you more than it should in the long run. Take it one step further by making sure that your swimming pool pump is covered for when the unexpected happens and cuts your relaxing time in the water short. Buying a new pool pump will cost you thousands of rands, rather insure it under your Portable Possessions insurance policy.