Maintain

Pool maintenance musts

It may be a tedious chore, but spending time on pool maintenance will ensure hassle-free swimming this summer. easyDIY spoke to Philip Hughes, general manager at Zodiac Pool Care about the pool maintenance chores you must make part of your routine.

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September traditionally heralds the start of the summer swimming season, with hardy children often quick to take advantage of the warmer weather with a swim, even if the pool is still chilly.
What should my chemical levels of the pool be?
The range you should aim for is residual chlorine of between one to three parts per million. This is quite a wide band, advises Hughes, but pool owners must keep the swimming pool maintained within that range throughout the year. “This is absolutely necessary,” he cautions. In summer, you’ll need to add chlorine every day and test your water much more regularly, because of factors like more intense sunshine, the bather load in the pool, and warmer water temperatures that encourage bacteria growth.


GOOD TO KNOW
“Without a doubt, routine maintenance is an easier task than corrective measures, because once the pool ‘goes’, it really can be a problem to correct,” advises Hughes.



How will I know if my pool is not being cleaned properly?
There are two elements to cleaning the pool – the chemistry of the water and cleaning the surface of the pool, explains Hughes. If your pool cleaner is not operating correctly, you will definitely notice because dust, leaves and other detritus will be easily noticeable. However, you’ll only know if the chemistry of the water is correct by testing the water.
“The most critical thing is to maintain certain chemical levels in your pool. Your pH levels should be between 7.2 – 7.4 or 7.0 – 7.2, depending on the surface,” he says, while also maintaining residual chlorine. This requirement doesn’t change whether it’s the middle of winter or the middle of summer, but the frequency and quantity of chemicals that you add to the pool will differ, depending on the season, weather and bather load. The traditional water testing cycle is once a week.
Is a smaller pool easier to maintain?
Ironically, a bigger pool is actually much easier to maintain than a smaller pool, because the body of water is much larger and takes longer to ‘turn’. When the pool goes naturally because of rain or bather load, it will go faster in a smaller pool.
How much is too much?
When people have a problem and they start over-treating the pool, it becomes much more of an issue in a small pool because the concentration in a smaller body of water is so much higher. “Any chemical that you put in your pool, you need to give it time to have an effect. You must be patient and wait. Dumping everything into the pool at once is generally not going to be a good idea,” cautions Hughes.
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GOOD TO KNOW
Any swimming pool maintenance that is aboveground (think filter or pump) is fairly straightforward for the competent DIY enthusiast, but when the problem is underground (piping or the filtration system), it’s best to err on the side of caution and call in the experts, recommends Hughes.


 

How do I approach getting my pool back when it’s gone green?
Hughes advises a systematic, three-step approach to any problem pool. The first step is BALANCE. “You’ve got to get your pH balance right and your alkalinity balance right first. If you do anything before you’ve gotten this balance right, you’re just wasting your time and your money,” warns Hughes.
The next step is PROTECTION, where you need to correct the chlorine and stabiliser levels in the pool. The final step is PERFECTION, which is when you’d add clarifiers and other products to get the sparkle in the pool, advises Hughes. Treating the pool out of order is not going to deliver the results you want, he cautions.
The single most important thing is to get the balance right. “I’ll give you an example,” offers Hughes. “If your pH is supposed to be between 7.2 and 7.4, but you add chlorine when your pH is at 8, then 85% of the efficacy of that chlorine is lost, so only 15% of the chlorine you put into the pool is actually doing what it is supposed to do,” he explains. By getting your pH into the correct range, the chemical products are then 90 – 100% effective.
All the other speciality chemicals that pool owners add to the pool are necessary, but they’re necessary at the correct time and the correct dosages. Putting a preventative algicide into the pool is a good idea to prevent algae, says Hughes, but putting the incorrect dosage into the pool will cause the pool to foam and is not ideal.
When should I call in the experts?
If your pool has black or mustard algae, it embeds itself into the actual walls of the pool and creates an ugly mark in the pool and to get rid of it, you’ll need to drain and acid-wash the walls of the pool. “At that stage, you need to get the professionals in to sort it out for you,” cautions Hughes.

 


GOOD TO KNOW
To find a Zodiac service centre near you, visit the website. If you need a maintenance or renovation expert, contact the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI). Visit www.nspi.co.za for a list of all accredited service providers for your area.


 

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